New council HQ 'won't be palace for ourselves' but boost for economy

A regeneration boss has insisted a new £12.5 million Shropshire Council HQ "won't be a palace for ourselves" but a major boost for the economy.

A new Shropshire Council HQ in the Pride Hill Centre in Shrewsbury would cost £12.5 million, the council says
A new Shropshire Council HQ in the Pride Hill Centre in Shrewsbury would cost £12.5 million, the council says

Councillors will be asked to support plans for a new civic centre in Shrewsbury's Pride Hill Centre next week, and officials want to move into the new site by autumn 2023.

With the Riverside Shopping Centre set to be bulldozed the new civic centre would benefit from a river view, and leaders believe it would make it an attractive place for people to want to work.

Councillor Steve Charmley, Shropshire Council's cabinet member for assets, economic growth and regeneration, believes the authority will be getting more value for money for taxpayers by spending on the new centre rather than redeveloping Shirehall.

He said: "We're not going to be spending £30/40/50 million for a new palace for the council. It's going to be a good deal.

"It will bring more spending into the town centre. The Shirehall is an ageing, creaking building and its carbon footprint is atrocious. I think the public will support this and I hope the councillors will."

Shirehall

To meet the Autumn 2023 target, the council needs to get the move from Shirehall rubber-stamped by the summer.

If councillors agree, the next step will be a further report – asking for a final decision – which will then be presented to a future meeting of full Council with a recommended option for the disposal of Shirehall.

The new centre would be paid for with the proceeds of the sale of Shirehall as well as a £5 million grant from the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership.

The upper floor is planned for leisure use, with a cinema and bowling alley among ideas that have been mooted so far.

Councillor Charmley added: "These are very exciting plans and this is a very important milestone for the council, for the future of Shrewsbury town centre, and for the county."

Peter Nutting, leader of Shropshire Council, said: “As well as smaller-scale HQ in Shrewsbury we’re looking at the more flexible use of assets across the county to enable staff to work in, and closer to, local communities. A number of buildings and venues have been identified around the county for staff, councillors and partners to use.”

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