This will be the last of these reports from the front line because I’m standing down as your county councillor on the 29th April.
Elected in May 2013, and despite the ten years since being some of the most frustrating times of my 78+ years, until 2021 I’ve enjoyed them all.
So what did I aspire to back then; what got me going on the campaign trail? Well, quite a bit, some of which has been sorted, some of it still there for someone else to pick up on, like…
- Lack of employment opportunities.
This will always be an issue for Highley, but despite efforts to promote rural industry by providing small workshops at affordable start-up rents – perfectly feasible schemes if only the concentration on Shrewsbury could be broken – there have always been too many vested interests.
- Poor bus service making it difficult to access both work and leisure activities.
Another arguable one because our ‘hourly’ bus service is way better than most villages in Shropshire get. That the service stops at a time when leisure activities start is down to our failure to use it, making very real the old saying: “Use it or lose it!”
- Lack of awareness and poor promotion of Highley’s historic past.
Ah yes, tourism, what could be the jewel in our crown but which is criminally neglected thanks to the cut-backs that were inflicted on us back in 2013. The terrific work done by the Highley Initiative back in the day was simply thrown in the bin by an uncaring council. Much anger at the time and it still rankles.
But it hasn’t all been negative, I did manage to cut through a lot of negativity to get the Highley Carnival started again although not quite in the format originally envisaged, and the Highley Neighbourhood Watch scheme was re-vitalised and currently has 1,100 members. And, of course, “the roads”. What an epic saga that’s been.
I’ll miss it and, of course, I’ll miss you lot, although I was told by one of you that whilst they were interested in what I had to say in these reports, she found a lot of it “a bit gloomy”. Well, that told me!
I’d promise to try and lighten up but I have to go.