Shropshire Council rejects call to refurbish ‘broken’ Shirehall rather than relocate

Shropshire’s Shirehall building is broken, technically, functionally, economically and environmentally, one of the council’s cabinet members has said.

Shirehall Shrewsbury Shropshire Council
Shirehall Shrewsbury Shropshire Council

As the full council met for the first time in the council chamber since the pandemic lockdown, there was a call from the Save Our Shirehall campaign group to overturn a decision to sell the building for development and instead create a civic hub on the Riverside in Shrewsbury town centre.

Campaigners want the local authority to instead refurbish the building, claiming the work could be done for £5 million.

But cabinet member, Councillor Dean Carroll said that kind of spending would do very little to provide any form of longevity for the building.

He said that the opted to repair and refurbish the Shirehall had been estimated to cost £24 million.

“Due to inflation this figure is now likely to be in excess of £30 million. The building is broken, technically, functionally, economically and in terms of its green credentials,” he said.

“It wastes energy has enormous heat loss and there is poor user comfort with staff being other too cold or too hot.” Councillor Carroll said that the decision to move the civic hub to the town centre would give users excellent transport links with the railway station, park and ride and parking nearby.

“We can also use the move to mitigate the flooding problems in the area.”

He said that no decision had been taken on the demolition of the building a recognised example of brutalist architecture.

“It may be that the developers may wish to retain or convert the building in some form,” he said.

Save Our Shirehall founder member John Crowe said: “There are just so many factors and features that make re-use of our basically sound Shirehall the sensible and more responsible option.”

“With its civic-hub plan Shropshire Council leadership is so out of touch with modern realities in which, besides excessive financial costs, there are high carbon costs arising from disposing of, demolishing and re-developing the Shirehall site along with carbon costs of a new-build civic-hub. These whole-life carbon costs must be properly assessed.”

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