Council 'turning its back' on Bridgnorth as hundreds sign petition to save highways depot

A petition to save two highways depots in Shropshire from closing gained hundreds of signatures in its first two days.

Shropshire Councillor Julia Buckley and Bridgnorth Town Councillor Rachel Connolly
Shropshire Councillor Julia Buckley and Bridgnorth Town Councillor Rachel Connolly

Under the proposals from Shropshire Council and contractor Kier, the depots at Bridgnorth and Hodnet would shut in the coming weeks and operations would continue at three main depots in Whittington, Shrewsbury and Craven Arms.

But residents and councillors in Bridgnorth have said the closure of the town's Stourbridge Road site would result in greater flood risks and poorer road management. They also highlighted the matter is yet to be discussed by full council.

In response, a petition has been logged with Shropshire Council in an attempt to gain 1,000 signatures and have the matter discussed at a meeting before September 8.

In its first two days, the petition gained 235 online signatures, as well as scores of paper petitions collecting names in shops across Bridgnorth.

Resident Maurice Evans, of The Mall, said: "I think the closure of the depot is a retrograde step by the highways department.

"Moving the depot will mean longer distances the crews will have to travel."

Bridgnorth town councillor Rachel Connolly, who represents West ward and formally registered the petition online, said: "Given the state of our local roads I felt it was important to highlight and stand against Shropshire Council’s decision to close the highways depot for Bridgnorth.

"As a local councillor it is frustrating that decisions which affect the residents of our town keep being made without due regard for our local community.”

Sally Hebbard, of Severn Terrace, said: "It is unbelievable that Shropshire Council is planning to close the depot.

"There will be no people on the ground locally to bring sandbags during floods, as they had to last Christmas Eve – I just don't understand how the council is turning their backs on us Bridgnorth residents yet again."

Bridgnorth resident Mary Gilbert said: "I am concerned about what this closure might mean for the area.

"Considering we are last on the list for road repairs as we are near the border and further from base, I find little reassurance in the claims that services will not be affected.

"I am one of over 80 Bridgnorth litter pickers who rely on the staff at the depot to respond to our calls when faced with fly tipping. I can’t see the situation improving by closing the depot.

"This has been decided without any consultation, or any input from our town council. I have a growing feeling that Shropshire Council is not willing to listen to anyone else’s view but their own."

Resident Sadie Brazier added: "The closure of the Stourbridge depot will have such a negative impact on the our wonderful town.

"Many might not be aware but the workforce at the Bridgnorth depot swiftly attend to accidents like road traffic collisions and fallen trees to assure the safety of the general public. With the workforce relocated to Craven Arms this will put residents of our town at greater risk of harm. This is purely a business decision and not a welfare one."

Shropshire Councillor Julia Buckley, who represents Bridgnorth West & Tasley, said: “I am particularly concerned about the flood and winter service response in our rural communities as we enter the winter period.

"If these depots are allowed to close the sites could be sold off as we have seen so many times before with the council stripping assets from the rural communities to subsidise services in the centre.

"Rural residents pay council tax too and we should have an equal access to services outside of Shrewsbury.”

Shropshire Council was contacted for comment.

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