WHITCHURCH Town Council says it has begun the process of finding a new venue for its services as North Shropshire MP Helen Morgan slammed plans to knock down the Civic Centre and replace it with housing.

Shropshire Council Cabinet members will be asked to approve a plan to knock the High Street building down and redevelop it as a "multi-use facility" with residential development at a cost of £1.25m.

Mrs Morgan said the proposals, set out in reports on Tuesday, would ‘rip the heart out of the town’ after engineers said a ‘like-for-like’ rebuild would cost between £6-7 million.

And she suggested that Shropshire Council should be ‘less focused on Shrewsbury’ when it comes to spending money after recommending closing down Whitchurch Civic Centre, Shropshire Council.

READ MORE: Whitchurch Civic Centre to be closed and replaced under Shropshire Council plans

She said: “Residents in Whitchurch are rightly outraged at these proposals.

“Losing the Civic Centre would rip the heart out of Whitchurch unless a replacement is funded.

“Given the council has wasted £51 million on Shrewsbury shopping centres, it’s only fair that a much smaller sum is spent on providing crucial community facilities in Whitchurch.

“Residents in Whitchurch are getting less and less for their council tax as services continue to be slashed – and that’s particularly wrong when rates are already higher than Shrewsbury.

“Shropshire Council have a duty to promote the economic and social development of our market towns, and need to step in here to save our services, not just spend money in Shrewsbury.

“I will be campaigning to seek the funding for a replacement building that can serve Whitchurch residents, provide local services, and continue to be at the centre of the community.”


Whitchurch Town Council’s proper officer Mike McDonald – a former mayor – said the body accepted the outcome of the investigations and admitted the news was not ‘unexpected’.

He added options are being considered but called on Shropshire Council to play its part in finding a new facility that served the community, despite the authority’s lack of commitment to funding a move as covered in the report.

He said: “There are many decisions still to be made, which will become more apparent once further detail is confirmed by Shropshire Council, who are the owners of the Civic Centre complex and our corporate landlords.

“In the meantime, however, primary focus must be the urgent opportunity to revisit and ‘reinvent’ the site, recognising the Civic Centre’s critical role at the heart of Whitchurch in terms of its economic, cultural, and social significance.

“We urge Shropshire Council to undertake thorough needs analyses and consult with our communities to inform a way forward as part of the ‘bigger picture’ in terms of the development of Whitchurch as a growing town – alongside the essential infrastructure needed for it to continue to thrive.

“It is also important that the voice of our young people is captured in this activity. We also welcome Shropshire Council’s commitment to maintaining other community-focused activities within the town, for example the library and registration service.

“Naturally, we remain thoroughly committed to working alongside Shropshire Council to ensure that this happens in a relevant, timely and appropriate manner and have been given an assurance that momentum will be maintained throughout.

“We are also very grateful to our whole community for the support we have received during this period.”

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One Facebook user, Fin Stitch, slammed the move: "This is our library, our theatre, our meeting place, our market hall, our sports hall, our town toilets, our Civic CENTRE.

"These community facilities mustn't just be snatched away to be replaced by a few flats that will bring no benefit to the town."

Dean Carroll, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for housing and assets, added: “We’ve now carefully considered the best options for the site, with the demolition and redevelopment considered the best and most cost-effective option.

“If this recommendation is agreed I can again give local people my reassurance that we will continue to provide library services in the town."