Archive for May, 2016
There has been a lot of discussion about how best to manage on-street parking in Much Wenlock. With 120-plus car park spaces and a Pop & Shop scheme that enables shoppers to park in our four Shropshire Council car parks for fifteen minutes free of charge, there shouldn’t be a problem. Nonetheless, there have been problems, with the streets blocked, property and footways damaged, and pedestrians put at risk.
I have walked the town’s streets with the highways engineers and the head of parking enforcement, I’ve discussed the problem with Town Councillors and our local police team and I’ve had lots of conversations with pedestrians, motorists, residents and traders. There is now a consultation underway about proposals for High Street – where a disabled (Blue Badge) space will be created, Barrow Street which features a loading bay, Wilmore Street and Sheinton Street. Additionally, it is proposed that there will be no waiting around the bus stop in Queen Street, where bus drivers sometimes struggle to turn round in spite of parked vehicles. We do not wish to jeopardise the bus stopping at our valued shelter.
The formal proposals are here:
For your convenience I show the planned proposals below:
Full details of these proposals are in the deposited documents which may be examined during usual office opening hours at The Shirehall, Abbey Foregate, Shrewsbury, or at Much Wenlock Library. Alternatively they may be viewed at: www.shropshire.gov.uk/traffic. They have also been advertised in the Shropshire Star and Bridgnorth Journal newspapers on 2nd June.
If you wish to raise an objection, express support or make any other comments about these proposals please send an e-mail to: email@example.com by 23 June 2016. You may also ring 0345 678 9006 for more information.
There are a number of small patches of grass around the centre of Much Wenlock which provide a welcome contrast to tarmac, stone and brick. Unfortunately, sometimes, they are not well cared for and look a bit scruffy. That is emphasised when drivers park their vehicles on the grass.
Whilst on-street car parking around the town is under pressure, parking on the mown areas can wreck the turf and result in a muddy mess. One such location is at the junction of Back Lane and St Owen’s Road. I’ve just arranged for a sign to be erected to dissuade drivers from parking on the grass. Hopefully, this small patch of grass will regenerate and will be maintained as an attractive feature at this junction.
On Saturday Ludlow constituency’s MP, Philip Dunne, was in Much Wenlock for one of his frequent advice surgeries. I took the opportunity to discuss with him the future of the museum. Shropshire Council may soon withdraw funding from its museum service as it seeks to set a legal budget for the next year against the background of very tight financial constraints.
There are a number of issues which Shropshire Council needs to address in this proposal.
- First of all, the museum, a tribute to Much Wenlock’s pioneering William Penny Brookes, attracts visitors from all over the world. Its value in educational and tourism terms cannot be underestimated.
- Secondly, some £500,000 of Heritage Lottery funding was used in refurbishing the museum ahead of the 2012 London Olympics; the clawback provisions of the grant are onerous, and
- Thirdly, the freehold of the premises housing the museum is owned by Much Wenlock Town Council. The lease to Shropshire Council has a further twenty years to run at a headline market rent of £12,250. The Town Council, recognising the benefit the museum brings to the town, makes a significant and conditional discount, so Shropshire Council pays only £4,000 p.a.
Very careful consideration needs to be given by all concerned before a decision is taken about the museum’s future, and who might run it. The response to public consultation locally this summer must undergo the most careful appraisal.
Many months ago I facilitated a meeting of Much Wenlock and Broseley Town Councils and Barrow Parish Council. Representatives came together to consider how they might best stop large goods vehicles using our narrow streets as a cut-through – especially the B4375 from Wenlock, through Benthall into Broseley. I’m pleased to learn that Shropshire is now going to carry out a feasibility study into how restrictions can be put in place to deter drivers, many reliant upon their SatNav devices, from taking the most direct route and instead using the approved one(s).
There are many instances recorded of lorries causing damage to vehicles and property and, in some cases, getting stuck – to everyone’s inconvenience. The study will be undertaken this financial year with the proposals to hopefully be implemented in 2017-18. As ever, I’ll keep you informed.
I have become increasingly concerned about the service at the Post Office since it moved into the Spar store in Much Wenlock in March. Local residents’ concerns included long queuing times, the failure of some transactions outside “normal” Post Office hours, and an apparent shortfall in staff training. Today a local resident and I met with senior management from AF Blakemore, the company that owns this Spar, along with many other around the country.
We set out our concerns, which include the negative impact queuing has on people wishing to shop for groceries in the store and the harm being done to the shopping experience in the town for both local residents and visitors.
We heard that the company had taken over the Post Office earlier than originally planned and, as a result, staff training was not as thorough as intended. Staff recruitment problems had added to their woes. Nonetheless, we were encouraged to learn that training and investment in staffing continue and the owners are focused on making a significant improvement in customer service. We feel for the staff, most of whom are local residents, who are clearly having to work under significant pressure whilst learning new skills.
I look forward to the service in this important shop in our High Street being much improved in the coming weeks.
Residents in the quiet residential street of Swan Meadow in Much Wenlock have had to tolerate all manner of vehicles driving in and turning round, when they find that there is only a footway through to neighbouring Hunters Gate. The menace of SatNav, which I wrote about last month, is probably the cause of the problem. Hopefully my action in getting this little symbol added to the road sign may deter all but the most optimistic drivers now.
Under the leadership of local resident, Julian Walker, we carried out a further litter pick today around Much Wenlock.
Starting in the churchyard, we went down the Bull Ring, up towards Station Road and out along Farley Road as far as Shadwell Quarry. Returning across the bottom of Windmill Hill, we picked a lot of litter out of the hedge along the Linden Walk bounding the Gaskell Recreation Ground. In a separate foray, rubbish was collected in and around the English Heritage car park at Wenlock Priory.
Shropshire Council will come out to collect the rubbish – which included a vacuum cleaner, a roadworks sign, a chair frame, a squashed hedgehog and a sheared bolt from a lorry wheel.
A further litter picked will be scheduled for June. In the meantime the Town Council has confirmed its support for this initiative and will be asked to create a budget for more grabs and hi-vis vests at its May meeting.
On Saturday I was pleased to welcome the Conservative candidate for the Police & Crime Commissioner election on 5th May to Much Wenlock. John-Paul Campion has worked hard in his campaign across Shropshire and I hope that his efforts will prove successful. This is what he says about how we can secure a safer West Mercia.