“Silly Season” arrives in Ludlow as Shropshire Council issues parking fines and then says challenge them

The media have named this time of the year the “silly season”. The Westminster political types have jetted away on their holidays, leaving newspapers with column inches to fill and broadcasters facing empty slots. The Olympics has spewed out stories over the last two weeks but now, even sporting stories are just about stretched to their limit.

Mind you, Heather Wheeler MP for South Derbyshire has declared that the British Empire had won the Olympics. That’s true silly season stuff. Congratulations also to Edinburgh for coming up with a story about a knighted penguin, which is also a brigadier. And continuing the Scottish theme, the Telegraph reports that playing the bagpipes can be fatal. The article doesn’t mention that listening to bagpipes can be fatal too.

Shropshire Council, not to be outdone, has come up with a true silly season story just for us here in Ludlow. It is issuing parking tickets and then inviting people to challenge them.

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Councillors call for a halt of Ludlow night time parking crackdown pending review

Ludlow unitary councillors are calling for an immediate suspension of the night time crackdown on parked vehicles in Ludlow town centre. Since the 5 July 2016, Shropshire Council’s civil enforcement officers have issued more than one hundred penalty charge notices (PCNs) after 6pm. The crackdown has caught offenders blocking access. We welcome that. But it has also penalised tourists who are not sure where to park and residents who have parked at the same location in the town centre for years. This heavy hand approach, initiated without any discussion with local representatives, is in danger of damaging the evening economy of the town.

The councillors, Andy Boddington, Tracey Huffer and Vivienne Parry, a calling for a halt to the current enforcement campaign, except where people are parking dangerously or impeding disabled access.

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Oak trees on Whitcliffe Common to be felled after Shropshire Council lodges no objection

Ludlow is no stranger to controversy. We are a busy town, medieval in origin with a streetscape to match. We are also a working and tourist town, and one that is proud of its green credentials. As a rule of thumb, a local councillor’s inbox is dominated by emails on new developments, parking and trees, followed closely by litter, dog poo and other antisocial behaviour.

This month it has been trees dominating my inbox. The proposal to fell two semi-mature oaks on Whitcliffe Common to ensure that locals and visitors can enjoy the view towards Ludlow has stirred a lot of people to make passionate arguments for and against (16/03003/TCA). I am not in favour.

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Plans submitted for 74 houses on Fishmore Road, Ludlow – but there is no provision for affordable housing

Willsgrove Developments have submitted an outline application to build 74 houses on the former quarry site on Fishmore Road (16/03096/OUT). The plan is for a mix of homes and apartments. It is on the right lines for what we need on this site.

This site should be developed. It is suitable for a high density of housing, even though that will increase traffic along Fishmore Road. It is a sustainable location within walking distance of the town centre, though it lacks a nearby bus route.

If these plans are approved, there will be no affordable housing provided. The site plans also lack sufficient sustainable drainage and I am not happy with play area provision.

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Foldgate Lane housing inquiry adjourned – it’s been a toughie and we can’t afford to lose

Nearly one hundred residents turned out on Tuesday for the first day of the planning inquiry into proposals from property speculator Richborough Estates for 137 houses off Foldgate Lane. This is a greenfield site. It is not allocated in our local plan. The location is unsustainable and the development will damage setting of our historic town. The turnout was a strong public statement that we all feel that this proposal is wrong for Ludlow.

There is more at stake at this inquiry than the beauty and tranquility of Foldgate Lane. The inquiry is not just about preserving views. It does not only concern the damage the development would do to the setting of historic buildings and the conservation area, or the impact the development will have on traffic and flooding.

Ludlow is caught up in something much bigger.

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We’ve put forward St Julian’s Well tree in Ludlow for a national award

Every year, the Woodland Trust runs the Tree of the Year competition. Rather at the last moment, we councillors decided to put forward the horse chestnut at St Julian’s Well as a candidate. The tree itself is striking and its symbiotic association with the medieval well makes it very unusual.

Among our aims in entering the competition are to publicise the tree and its friendship with the ancient well. We talk to a lot of people who don’t realise that St Julian’s is the well that supplied Ludlow. Some don’t even know the well is a well.

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