WHITCHURCH market stall holders said they are ‘horrified’ and ‘really sad’ about the future of the Civic Centre, while town officials are set to put up a ‘big fight’.

Shropshire Council's Cabinet is proposing to demolish High Street building, with a multi-use replacement including homes in its place.

The Herald has spoken to market stall holders who gathered for their weekly trade this Friday, January 12.


Judy Bellingham , whose daughter has set up the town-wide petition to save the Whitchurch Civic Centre from being replaced, has been in the market for five to six years.

She said: “I’d be horrified to see what they do with it.

“A lot of people use it, and it would just be a shame to see such a cultural hub be lost.

“They can’t go ahead with their plans – we need somewhere that is multi purposeful.”

Whitchurch Herald: Judy Bellingham.Judy Bellingham. (Image: Ana Cazan)David Welsh has had his stall since 1979, and was 19 when he started trading.

He added: “I’ve been here for 40 odd years and for it to be lost it’s really sad.

“The town itself was struggling years ago but now it’s grown a lot.

“Sadly, housing developments will make them money.”

Whitchurch Herald: David Welsh.David Welsh. (Image: Ana Cazan)Leslie Gocher, from Ellesmere, works for Vermeulens Bakery, has had the stall in Whitchurch for 12 year and believes the closure would be ‘terrible’.

“It’s our livelihood really”, she said “I think it [closing] would be terrible – it’s not what people want.”

Leslie continued: “Yeah, there are supermarkets, but what they don’t realise is that here people can get fresh food, and also get together.

“It would be awful for them to make housing here, people need entertainment.”

Whitchurch Herald: Leslie Gocher.Leslie Gocher. (Image: Ana Cazan)At Friday’s market trading was also the town’s Mayor, Cllr Andy Hall, who added that they will keep on fighting against the permanent closure.

He said: “On behalf of Whitchurch Town Council we are devasted with the news of the proposals going to the Cabinet on Wednesday.

“We’re not prepared to lose the Civic Centre – and we are going to put up a big fight to keep it.

“Its an economical and cultural value to our town is immeasurable.”

This Saturday, January 13, there will be an open public meeting behind the Civic Centre in the Market Hall from 2 to 3pm.

There, Cllr Tom Biggins, Cllr Peggy Mullock and Cllr Paul Wynn, together with Helen Morgan, MP for North Shropshire, will get together with the people to listen and make a plan.

Talking about Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting, Cllr Biggins added: “I am totally opposed to this – I believed passionately as a Whitchurch man and someone who has represented the town for many years, that the Civic Centre should either be repaired or if it is beyond repair we should have services provided that are even better than the existing ones.