Category Archives: rural services

Broken Promises and School Closures



Broken Tory Promises

Schools open their doors for the new school year..but not at The Wakeman in Shrewsbury.

The closure of the Wakeman School may be seen as the culmination of Shropshire Council’s policy of Monumental and Unprecedented Vandalism…the sustained assault on our schools. I say, ’may be seen’ as more may yet follow.

It is also a story of breathtaking breach of faith by the Tory Council…

In 2008, terrified by Public Fury at their proposals to close 24 primary schools, the Tories backed down. Only one school was chopped.

Prior to the 2009 Council elections, Conservative candidates were enjoined by Owen Patterson MP to pledge support for Shropshire’s schools. Cllr Keith Barrow, at two parish meetings, specifically pledged that Maesbury Primary was safe.  On becoming Leader of Council (June 2009) one of his first statements was in support of our schools………….

HOWEVER(!)..within a year(2010), the Tories tabled a ‘new’schools policy which was a scarcely-veiled blueprint for more schools closures. Only the dense or the hypocritical could have read it in any other way. NO_ONE who voted for that Policy—ie, all the Tory and Labour councillors could have ANY pretence of consistency when their OWN school was subsequently put to the axe. A raft of permanent primary schools was closed. Ifton Heath,a large and well-founded primary, was sacrificed. And then the Wakeman, even though it was known that numbers will require a new secondary within 10 years.

Despite having voted for the Policy of Mass Destruction(not for the first time), Labour leader Alan Mosley then ‘fought for’ the Wakeman – whose demise was a consequence of that Policy. Similarly, Cllr Barrow for Maesbury(yes,it was closed!)….amongst others.

Consistency is a hard taskmaster..too hard for those who voted for a schools closure policy and then manifested surprise when their school was fingered!

Trust in Tory promises is even more demanding.





Bishop’s Castle Bank to Stay?

When Barclays closed their Bishop’s Castle branch last year, it was in the face of overwhelming Public opinion and an 800 signature petition organised by Cllr Charlotte Barnes.

Charlotte said: it was clearly difficult for hundreds of people around the area, and weakened the commercial offer of the Town. 

It was understood that the other big banks had an understanding that the last one in town would endeavour to keep open, but that HSBC was not in that agreement.

Charlotte Barnes contacted Vince Cable’s office to see if this could be followed up, if there was no committment from HSBC, people would not be encouraged to move to them. She also thought that there would certainly be enough footfall in Town to keep a ‘one-stop’ branch open if the banks would co-operate.’

 Ministerial responses were not rapid! But Vince Cable’s officials have had conversations with HSBC and now got back to Charlotte. HSBC have firmly declined to co-operate on the single branch idea.

There is more optimism in relation to the closure of the last branch. There may be some reassurance in their claim that they would only close in Bishops Castle if there were ‘no commercial alternative’ and after a ‘rigorous analysis of its commercial viability’ taking the ‘provision of alternative banking facilities into account.

‘Meanwhile,Charlotte is pursuing the question of the voluntary agreement and if there is one why HSBC is not signed up. This is an issue that has implications for any market town in the country striving to maintain its commercial and trading offer.


Below: with Charlotte Barnes, March 2012, with the petition against Barclays Bank closing