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We have no intention of merging with Telford, insists Shropshire Council leader

By Ian Harvey | Telford | Politics | Published:

Shropshire Council leader Peter Nutting today insisted his authority would resist any attempt to encourage it to join with Telford & Wrekin Council, after Shrewsbury MP Daniel Kawczynski called for them to be merged.

Councillor Peter Nutting, left, and Shrewsbury MP Daniel Kawczynski

Mr Kawczynski has repeated called for Telford &Wrekin Council to be abolished.

He has accused the council of putting pressure on chief executive of the county’s major hospitals Simon Wright, who has announced he is leaving his job.

Mr Kawczynski is unhappy at moves by the Telford authority to block plans to downgrade Princess Royal Hospital’s A&E unit and create a single emergency centre in Shrewsbury.

Today Councillor Nutting said: "Following recent press reports I would like to clarify that Shropshire Council has absolutely no intention of seeking any amalgamation with Telford and Wrekin Council.

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"Shropshire Council is a very busy council with a great record of providing top level adult and children’s social services and has a variety of capital projects in the pipeline. The council is working hard to ensure that economic development is a priority in the county so as to maintain the high levels of employment currently enjoyed.

"Shropshire is unique, with huge amounts of green open space and many delightful market towns, but it has very little in common with the Telford area. Telford has its own character but it is different to Shropshire and there seems little logic in trying to join the two areas under one umbrella.

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"The two councils do work together behind the scenes providing some joint services, including fire and rescue, but the current arrangements work extremely well and there is no intention to extend that relationship in any way.

"There are some areas of disagreement, including the future of health and hospital services, but I can see no benefit in trying to force the two councils together.

"Shropshire Council will resist any attempt to encourage them to join with Telford and Wrekin Council."

Councillor Nutting's statement comes a day after Mr Kawczynski lodged six written questions with James Brokenshire, the Housing, Communities and Local Government Secretary, concerning the status and cost of Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin councils.

He asked:

  • "What estimate his Department has made of the additional cost to the public purse of establishing two local authorities in Shropshire."
  • "What assessment his Department has made of the potential efficiency savings of merging local authorities."
  • "What the per capita funding is for Telford and Wrekin Council."
  • "What estimate his Department has made of the efficiencies accrued as a result of the merger of Shrewsbury, North Shropshire and South Shropshire Borough Councils with Shropshire Council."
  • "What the per capita funding is for Shropshire Council."
  • "If he will make an assessment of the potential merits of a merger of Shropshire and Telford Councils."
Ian Harvey

By Ian Harvey
@IanHarvey_Star

Shropshire Star Internet Editor based at the head office in Ketley, Telford

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