Should a council gamble our taxes?

n Shropshire Council’s steely determination to buy Shrewsbury’s two multi-million-pound main shopping centres has been termed ‘astonishing’ by a councillor.

But let’s spell it out – it’s more than that, more ‘amazing and incredulous’.

Those against it are stunned that a council – formed to provide ‘services’ – should even consider entering commerce through its limitless funds, with all the unfair competition that entails. Obviously eyeing up everyone’s council tax as collateral, the authority’s cabinet was the first to recommend plans to purchase both the Charles Darwin and Pride Hill shopping centres and buy out the lease of their own Riverside Shopping Centre.

But Cllr Alan Mosley, leader of the Labour Group, was quick to call the plan a huge ‘risk’ which set him wondering if the council was aware online purchasing was making huge inroads into town retailing.

Meanwhile the council’s chief executive, Clive Wright, enthused the deal was an ‘amazing opportunity’,

From time immemorial, councils have run services and not commerce, so we can only hope Shropshire wakes up real soon, to smell the coffee, instead of gambling yours and my council taxes on ‘risky deals’.

A&E time wasters

n The NHS desperately needs to ‘invest’ in just one nurse at the entrance to an A&E to filter out those preposterous callers who are killing off any chance of overworked staff meeting a four-hour target. Those wrongly turning up rapidly need reminding the name A&E stands for real accidents and real emergencies.

Left high and not so dry

n It was understandable but inconvenient when Arriva Midlands West cancelled buses from its Oswestry and Shrewsbury depots at the height of last weekend’s snow.

But usually, when the weather turns nasty, at least you can rely on the trains. That’s except with Arriva Trains Wales who, in the early stages just when needed, called it a day and also stopped.

Parking confusion

n Do you find Orthopaedic Hospital’s unusual 24-hour parking tickets confusing? They are stamped with the date and time you arrive – but at first glance give the impression that’s when they expire. Because under ‘expiry date’ they reprint the time you arrived. Only on closer inspection do you spot two letters after the arrival time denoting the ‘day’ of expiry, 24-hours hence.

Why not give a less confusing ‘same day’ expiry like every other car park?

It’s wearing thin...

n On top of its plethora of other problems – like motorists straying from their lanes and pranging each other, and our Oswestry lane labelled the B4579 and not less confusingly ‘Oswy’ at troublesome Mile End roundabout – it now suffers from another.

Probably because of drivers swapping lanes not knowing which one they should be in, the painted lines are badly wearing away. Without swift correction, be warned – this latest snag could accelerate compensation claims.