Shropshire Star

Minister to meet MP over uncertain future of 'crumbling concrete'-plagued Whitchurch Civic Centre

The Government's minister for Levelling Up has agreed to meet with North Shropshire's MP over the future of Whitchurch Civic Centre.

The Levelling Up minister has agreed to meet with the North Shropshire MP over the future of Whitchurch Civic Centre

Whitchurch Civic Centre has been closed to the public since September after an assessment identified dangerous concrete roof beams in parts of the building.

The building was one of hundreds in the country forced to close after The Health and Safety Executive said RAAC (reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete) was beyond its lifespan and may "collapse with little or no notice".

In November, Shropshire Council revealed that the building's problems were further complicated by the widespread existence of asbestos, which would be disturbed by any work to fix the dangerous beams.

The closure of the civic centre came as a major blow for many in Whitchurch who hoped the building could provide a new home for a DVSA driving test centre, after the town's test centre closed in 2022.

Following the closure, MP for North Shropshire Helen Morgan wrote to Levelling Up Minister Jacob Young to ask to meet with her over the issue.

She said: “Whitchurch in my constituency hasn't received any Levelling Up funding, whether from the Levelling Up Fund itself, the Towns Fund, or the Future High Streets Fund - and now it finds itself without a civic centre because of dangerous RAAC.

“That means it's lost its library, its registry office and its soon-to-be-reopened driving test centre following a long campaign by myself and others."

Now, the MP has said that she has secured a meeting with the minister.

She added: “If the Government is serious about levelling up areas like North Shropshire, it should take issues like the need for both a civic centre and a driving test centre in Whitchurch seriously.

“I am really pleased to have secured a meeting with the Minister to discuss this issue in more detail and to push for progress.

"A town the size of Whitchurch in a rural area like North Shropshire needs a driving test facility to cut the huge backlog in tests and give our young people the chance to get on the road without an L plate. It also needs its Library and civic space urgently re-opened."