New solar farm bid for Ledwyche on the outskirts of Ludlow

Edinburgh based Locogen Consulting is in the initial stages of a planning application for a second solar farm on Squirrel Lane. The 21-hectare scheme will generate around 12Mw of electricity and on conventional calculations, that will supply around 2,800 homes and avoid around 5,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year. If approved, it will be located opposite the current scheme on good quality agricultural land. It could also destroy 0.5km of biodiverse hedgerow. It is early days on this proposal. Locogen has taken advice from  Shropshire planners on the scheme. It is currently asking whether an environmental impact statement (EIA) is required (21/04904/SCR). The company says and EIA is not required but that will be a decision for council planners. Locogen is in discussions with Shropshire Council about providing EV charging points on the scheme. Presumably, these will be for contactor vehicles. There will no opportunity for public comment until a planning application is lodged.

Ludlow hospital building to be sold – we need a plan for Ludlow’s health estate

Ludlow Community Hospital has been under various degrees of threat over the last decade. Despite local protests, the maternity unit was closed. Births are now only supported at the main hospitals or at home. Or community hospital provides pre- and post-natal care in the more modern buildings, some of which are not used. That has left the long neglected former infirmary building empty – that’s the red brick building ahead as you enter the top car park. The building has been in poor repair for many years and needs substantial investment to make it fit for any purpose. The former infirmary building at the community hospital is now to be sold by the NHS, with half the proceeds invested in the local NHS estate. That’s fine as far as it goes but we should be cautious about reducing the size of the health estate in Ludlow until we have agreed plans for community health provision in the town.

Covid Watch 164: Ludlow infection rates at all time high

The infection rate, the number of cases per 100,000 people over seven days, reached 885 in Ludlow in the week to 17 October. That was more double the infection rate for England (388) and Shropshire (485) and considerably higher than for Telford & Wrekin (593). Although rates are now beginning to fall, they still remain at an all time high for our town. It may be that Shropshire and Ludlow are playing catch up. The unitary area and our town had lower infection rates than much of the country during 2020. That could have led to a lower community immunity. With schools having been back and social mixing restrictions all but abandoned, infection has been growing in our community. Most clinically vulnerable people will by now have had two doses of vaccine and many have received their third dose. Most children tend to shake off Covid-19. But they can be very poorly. They can spread infection among their friends and family and a small number can suffer long term health damage. There is significant concern that flu will be more severe this winter. We have been living in relative isolation in our local and national islands during lockdowns, restrictions on…

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How can building six terraced homes generate £2.1 million mostly for the local economy as claimed by Berrys? There will be economic benefit from construction, purchase of materials and from the wages that construction and other workers spend. That amounts to £900,000 according Berrys and “every £1 spent on construction generates a total of £2.84 in extra economic activity, most of which is generated in the local area.” Nonsense. This a bloated claim that has no legitimacy. It is not even up to date with industry estimates. The £2.84 claim relates to all construction – airports, power stations and more, not specifically housing. The economic uplift is to GDP not the local economy. Shropshire Homes, which has retained Berrys to make the technical arguments in the planning appeal, is clutching at straws. Straws can be used to build houses but we must hope that straw houses will not convince a planning inspector.

In December 2020, Shropshire planners threw out an application for a terrace of six homes, none affordable, on the meadow on Castle View Terrace. The application departed so far from planning policy that it didn’t even go to the planning committee. It was rejected by planning officers who said the housing is not needed and it would destroy an important green space that is much used and loved by the community. But Shropshire Homes is determined to go ahead and lodged an appeal earlier in the year. It has retained Berrys to fight the case on its behalf. The initial appeal papers were published yesterday. As might be expected, Berrys slam the council’s reasons for rejecting the application. It has set up a battle over interpretation of planning rules. A technical swordfight. And in several respects a game of words. We are fighting for a vital green space. The local community has offered £130,000 to purchase the meadow. The best thing that Shropshire Homes can do is to stop fighting Ludlow and work with our town on building the housing we need in the right places. We need developers that work with our town. Not against it.

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