Henry Carver, who has been the managing director of Carvers Building Supplies in Wolverhampton for more than 30 years, and grew up in Bridgnorth, has joined Save Bridgnorth Green Belt campaign group to oppose plans in Stanmore that could see 410 acres of green belt land released for development.
Employing more than 300 staff on sites in Telford and Wolverhampton, he has joined the action group as leader of the team’s new economics and politics special committee, formed to build consensus in the business community and politics to fight Shropshire Council’s proposals.
“You don’t get far in business without being able to tell the difference between a good deal and a bad deal – Shropshire Council’s plan for Stanmore is a very bad deal for Bridgnorth,” he said.
“The local economy is driven by tourism and specialist engineering, there is simply no need to destroy the countryside for the town to thrive and grow.
“I’m a local lad, Bridgnorth is my home and I hope my business record speaks for itself. I’m pro-business, pro-innovation and passionate about creating opportunities for growth.”
Mr Carver was recently awarded an honorary doctorate in business administration from the University of Wolverhampton in appreciation for his service to business and the local community.
Involved in politics, he is also a former board member of the Wolverhampton Chamber of Commerce and president of the Wolverhampton Business Forum.
He added: “The council’s arguments, particularly its economic justifications, simply do not hold water.
“My role will be to bring businesses together and to let the council know that they cannot hide behind the claim that business is driving this development, it’s not.
“The plans simply won’t deliver on their promises and will wreck a truly beautiful corner of our county in the process. I don’t think Bridgnorth deserves to be treated like that.”
Named as Businessman of the Year in 2017 for his work in rebuilding Carvers Building Supplies after a fire tore through its Little Lane premises in Wolverhampton in 2012, Mr Carver added that a plan for Bridgnorth that keeps its countryside in tact would be the aim.
“It’s perfectly possible to find a plan for Bridgnorth that actually creates jobs, supports business, invests in infrastructure and new homes without ruining what makes it special – its countryside and distinctive market town charm,” he said.
“The council’s economic plan is way off beam, and my role will be to focus a few minds at the council so that they understand that and see sense.”
Sheila Edwards, chairwoman of Save Bridgnorth Green Belt said: “We are delighted to welcome Henry on board, his business acumen, drive and political savvy are invaluable.
“Like us, he lives locally to the proposed site but is also very prominent in promoting business growth and innovation in the region, as well as internationally, bringing a unique perspective.
“We look forward to working closely with him as our campaign goes up a gear over the summer.”
Mr Carver joins the group as it launches a summer-long public engagement campaign to get residents involved.
The group will be hosting two public meetings, at Worfield Village Hall at 7pm on June 11, and another at Castle Hall, Bridgnorth at 7pm on June 13.
Mr Carver added: “I hope people will come along and hear what we’ve got to say.”
“The future of Bridgnorth and its beautiful greenbelt depends upon us all coming together now.”