At the counts on Friday I lost my seat on Bridgnorth District Council and retained my seat on Bridgnorth Town Council. Thank you to everybody who voted for me and to all of the friends and family who supported me in the 2007 Local Elections.
It has been a tremendous honour and privilege to represent Morfe Ward on the District Council for the last 8 years during which time I have sought to represent the long-term interests of residents.
As a Town Councillor for Morfe I will continue to defend and fight for improved parking capacity in Bridgnorth. Bridgnorth is a tourist town which needs to effectively use its car parks to support local traders. A shortage of spaces therefore caps the number of visitors to the town thus impacting on local traders regardless of how hard they work. Since 2003 car parking charges have risen by 60% and Bridgnorth District Council has received over Ã‚Â£2.3 million in charges and fines since then. How much of that money have you seen invested in the town in economic development, public transport, recycling or extra car parking?
I will also continue to:
- Push for proper investment and management of public assets in order to lower demands on Council Tax bills in the medium to longer-term. Something that Bridgnorth District Council has singularly failed to do.
- Campaign for the abolition of Council Tax and its replacement by a fair local income tax based on peopleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s ability to pay.
- Defend BridgnorthÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s unique character and identity, particularly the Riverside. I remain opposed to making the river navigable.
- Promote Ã¢â‚¬ËœactualÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ investment in economic development in Bridgnorth to create real long-term sustainable jobs for local people.
- Pursue Ã¢â‚¬ËœgenuineÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ investment in affordable housing so that our young people can afford to live and work in Bridgnorth
I continue to believe that a Unitary Council for Shropshire is the ONLY way to safeguard local services and facilities. Bridgnorth District Council is about as sustainable as a Ã¢â‚¬Ëœchocolate teapotÃ¢â‚¬â„¢. With the Government demanding Ã¢â‚¬ËœcashableÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ efficiency savings of 3% a year by 2011, amounting to a 15% hit on Council Tax, the long-term financial security of Bridgnorth District Council continues to looks bleak. A Unitary Council would CUT waste and bureaucracy; reduce expenditure on CouncillorsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ allowances; reduce duplication and bring services and decision-making closer to the public. Bridgnorth District Council wastes 23% of its budget on Administration, whereas Shropshire County Council ONLY spends 1.4% of their budget on Administration. With externally audited projected annual savings of Ã‚Â£7.8m per year, a Unitary Council is, and I repeat, is the ONLY way to safeguard local services and facilities.
Having at one time stood on all three Local Authorities representing Bridgnorth, I have always said that if I had to choose which Council to give up, it would be Bridgnorth District Council Ã¢â‚¬â€œ a Council which has always been divided by petty squabbles, too big to respond to local need and too small to see the big picture, never mind actually delivering local peopleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s priorities.