Archive for February, 2016
The brochure for the Much Wenlock Festival dropped out of the Wenlock Herald when I opened it today. It reminded me that the Festival, being biennial, is one of a number of major events in the Much Wenlock calendar this year.
First of all, we have the Live Arts Festival on Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th March and the following weekend, Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th March. There are competitive classes in dance, music and speech & drama for children and young people aged 18 and under.
This followed by the three-day Wenlock Poetry Festival from Friday 22nd to Sunday 24th April. This year’s programme includes Mark Niel, Gillian Clarke, Don Paterson, Andrew McMillan, Lemn Sissay and Daljit Nagra
From 4th – 18th June the Much Wenlock Festival includes Proms On The Church Green, a Gilbert and Sullivan Gala Night, Oddsocks’ Macbeth and Much Ado About Nothing, an evening with the Hatstand Opera Company, another with Chris Beardshaw and, of course, an Open Gardens day.
The historic Wenlock Olympian Society holds its 130th Main Games Weekend from Friday 8th to Sunday 10th July, when events from football to fencing and from golf to gliding attract competitors from far and wide.
Finally, Festival at the Edge celebrates its 25th storytelling festival at the Edge from 15th – 17th July when artistes as varied as Peter Chand, Ange Hardy and Lukas Drinkwater, Lady Maisery, Sahand Sahebdivani, Dovie Thomason and Alex Ultradish will entrance visitors to Stokes Barn.
All of these events bring visitors to our lovely town and provide a wide variety of entertainment and activity for them and for local residents. They also stimulate economic activity – always welcome in a rural community. Shops, pubs, restaurants, cafés, hotels and campsites all need the business!
Clean for The Queen is a campaign to clear up Britain in time for Her Majesty the Queen’s 90th birthday, which will be officially celebrated in June 2016.
I intend to lead a group of local residents this Saturday morning (5th March) in Much Wenlock to do a litter pick and general tidy-up in support of this campaign. Also on Saturday, Much Wenlock Guides are going to clean the town art trail which marks the community’s links to the Olympic movement.
When The Queen came to the throne, litter was not the problem that it is today. Food packaging, plastic bottles, takeaway meals and cigarette butts have all contributed to a growing menace that affects our wildlife, streets, countryside and sense of pride. What better way could we show our gratitude to Her Majesty than to clean up our country?
I’m leading a group from The Square in Much Wenlock at 9:00am. All are welcome and, as ever, I can be contacted any time – details top right.
The campaign is led by Country Life and supported by Keep Britain Tidy and Garfield Weston Foundation. Further details can be found on the website: www.cleanforthequeen.co.uk
My next advice surgery is at Much Wenlock Museum on Saturday 12th March. It runs from 10:30am until 12:00, and I hope to be joined by a Much Wenlock Town Councillor and a representative of the police. As ever, if any local resident has a problem that they think I can help with, they can contact me at any time by telephone or email.
EDIT 13th March 2016: Here’s a photo taken at this surgery
The provisional date for a community meeting with Swanton Care and Community Ltd regarding its small residential home in Southfield Road has been rescheduled for Wednesday 13th April. It is felt that, once the weather is a little warmer, there will be a clearer indication of whether previous problems encountered by local residents have been satisfactorily resolved.
I, along with Shropshire Council technicians, will work through the list of issues raised over recent months by local residents and the Town Council to identify what might be done to ease pressure on our narrow streets. Pedestrian safety and sensible vehicle routeing will be priorities. Vehicle parking is clearly a concern and every new house that is built, or flat that is created, without adequate off-street parking increases the problem. Parking for the disabled and provision for the Royal Mail security vehicle when the Post Office moves to the Spar in the High Street will be included.
Double white lines in the hidden dip on the A4378 to Craven Arms at Bourton Westwood, and the introduction of 40mph limit at Shipton are still on the list. Finally, proposals to keep HGVs – other than local delivery vehicles – off the narrow streets in Much Wenlock, Benthall and Broseley are still under consideration.
Shropshire Council continues to work closely with the county’s town and parish councils to ensure that facilities such as libraries are kept open despite the unprecedented financial pressure on its budget. For example nearby, Broseley Town Council has made good progress on public spaces and the town’s library.
Discussions are now opening with Much Wenlock, where the management of the library, car parks, street lighting etc. are all on the table. The Town Council and/or community groups may be involved, and full and open consultation will take place.
Much Wenlock’s surface water flooding problems have been addressed in Shropshire Council’s “Integrated Urban Drainage Management Plan”. This specifies two flood attenuation ponds, to hold floodwater back at The Sytche and Stretton Road. They have planning consent and negotiations are proceeding well to secure the land. Funding has been secured and work is expected to commence on these ponds at the end of this year.
A planning application in respect of a site to accommodate the resultant spoil is currently under consideration by Shropshire Council: 15/05359/FUL | Restoration of disused quarry to restore habitat, in particular to encourage the re-growth of calcareous grassland (UK Biodiversity Action Plan priority habitat), utilising surplus material from proposed attenuation ponds that will form the Much Wenlock Flood Alleviation Scheme | Westwood Quarry Stretton Westwood Much Wenlock Shropshire TF13 6DD
Update 1st March 2016: This planning application was approved by Shropshire Council’s South Planning Committee at this afternoon’s meeting. As the Local Member and in accordance with Shropshire Council’s constitution, I did not take part in consideration of this agenda item and I did not vote on it.
Those of you who follow such things will be aware that there has been a change of leadership at Shropshire Council. All councillors, including town and parish councillors, undertake to observe a Code of Conduct that sets out the standards to which they should adhere in carrying out their duties. I, of course, endeavour to uphold this – and I fully support the recent turn of events at Shirehall.
I have, for personal reasons, declined to serve in Shropshire Council’s new Cabinet despite being supportive of its new leader, Cllr Malcolm Pate.