This article first appeared in the Ludlow Advertiser on 7 February 2019.
There are two models of councillors and councils. One is that they run a town or parish. I have met too many councillors who think they have power in their local areas.
I have a different model in my head. I see the job of councils and councillors as greasing wheels to make life easier for residents. That involves planning. Troubleshooting. Reacting. Advising. And when we have money, funding. Along with battling policy decisions that will harm our town.
We have brilliant examples of this in Ludlow.
Ludlow in Bloom. The dementia friendly town campaign. The dogged determination of the chamber of commerce against the national decline of high streets. The mural. The boxing club. Environmental group Ludlow21. Flooding. Ludlow Young Health. I could name so much more.
Any councillor or any council that thinks that they lead our communities is wrong. What we do is shape, guide, advise and help. Yes, there is regulation. Like parking fines. But no council ever shaped a town by enforcing parking rules.
The only way to steer the future of a community is through engagement. Ludlow is championing this.
The town council is leading on a community led plan for Ludlow’s future. Huge numbers of residents have taken part. Work on actions and priorities is steaming ahead.
Some of those will be delivered by the town council or Shropshire Council. Many will be delivered by our community. That’s why it is a community led plan. Not a council plan. A community led plan should be community delivered.
The town council has supported the plan throughout. Everyone who has contributed can be proud of their achievement.