Robert Jones is standing as the Federalist Party’s candidate in the Ruyton and Baschurch ward in the local elections which are taking place on Thursday May 4th. Ruyton and Baschurch is large area which includes two large villages and a number of hamlets to the north of Shrewsbury. Shropshire’s former multi-tier local government was abolished in 2009 and replaced with a unitary authority despite the opposition of most of the former councils and many residents including those who rejected the proposal in local referendums. Robert’s campaign is focused on various local issues including the local democracy, housing, supporting local businesses, and traffic concerns. But the key issue for many voters in the area is the village’s rapid growth.
The Local Plan which was drawn up by Shropshire Council in 2014-2015 and identifies areas around Baschurch for future housing and other developments, calls for the building of up to 200 homes over the period up to 2026. Robert commented: “The Local Plan should see a managed and steady growth of the village until 2026. But the reality is turning out to be very different. There has been an explosion of new housing developments around the village over the last two years. There are already well over 200 homes which have been built, are under construction, or where planning permission has been granted by Shropshire Council. There are also applications for further developments currently under consideration for many further houses. The people of Baschurch are not at all opposed to new developments and the growth of our community, but the rapid rate of growth is putting the community’s infrastructure and vital local services such as the schools and the doctor’s surgery under increasing pressure.
“These developments are popping up at a rate far greater than was envisaged in the Local Plan, and some of them have been in areas outside of the agreed Development Boundary. The Parish Council has tried to slow this growth to a more manageable rate, but the unitary council appears to be uninterested in the concerns of local people. The rapid increase in development shortly after the former district and borough councils of Shropshire were abolished and replaced with the centralised and bureaucratic unitary council. Of the houses that have been built or are proposed, only a tiny fraction are affordable homes, and many have sold at prices well over £500,000. Many local residents feel that they and future generations are being priced out of their own community.
“It is no surprise that a centralised local authority such as Shropshire Council is completely out of touch with the wishes and concerns of people in a place like Baschurch. They are removed from the area, with no local knowledge and seem to dismiss objections raised by individuals or parish councils. One thing is for sure, the current situation is unsustainable.”
The Federalist Party’s campaign to #EmpowerOurCommunities and bring power and decision-making into the hands of local people is as relevant in Baschurch as anywhere in the United Kingdom. “The people of Baschurch deserve not only the respect of their own council, but to be able to have the final say on major planning decisions in their community, to have a voice which planners and developers cannot ignore. A vote for myself and for the Federalist Party on May 4th is a vote for just that: local empowerment.”