Shropshire Council’s precarious financial position and the Coronavirus crisis led its finance chief to warn in July that he might have to make a formal declaration (a Section 114 notice) that it didn’t have enough resources to pay for its spending plans this year. Only one Council has resorted to issuing such a notice in recent times, but at least five more have warned that they may have to do so.
Issuing a S114 notice would prevent the Council from entering into any further financing commitments. It could then only spend money on statutory services such as adult social care and roads until an emergency budget is prepared.
Lib Dem campaigner David Oxtoby commented: “Shropshire Council’s financial position has been perilous for years. The government has been cutting funding for a decade, and rising demand for social care has put a huge strain on the budget. Add a number of poor decisions made by this inept Conservative administration and matters seem to be coming to a crisis.”
Shropshire Council are due to give a further update on their financial position in September
Their home-to-school transport will run at full capacity. They ask that pupils and students avoid using public buses where possible.
They will provide extra buses on public routes in rural areas. The extra buses will be just for school children and students. *
Pupils should use the same seat every day on school buses. Seating will reflect school year group ‘bubbles’. The eldest pupils will be at the rear and the youngest at the front.
During the journey, pupils should: – face forwards – not touch others – not move out of their seat, and – avoid loud talking, shouting or singing.
Pupils should follow standard precautions about: – wearing face coverings – frequent hand washing – covering mouths and noses when coughing or sneezing Pupils should not travel if they are unwell, or if they or any member of their household is showing Covid-19 symptoms. (NHS guide to symptoms is here.)
The Council’s full guidance about school and public transport is at here.
Conservative controlled Shropshire Council is supporting controversial plans to make a Garden Village at Tasley the centre of future house building in the Bridgnorth area.
Shropshire’s local plan allocates land for building, and the Council is updating it. The new plan will guide development from its formal adoption, probably in mid 2022, until 2038 – and beyond.
There are existing plans for 500 homes in Tasley, with employment land and a relocated livestock market the other side of the A458 Bridgnorth by-pass. On top of that, the Council now intends to earmark 1/2 square mile of farmland to the South of the A458 for a “Garden Village” with 1,050 homes and employment land. This would see development running for nearly a mile alongside the A458, and 1/2 mile along the Ludlow Road. After 2038 the development would move further West.
Shropshire Council previously supported a different Garden Village proposal at Stanmore, using protected Green Belt land. The Council dropped that as its preferred option after housebuilders Taylor Wimpey put forward the scheme at Tasley (which isn’t in the Green Belt) in March this year.
When the Stanmore proposal was consulted on early in 2019 it attracted a lot of public comments. The report prepared for Shropshire Council said that “a large number of residents” had expressed concern about the scale of building proposed and the impact on Bridgnorth’s infrastructure and facilities. The new proposal doesn’t address those concerns, it just changes where the building would be!
Lib Dem Housing Campaigner and Bridgnorth Town Councillor, David Cooper said:
“It’s difficult for local families to get on the housing ladder and a lot of people who would like to live in Bridgnorth just can’t afford it. But relying on just one big developer led scheme we would be very dependent on their commercial priorities and what they see as profitable. It’s especially worrying with the government saying they want to ‘build, build, build’ and threatening to take away the local element of planning decisions. We need to make sure that we get it right in this Local Plan – it could be our last chance before the rules change.”
Shropshire Council launched a wide-ranging consultation on its draft local plan on 3rd August 2020. Here we explain what it’s about, summarise the proposals for South East Shropshire, and describe how to find out more and how to comment on the proposals. The deadline for comments is 30th September 2020.