Whitchurch Town Council – New Premises Announced

We are delighted to announce that Whitchurch Town Council will shortly move to new temporary premises, whilst work continues elsewhere to find solutions to the Civic Centre’s structural issues.

The new “Town Hall and Community Hub” breathes life back into the Old Police Station on Station Road and will provide a focus for many of the community groups previously meeting in the Civic Centre – as well as a new home for the offices of Whitchurch Town Council. The building itself, originally opening in 1860, has been closed since West Mercia Police vacated the premises in 2018.

Whitchurch Mayor, Cllr Andy Hall said “We are grateful for the generosity of local businessmen, Keith and Graham Chase of Chase Enterprises, for the opportunity to ensure a future for this wonderful building and provide a home for the activities of many local community groups. As one of the oldest buildings in Whitchurch, it has been a pleasure to see the site returning to its former glory … it has been of paramount importance that we found premises capable of offering appropriate facilities to the community and we have plans to develop the site for additional community benefit in the forthcoming years.”

Mike McDonald, Whitchurch Town Council Proper Officer said: “Not only do we hope to welcome back many of the community groups who were displaced following the enforced closure of the Civic Centre, and those who have endured within the Sports/Market Hall, we hope to attract new groups to the hub and have also been in contact with a number of potential partners who could benefit from a shared space in an easily accessible location. These conversations have been very encouraging so far – we had hoped that DVSA would be one of those partners, but sadly they had other plans. Naturally, we have also approached Shropshire Council with an offer to house a temporary library solution and we are waiting for them to assess their options.”

Current work to update the building has been taking place over the last couple of months and it is anticipated that Whitchurch Town Council will occupy its offices sometime in March, welcoming community groups from April onwards. The site will be subject to an ongoing programme of development to create the best environment for the Whitchurch community to hold meetings, events and much more.

Both Andy and Mike thanked the community for their understanding and support during what has been a very difficult time for Whitchurch Town Council since losing its permanent base on the High Street, they added “we fully appreciate the difficulties the Civic Centre closure has caused for many people, not least our own staff and all the uncertainty that the situation has brought with it. This has been out of our control, but now we hope to bring some stability back to our services and community offering … and the new Town Hall & Community Hub does just that.”

Keith Chase of Chase Enterprises said: “When we heard about the closure of Whitchurch Civic Centre, we were concerned that services previously offered by the Town Council may be lost for some time. Keen that this shouldn’t happen, we met with the Proper Officer and Councillors to discuss the use of the Old Police Station as a temporary home for their operations alongside space to provide accommodation for many of the groups which previously used the Civic Centre.
It has been a pleasure to work with the Town Council to adapt our building, under a short-term lease, to help provide both office and community spaces, whilst the future of the Civic Centre is decided.”

Further news on the opening and opportunities will be featured on the Town Council’s website, whitchurchtowncouncil.gov.uk and Facebook Page @wtcwhitchurch. The Town Council will also be in direct contact with groups affected by the Civic Centre closure in order to assess suitability for them to use the new facilities on offer.

Background Note:
In September 2023, Whitchurch Civic Centre was closed by Shropshire Council, the Corporate Landlord, due to the discovery of RAAC concrete in the roof, exacerbated by other structural faults elsewhere within the building. A series of invasive structural surveys were undertaken to determine the extent of damage to the building’s integrity.
Following a public meeting in January, which demonstrated the strength of support for the Civic Centre’s facilities, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet agreed to form a Working Group to consider a number of options for the building complex.
This work is ongoing and will take a considerable period of time. Whitchurch Town Council will continue to contribute to this Working Group and is fully supportive of public consultation to ascertain the best solution to meet the needs of our growing town.
The Sports / Market Hall continues to be operated independently by Whitchurch Town Council for the time being and is home to the weekly Friday Market and many sporting activities throughout the week. The Sports/Market Hall is also owned and leased by Shropshire Council.

Pictured (L-R) Cllr Rose Hall, Deputy Mayor; Cllr Andy Hall, Mayor; Sheila Chase; Mike McDonald, Proper Officer; Keith Chase

Further details: Mike McDonald, Proper Officer, 01948 665761 Email – clerk@whitchurchcouncil.uk

21st February 2024