Oswestry mayor hails council's achievements over past year
Boosting Oswestry’s businesses by £1.4 million and preparing it for the future have been the key achievements during the town council’s last 12 months, says its mayor.
Councillor Sandy Best said she was pleased with how the council has worked in securing the future of the town over the past year.
Giving her address at the annual town meeting, the mayor said the establishment of Oswestry Business Improvement District (BID), work to support the market and the local plan were all things to be proud of.
“The year has seen the growing establishment of the Oswestry Business Improvement District that will generate £1.4 million of new money over the next five years," she said.
“The initiative was facilitated by the town council and also funded in terms of a substantial grant and loan. We wish the BID every success and look forward to working with them and sharing agendas before their next business referendum.
“Strategically, the council has played a significant part in planning the future of Oswestry.
“We have supported Shropshire Council in the development of their economic growth strategy and alongside this we have taken place in co-ordination workshops looking at the review of Place Plan and Local Plan.
“Linked into this has been the exciting opportunity to work with partners to collectively identify steps for future master planning of the town.
“These opportunities include the growth corridor, Oswestry Innovation Park, Park Hall and the One Public State proposal.
“We are excited that further to these debates is that the bid that has been submitted to the Future High Streets Fund.
“This £650 million fund was launched by the government and we are pleased that our representations has seen Oswestry and Shrewsbury put forward by Shropshire Council for phase one funding.”
Councillor Best added that Oswestry has also secured a renewed service level agreement with the National Association of British Market Authorities for three years.
This means funding opportunities in excess of £100,000 could be presented to the council.
She also paid tribute to departing town clerk David Preston, who is taking up a new role as chief executive of the National Association of British Market Authorities.
He will be replaced by deputy clerk Arren Roberts, who she said she was “delighted” to welcome to the role.
She added: “We have agreed that we will provide the organisation and all the arrangements for the Oswestry Food Festival for 2019 onwards and we are again repeating our successful Oswestry Balloon Carnival with various partners.
“Our Christmas Lights switch-on and Christmas Live were major attractions for Oswestry during the Christmas period.”
She added that the unveiling of the Wilfred Owen statue was also a major highlight of the year.
“The national and local publicity was considerable and firmly put Oswestry on the map,” Councillor Best said.
Councillor Best added: “Councils are often criticised but I believe this council is open about everything that it does and we try to get that message across.
“The town council clearly has an interest in the present and future of our high street and the town centre. We are a key player in promoting the town centre and footfall.
“The council has taken many accolades in recent years and it is now important that we continue to build on these successes and that we do the very best for Oswestry, its residents and many visitors.”