The Barrow Affair (7): Shropshire Council threatens police action against councillors – I’d welcome being arrested

Shropshire Council has threatened Shropshire councillors with police action if we reveal details of a potentially illegal payment to a football club. That is too much for me to stomach. I want to know why a former councillor leader approved a grant to his favourite football team. I want to know why repayments of that “grant” were cancelled on his watch. I want to know why, when he was forced to resign from Shropshire Council, he was immediately employed by the owner of the football team.

The growing scandal about TNS, an Oswestry football club, cannot be ignored. If I knew enough to make the evidence public, I would publish it. I would welcome being reported to the police. I would volunteer for it. That means the police would see paperwork we councillors can’t see. They will have to look at the main issue.

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Philip Dunne’s intervention in the Commons on Mortimer Forest cabins could kill the scheme

The row over the proposed development of 68 holiday cabins in the Mortimer Forest shows no sign of going away. A planning application was expected in June but we have yet to see it.

I wasn’t planning to write on this again until that application was submitted. But the intervention yesterday of our MP, Philip Dunne, is worth sharing. In response a question, from Philip, Thérèse Coffey, minister for woods and trees, said the government wasn’t at all happy with the cosy commercial arrangement between commercial cabin builder Forest Holidays and the publicly owned Forestry Commission.

I doubt this will kill the scheme but I hope it will.

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It’s a heatwave, so let’s talk about snow

In the middle of a prolonged hot spell, snow is not on many people’s minds. But it was on the mind of Shropshire Council’s Place Overview committee yesterday when it met to discuss how the council responds to snow emergencies. Among the plans are a pilot snow warden scheme.

I began calling for snow wardens in 2013. In May this year, Shropshire Council accepted a cross party motion asking the council to look into the case for a warden scheme. Now it looks like we can get on with it in preparation for the next cold winter.

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It’s Rural Housing Week – Shropshire Council must commit to building more affordable and smaller housing

“Housing is the first social service.”[1] But Shropshire’s housing statistics make an uncomfortable read. They suggest we are not providing the housing social service our residents need.[2]

It’s Catch 22 here in Shropshire. Over the years, we have built homes that are larger than average. That means that four in ten homes in the county have two or more spare bedrooms. Many older people would like to downsize but they can’t find suitable smaller housing in the villages and market towns they live in. That in turn means that growing families can’t move into bigger homes. The shortage of smaller houses means that younger people cannot afford homes near where they live and work. It also pushes up rents and prevents people getting onto the housing ladder.

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