Shropshire Council's Shirehall HQ to be emptied of staff
Staff will be moved out of Shropshire Council's Shirehall headquarters from April next year – with a view to the building being empty by the end of 2014.
Workers will be moved to other buildings around the county and some could be asked to work from home under the plans.
Officials are also exploring the possibility of holding council meetings in the Walker Theatre at Shrewsbury's Theatre Severn once Shirehall has been vacated.
The move has been announced by Councillor Keith Barrow, leader of Shropshire Council, who said: "We need to save £80 million over the next three years, so with Shirehall costing more than £2.5 million a year to run I'm keen that we vacate the building as soon as possible."
He added: "No offers have been received for Shirehall, but there have been one or two expressions of interest and I anticipate that there may be one or two more in the months ahead."
Union officials have suggested the Flax Mill in Ditherington could also be used by the council for office space as part of the site's regeneration.
Councillor Barrow said: "Staff who are based at Shirehall will be able to work from other council buildings in Shrewsbury and around the county, or will be able to work from home where appropriate.
"We're looking at the possibility of council meetings being held in the Walker Theatre at Theatre Severn."
Alan James, branch secretary of Shropshire Unison, said he believed the council would look into the possibility of using office space due to be created at the Flax Mill in northern Shrewsbury as part of a multi-million regeneration of the historic site.
"We do have concerns about the working from home and whether the technology is in place. But the council do have other options," he said.
"I think there is a long-term plan looking towards the Maltings and there is going to be space there."
He said he had mixed feelings about the planned sell-off of Shirehall, which is intended to save the authority millions through no longer having to cover its running costs.
"In many ways, it is a bittersweet moment. It is an iconic building in the town. But it is extremely expensive to run and it is a major drain on council resources," he said.
"Nobody is surprised the decision has been made."
The decision to get rid of Shirehall was announced in July by Shropshire Council chief executive Clive Wright. He said the building was draining around £2.6 million per year in running costs from council coffers.
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