Archive for July, 2017

Local homes for local people in Much Wenlock

The development off the Callaughton lane in Much Wenlock is proceeding apace and is on schedule for completion in the spring of 2018. There seems to be uncertainty in some quarters about the eligibility of local people for these new homes. The Much Wenlock Neighbourhood Plan 2013-26 provides for meeting the affordable housing needs of people with a local connection to Much Wenlock. Hopefully the following will provide greater clarity.

20024222_1265215133600547_6221868605835787218_o

The Local Lettings Plan (LLP) for the development is based on others used in Shropshire and, in brief, preference will be given to people with a strong Much Wenlock connection. This means either a resident or a person with a local connection to the parish of Much Wenlock will need to meet two criteria, such as 1): your parents were permanently resident in the local area at the time of your birth, or 2): you were in permanent residence in the local area for any period of five years as a child attending a local school. There are a number of other alternative qualifying criteria; this scheme is different from any previous affordable housing developments in Much Wenlock as this is the first time there will be an LLP in place which will give priority to local people.

18839695_1220406068081454_6446987951900263183_o

Only if there are insufficient applicants from Much Wenlock within six weeks will applications be open to neighbouring parishes. And only after twelve weeks of insufficient applicants will applications then be open to the whole of Shropshire. There is more detail in the LLP document which is available to view on Shropshire Housing Group’s website using this download link. The LLP was considered formally by the Town Council at its meetings of 2nd June 2016 and 6th April 2017 and there have been frequent updates from the Project Group.

Shropshire HomePoint provides one-stop access for people seeking housing and manages the Shropshire Housing Register, also known as the Housing Waiting List. When the new properties are close to completion, applicants will be able to bid for them via HomePoint. Application forms are available from Shropshire Homepoint, on-line at  www.shropshirehomepoint.co.uk and limited availability on the site notice board. Shropshire Housing Group’s updates on the project are now all via the Facebook group New Homes at Callaughton Lane”.

At night Much Wenlock’s streets are full and the car parks are nearly empty*

Shropshire Council’s consultation setting out its car parking proposals is divided into four parts. The second one deals with the tariff framework for:

  1. Weekly tickets
  2. Season tickets
  3. Residents’ off-street permits
  4. Coach & HGV parking

Probably the most interesting aspect of the second consultation is the proposal to make residents’ off-street car parking permits available in Much Wenlock. There are two pricing discount options being considered and there are two different types of permit. Type 1 is valid all of the time and Type 2 probably from 5pm until 10am and at all times on Saturdays and Sundays.

Fullscreen capture 12-Jul-17 92144 AM

For Much Wenlock, Type 1 is either £320 or £400 in St Mary’s Lane or Falcons Court. In New Road it will be £192 or £240 dependent upon the discount option. Type 2, which will probably appeal to commuters living in the town, is either £160 or £240 in St Mary’s Lane or Falcons Court. In New Road it will be £96 or £144 dependent upon the discount option. Given that the only current permit alternative is a season ticket (£450 in St Mary’s Lane and Falcons Court or £270 in New Road) this is worth consideration.

It is proposed that weekly tickets may be purchased and can be used at all Shropshire Council car parks in the same, or lower, banding. For Much Wenlock, buying 8 hours on the meter in Falcons Court or St Mary’s Lane currently costs £3 per day, and if you’re parking for five days that would be £15. The proposal is that this would now be £17 for the week. If you’re parking in New Road car park currently it would cost you £9 for the week and the proposal would cost £10.

There are further season tickets available for 1, 3, 6 and 12 months. Shropshire Council is consulting on two discount options but, at these proposed prices, it will be surprising if they prove attractive to drivers.

Much Wenlock season ticket options - click to enlarge

Much Wenlock season ticket options – click to enlarge

The current charges are lower than those proposed and, in the past three years, only four season tickets have been purchased. I don’t know what length of time these were for.

Fullscreen capture 15-Jul-018

The consultation not only seeks your comments on the proposals, but also any alternative suggestions that you might have. Of course, you may have observations about how the proposed strategy might affect Shrewsbury, Bridgnorth or other towns that many of us visit.

* Health warning – I have extracted this information from the draft consultation which was approved by Shropshire Council’s Cabinet on 12th July 2017. I have endeavoured to represent it accurately so far as Much Wenlock is concerned, but I urge you to refer to the official consultation document when you make your comments.

Will increased charges make under-used car parks in Much Wenlock more popular?*

I don’t think so.

Shropshire Council’s consultation setting out its car parking proposals is divided into four parts. The first one deals with:

  1. Linear charging
  2. Pricing bands
  3. Unrestricted parking
  4. Evening parking
  5. Loading bays
  6. “Pop & Shop” parking, and
  7. Raven Meadows opening hours

I mentioned the impact of linear charging in my first article on this consultation. At St Mary’s Lane car park, and the little-used Falcons Court car park, a stay for up to three hours is likely to prove to be slightly cheaper than it is currently. For periods longer than three hours (for instance if a visitor is going for a ramble on the Shropshire Way, or taking in the museum and a spot of lunch) it becomes increasingly expensive to stay for a long period (not exceeding a day).

The Back Lane short-stay car park, where waiting is currently limited to one hour, will have the time restriction lifted and rely upon the hourly charge of 70p to ensure that there’s a rapid turnover.

Back Lane car park, Much Wenlock

Back Lane car park, Much Wenlock – Thursday 13th July 2017 6pm

Evening parking is currently free after 6pm, until 8am the following day. The proposal is for the free overnight stay to start later -at 8pm, and instead remain in place until 9am the following day. The draft consultation document demonstrates that this seems to be driven by the desire for consistency in Shropshire and to make it easier for Shropshire Council to manage.

