Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
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.
Eight of us took part in the February litter pick. Because of our numbers we were able to disperse widely and pick up rubbish from places including the churchyard, Bull Ring, the Gaskell field and children’s playground, Bridge Road, Southfield Road and Farley Road. A big pile of full bags was the result of our efforts. The reward for our efforts, as it has been these past several months, was a refreshing free cuppa from Jo and Sue at Tea On The Square – very welcome on a cold morning!
The next litter pick will be held at 10:00am on Friday 10th March. All are welcome – meet in The Square in Much Wenlock. Further details are available from me or from Julian Walker 01952 728082 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re very willing to have a blitz on other areas outside the town – if you know of any litter black spots, please let us know.
Ironbridge Power Station has closed and it is now being decommissioned. After many years of generating power for the grid it is obsolete. The owner, Uniper, will now try to extract the company to its best advantage.
Meanwhile the host community has to fight its corner. It sits – just – within Shropshire Council and is its single largest NDR (business rates) contributor. It has an obvious link with the World Heritage Site of Ironbridge and is close to the boundary of the electoral division of Much Wenlock.
There is obvious potential for the site to be redeveloped over time and clearly there are concerns about the end use(s) and the impact that they might have on the locality. There are significant opportunities for local employment and for regional economic regeneration. I recently met with Cllr Claire Wild, within whose electoral division the power station sits, and Cllr Nicola Lowery, who is the Member for Ironbridge in order to open up lines of communication ahead of the Shropshire’s and Telford’s discussions with Uniper about the future of the site. We are determined to ensure that local communities’ voices are heard in coming months. The Shropshire Star has our story.
The excavation of the flood attenuation ponds at The Shylte (Stretton Road) and The Sytche are progressing well after the Christmas break.
Before Christmas there were some issues with mud on the road and, as a result of my intervention, the road was reswept on 23rd December. The contractor has installed further wheel washes at the Shylte site compound and Sytche and has also created a tarmac area at Shylte to try and prevent as much mud getting on to the Highway. I understand that the highways situation is now much improved.