Shropshire Council is consulting on its “Draft Indoor Leisure Facilities Strategy for Shropshire – 2017 to 2022“. The consultation is open until 8th May and all are welcome to take part.
Much Wenlock Leisure Centre, along with Idsall Sports Centre, Shifnal and Roman Road Sports Centre, Shrewsbury, is currently managed by Shropshire Council. The other 21 facilities in Shropshire are managed by schools and other organisations.
The Much Wenlock Leisure Centre will be the subject of separate management arrangements and there will be further local consultation in due course.
On 5th April, Shropshire Council published details of the candidates for elections to be held on 4th May.
So far as Shropshire Council elections are concerned, I was surprised to learn that I am the only candidate for the Much Wenlock division. As such, this is the only seat out of 74 across the authority not to be contested. So, come 4th May, I will have been elected uncontested as the Conservative candidate for Much Wenlock division.
As regards town and parish council elections, the following is the position in the Much Wenlock division.
Barrow Parish Council (five members)
Current Parish Councillors Nick Downes, Philip Knott and Milner Whiteman have been nominated. Long-serving parish councillors Shirley King and Sally Gibbon are standing down. Anne Skinner from Linley and Steven Churchill from Benthall have been nominated. Given that the number of nominations equals the complement of the parish council, there will be no election.
Broseley Town Council, Broseley Wood ward (one member)
Current Town Councillor Andy Cooke is standing down and Gavin Goodall, who has recently moved to Shropshire, has been nominated. Given that he is unopposed, there will be no election.
Easthope, Shipton & Stanton Long Parish Council, Easthope ward (two members)
Current Parish Councillors Robin Gibson and Bob Seaward are standing down. No nominations have been received, so the Parish Council will co-opt for this ward.
Current Parish Councillors Simon Brown and Brian Williams have been nominated. Given that the number of nominations equals the complement of the ward, there will be no election.
Current Parish Councillors Mike Belshaw, Keith Jones and Jonathan Taylor have been nominated. Given that the number of nominations equals the complement of the ward, there will be no election.
Much Wenlock Town Council (eleven members)
Current Town Councillors Robin Bennett, Mike Grace, Paul Laming, Joffrey Watson and I are standing down and Graham Edgcumbe-Venning, Bert Harper, Mary Hill, Yvonne Holyoak, Dafydd Jenkins and Milner Whiteman OBE are standing again. New candidates standing are Trevor Childs, former town mayor David Gibbon, Robert Toft and Michael Walter. There is one nomination short of the full complement, so the Town Council will co-opt.
On 9th March I wrote here about a listed building application that had been lodged with Shropshire Council. I described myself as being “cautiously pleased” to see the application which aimed to carry out repairs, reinstatements and minor alterations to the historic Pinefield. I was cautious because I hadn’t seen the associated planning application for enabling development on the backland.
Today I’ve been notified that an application, reference number 17/00998/FUL, has been lodged with Shropshire Council seeking to erect “1no detached dwelling with garage, repair of existing outbuilding in close proximity and erection of 2no semi detached dwellings with attached 3bay garage”. A quick glance at the site layout indicates that the scheme appears to be far better laid out and less imposing than the previous application for four dwellings.
The very helpful aerial site perspective provided by the applicants certainly seems more sympathetic to its setting in the curtilage of the listed building, and to the conservation area. I remain concerned that the garden area remaining with Pinefield appears inadequate for such an imposing property, and when it is refurbished and, hopefully, occupied it is likely that the residents will have cars. No vehicular access is shown and even if a driveway is formed, parking and garaging will consume a large part of this garden space.Nonetheless, this is a step in the right direction and I welcome the progress. Doubtless local residents will take time to consider their opinion of the proposals. In view of the historic importance of Pinefield, its setting in the conservation area and my concerns about vehicular access and egress on the busy A458, I have requested that both applications are determined by Shropshire Council’s South Planning Committee.
The town and parish councils and Shropshire Council are up for election on 4th May. Much Wenlock Town Council has been running a publicity drive for some months to attract folk to stand for this most local form of democracy. This is your opportunity to make a positive difference in the town; hopefully someone from Bourton and Homer will step forward to provide a stronger voice for their villages.
After serving Much Wenlock and the surrounding area for four years as your Shropshire Councillor I now intend standing again as the Conservative candidate. I have found the role fulfilling and I’ve met more lovely folk, many of whom I’ve been able to help with their problems. It is however time-consuming and, from time to time, challenging. If any potential candidate would like to discuss what’s involved, they’re more than welcome to pick up the phone or meet me at my next advice surgery. Some weeks ago I wrote a short piece about my week as a Shropshire Councillor, which you can read online here.
