Cartoon Festival talk at Lion Hotel April 15th 7.30pm

Shrewsbury Integrated Transport Package

SITP is a major transport scheme to remedy several problems identified with the highway network in Shrewsbury.
• Congestion at key junctions on the inner relief road
• Congestion and poor air quality in the historic and commercial town centre
• Inadequate links for sustainable transport modes
• High accident rates on key routes into the town centre

The consultation period continues to March 29th, so it’s not too late to comment?

See presentation here

How British ‘cafe culture’ drinks revolution ended in failure

Longer licensing hours led to alcohol binges and mental health problems, say academics. Hopes of encouraging a more ‘continental’ drinking culture among Britain’s youth have failed to come to fruition.

Guardian, Sunday 20 March 2016

The extension of licensing hours in England and Wales has triggered a rise in binge drinking and an associated increase in mental and physical health problems, according to new research.

A study conducted by economists at Lancaster University confirms that, while the relaxation of drinking hours has had little impact on the habits of normal drinkers, it has resulted in an increase in the number of people drinking heavily.

The findings, which will be presented at the Royal Economics Society annual conference this week, offer a partial corrective to the hope that extended hours – ushered in by the Licensing Act of 2003 – would result in a more “continental” style of drinking culture.

The act, which allowed some venues to stay open to 5am, saw a steep rise in the number of pubs and clubs extending their hours. By 1 April 2006, 50,000 venues had been granted new licences. Four years later this had increased to nearly 79,000 – more than 60% of the 130,000 total premises licensed to sell alcohol in England and Wales.

Politicians claimed that the reforms would help alleviate problems around closing time.

“At the heart of the push for longer hours was a view that the previous standard closing hours, typically 11pm, were themselves a source of social problems,” the economists note. “These early closing hours were thought to cause excessive, concentrated drinking as individuals drank to the clock. Unified closing times also have the potential to lead to problems outside venues, such as crime and traffic fatalities.”

But instead the reforms have seen a rise in heavy drinking, which has taken its toll on the physical and mental health of drinkers. Professor Colin Green, of the university’s economics department, who led the research, said: “We demonstrate that more availability, in terms of the number of extended hours licences in an area, is associated with markedly higher levels of heavy drinking. This doesn’t necessarily need to ‘map in’ to greater alcohol-related harm if this drinking is spread out over a greater time. In subsequent analysis, however, we find that this greater drinking leads to deterioration in physical and mental health.”

The team examined data from the annual Health Survey of England and reports provided by the Health and Social Care Information Centre which enabled them to track the number of extended hours licences granted for each region.

In the survey, drinkers were questioned about the number of units they consumed on their heaviest day.

The results show that, in an average region, for every 1,000 extended licensing hours there was a very small increase in consumption – less than half a pint per person. But this figure masks the impact extended hours had on heavy drinkers.

The team found that the extended hours resulted in a 36% increase in the number of drinkers consuming 12 or more units of alcohol – about five pints of beer or five glasses of wine – on their heaviest night of drinking. And there was a 29% increase in consumption among those drinking 16 or more units.

“Given that higher levels of consumption are where alcohol harm may be concentrated, this suggests that the extension of availability led to negative health outcomes,” Green and his team note.

The economists then studied the effect of increased alcohol consumption on the health of drinkers who submitted to questionnaires asking them to detail its effects. “Again, we find that one additional unit of consumption on the heaviest night is associated with a small increase in the likelihood of reporting a physical health problem on average for the population,” the team claims.

“This again masks an increasingly large impact for heavy drinkers. For instance, the increase in the likelihood of drinking more than 12 units in a single sitting is associated with a 16-percentage point increase in the likelihood of reporting a physical health problem. We find effects of similar magnitude on the probability of reporting a mental health problem.”

Green said the findings had implications for government. “The extension of hours has the potential for acute health issues with certain subgroups. This is not to say on average everyone’s health is going to be worse, but there are definitely individuals out there who, as a result of the extension of hours, are more likely to binge drink, and this is likely to have negative health outcomes.”

