Ludlow Library opening hours cuts are wrong – it should remain open on Saturday afternoons

Shropshire Council has published the results of its Library opening hours review.

The library will close on Friday evenings and Saturday afternoons, but get an extra hour on Monday evenings.

I am very disappointed that the cuts to opening hours at Ludlow Library have been largely confirmed. I am quite angry that the library will be closed on Saturday afternoons. This is a busy time for the library. There a lot of people who use its facilities then who have been out at work all week.

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Shropshire Council going to spend £46 million on computers over five years – it’s not justified

This morning my iPad would not get going. The iPad is the only way I can access council emails outside of Shirehall. It has already been fixed three times this year. Last Wednesday, I wanted to access my council emails via a desktop in Shirehall. After 15 minutes, Outlook had not even loaded. I gave up.

These are some of the better aspects of Shropshire Council’s computing systems. Staff currently print details off one computer system and rekey the data into a second system because the council’s aged systems are not compatible. What a waste of effort and money.

The council is now proposing to spend £46 million on computing over five years – £9 million a year – to solve its problems with slow and inadequate computers.

I am totally convinced that the council’s computers need replacing.

But when we are struggling to find money to keep valued services like libraries and leisure centres open, I cannot accept we should spend so much on technology.

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One project a year? Shropshire Council sets risible target for its councillors’ performance

To be an effective councillor you need to read the paperwork and there is a lot of it. I have been reading the small print for Thursday’s full council meeting. That includes Shropshire Council’s draft Corporate Plan. I have comments to make on the details of this plan but one detail of the report stands out by an uncomfortable mile.

Among a portfolio of targets spread over four pages, the Corporate Plan states that elected councillors need only complete one project within their communities each year.

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This is risible. Measures should either be warning indicators, triggering action if they are too high or low, or targets designed to improve performance. One councillor completing one project with their community a year is hardly stretching. It’s a real yawn.

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Tracey Huffer says Philip Dunne MP must champion rural areas in his new role as Health Minister

Guest post from Tracey Huffer, Shropshire Councillor for Ludlow East.

I’d like to congratulate Philip on his appointment as Health Minister.

As an MP representing a rural area, he has a detailed knowledge of how difficult it is to maintain and improve health services outside of urban centres. His appointment is an opportunity to give a voice to rural areas. He has a chance to speak out loudly for isolated communities and market towns like Ludlow, whose residents often have to travel a long way to access routine and specialist health services.

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Co-op renews objection to Rocks Green supermarket – says town centre could lose 30% of trade

Midshires Co-operative has added to its objection to the supermarket proposed by Blackfriars at Dun Cow (14/05573/OUT).

A submission by planning consultant Richard Holmes criticises the developer’s assessment of the impact the supermarket would have on trade in the town centre. Holmes says the impact will be higher, perhaps as high as a 30% loss of retail business. He also criticises the way the developer has calculated the damage the proposed store would have on town centre retailers, saying the calculations are at times “speculative”. Holmes wants Shropshire Council to publish the professional advice it has been given on the proposal.

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As Ludlow rises in protest, Shropshire Council leader backs down on September services transfer deadline

Last night, more than one hundred people met at Ludlow Brewery for the launch of the People’s Alliance for Ludlow (PAL). The mood of the meeting was angry and constructive in turns. The anger was directed at Shropshire Council for the way it is managing cuts and forcing town and parish councils to take over services. The Clinical Commissioning Groups also came under fire for the chaos of Future Fit and the threats to local health services.

This morning, council leader Malcolm Pate took to the airwaves of BBC Radio Shropshire to announce that he is backing down on the September deadline to get agreement to transfer services like leisure centres, youth services and libraries to town and parish councils. The councils will get an extra year to come to agreement with Shropshire Council after Pate admitted that the parishes were right when they said the deadline was impossible to meet.

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