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Beekeepers set to take over historic Shropshire Council site

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Beekeepers are set to take over a council site that includes an historic listed pumphouse.

Shropshire Council's cabinet will be asked to approve a 99-year lease for Shropshire Beekeepers to take on the land at Conduit Head, Nobold, in Shrewsbury.

The conduit head was a collecting tank associated with nine wells in the vicinity, and provided a source of water for the town from 1556. Water was piped from the site, known as Broadwell, to several points within the town. It remained in use until 1947.

A report from Shropshire Council's asset manager Steve Law outlines the beekeepers group's plans to develop the listed well heads as a potential visitor attraction.

His report states that previous efforts to make the site into a visitor centre had failed and the area had also been a "maintenance liability and has attracted anti-social behaviour and vandalism".

The report adds: "Outdoor Partnerships rented the site from Severn Trent for a countryside volunteers' programme until around 2001.

"Shrewsbury and Atcham Borough Council then acquired the site which was inherited by the council in 2009 when it became a unitary authority.

"Outdoor Partnerships have since investigated the possibility of relocating their team to the site, but this was determined as unaffordable. The building has not been used by any council services for a number of years.

"There were previously discussions of converting the site into a visitor centre, but no funds were available."

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Mr Law said the site had been a maintenance liability and attracted anti-social behaviour and vandalism.

"The organisation has been occupying the site via a license arrangement since July 2016," he added.

"Since occupation they have already cleared and tidied the site, erected security fencing, and made the derelict building watertight.

"If granted, the lease the organisation intend to further protect and enhance the site, with a long-term vision to develop the well-heads as a visitor attraction."

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Under the terms of the agreement the lease will have tenant only break clauses every seven years after an initial period of 30 years.

The cabinet report indicates the break clause has been requested by the beekeepers as it could be help in obtaining grants and funding.

A decision on the proposal will be taken by Shropshire Council's cabinet on Wednesday.

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