TIM Gill, the recently appointed Mayor of Ludlow, gives every indication that he not going to be content simply to dress up and play out a part.

It is all part of the job to put on the robes and take a lead in civic events and the like, not to mention supporting a worthy local charity.

As a town councillor, Tim Gill was not afraid to put his head above the parapet and confront controversy.

He has been vocal in his criticism on some aspects of policing in the town and did not mince his words about the cutting down of a healthy oak tree on Whitcliffe Common in order to ‘protect’ a view – an act that Tim Gill described as ‘environmental vandalism.’

Looking to the future, Tim Gill has made clear his concerns at the prospect of further cuts in services provided by Shropshire Council and has also made clear his view that any idea that all of these can be picked up by the town council is unrealistic.

The new mayor has also not been afraid to say that beneath a veneer of ‘genteel prosperity’ Ludlow has many problems and a large number of people for whom life is a struggle to make ends meet.

It is easy and dangerous to over-simplify but, as Tim Gill points out, the town centre with its history and fine houses is home to a significant number of people who are fairly comfortably placed.

Ludlow town centre has attracted incomers from other parts of the country such as London and the south East and the town has cause to be grateful for the spending power that these people bring. The town also benefits from the knowledge and experience of professional people from outside, many of whom are keen to make a contribution and get involved with the life of the town.

But every coin has two sides and one consequence is that house prices in Ludlow are high and outside the scope of locals of more modest means.

Employment opportunities are also limited and an economy in which agriculture and tourism play a big part is one that tends to be characterised by low wages and seasonal work.

Unemployment levels may be low but this does not mean the jobs that are available include enough decently paid and secure full-time work to enable people to build a life.

Lack of affordable housing and the right kind of jobs means that young people leave while the area remains popular with older people moving in to retire.

The proportion of older people in Ludlow and the surrounding area is already considerably above the national average and this puts particular pressures of services such as health.

Ludlovians of more modest means that stay tend to live on the outskirts of the town in situations not unlike deprived inner city areas but lacking the services.

A gold-plated heart should not hide the problems of an outer core going into cardiac arrest.