Telford council leader outlines new priorities as he criticises government

The leader of Telford & Wrekin Council has laid out five priorities for the authority as he slammed the Government for ‘working against them’.

Leader of Telford & Wrekin Council, Shaun Davies
Leader of Telford & Wrekin Council, Shaun Davies

Councillor Shaun Davies has been appointed as the leader for the next four years at the Labour-controlled council and outlined the plans at its annual general meeting.

He said that the priorities are:

  • To ‘fight to protect’ services at the Princess Royal Hospital

  • Demand more police on the council’s streets that are visible in communities

  • Build better roads, cycle routes and paths

  • Care for older residents and children

  • Protect and improve green spaces

This comes amid the Government’s planned ‘Future Fit’ changes which could see emergency services withdrawn from the Princess Royal Hospital.

The council has also pledged to appeal the Government’s decision to allow the New Works Lane solar farm to go ahead.

“It would be helpful to have a Government that would work with us and not against us,” said Councillor Davies.

“A Government that doesn’t seek to close our A&E and Women’s and Children’s Unit. A Government whose minister doesn’t sit at a desk and override the decision of local planning inspectors, our local planning committee and our local communities at the stroke of a pen.”

The Conservatives saw their presence in the Telford & Wrekin Council cut from 13 to eight at the local elections earlier this month.

Party leader Andrew Eade, who represents the Church Aston & Lilleshall ward, was left frustrated that the council leader had made the remarks during their annual general meeting.

He added: “I listened to what was said by the leader of the council and picked out a number of issues.

“I don’t see the benefit in having a bun fight during what should be a civic occasion, a mayor-making occasion and not a political occasion.

“I think we should retain it as that and it’s a shame that it has come down to this point. We can go onto issues like the hospital, where this council has had three different stances and certainly wobbled about between them all.

“We’ve been through those sorts of debates and I don’t see any benefit of doing that here and now, we’ve got the rest of the year to deal with that.”

Councillor Davies also revealed that later this month the council would be launching a 100-day Action and Delivery plan setting out their short-term plans.

He added the plan would include the launch of their first Family Hubs; improvements in leisure sites for example the replacement of the 3G pitch at Oakengates; details of a new swimming pool in Dawley; and extended use of mobile CCTV to tackle anti-social behaviour.

One of the council’s key priorities is to protect and improve green spaces and Councillor Davies says that needs to be balanced with the requirement for more housing.

He added: “In 2011 we had just five local nature reserves in the borough. Today we’ve got 17 local nature reserves with more on the way as well as over 200 green guarantee sites and more award-winning green flag parks than ever before.

“That’s more green space than twice the size of Heathrow Airport, protected for people to enjoy and wildlife to thrive. Today I promise to make more local nature reserves and more green spaces.

“For somebody who lives in Telford & Wrekin and brings up my family here I know that high quality and valuable green space is really important.

“That’s what we’re going to continue to invest in and care about. We must have a balance between providing decent houses to rent and buy with protecting green spaces.”

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