Shropshire Council

Reasons for the planned refurbishment

Partner entranceThere are a number of reasons for the planned refurbishment:

Provide office space for council staff: directly employed Shropshire Council staff will continue to need a suitable office base. Shirehall can continue to serve this purpose. It is owned by the council, and therefore in the council’s control to adapt and reconfigure to meet its needs. It has good transport links to the rest of the county. It is a well-known building, which, whilst of its time, has a provenance and striking aesthetic, which is befitting to a local authority and the local community

Need to modernise the building: Shirehall is now ‘of its time’, resolutely exhibiting almost exactly the same plan as in its original drawings. Furthermore the building in its current state presents an image to the public and partners which is far from ideal, appearing old fashioned and unwelcoming and disorientating for staff and visitors alike

Investment urgently required: the building is structurally sound and its key mechanical and electrical systems remain viable, but a number of years with minimal planned maintenance has had a negative impact on the quality and performance of the building, which now needs to be addressed urgently. A number of key elements have exceeded their expected lifespan, and significant investment is required to bring the building to modern standards

Revenue generation: in the light of reduced revenue funding and changes to business rates the council’s focus for our own land holdings is on revenue generation, and Shirehall offers great potential for linking with public and private sector partners, both through the One Public Estate programme and via commercial opportunities, to maximise the potential of the site to generate ongoing revenue contributions

Cost savings through sharing: sharing Shirehall with other public sector bodies via the One Public Estate programme will also enable us to share a number of business functions and operational costs, leading to savings and potential efficiencies

Greater commercial focus: Shropshire Council is also seeking to become a more commercially focused organisation, but the image Shirehall currently portrays to business partners is tired and outdated. Our base needs to demonstrate that we are open to business and a safe pair of hands in which to trust the future placemaking of Shropshire

Investment in improvements to Shirehall will provide a number of significant benefits and opportunities including:

  • Improved public perception, customer experience, revitalised sense of civic pride and sense of place
  • Improved working environment for staff, leading to improved efficiencies through flexible and agile working and opportunities for collaborative working
  • Reduced running costs, through significant energy savings, increased efficiencies and reduction in empty desks/meeting room voids, along with reduced maintenance costs
  • Rationalisation of public estate to generate further letting/disposal opportunities, making land available for housing and business growth, reduce overall running costs and maintenance liabilities
  • Rental income from third parties, along with opportunities for some shared facilities, given the location of Shirehall on a key town centre access route into and its proximity to residential areas
  • Opportunities to provide much-needed improvements to the car parking requirements and the development of an effective travel plan

This is project-acknowledged by Central Government Cabinet Office, the Ministry of Housing Communities & Local Government and the Local Government Association as being an exemplar within the One Public Estate programme which could be used as a demonstrator of good practice to other local authorities.