Leader of Shropshire Council commits to leaving Shirehall within years

The leader of Shropshire Council has said she is committed to leaving Shirehall, and expects the authority to have a new base within three years.

Shropshire Council leader Lezley Picton expects the authority to have a new base within the next few years
Shropshire Council leader Lezley Picton expects the authority to have a new base within the next few years

Councillor Lezley Picton, the leader of the council's Conservative administration, said there are a number of options for a new 'Shirehall' in Shrewsbury's town centre, and that it would be one of the earliest items considered by the cabinet next year.

She said options are expected to go to a meeting of the cabinet in February, while she also revealed there have been a number of approaches from organisations interested in developing the current Shirehall site if the council leaves.

Councillor Picton said: "It is no secret I have always been of the opinion we should not be spending a significant amount of money on this building. It is too big and I have always been one for putting our money where our mouth is and getting our staff into town."

A plan to spend £25 million on refurbishing the current site was abandoned last year – and the costs of such a project are expected to have significantly increased since.

Councillor Picton said: "It would be an awful lot more now but fundamentally the building does not fit our purpose any more."

Since the start of the pandemic the majority of the council's Shirehall staff have worked from home.

Shirehall, Shropshire Council headquarters

Councillor Picton said she expected decisions on what would happen early in the New Year.

She said: "We will be moving. No firm decision has been made but I would like to think in three years we will be moved."

There have been suggestions the council could create a new base as part of the re-development of the Riverside area of Shrewsbury, but Councillor Picton said it was not the only option.

She added: "Nothing has been ruled out at the moment. It is sort of linked to the Shrewsbury town centre re-development because one option is to have offices within that re-development of the town centre, but it is fair to say it is not the only option we are looking at.

"The decision has been made, we are going, it is just where."

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