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£7.5 million revamp plan for Shropshire Council headquarters

Shrewsbury | News | Published:

Shropshire Council's Shirehall headquarters will undergo a £7.5 million refurbishment to "bring the building to modern standards".

The information has come to light after Shropshire Council asked for consultants to bid for a contract for the work at the Shrewsbury site.

In the document the authority says significant investment is required to bring it up to modern standard.

The brief talks of the need for money-making opportunities, and confirms that it could include letting part of the building out. It lists the proposed budget for the refurbishment as £7.5m.

Clive Wright, chief executive of Shropshire Council, confirmed the project and said: "Shropshire Council has reduced, and continues to reduce, the number of buildings we occupy to lower costs and to ensure that funds are focused on services rather than buildings.

"A greater proportion of our staff are now located in Shirehall, and as more staff relocate to Shirehall it is important that the building is configured to maximise the space utilised. There are also opportunities to bring other organisations into the building, and this increases opportunities to reduce duplication of effort and cost, to again get more out of the public purse and enable people to access the information and services they need more easily."

Mr Wright said the plan is to ensure the building is fit for another 50 years.

He said: "Shirehall is now 50 years old and, whilst assumed structurally sound with its key mechanical and electrical systems still viable, a number of years of minimal maintenance has had a negative impact on the quality and performance of the building. A number of key items and elements have exceeded their expected lifespan and significant investment is now required to bring the building up to modern standards.

"We're looking for a consultant to undertake a review of the current building and, with consideration to the operational and strategic objectives of Shropshire Council, develop a scheme that shows how the building can most effectively be refurbished, reconfigured and updated – and 'future-proofed' for another 50 years or more.

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"This provides an opportunity to consider options to reconfigure the building to make it more suited to modern working, and to create income-generating opportunities including creating innovative shared and/or lettable space."

The announcement dispels any question marks over the building's future.

Former council leader Keith Barrow had wanted to sell the site and move the council to smaller premises.

However, when he was replaced by Councillor Malcolm Pate in December 2015, the new leader said the authority was committed to the building and would not be considering a move.

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