Newport council pushing again to extend town boundary

Fresh plans to move town council boundaries a distance of 200 metres to make room for a new housing development are poised to lodged.

The Guildhall and Newport Town Council offices, dated 1615.
The Guildhall and Newport Town Council offices, dated 1615.

Telford and Wrekin Council’s Newport South and East ward extends from the town centre to the A518 but, approximately 50 acres also falls under Chetwynd Aston and Woodcote Parish Council.

Newport Town Council previously applied to move the boundary of its south ward to take over the Wright Avenue and part of the Station Road area to line up with the borough, but its bid was rejected by the borough's boundary review committee.

Now the town councillors have voted to try again.

Councillor Lyn Fowler said the fact that Wright Avenue technically “isn’t in Newport” makes the current boundary look “silly”.

She said: “We know those children will probably all go to Newport schools, use the doctors, dentists, etc.”

In 2015, Telford & Wrekin Council’s planning committee granted outline permission for 350 more homes in the area.

Councillor Nelson said: “Firstly, the identity of those people will be to Newport, it won’t be to Chetwynd Aston or Church Aston.

“Secondly, they need to be governed by the council that has got a precept of £500,000 and can put up Christmas lights and maintain public loos, not the council with a precept of £20,000 and no services other than a part-time clerk.

Concerned

“Thirdly, this council is investing a great deal of money in the future of Newport. We’re now paying £15,000 a year to Telford & Wrekin for people to manage the parking on the high street, which residents of Chetwynd Aston benefit from enormously and pay nothing towards.

“If you look ahead to the day when we have to take over the library or leisure centre – and if you look at Shropshire Council, these things aren’t impossible – we’ll have a small group of people paying and a much wider group using them.”

Councillor Thomas Janke said the argument was “absolutely solid” but was concerned the “exact same argument” would yield the same decision – one he thought was “baffling” at the time.

A report for the Boundary Review Committee at the time of the decision said Chetwynd Aston and Woodcote, with an electorate of 397, was “able and willing to welcome a potentially large number of new residents”. Newport had 9,000 and “may see little benefit” from new residents “given its current size”.

Councillor Nelson replied that Telford & Wrekin Council already faced “rising demand for services and potential issues about government grants” before the coronavirus pandemic, which “made that significantly worse”.

“If there are parishes like Newport who can afford to pay for services that are currently a statutory duty for Telford & Wrekin, the parish needs the means to do it, and the way to do that is to get 400 extra houses at £100 a year,” he said.

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