An idea for public money to help welcome visitors to town

Readers' letters | Published:

It is said that where there is money, there is a row, and I was not surprised that the £10,000 grant from Oswestry BID funds for the Balloon Festival has caused a stir, not least amongst those whose increased taxes paid for this.

While not against the idea I just hope that part of the grant could be used to obtain insurance so that should the weather be fickle, some of the money might be recouped: or is that too sensible a suggestion?

As the person partly responsible in the past for spending large amounts of public money in a bid to improve the economic success of the town centre (and the person who was responsible for the last update to signage in the town), I can endorse the need for less glamorous, but more practical projects – such as an update of the maps around the town, shopping directories, and What’s On type information boards strategically located around the town centre.

Hundreds of thousands of cars pass around the Mile End roundabout – which looks as welcoming to Oswestry as the utilitarian service area, whose entrance turns into a lake with heavy rain. Surely some of the passing trade could be charmed to stay longer than the time it takes to buy petrol if the approaches, the roundabout and the service area collectively said “Welcome: This is Oswestry”, rather than “this is Oswestry, you’re welcome to it!”

The power to spend public money must be balanced with accountability, and those charged with that power should be working to success/fail criteria too. Otherwise BID will join a long – long – list of economic initiatives which have come and gone, leaving the open question of what the spending of so much public money, over so many years actually achieved.

Mr M Bennett, Oswestry

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