THE Conservative Party candidate for North Shropshire, Neil Shastri-Hurst, says he would be a 'strong voice' for the region if his party wins next month's by-election.

On December 16, the residents of North Shropshire will head to the polls following the resignation of Owen Paterson.

On Saturday, November 20, Mr Shastri-Hurst visited North Shropshire, along with Conservative Party co-chairman, Oliver Dowden.

Speaking at the Wem Conservative Club, Mr Shastri-Hurst and Mr Dowden outlined their plans for the constituency.

"I think the huge strength that Neil has is that he's someone who has a really strong track record of public service, whether that's in the NHS or in the army," said Mr Dowden.

"I think what people want is somebody who's going to be a really strong advocate for North Shropshire, and I think what you've got in Neil's track record is someone who can be that strong advocate."

Mr Shastri-Hurst added: "I think the focus now is on delivering for the people of North Shropshire and ensuring that they have the public services they need, our businesses are getting backing and we're improving our road and rail infrastructure

My background, having worked in the NHS and having served in army, I tend to be a pretty focused person, I follow through on my objectives and and I just want to be a strong voice for all the residents here in North Shropshire."

Infrastructure issues are also on the agenda for Mr Shastri-Hurst.

He added: "I've been to Whitchurch and I've seen the [railway station] bridge for myself.

"It's so frustrating because you've got the infrastructure there for a lift.

"It's not just people with mobility issues, but it's also young mums with push chairs getting back and forth.

"If we really want people to be using our rail services and taking advantage of that, we need to make sure our accessibility is good.

"One of my priorities of course is dualling the A5 – it's a key strategic road between the Shrewsbury and the Welsh borders.

"It's totally inadequate at the moment and what we need to be delivering a dual carriageway – that's going to improve people's connectivity and that's going to make a massive difference to those living in North Shropshire, whether it's working people, whether it's those wanting to connect with their family and friends.

"So, absolutely a top priority for me."

Mr Dowden added: "And what I would say is that in my experience, if you're to succeed in getting funding for those sort of projects, you need somebody who is a is a strong advocate who can really make that case.

"There's lots of competing priorities, and you need someone who will be that strong voice.

"Having spent some time with him, if he is elected by the people, of North Shropshire he will be a powerful voice for them."

Upgrading facilities is also something Mr Shastri-Hurst says he would like to achieve.

He said: "On the high street, we've seen £700,000 of investment in Oswestry, and that made a massive difference.

"It's an example of the investment that the government is supporting and I want to see that across the constituency.

"There's been work, really good work done, but there's more to be done and that's why we need a champion, a strong voice, and that's what I hope to bring.

"I's really important that we have those community facilities that serve the people.

"That's why along with delivering more broadband connectivity there are the community facilities, so that there are opportunities here for people to keep fit and to socialise and I'll be properly banging the drum for that."

Mr Downden says that farmers in North Shropshire can also expect to be supported.

He said: "I think it's very important that we continue to uphold the highest standards of animal welfare and I think that actually gives British farmers a real edge and I think British farmers have got a fantastic product that they can sell globally.

"I think the challenge for government is to work with farmers to help them be able to promote their their products to these new markets that are being opened up through trade.

"But again, I would say that what you want is somebody who's going to be able to to champion the case for the for local farmers, in North Shropshire to make sure that their voice is heard."

The closure of Oswestry Ambulance Station has cause some consternation among many, and Mr Shastri-Hurst says he will talk with bosses at West Midlands Ambulance service over the issue.

He said: "I recognise that this is a contentious issue, I recognise, there's a breadth of feeling and thoughts on it.

"But I've already written to the chief executive of West Midlands Ambulance Service so that I can sit down with him and understand how he says this is just going to improve investment in frontline services.

"I will be holding their feet to the fire."