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#RefugeesWelcome – Lib Dems to ask Shropshire Council to help settle refugees in Shropshire

The Liberal Democrat team on Shropshire Council is to ask councillors and officers to act urgently to help settle refugee families in our county. We are doing this because we do not believe that anyone, let alone a body with the expertise and resources of Shropshire Council, should stand idle while desperate refugees suffer and die as they flee war torn countries on the borders of Europe.

Our request comes in the form of a motion to the Shropshire Council meeting on 24 September. It will be proposed by Andy Boddington, councillor for Ludlow North, and seconded by Andrew Bannerman, councillor for Coton Hill and Quarry in Shrewsbury.

Andrew Bannerman says:

“We need to act quickly and flexibly. We are not suggesting that Shropshire takes in thousands of refugees. If we found homes for just ten families, that’s ten families rescued from a state of crisis.”

“Shropshire Council is a civic leader and has a lot of expertise. It should help shape our county’s response to this emergency. This crisis is not going to go away any time soon. Shropshire Council must play its part, as must all of us.”

Andy Boddington continues:

“It is a natural instinct to think that it is someone else’s responsibility to deal with a crisis. Other countries. Other organisations. Other people. But the reality is that it is everyone’s duty to deal with extraordinary suffering like this. As just one council, one volunteer group or one individual we perhaps can’t achieve a huge amount. But as hundreds of councils, thousands of volunteer groups and millions of people we can make a really big difference.”

“That’s why we will be asking Shropshire Council to back this motion at its next meeting. We are asking it to join councils, volunteer groups and individuals all over the country who are doing their bit to help refugees.”

The motion

This council:

  • believes that we all have a moral responsibility to aid and resettle refugees
  • it is the duty of the government and all councils to react to this humanitarian crisis by helping shelter families classified as refugees under 1951 Refugee Convention.

This council resolves:

  1. To recognise that it should join others in taking urgent action to help refugees.
  2. To set up and empower a politically balanced group of councillors. This will work with the Housing Options team and external organisations to take action to help refugees find a home and settle in Shropshire.
  3. To accept and discuss reports from the group at: the Cabinet meeting of 28 October 2015; Performance Scrutiny Committee; and full Council on 17 December 2015. The reports will state the group’s progressing conclusions; the actions that it has taken or proposes to take; and the actions the council has taken or is recommended to take.
  4. To instruct the Chief Executive to write to the county’s MPs and the prime minister to remind them of the UK’s moral responsibility to resettle many more refugees than currently proposed. The Chief Executive should seek guidance from the proposed group on the wording of his letter.

Proposed: Councillor Andy Boddington
Seconded: Councillor Andrew Bannerman

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Plans for nearly 150 homes off Foldgate Lane refused by planners – will housing off Bromfield Road be rejected also?

Residents of Greenacres, Foldgate view and elsewhere will by breathing a sigh of relief at the news that plans by Turley and Richborough Estates for 137 homes off Foldgate Lane and the A49 have been rejected by planning officers (14/04608/OUT). But the battle is not over yet as the companies are bound to appeal the decision to the planning inspectorate.

Now this scheme is not coming to the South Planning Committee, I can speak freely about the plans. I have never liked this scheme. It is sprawl across green fields that we do not need as we have allocated housing sites elsewhere.

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Rules designed to protect Ludlow’s heritage attacked by developers

This is the second of my articles on the more technical aspects of SAMDev, the plans that sets out development sites for Ludlow and the rest of the county. The first explained that a consultation has been held on the final draft of SAMDev. Among the responses to that consultation is an attack on planning rules designed to protect Ludlow’s heritage. Historic England has asked for these rules to be strengthened.

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Green fields under threat as Shropshire Council proposes changes that will weaken local planning

We are in the final weeks of getting our local plan SAMDev in place. I am unhappy with proposed changes to wording that, in my view, will encourage development outside settlement boundaries and invite developers to submit greenfield developments.

As I type this, a planning inspector is busy scrutinising comments on the final modifications to the local plan for Shropshire known as SAMDev. Her decision on the final wording of this long and tedious document will be vital to the future of this county. If she accepts the final wording proposed by Shropshire Council, it will be much more difficult to defend green fields from development and prevent housing being built beyond settlement limits.

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Future Fit is at last recognising rural needs – but Ludlow Hospital may lose all its beds

After weeks of concern over cutbacks at Ludlow Hospital, Andy Boddington and Tracey Huffer ask whether the hospital has a future under Future Fit.

There have been two announcements about Future Fit recently. The Future Fit team scrapped the option of building a £500 million plus A&E hospital on a greenfield site between Shrewsbury and Telford. Now, it has delayed a decision on where Rural Urgent Care Centres will go in the county. As it does so, we fear that Ludlow Hospital services are being reduced by stealth. Its future may be a hospital without beds run by overstretched GPs.

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Henley Hall solar farm on Ludlow outskirts thrown out by planning committee – we got this right

Update: 14 August 2015

The formal reason for refusal of the scheme has now been published:

The proposal constitutes large scale industrial development and is inappropriate in terms of location, fails to protect and enhance the natural and historic environment and the character and high quality of the local countryside and setting of Ludlow, and would have an adverse impact on leisure and tourism. The renewable energy benefits of the proposal are significantly and demonstrably outweighed by the adverse impacts and as such would be contrary to Core Strategy Policies CS5, CS6, CS13, CS16 and CS17 and paragraphs 14, 17, 28 and 109, of the National Planning Policy Framework.

Main Article: 11 August 2015

The application from Kronos Solar to build a solar farm off Squirrel at Little Ledwyche was today rejected by Shropshire Council’s South Planning Committee by a majority vote after a short debate.

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