Telford and Wrekin Borough Council

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Call to halt £312m shake-up of hospitals

BBC Shropshire

Councillors in Telford have unanimously called for a major shake-up of hospital services in Shropshire to be halted.

In a vote last night by Telford and Wrekin Council, both the ruling Labour group and opposition parties again backed a motion to stop the NHS's Future Fit programme.

Artist's impression shows the plan for Shrewsbury

Under the plan, the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital will be home to the county's main emergency unit, while the existing A&E at Telford's Princess Royal will be downgraded.

Maternity and women and children's services will similarly be centralised in Shrewsbury, while Telford will specialise in elective surgery, orthopaedics and specialist bariatric and breast services.

Earlier this month, Health Secretary Matt Hancock backed the scheme after the council had asked the government to review them.

Following the vote, the local authority's now going to officially make their case to ministers, following in the footsteps of Telford's Conservative MP Lucy Allan who also opposes the plan.

One in six councillors didn't pay tax on time

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Andrew Morris

A Shropshire cabinet member has been banned from voting and 12 councillors have been sent reminder-letters over the last three years, for failing to pay their council tax on time - one in six of all councillors on the local authority.

An investigation by Newsquest has found councillor Steve Davenport, who is responsible for roads, was summoned to court twice and had court orders made against him, for owing £240.97 in 2016-17 and £138.20 and £97.13 in 2017-18.

Steve Davenport and council offices
Shropshire Council/BBC

Speaking to the Whitchurch Herald, Mr Davenport said the fault lay with the local authority, which had "sent the reminders to the wrong address".

He added: "The first I heard of it was when it went to court."

Councillor Matt Lee, member for Llanymynech was also given a court order for failing to pay £104.63 in 2017-18 and councillors Simon Jones and Richard Huffer were also sent court summons, but paid before their hearings.

Shropshire Council said it takes the matter “very seriously” and would do everything possible to reclaim unpaid council tax.

But it also said it was willing to help people who are struggling to pay their council tax.

The neighbouring Telford and Wrekin Council reported five councillors had been sent reminders, but none of them received court summons or were given voting bans. And it declined to name them on "data protection" grounds.

The Local Government Association said it showed “nobody was above the law”.

Council offers to help install more car charging points

Supermarkets, Telford Town Centre, Ironbridge Gorge Museums Trust and Telford's International Centre have been offered help to install electric car charging points.

Telford and Wrekin Council says it's made the offer to 20 venues, which also include a number of retail parks, in the hope of adding to the 11 charging points already in the area.

Car charger
Getty Images

The council said it would help find suppliers of the charging points and help them carry out the installation.

It said it also wanted to work with town and parish councils in the area.

Council set to appoint new chief executive

Telford and Wrekin Council is set to appoint one of its former directors as their new Chief Executive.

If councillors confirm the move, Dave Sidaway will take over the role in the winter, with an annual salary of £155,000.

Dave Sidaway
Telford and Wrekin Council

He went to work for Stoke-on-Trent City Council after leaving Telford in 2015 and became its City Director.

He'll replace Richard Partington, who announced he was leaving in July, after eight years in the post.

MP accuses council of 'protecting their empire'

Local Democracy Reporting Service

The MP for Shrewsbury has accused Telford and Wrekin councillors of “protecting their empire without thinking of the long-term consequences” after they unanimously rejected his proposal of a merger with Shropshire Council.

Daniel Kawczynski said last month he was "looking for an "iron-clad business case to government for the abolition of Telford Council".

But the proposal appeared to have been killed off when the government told him it would only consider a merger if Shropshire's two councils both submitted a proposal - and neither said they were in favour.

Daniel Kawczynski

Last week, all 54 Telford councillors supported a Conservative motion which read: “This council completely opposes both of these scenarios and, while recognising the benefits of joint working and co-operation with Shropshire Council, we also recognise the importance of local accountability and democracy.”

But Mr Kawczynski responded to say: "I think this motion shows that they have a little bit too much time on their hands, and it’s very concerning that they are trying to shut down any form of debate."

Telford CSE: 'Unbelievable council turned down funding'

There's been criticism of the former Conservative administration of Telford and Wrekin Council, after it was reported that money - which could have helped train professionals to spot the signs of sexual grooming - was turned down, almost 10 years ago.

The Sunday Mirror claimed that the £150,000 - offered as part of a European initiative to crack down on violence against women and children - was rejected, because the authority was concerned it would highlight the problems of exploitation in the borough.

Labour Councillor Angela McClements tweeted that it was "unbelievable" the money had been turned down by the previous administration and said she "knew absolutely nothing about this as an opposition councillor in 2010".

In a statement, the Conservative group on the council, led by Andrew Eade, said it would be "highly improper to pass comment at this time, with the imminent commencement of the Independent Telford CSE Inquiry".

It added that it "fought hard" for the inquiry and would be giving evidence.

Council pledges to be carbon neutral by 2030

BBC Shropshire

Telford and Wrekin Council has declared a "climate emergency" and committed to becoming carbon neutral in all its activities by 2030.

The local authority has also promised to stop using single-use plastics before the next local election in four years' time.

Councillor Carolyn Healy spoke at the meeting last night. She represents the Ironbridge Gorge - the birthplace of the industrial revolution - and said it was important to recognise "the seriousness of this issue and the urgency of taking action now".

The industrialisation of our planet is having a catastrophic effect on our climate and this threatens our very existence."

Carolyn HealyLabour councillor for Ironbridge Gorge

Council chief to step down by 'mutual agreement'

The managing director of Telford and Wrekin Council is leaving the post, the council has announced.

Council house
Telford and Wrekin Borough Council

Richard Partington was appointed in 2011 replacing the council's chief executive.

The departure was a "mutually agreed decision", said the council.

The process to advertise for and appoint a new chief officer role is expected to be completed in the autumn, it added.

In a statement, council leader Sean Davies wished Mr Partington well for the future.