CALLS have been made for Shropshire Council to do more for rural areas as the authority marks its 10th anniversary.

Ludlow Councillor Andy Boddington said he was disappointed with comments made by council leader Peter Nutting and chief executive Clive Wright which marked a decade since the unitary authority was set up.

Councillor Boddington said there had been a glut of investment in the Oswestry and Shrewsbury areas, but that the rural south had been largely ignored.

He said: “I only spotted Shropshire Council’s April Fools Day joke late in the day.

“The council celebrated its 10th birthday and no doubt there was much back-slapping.

“The release put out by the council says everything about Shropshire Council. It pleads that it has had a few difficult years.

“Those difficult years were created by the Conservative leadership which became obsessed with stripping everything out of the council and either transferring functions to its company, ip&e, or closing them down altogether.

“The council company of course failed. The council has improved and in its press release it boasted a suite of achievements, all of them in Shrewsbury.

“There are a lot of good teams in Shirehall that could have had a mention, including planning, but Nutting is rarely fulsome in his praise for officers.

“There’s a museum in Shrewsbury, an incinerator in Shrewsbury, a theatre in Shrewsbury, a university centre in Shrewsbury and regeneration in Shrewsbury.

“These are all great projects but they show that the council’s only significant investment has been in Shrewsbury.

“The new housing company will build in Shrewsbury, Oswestry and Ellesmere with little hope of projects elsewhere for the best part of a decade, if not longer. The North West Relief Road will be of no benefit to Ludlow.

“I am appalled that this release makes no mention of rural Shropshire at all.

“The market towns and villages of Shropshire are also vital to the county’s economy. They have been ignored for the last decade by Shropshire Council.

“Everyone in this county finances Shropshire Council. Every resident deserves investment in their local area.

“It is time that Shropshire Council took the needs and economic power of the county’s rural areas seriously.”

In the release, Councillor Nutting said: “After a few difficult years, Shropshire Council is now settling down to be a well-respected and forward-looking council.

“The council has excellent social care teams and is becoming much more commercially-orientated.”

Mr Wright added: “Shropshire Council delivers a massive range of services to meet the needs of our communities. It’s been a tough 10 years in local government. We have saved around £200 million.”