Labour group and Shrewsbury Town Council leader Alan Mosley calls on Shropshire’s Conservative leader to step down after risky investment plummets
“In 2017 we predicted that Shropshire Council’s high risk gamble in purchasing the failing shopping centres with public money could be disastrous and called for a delay and vital scrutiny. Unfortunately, we now know that the value of the Centres in March was deemed to be 2/3 less than was paid.
This £35m reduction in their value is equivalent to £430 for each elector in the Shrewsbury and Atcham Constituency and £150 for each elector in Shropshire.
The purchase saw the Council join in a Lemming like rush to invest without relevant experience or expertise and having to rely on recommendations from a single consultancy at great expense.This was at a time when private investors were looking to off-load their stock, for obvious reasons!
Apart from the massive loss of value, which was before significant Covid impact, the predicted income has been shown to be widely off the mark. All this at a time when the Director of Finance has recently warned of the possibility of the Council becoming ‘bankrupt’.
We support efforts to regenerate the Shrewsbury town centre and applaud the Big Town Plan initiative.However, other means should have been considered, for example; joint Public/Private initiatives, targeted action and Compulsory Purchase Orders, Planning policy, alternative investment options.The latter might have included public transport and parking hubs, highways and sustainable travel, public realm and amenity improvements.
This whole saga reflects very badly on the reputation and credibility of the current Tory administration at Shropshire Council. So much so that the Leader and Deputy Leader should consider whether it is time to recognise their gross errors and resign.”