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'Grimy and ghastly': French visitor unimpressed by HGVs winding through Wem

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For years residents have been calling for HGVs to be banned from travelling through a town centre.

Now even a visitor from France has echoed concerns about the amount of lorries travelling through the centre of Wem.

Following a recent first visit to Wem, Rod Elliot, of Rhône in France, has criticised the town, labelling it "grimy" and "ghastly".

In an open letter to "those responsible for Wem's town planning," Mr Elliot said: "I dropped into the 'charming market town' of Wem for afternoon tea and a scone.

"And what did I find? Forty tonne lorries winding their way through the centre of town.

"Honestly, I have never seen such a cacophony of planning errors, perpetrated down through the ages.

"What you should have done many years ago is divert the B5063 south and then along the railway line.

"This would have been easy 20 years ago, but you have really stuffed that one up, haven't you?"

In his letter he also suggests a town square should have been created south of the high street with a circle of shops as well as a "large ornamental" town centre park.

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"Wem would have then been an attractive rural location in which to settle," he said.

"But what did you do instead? Allow trucks to roar through the 'alleyway' that runs through the centre of town, the ghastly town centre, build a car park, have no ornamental recreational areas in your grimy town at all.

"You will of course say 'we don't have the money', but that is bunkum. Had you planned this 60 years ago, you could have implemented the plan incrementally at very little cost.

"A nice town square could have been created for peanuts because businesses would have paid to move there.

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"So now you have no modern businesses moving in, no high wage earners moving in, and therefore nobody to spend money in the town."

But Councillor John Murray, of Wem Town Council, has hit back at Mr Elliot's claims.

"Wem is a thriving and super town. I am sure if he had spent more than one day here he would have found out that for himself," he said.

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