Star comment: Telford has seen pure gold glory
Let’s be honest. Many people in Shropshire have been a little sniffy about Telford. The upstart town will soon celebrate its 50th birthday – and yet it suffers from a bad image in the eyes of some.
It is wrongly characterised as being all about a shopping centre, or as being blighted by sink estates.
In truth, the criticisms some make about Telford say more about them than they do about the relatively new town. While Telford is frowned upon in some quarters, it actually punches well above its weight.
It leads the way in creating new jobs for our region and brings vast sums of investment to the area. Socially and culturally, it provides considerable enhancement to the lives of many – both those who live in Telford & Wrekin and those who live in its hinterland.
The story of Telford is a story of success. It has suffered the sort of teething troubles that any new town might, but it stands firmly on its own two feet and has been ingenious, dynamic and forward-thinking.
There are many examples of excellence in the area and perhaps none more so than in the field of business. Telford attracts investment from all parts of the world. Its industrial estates provide a vast number of jobs and while it provides a home for businesses of all sizes.
In recent years, the town has attracted tens of millions of pounds in new investment and helped to sustain the region’s economy. And while much of Britain turns towards the service sector, Telford continues to support a healthy manufacturing sector that exports goods around the world.
And so, as the town reaches 50, there is every reason to celebrate. The town has exceeded the brief. It has provided accommodation for incomers and those who moved from the Black Country, Staffordshire, Wales, Birmingham and further afield in search of a new life.
People have built lives, schools have become centres of excellence, arts centres and theatres have provided cultural stimulus and sports clubs have turned out world-beaters. The region has the opportunity to celebrate now that Telford is reaching its golden anniversary. And we must hope that plenty of creative ideas will come to the fore.
The people who have looked down their noses at the disruptive new town might do well to reappraise. Telford has been – and remains – a force for good.