Shropshire Star

Revealed: North of Shropshire gets 10 times more capital spending than south

Shropshire Council spends 10 times as much on infrastructure projects in the north of the county compared to the south, new figures reveal.

Shropshire Council's Shirehall base

The figures, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, reveal that since the authority was formed nine years ago, the council has spent £428 per head on capital projects in Market Drayton, compared to just £35 a head in Ludlow.

Oswestry, which has received £412 per head, and Shrewsbury, which has had investment of £390 per head, were the other big winners.

Whitchurch received £196 per head, while Bridgnorth received £132.

How the money was spent

Councillor Andy Boddington, who represents Ludlow on Shropshire Council, said the figures confirmed what he had suspected for a long time, adding that the town had suffered compared to the rest of the county ever since the unitary authority was created 10 years ago.

“I’m surprised we have had so much,” he said.

“We have been starved of resources ever since we became a unitary council.

“They are not interested in the south of the county. We need investment just like everywhere else, we need jobs.”

The figures were obtained by Bridgnorth resident John Mayne and show that over the past nine years Shrewsbury received the biggest share of capital investment by some margin, having nearly £28 million spent.

This figure does not include the recent purchase of the town’s shopping centres.

Of the capital investment, £7.8 million was spent on the purchase and refurbishment of Mardol House to provide student accommodation.

More than £5.6 million was also spent on the Shrewsbury Integrated Transport Package, which includes improvements to traffic islands around the town and works in Pride Hill, Shrewsbury Square and Mardol.

With a population of 71,700, Shrewsbury is the largest district within the Shropshire Council area.

Over the same period of time, Oswestry has had just over £7 million spent on it, while Market Drayton, which has a population of 12,000, received £5.14 million.

Whitchurch, with a population of 9,800, received £1.93, million, while Bridgnorth – population 12,100 – received £1.6 million.

The Bridgnorth figure includes £543,000 spent on road improvements in the Northgate and Whitburn Street area of the town.

Ludlow, which has a population of 11,000, received just over £475,000 over the nine-year period, with most of the money – £380,000 – going into the Market Towns Revitalisation fund.

A further £2,744 was spent on Ludlow Assembly Rooms, and £91,330 spent on Church Stretton Leisure Centre.

A spokeswoman for Shropshire Council said: “These figures are a summary of our big investments, which we call capital expenditure, since Shropshire Council became a unitary authority in 2009.

"It is important to note that our day-to-day spend, known as our revenue expenditure, which includes things like road repairs, is not included.”