Numbers dug out by a Bridgnorth resident reveal that the north of the county gets the lion’s share of Shropshire Council’s capital investment. The spend per head in Shrewsbury, Oswestry and Market Drayton is ten times as high as in Ludlow. We get barely more than a quarter of the money that goes to Bridgnorth. Ludlow has gained just 1% of the capital spend across the county.
This is not for want of trying. In May, us unitary councillors submitted a proposal for investment in Ludlow to Shropshire Council leader Peter Nutting. Three months later he has still not found time to come to our town to discuss it.
I owe this story to the Shropshire Star and Bridgnorth resident John Mayne who dug out the data via an freedom of information request. Mr Mayne asked how much Shropshire Council had spent on capital projects in each area of the county.
Nearly £45million has been spent on capital projects across the county since 2009. Just 1% of this was spent in Ludlow and Church Stretton.
The Shropshire Star has published figures for capital spend per head. They make equally grim reading. Ludlow and Church Stretton get by far the lowest share of the public purse.
The money that been spent in in Ludlow has been invested on the Buttercross Museum, Mascall Centre, Ludlow Assembly Rooms and a few other projects. More than £90,000 was spent on Church Stretton Leisure Centre. Further details are in the Star.
A spokeswoman for Shropshire Council told the Star:
“It is important to note that our day-to-day spend, known as our revenue expenditure, which includes things like road repairs, is not included [in these figures].”
Investment in our roads in the south of the county? That’s a joke. And Shropshire Council is reducing its day-to-day spend in the south of the county, including on customer services.
It closed the council offices at Stone House and flogged it off. When I asked former council leader Keith Barrow to divert some of the sale price to Ludlow, he said: “Andy, you have to realise that this is not about Ludlow. It’s about Shropshire.” What he really meant was that it was about Shrewsbury and Oswestry.
I am depressed but not surprised by the numbers published in the Shropshire Star. Shrewsbury has shown little interest in the economy of the southwest of the county. We need a rural regeneration zone to draw investment into the southwest. We need a national park. But frankly, the last thing we need right now is Shropshire Council.
We are subsidising the north of the county through our council tax. That’s not right.