Shropshire Star

Government asked for money to replace 'beating heart' civic centre closed due to danger concrete

The government is being asked for money to replace a "beating heart" county civic centre which closed after the discovery of danger concrete.

Last updated
Whitchurch Civic Centre

Whitchurch Civic Centre was shut permanently in November last year on the advice of engineers after the discovery of reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) in the building.

They found that RAAC exists across the majority of the centre, and that it has "major structural issues".

A group has come up with six options for the future of the centre.

They range from doing nothing and closing the site, to demolishing and redeveloping the building.

The options will go out to public consultation shortly and vary from £60,000 to 7.6m in cost.

Now Shropshire Council's Conservative leader, Councillor Lezley Picton, has written to Jacob Young MP, the Government's Levelling Up Minister, to request funding for the project – whatever form it takes.

She said: "Shropshire Council has reluctantly been forced to take the decision to permanently close Whitchurch Civic Centre.

"The Civic Centre provided a popular, multi-purpose venue encompassing the town council offices and their meetings, the town’s library and registrar services as well as tourist information and Shropshire Council services through the community hub.

"Its hire rooms were continually booked up for regular events such as the weekly Friday market, charity coffee mornings, sports clubs, fitness classes, theatre productions, dog training classes, religious services, funeral teas and wedding receptions, to name just a few.

"It was the venue for large events, professional and amateur shows, the annual Blackberry Fair, and public meetings. It has been the venue for the Parliamentary count at general elections and the location for all the Whitchurch electoral polling stations.

“It was the beating heart of the town and the surrounding rural area, and its closure has caused a massive public outcry, because it is such an overwhelming loss to so many communities, not just the town itself. It was used not only by residents of North Shropshire but also those from South Cheshire and the Maelor area of North-East Wales.

“These are significant costs for my council to consider particular at a time when we are facing our greatest financial challenges. We recognise the Government’s desire to level up funding opportunities to areas such as Shropshire.

“I would therefore ask you to advise what Government funding may be available to inform the business cases and options for this vital venue. I am aware that Helen Morgan MP has also written to you and awaits similar advice from your department.”

The options put forward for consideration regarding the building are: do nothing and close the building permanently; RAAC to remain in place and mitigated through internal structural framework, repairs to spalled concrete and full replacement of roof membranes; replacement of structural roof and associated essential items; demolition and clearing of site; demolition and rebuild as existing facilities provision; demolition and redevelopment of the site.

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.