Congratulations on Rosanna Taylor-Smith winning another term

Congratulations to Rosanna for winning a second term on Shropshire Council. As I knocked on the doors of Ludlow and Bromfield, I met many people who praised her work helping them. She will now be able to continue that good work.

Ludlow North results

TAYLOR-SMITH, Rosanna Theresa

Conservative

505

40%

BODDINGTON, Andy

Liberal Democrats

420

34%

WOODWARD, Chris

UKIP

126

10%

HOOPER, James Anthony

Labour

109

9%

NEWMAN, Frances Michelle

Green

69

6%

LEYTON-PURRIER, Jennifer

Independent

21

2%

Of course I am very disappointed not to have won. Winning was within reach, but we just didn’t turn out enough voters on the day.

I have learnt so much. I have met so many great people across Ludlow and Bromfield. I have made so many friends among our campaign team.

I would not have missed the experience for all the world (okay, I could have done without the blisters!). I stood not to gain political power but to get into the best position to help the people of Ludlow. I still intend to help people as best I can.

Meanwhile, let’s celebrate Viv Parry dismissing Martin Taylor-Smith by an astounding 224 votes in Ludlow South. It was great victory in the face of a nasty personal campaign by Taylor-Smith – a campaign that clearly backfired against him.

Tracey Huffer also got re-elected with ease in Ludlow East and Richard Huffer was returned for Clee.

There is a great Lib Dem team here in place in Ludlow. A team that cares about people first and politics second.

Thank you everyone for your support and I will be back next time there is an election.

Ludlow South

PARRY, Vivienne

Liberal Democrats

639

47%

TAYLOR-SMITH, Martin Alan

Conservative

415

31%

PERKS, Graeme

Independent

182

13%

KNOTT, Maurice

UKIP

119

9%

Ludlow East

HUFFER, Tracey

Liberal Democrats

467

50%

LYLE, Diane Lesley

Conservative

210

23%

SHEWARD, Colin Eric James

Labour

184

20%

JONES, Imogen

Green

64

7%

Clee

HUFFER, Richard Mark

Liberal Democrats

721

49%

WHEELER, James Vashon

Conservative

654

44%

MANN, Sam

Labour

105

7%

BBC Radio Shropshire talks to Ludlow North election candidates

Last Thursday, BBC Radio Shropshire’s political correspondent, Liz Roberts interviewed five of the six candidates standing here in Ludlow North. The green candidate was unavailable.

You can catch up on the interviews on iPlayer:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p017gp5s/Eric_Smith_Shropshire_Breakfast_Henry_Olonga/

The first segment is at 1:16 into the recording:

  • Independent: Jennifer Leyton-Purrier
  • UKIP: Chris Woodward

The second segment is at 2:11:

  • Lib Dem: Andy Boddington
  • Labour: James Hooper
  • Conservative Rosanna Taylor-Smith

I talked about buses. The original plan was to record the interview on a bus in transit. But for the second time that day, the town bus had broken down. This is a normal occurrence here in Ludlow, and is just one example of how out of touch Shropshire Council is with what really matters in this town.

I agree with Ramblers: Shropshire Council is losing its grip on footpaths

A letter has arrived from The Ramblers asking me to “support a reversal of the cuts imposed by the current administration so that we have Rights of Way that are accessible to all.”

To me this is a ‘no-brainer’. Here is what I said in my latest Focus Newsletter which has been delivered across Ludlow and Bromfield:

Like many people in Ludlow, I love putting my boots on and going for a hike. I’ve noticed of late, as have so many others, that the quality of walking is getting worse. A year of lousy weather hasn’t helped, but the main issue is broken stiles, illegally locked gates and paths overgrown with crops and brambles. Too many of our footpaths are in a mess and this can only put off visitors, reducing trade to our pubs, cafés, shops, and bed and breakfasts. It would be a folly to scare tourists away. Walkers pump £65 million a year into the county’s economy and support around 1,000 jobs. Conservative led Shropshire Council must get a grip on footpaths and invest in their maintenance.

 Lock footpath at Cayman

This gate at Cayman has been locked for six months

When I lived in Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire, great walking counties themselves, I spent most of my spare time here in South Shropshire hiking its paths. I formed the firm opinion that this is the greatest walking county in England. I still hold that view. But our footpaths are declining rapidly. They are becoming inaccessible. Many are in such a bad state that walking isn’t much fun anymore.  Who will want to come to hike in Shropshire if walking isn’t fun?

The bad weather hasn’t helped. Shropshire Council is investing more in the roads after the fierce winter. Why isn’t it also investing more in our footpaths? After all, it has £43 million in reserves.

If Shropshire Council continues to lose its grip on footpaths, it will lose its grip on a sizeable segment of our leisure economy and the jobs that go with it.

Ludlow election candidates for Shropshire Council announced

The local elections are now well underway and many candidates, including the Lib Dem team in Ludlow have been canvassing for weeks.

Yesterday Shropshire Council published the full list of candidates for the 2 May elections. There has been a flurry of last minutes candidates, including from UKIP which has pulled 29 out of the hat. Over the county, 207 candidates are standing for 74 seats. Politically, the split is:

Conservative: 74. Liberal Democrat: 37. Labour: 36. UKIP: 29. BNP: 5. Green: 8. Independent: 19

Here in Ludlow we have three seats being contested.

Ludlow East

Tracey Huffer: Liberal Democrat

Imogen Hereford: Green

Diane Lyle: Conservative

Colin Sheward: Labour

Ludlow South

Viv Parry: Liberal Democrat

Maurice Knott: UKIP

Graeme Perks: Independent

Martin Taylor-Smith: Conservative

Ludlow North

Andy Boddington: Liberal Democrat

Jim Hooper: Labour

Jennifer Leyton-Purrier: Independent

Frances Newman: Green

Chris Woodward: UKIP

Rosanna Taylor-Smith: Conservative

It is notable that neither UKIP candidate lives in Ludlow. Chris Woodward owns Hopton Court outside Cleobury Mortimer. Maurice Knott lives in Bridgnorth. All other candidates live in or adjacent to Ludlow town.

The importance of not being important

I am very much enjoying being out and about in Ludlow canvassing for votes and I have had some very engaging discussions in recent days.

One theme comes up regularly. People say that politicians – local and national – have lost touch with the needs and wishes of ordinary folk. Voters are fed up with elected representatives not representing them. Some have become non-voters as a result.

Many Ludlow people feel that their voices are not being heard. They say that Shropshire Council is too distant, unlike the former South Shropshire District Council.

Talking to colleagues, a similar message is coming out from canvassing elsewhere in the county. Too many councillors have become enamoured by their own importance and – except at election time – have shown little regard for local opinion.

Being elected matters to me, but I am not interested in being important. What I care about is being useful, and I can only achieve that by listening carefully.

I don’t want to change things here in Ludlow in any significant way. I just want to make them better for as many people as possible. Again, that can only be delivered by listening carefully.

I have learnt a lot on the campaign trail so far.

But the most important thing I have learnt is the importance of not being important.