Details on how to stand for election as a councillor are here.
I have written about this site previously – in August 2015, October 2015 and July 2016, when a Section 215 notice was served by Shropshire Council. This required the owners to carry out urgent works to the building to make it safe.
This followed much local concern about the integrity of this important and high-profile Grade II listed building for many years. Over the past few weeks, there have been alarming reports about glass falling from the rotting window frames. I am therefore cautiously pleased to note that a Listed Building Application has been received by Shropshire Council which includes “repairs, reinstatements and minor alterations affecting a Grade II Listed Building to include repair and renewal of roof coverings, rainwater goods, external render, doors, windows and interiors “. The planning application may be seen here; the Design, Access & Heritage Impact statement for repairs and alterations to Pinefield sets out a comprehensive appraisal of the developer’s challenge.
My caution is because the application says “….this application is closely linked with the planning application for the erection of 3no traditional dwellings on land to the rear of No40 itself.” The planning application has not yet appeared on Shropshire Council’s website and the two proposals must be viewed alongside each other to ensure that any enabling residential development is appropriate. Pinefield’s refurbishment must not be achieved at the expense of poor design or overbearing development.
Changes to the national compost standard a few years ago meant that householders could not dispose of cardboard mixed with garden waste. Happily, we’ve been able to negotiate contract revisions and, by the time you read this, you should have received a new blue bag for paper and cardboard which you should put out for collection with rest of your recycling. The paper and cardboard from your new blue bag is bundled and sent to a reprocessor to be made into paper and cardboard again.
Affordable homes in Much Wenlock for folk who can demonstrate a Much Wenlock connection come a step closer – formal planning consent has now been granted for the scheme encouraged by the Neighbourhood Plan. Subject to satisfying planning conditions, I understand that Shropshire Housing Group’s builders hope to commence on site in Callaughton lane in March. I’m very pleased that the contractors have advertised locally for craftsmen – houses for local people using local skills and labour!
If you’re interested in living in one of these homes, Shropshire Council’s housing options team can check your eligibility for affordable housing. The excellent and recently-introduced Shropshire Choices website is a good place to start: https://www.shropshirechoices.org.uk/yourhousingoptions. In due course, a local lettings policy is going to be put in place to check eligibility for local connections.
Two of the twelve properties will be available for shared ownership. For more information on these, please go to the housing association’s website for more details: www.shropshirehousing.org.uk/sharedownership
Since writing here last month about your democratic right to vote as a citizen of the UK, I’ve spoken to a number of folk who thought they were on the register of electors – but they’re not. So it’s worth repeating that, to check if you’re on the register, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0345 678 9015. One of the easiest ways to register to vote is to use your smartphone – just go to www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.If you’d rather complete a paper form, please contact 0345 678 9015 or email email@example.com.
Much Wenlock and its surrounding area has a notoriously patchy mobile phone signal. Dependent upon which provider you’re with, you might have no signal at the bottom of Much Wenlock High Street and good reception in St Mary’s Lane car park, just 100 yards away. In some of the outlying settlements there are large swathes where there is no reception at all.
I, along with other Shropshire Councillors and our MPs, especially Ludlow’s Philip Dunne, have been campaigning hard on this issue for years – here‘s what I said last year. From the safety aspect right the way through to better digital communication for business purposes, good mobile reception is as important as superfast fibre broadband in ensuring that Shropshire can compete with other parts of the UK and the world.
So I am pleased that EE has submitted an application and have been granted consent to erect a lattice tower at Easthopes Cross which will provide a 4G service from covering much of the Much Wenlock area from September 2017. I am encouraged to learn that further upgrades are planned for our area in the near future.
Shropshire Council is resurfacing more roads in and around Much Wenlock. The A458 from the Gaskell Arms to the Primary School is receiving attention first. Then the contractors will move into St Mary’s Road, which will have to be closed periodically. The two car parks will receive patch repairs where necessary and the approach into Falcons Court will see the paviours removed part way to be replaced by tarmac. This will hopefully encourage more drivers to use Falcons Court’s 46 spaces and take some pressure off our busy streets. The paviours will be taken back into Shropshire Council’s stock for future use.
Over the past couple of years, and partly as a result of efforts I’ve made to ensure that my Much Wenlock division gets at least its fair share of a tight highways budget, we’ve seen Harley hill, Barrow Street, Bourton Road, Wilmore Street, Merrywell Lane, The Bentlands, The Row and Oakfield Park resurfaced. Of course, there’s also been major work on the B4378 between Bourton and Brockton. And I’ve been assured that the Walton hills estate roads are in the budget for the coming financial year.