New Lib Dem council group leader wants all Shrewsbury parks to be the best

A leading town council politician wants all Shrewsbury's recreation areas to be as good as Quarry Park.

Councillors David Vasmer, left, and Rob Wilson
Councillors David Vasmer, left, and Rob Wilson

Councillor Rob Wilson has taken over as the leader of the Lib Dem group on Shrewsbury Town Council and has put the environment at the top of his to-do list.

Councillor Wilson has risen to Lib Dem prominence just one year after booting out the then Shropshire Council leader Peter Nutting in elections for the prized Copthorne ward to serve on the town and county authorities.

He said he wants the council to aspire to the highest standards, as exemplified by the Quarry Park, and to work to improve and protect Shrewsbury for future generations, particularly when it comes to transport and the climate emergency.

Councillor Wilson said: "The Quarry and Dingle are rightly the jewels in the crown but the town council also manages recreation areas across Shrewsbury. We should aspire for all these areas being up to the high standards of the Quarry.

“Recently preliminary work has started on a new park at Shorncliffe. I think it’s great to see us expanding publicly available space, particularly when we know how valuable it was to everyone during the pandemic."

Councillor Wilson has suggested introducing a residents’ survey.

“We need to make sure that the town council is aware of and responsive to the needs of the community," he said.

"For example, I would like to see the council explore the idea of running an annual residents' survey to seek their views and opinions.”

Councillor Wilson has taken over from Councillor David Vasmer who has led the town group for four years.

Mr Wilson praised his predecessor, saying: “David has done a great job growing the Liberal Democrat group from three to six members taking seats from the Conservatives. As leader of the Opposition on Shropshire Council, he now aims to take control away from the Conservatives.”

On his other policy priorities Councillor Wilson added: “Shrewsbury’s Big Town Plan was launched in 2017, and it promised a bright future where we, [of] all ages and abilities, can travel around our town by walking and cycling.

"Five years later the council has made no real progress – it seems focussed on redeveloping the shopping centres. I want to see the Big Town Plan used to improve people’s everyday lives across Shrewsbury. That’s why I have argued recently that we should commission a movement strategy for the whole town, not just the town centre.

“Shrewsbury Town Council should continue and elevate its powerful campaigning stance. Speaking up for Shrewsbury’s residents when Shropshire Council and the Government at Westminster don’t seem to be listening. In this vein I will be asking fellow councillors to join me in calling on our MP to support the Wellbeing of Future Generations Bill proposed by Big Issue founder Lord Bird.

“We need to make sure all decisions we take protect the interests of those who will follow us in the future, and that starts here at home. The climate and ecological emergency is front and centre of this and the town council has already made great strides; Councils need to think, not just about their own impact, but about the footprint that they can influence by the decisions that they make.”

Councillor Wilson also wants to encourage more people to get involved in local politics.

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