Town centre events

Saturday 9th April. ‘The Friends of Lord Hills Column’ Procession
2016 is the 200th anniversary of the erection of Lord Hills Column and on Saturday 9th April 2016 Friends of the Lord Hills column and military personnel are undertaking a procession in Shrewsbury. This is the culmination of a walk from Anglesey to Shrewsbury by Friends of Lord Hills column in period costume. The procession is setting off from the Castle on Castle Gates at 11am and will proceed along Castle St, St Marys St, Dogpole, Wyle Cop, English Bridge and Abbey Foregate ending at The Column.  There will be delays to traffic between 11am and approximately 11.45am as the procession will be undertaken under a ‘rolling closure’ with traffic following on behind.

Sunday 20th March Shrewsbury 10K Run
Town Centre roads and The Mount, Copthorne Rd, New St and Kingsland – Coleham area will be closed from approximately 8am to 11.30am.

Sunday 29th May Shrewsbury Cycle Grand Prix
High St, Shoplatch, St Johns Hill, Swan Hill, College Hill, Princess St, Milk St closed from approximately 8am to 7pm.

Sunday 19th June Shrewsbury Half Marathon
Roads closed in town centre and Berwick Rd and Ellesmere Rd from 8am, race complete by approximately 1pm (town centre roads should be reopened by about 11.30am.

New town map

A stunning new town map of Shrewsbury can be downloaded from

see it here

University Centre Shrewsbury public events 2016

The UC Shrewsbury public events programme for March – December 2016 can be downloaded below and features many very interesting talks, lectures, book groups on subjects as diverse as Mary Webb, Peter Drucker, Weston Park, Attingham and Byron’s Newstead – well worth a look.  Events are held at Guildhall in Frankwell and Rowley’s House in Barker Street.


Aerial thermal survey for Shropshire

A thermal map of seven market towns and surrounding areas within Shropshire has been produced. The areas covered include: Shrewsbury (including the loop), Oswestry, Wem, Market Drayton, Bishops Castle, Bridgnorth and Church Stretton. The map allows residents living in these areas to see how much heat is being lost through their roofs. This data can help you to find ways to increase home energy efficiency and so save money on fuel bills.

You can enlarge the map to show your house and see the degree of insulation.

SHREWSBURY 10K RUN 20th March 2016

Route: High St, Mardol Head, Shoplatch, Bellstone, Barker St, Bridge St, Welsh Bridge, Frankwell, The Mount, Richmond Dr, Copthorne Rd, New St, Porthill Rd, Kennedy Rd, Kingsland Rd, Longden Coleham, Coleham Head, English Bridge, St Julians Crescent, St Julians Friars, Victoria Avenue, St Austins Friars, Lower Claremont Bank, St Austins St, St Johns Hill, Cross Hill, Swan Hill, College Hill, Princess St, Milk St.

Time: 8.00am – 12.00pm Race starts 9.00 am

Shrewsbury Integrated Transport Package

Consultation beings on February 12th

Members may be aware that Shropshire Council has funding for a package of road improvement and other measures, that we hope are going to bring significant improvements to traffic flow, road safety and other aspects of life in the town centre.

Proposals have been drawn up and a consultation period (six weeks in all) is about to begin. An initial viewing of drawings of the proposed changes is to be held in the Pride Hill Shopping Centre (one of the vacant lots behind Marks and Spencer). This will be staffed (so you can ask questions) on Friday February 12th and Saturday 13th. Subsequently drawings will be displayed in the Library in Castle Street and in other venues.

Don’t miss this opportunity!

Last year it was reported:

Shrewsbury Integrated Transport Package, estimated to cost about £12 million, will present a number of measures aimed at alleviating congestion and improving town centre pedestrian areas.

There are a number of different elements to the plan, which remains subject to external funding, including improvements to four major junctions on main routes into Shrewsbury, and the inner ring road.

The junctions included in the proposal included Meole Brace roundabout, Reabrook roundabout, the English Bridge gyratory, and the Longden Coleham/Belle Vue junction. Councillor Work should allow the management of traffic flows in and around the town centre, improving the reliability of journey time.

The package will include proposals to upgrade traffic lights on routes to the town centre and improvements to pedestrian areas of the town centre for shoppers, in Pride Hill, Shoplatch, High Street, and The Square.