Shropshire Council should look north to properly organise who is responsible for what public services, and Oswestry councillor has said.

The unitary authority is responsible for most major services in the county, including bin collections and most highways maintenance.

But smaller town and parish councils also deliver a range of services in local areas such as parks, playing fields and some public toilets – with many expecting to expand their activities to plug gaps left by Shropshire Council budget cuts.

Now, a motion from Green Party councillor and former Oswestry mayor Duncan Kerr set to be heard in the coming week will call for the council to establish a charter, which sets out how they will work with smaller town and parish councils in future - and has pointed to a model in Northumberland for evidence of how it can work.

“A peer review of Shropshire Council last year reported that the Council’s financial position was perilous. It has got a great deal worse since then,” he said.


“With dramatically increasing demands for statutory services and very restricted funds good stewardship demands that Shropshire Council work as closely as possible with local parish councils who are not facing the pressure on statutory services.”

Councillor Kerr wants Shropshire to develop a “Parish and Community Council Charter”, similar to one used in Northumberland, which sets out how the unitary authority engages with smaller councils.

The Northumberland arrangement sets out formally which areas the county council is responsible for and which fall to local councils, and who is responsible for maintaining public facilities and services at local levels.

“Like so many of the issues now facing Shropshire Council this work could have, and should have, been done in the better times when capacity was higher,” he added.

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“Shropshire Council has shown it can work well with individual town and parish council on an ad-hoc basis in response to funding streams from Government. But this piecemeal approach is insufficient to meet the challenges our communities now face.

“Now is the time to show that this Council has a genuine commitment to work in full partnership with local councils to maximise efficiencies. It can do this by jointly developing with them a charter.”

The motion will be discussed when Shropshire Council meets on Thursday, May 9.