Wrekin Conservative Association
Cheek by jowl with the new town named after the Scottish engineer Thomas Telford, The Wrekin parliamentary constituency forms a rural horseshoe around the east, north and west of the much more urban constituency of Telford. Both come under the local government administration of Telford & Wrekin Borough Council. Telford new town was spawned out of the 1963 Dawley new town proposal when, in 1969, the original plan, to provide an immigration focus from Birmingham and the Black Country, was seen to be inadequate in its scope. From a population of some 50,000 scattered among many villages and the market towns of Wellington & Newport and coal mining centres of Dawley and Oakengates, the new town population was projected to grow towards 240,000. It is currently 160,000. The land area of the Borough is nearly 80% rural and The Wrekin constituency is fortunate to be its steward, leaving the industrialised and heavily populated growth centre to Telford.
Up to the early 1990s they were one, held by Labour. But, that dread phrase ‘local government review’ decided to chop it into two, for political convenience. There is little doubt that in an attempt to secure at least one parliamentary seat apiece, Conservative ministers of the day and their Labour shadows conspired to a ‘divorce’. Nevertheless, the charade of review and public consultation was given audience for many months.
The Wrekin is characterised by contrasting and prominent beauty. In the west the pre-Cambrian volcanic rocks of the Wrekin hill, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, rise rapidly to over 400 metres (1,300 feet). To the north-east the Shropshire plain includes the Area of Special Landscape Character known as the Strine Levels. Interspersed between and around these features there is a tapestry of villages, farms and isolated settlements of huge historical interest. Despite its agricultural focus, there are significantly large manufacturing and employment centres within its boundary. The Hortonwood Industrial Park is one such centre and although there is the obvious agricultural connection, British Sugar has a beet processing factory in the west of the constituency and Dairycrest has its factory in the north. GKN and Alvis Vickers are on the very edge of the urban conurbation. A little further to the east there is MOD Donnington. RAF Shawbury is home to MoD helicopter training and RAF Cosford has the aerospace museum in its campus. The Harper Adams agricultural University is at Edgmond.
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