AFFORDABLE housing, improved library facilities and more provision for young people headed a list of suggestions made to Ellesmere Town Council by residents attending last week’s Place Plan meeting.
A disappointing turnout of around 35 people took their chance to have their say on future development in the town despite the council’s much publicised event after it came under fire for not doing enough to raise awareness at a previous meeting last year.
Roughly 20 people had attended its November discussion, but councillors were quick to take on board the opinions of those who did make an input at last Wednesday’s event, holding a special meeting immediately afterwards to consider townspeople’s views.
Mayor of Ellesmere, Councillor Alan Clarke said: “It was a good opportunity for people to express their points of view.
“It is important that people help to shape the future of their town,” he added.
Councillors sat with residents to discuss aspects of the Place Plan which forms part of Shropshire Council’s Site Allocations and Management of Development Plan (SAMDev).
Residents formulated their answers to 10 questions posed by Shropshire Council which included priorities for the Ellesmere area, how Community Infrastructure Levy monies should be spent and how developer contributions (Section 106 money) could best be utilised.
Forms submitted by Ellesmere residents showed they generally wanted to preserve, maintain and protect the landscape and also wanted better road management, more shops open on weekends and greater accommodation for tourists.
There were also calls for more burial land while Cllr Ian Ward said: “An improvement in mobile phone reception could stimulate economic activity in Ellesmere.”
The majority of people agreed with Ellesmere Town Council’s proposal to prioritise local people for the distribution of affordable housing, including shared ownership, while Cllr Clarke responded to a suggestion of providing sheltered housing accommodation for the elderly by stating: “I think it would be wrong to neglect that comment.
“We do have an ageing population in Ellesmere and we need to consider further provision other than the retirement homes currently being built,” he added.