We have just about got the Ludlow town services settled down but now they are to go out to tender.
The 701 and 722 are running around town giving a good service. They are usually on time after recent changes to the timetable for the 722 bus that serves the park and ride. The buses are new, with low floor access and friendly, helpful drivers.
Ludlow residents will remember how bad the service used to be not much more than a year ago. Buses broke down regularly, ran late or when it was icy, just didn’t turn up. Often there was no low floor service, excluding disabled people from public transport. Continue reading
The voting registration system has changed and the head of the household can no longer register other members. That’s likely to mean that a number of teenage first time voters will have failed to register.
You can check whether you’re registered to vote by calling Shropshire Council on 0345 678 9015 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
It might also be worth checking you are still registered if you have recently moved house.
It is now easy to register online: https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote. You will need your National Insurance number.
The deadline for registering to vote in the May general election is 20 April. The following day is the deadline for registering for a postal vote. If you want someone to vote on your behalf, a proxy vote, the registration deadline is 28 April.
Campaigning, of course, has been going on for some while. But just after midnight last night parliament was prorogued and with that we are into the general election campaign proper. I’m backing my excellent fellow councillor Charlotte Barnes who is standing for the Lib Dems in the Ludlow constituency.
You can find out more about Charlotte on her blog.
We’ll know the full list of candidates on 9 April. So far, Janet Helen Philips has declared for the Greens, Simon Slater for Labour and, of course, Philip Dunne for the Conservatives.
I believe UKIP has a candidate but there is no information on their website or on the leaflet they pushed through my door.
I hear Big Al from the Nelson will be standing for the Monster Raving Loony Party. I can think of no one better to stand up in the quirky British tradition established by the late Screaming Lord Sutch.
I’ll not be covering the general election in detail on this blog. But I will highlight any issues that affect Ludlow in particular.
Two planning applications have been submitted for very different solar installations near Ludlow. One, on the roofs of existing chicken sheds, is unlikely to be controversial. The other is a submission for a solar farm at Whitton in Caynham parish. A larger scheme on this site caused much controversy and was thrown out by the South Planning Committee last October.
Two years ago, further responsibility for discretionary payments to people in need was transferred from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to local councils. That was a perfectly sensible decision as local councils are better placed to determine local needs than a central government department. But since then, Shropshire has underspent the allocated budgets for Discretionary Housing Payments and the Local Support and Prevention Fund.
The Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) scheme gives financial support towards housing costs over and above housing benefit. The Local Support and Prevention Fund (LSPF) provides support payments and crisis funds, known as prevention payments.
Now Shropshire Council is consulting on how it should allocate the money in future years. The deadline for responses is 23 April.
With my limited knowledge, the criteria it is proposing for allocating funds looks about right. But I do think it needs to beef up its communication strategy so that people in need know that these schemes exist.
We are expecting plans for a patrol station and store on the corner of Bromfield Road and Coronation Avenue to be approved at the April meeting of the South Planning Committee. One of the concerns of the committee was opening hours, with some members feeling it should not be open 24 hours.
The people who responded to my online poll largely disagree. Continue reading
West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner Bill Longmore has suggested that more police stations should close. One suggestion is that the police should share premises with the fire and rescue service.
Ludlow police station on Lower Galdeford is formally still open but the front counter service closed last autumn. Instead, visitors must press a button on a door panel and speak into it when the remote operator answers. West Mercia police do however use it as a base when they are working in the town and surrounding area. Otherwise, they work out of the main local base in Leominster or other stations.
So, should Ludlow police station reopen the front counter? Should it close altogether? Or should we seek a new location for the station? Continue reading