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Shropshire Star comment: A solution better than nastiness

By Shropshire Star | Opinions | Published:

Have you been to Pride Hill in the heart of Shrewsbury recently?

Councillor Alan Mosley by the current work taking place on Pride Hill, Shrewsbury

If you have, you will know it is in a bit of a mess. This bit of a mess is the temporary ugly duckling which one day will become a beautiful swan, assuming all goes to plan of course.

Until then, Shrewsbury is having to put up with the inconvenience and unsightliness which comes with having Pride Hill, the town’s shopping hub, dug up.

Labour’s Councillor Alan Mosley, the leader of Shrewsbury Town Council, is up in arms.

“The work on Pride Hill has been a disgrace from beginning to end. The current farce in the town centre is intolerable and is causing great problems for those living, working, visiting and doing business in the town,” he says.

This is stern criticism and he backs it up with a call for a head to roll – that of Shropshire Council’s highways cabinet member Steve Davenport, a Conservative.

Frustrating

Councillor Mosley is absolutely right to express his concern about the Pride Hill works. They have stretched through the whole summer, just when hundreds of thousands of tourists descend on Shropshire’s market town.

They are part of a wider scheme to make Shrewsbury a better place to visit and an easier place to get around. But the process is painful and the delays and postponements are frustrating.

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The trend nowadays is to find someone to blame. While Councillor Davenport must be accountable, as it is happening on his watch, it would be perhaps unfair to lay the blame entirely at his door, as the mechanisms of local government do not mirror the powers that can be wielded by ministers in Westminster and Whitehall.

And it would be a shame if local government started to ape the adversarial shenanigans we see in those places.

There is no real tradition of councillors in positions of responsibility resigning in these circumstances because, if they did start banging their desks and giving executive orders off their own bat, they would run a serious risk of exceeding their authority.

It would be far better if local politicians of all political persuasions got together and sought to get this issue resolved for the good of Shrewsbury. Leave the Westminster stuff to the Westminster lot.

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