Protester arrested at Shropshire council meeting

An irate protester was arrested for disrupting a planning meeting with claims that a conservation area in the heart of Oswestry is being ruined.

john edwards
John Edwards disrupted a Shropshire County Council planning meeting, and is seen here walking out of the talks

John Edwards, who said he owned land in the town, stood up at the beginning of Shropshire Council’s north planning committee in the council chamber in Castle View yesterday.  He complained about vehicles being driven over pedestrian walkways in front of Oswald Row cottages in Madog Place.

Despite being asked to sit, he remained on his feet, telling the meeting he wanted to be arrested so he could explain his protest in court.

Councillors retired to the back room and police were called.

Mr Edwards, who remained on his feet for 20 minutes, told members of the public waiting to hear the debates that he would stand outside and wait for officers to arrive.

As the meeting began those inside could hear a heated debate as Mr Edwards refused to let the matter go.

Eventually an hour after the disruption began, he was escorted to a police car and taken away.

Police later said a man was arrested on suspicion of causing a breach of the peace.

Mr Edwards said he had spent four years repeatedly asking Shropshire Council to furnish him with the relevant planning permission which allowed the walkway to be used by vehicles.

“The conservation area in the town is being ruined,” he said.

He refused to elaborate on his interest in Madog Place although he said he neither lived in nor owned Oswald Row cottages.

“I have asked the ward councillor, Keith Barrow, to visit Madog Place and see the problems for himself,” he added.

Committee chairman, Councillor Karen Calder, said the disruption to the meeting  had been an unfortunate and unnecessary incident.

Last night one of the tenants of Oswald Row Cottages, Mrs Elaine Jones, said she believed Mr Edwards owned land in the area under discussion.

She said that vehicles did pass very close to her home.

“It can be a bit tight at times but if I had a problem with it I would take it to my landlord.”