Falcons Court car park

Falcons Court car park, Much Wenlock  – Thursday 13th July 2017 6pm

The 15-minute “pop & shop” period introduced in 2013 is going under these proposals. Shropshire Council reckon that the 10-minute “observation period”,  i.e. before an enforcement officer can slap a ticket on your vehicle, is enough to buy something like a newspaper. They say that they want to encourage folk to visit our towns for longer so that they’ll spend more money. But shoppers may have to spend more money on parking charges too. I am concerned that this will lead to more people parking their cars and vans on double yellow lines, some times on the footway, while they pop to buy a sandwich, or go to the bank.

The consultation not only seeks your comments on the proposals, but also any alternative suggestions that you might have. I am keen that we invest in signing pedestrian access to our car parks better and using imaginative solutions to get more cars off the streets into the car parks. Of course, you may have observations about how the proposed strategy might affect Shrewsbury, Bridgnorth or other towns that many of us visit.

* Health warning – I have extracted this information from the draft consultation which was approved by Shropshire Council’s Cabinet on 12th July 2017. I have endeavoured to represent it accurately so far as Much Wenlock is concerned, but I urge you to refer to the official consultation document when you make your comments.

Car parking proposed charges – bad news for Much Wenlock?*

Much Wenlock is a charming town, loved by residents and visitors alike. But, like many such places, the motor car is a blessing and a curse. With limited public transport available, cars and coaches are the principal means of visiting the town. Before the development of Telford new town and the growth of commuting to jobs there, and to the West Midlands, Much Wenlock was a small market town whose economic activity was largely agriculture and limestone quarrying. While its transformation in the past fifty years with the advent of new housing estates has been largely positive, nearly all of the attractive traditional stone cottages and brick terraces which line the streets have no off-street car parking area.

As a result, the streets are lined with parked cars – as they are in many other historic towns. Meanwhile, it is rare that Much Wenlock’s car parks are full. Unless there is a major event taking place in the town it is virtually unknown for Falcons Court and New Road car parks to see more than a handful of cars. This is not only the case during the day when the shops and cafés are open, but also at night. Currently, Shropshire Council’s car parks in Much Wenlock are free overnight, but they are little-used by residents.

A consultation was carried out recently regarding on-street parking, loading bays and a disabled parking bay.  Whilst public comments resulted in some alterations to those proposals, they haven’t been implemented yet. Similarly, efforts to keep unnecessary HGVs off the streets of Much Wenlock seem to have stalled at present. I’m pushing hard to get these schemes in place but meanwhile a Shropshire-wide car parking proposal may make matters worse.

People are to be asked for their views on Shropshire Council’s new draft parking strategy. The current charging arrangements were introduced in 2012 and a lot has changed in the intervening five years. The proposals include:

  • ‘Linear’ (set price per hour) parking, pricing bands, unrestricted parking, evening parking, loading bays and ‘pop and shop’ parking.
  • A new policy and tariff framework for weekly tickets, season tickets, residents’ off-street permits, and for coach and HGV parking.
  • Changes to Shropshire’s Council’s on-street residents’ parking permit scheme.
  • Changes to the car parking waiver system.

Each of these proposals will have stand-alone consultations. Clearly, some of these options will not apply in Much Wenlock but there are changes proposed for the town.Fullscreen capture 12-Jul-17 92144 AMI urge you to respond both in respect of changes that would be proposed to affect residents of and visitors to Much Wenlock; and how parking elsewhere in the county will affect drivers from Much Wenlock. Modern, cashless, methods of payment are included in the proposals.

The proposals are extensive and there is not sufficient space here to set them out.  Suffice to say, one hour’s parking in St Mary’s Lane and Falcons Court car parks is proposed to be 50p compared to the 90p current charge.  Three hours would be cheaper than at present.

Fullscreen capture 12-Jul-17 90745 AM

The “linear” charging proposal means that longer stays in these and in the less popular New Road car park will be more expensive than the current regime.

Fullscreen capture 12-Jul-17 84921 AM

Back Lane car park is the only one that visitors to the town see as they drive into the High Street. Currently waiting is limited to one hour, Monday to Saturday. The proposal, whilst expensive, would mean that visitors could park all day, which may have an impact on convenience for shoppers and thus the local economy.Fullscreen capture 12-Jul-17 84933 AM

In summary, the proposed off-street car parking charges per hour in Much Wenlock are:

St Mary’s Lane – 50p

Falcons Court – 50p

New Road – 30p

Back Lane – 70p

I will write separately about season tickets and other aspects of the proposals in due course.

During the consultation period, Shropshire Council intends to set up information stands in many towns including Much Wenlock. The consultation will available on-line on Shropshire Council’s website and in the library until mid-September.

The consultation not only seeks your comments on the proposals, but also any alternative suggestions that you might have. Of course, you may have observations about how the proposed strategy might affect Shrewsbury, Bridgnorth or other towns that many of us visit.

* Health warning – I have extracted this information from the draft consultation which was approved by Shropshire Council’s Cabinet on 12th July 2017. I have endeavoured to represent it accurately so far as Much Wenlock is concerned, but I urge you to refer to the official consultation document when you make your comments.

David Turner


Woodhouse Farm
Wyke
Much Wenlock
TF13 6NZ

01952 728802

david.turner@shropshire.gov.uk
Shropshire Council
Categories
Disclaimer
The views expressed on this website are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Conservative Councillors' Association or the Conservative Party.