|Founded||1 April 1889|
|First past the post|
|6 May 2021|
(May Shropshire Flourish)
Shropshire Council, known between 1980 and 2009 as Shropshire County Council and from 1889 to 1980 as Salop County Council, is a unitary authority which governs the district of Shropshire, which is part of the ceremonial county of the same name in the West Midlands of England. The council's headquarters are at Shirehall in Shrewsbury, the largest town (with a population of 70,600) in the district and the county town of Shropshire.
The area covered by Shropshire Council is rural and has an area of 3,197 square kilometres (1,234 sq mi), which is 91.7% of the ceremonial county of Shropshire. The remainder of the county is covered by Telford and Wrekin Council, which was established as a unitary authority in 1998. Shropshire was a two-tier county from 1974 until a major reorganistion in 2009, when its districts were abolished and the county council took on their responsibilities. The council has numerous offices across the county, and area committees meet in the former district headquarters at Oswestry, Wem, Ludlow, and Bridgnorth.
The Council was created under the Local Government Act 1888 on 1 April 1889, and was known as Salop County Council until 1 April 1980. It was based at the Old Shirehall in Shrewsbury until it moved to the new Shirehall on Abbey Foregate in 1966.
Between 1974 and 1998, the county contained six districts: Bridgnorth, North Shropshire, Oswestry, Shrewsbury and Atcham, South Shropshire, and The Wrekin. In 1998, the latter district became a unitary authority and was renamed 'Telford and Wrekin', removing it from the non-metropolitan county of Shropshire.
In 2009, the five districts which remained in the non-metropolitan county were abolished and replaced by a single district which covered the whole area, called 'Shropshire'. The county council was not abolished and was instead designated the 'continuing authority' and given the powers and responsibilities of the districts. The councillors of the county council were the councillors of the unitary authority until 4 June 2009, when the first elections to the reformed council were held. Shropshire Council inherited almost all of the properties and assets of the former district councils (some assets were handed to the newly established Shrewsbury Town Council).
The 2009 reorganisation was the result of a 2006 a local government white paper which supported proposals for unitary authorities to be set up in England, particularly in non-metropolitan counties with small populations. The counties would be reorganised into one or more unitary authorities, however existing unitary authorities would be unaffected.
Shropshire County Council, supported by South Shropshire District Council and Oswestry Borough Council, proposed to the government that the non-metropolitan county of Shropshire should become a single unitary authority. This was opposed by the other three districts in the county, with Shrewsbury & Atcham Borough Council unsuccessfully taking their objection to the High Court in a judicial review. The proposal was supported by the Department of Communities and Local Government.
For historical political control and leadership, see Shropshire Council elections.
The council, which is elected in full every four years, consists of 74 councillors from 53 single-member electoral divisions, nine 2-member divisions and one 3-member electoral division. In most instances the electoral division boundaries follow civil parish boundary lines, with the main exceptions being in the larger towns, where the parish contains more than one electoral division. Shrewsbury for example, which was parished in 2008 as part of the change in local governance, contains 16 electoral divisions, one of which is the sole 3-member division that also encompasses the parish of Bayston Hill.
The council has two major positions to which councillors may be appointed:
The Leader and nine additional portfolio holders form the Cabinet. This is effectively the executive branch of the authority.
The 2017 election resulted in the election of 49 Conservative, 12 Liberal Democrat, 8 Labour and 5 others giving a Conservative majority of 24.
|Party||Seats||Gains||Losses||Net gain/loss||Seats %||Votes %||Votes||+/−|
|Federalist Party of the United Kingdom||0.1||79|
The permanent head of the administration of the council is the chief executive. The employees of the council are structured within services, which are themselves structured as part of directorates, each of which is headed by a permanent member of staff. There are two corporate directors – that for people and another for places, with a further three area directors, for the county's geographical subdivisions. Beneath director level there are a number of group managers, who oversee the councils individual service managers. It is the service managers who then oversee much of the council's day to day administrative functions and, with the help of their officers, provide its frontline services. Currently the service managers at Shropshire Council have responsibility for policy areas such as Shared Services, Planning and Education.
The council employs around 6,500 staff, of which around 900 are based at their main Shirehall site. Further sites used by the council are spread across the county and include, amongst others, the Guildhall in Shrewsbury and former district council properties in lesser market towns such as Bridgnorth, Wem, Oswestry and Ludlow. With major reductions in staff numbers in recent years, a re-organisation is taking place, which will see the eventual closure of the Shirehall and other local moves including planning staff moved from Ludlow to Craven Arms. The former offices of South Shropshire District Council in Ludlow (Stone House on Corve Street) closed in 2014.
See also: List of civil parishes in Shropshire
The area covered by the unitary authority is sub-divided into 63 electoral divisions, which are equivalent to wards. Shropshire Council established three area planning committees which deal with town and country planning matters. Originally other functions were planned to be dealt with by the committees, including licensing, but these plans never came to fruition. The area planning committees cover a geographical area based on the former (pre-2009 reform) districts of Shropshire and which consist of electoral divisions with a combined representation of 24 or 25 councillors. The councillors who represent an area's electoral divisions then form the area planning committee for that area.
The area planning committee setup is similar to the arrangements at the neighbouring Powys County Council, where the area covered is sub-divided into three areas, which were the previous (pre-merger) administrative divisions, namely the Counties of Radnorshire, Brecknockshire and Montgomeryshire. The areas also correspond to the Westminster Parliament constituencies of Shropshire, with the North and Central areas being exactly coextensive with constituencies.
|Area planning committee||Former districts||Meeting locations||Land area (km2)||Population (2007 est.)||Electoral divisions||Number of councillors||Parliamentary constituencies|
|North||North Shropshire and Oswestry||Oswestry and Wem||935.25||100400||20 divisions||25||North Shropshire|
|Central||Shrewsbury and Atcham||Shrewsbury||601.63||96200||23 divisions||25||Shrewsbury and Atcham|
|South||Bridgnorth and South Shropshire||Bridgnorth and Ludlow||1660.43||94300||20 divisions||24||Ludlow and The Wrekin (part)|
Committee meetings in the North and South areas did rotate between two meeting places in each of these areas, which were the headquarters of the former district councils, from 2009 to 2013. The Central area had just one meeting location, Shirehall, though some staff are at The Guildhall in Shrewsbury, which was the headquarters of the former borough council. Since 2013 all meetings take place at Shrewsbury's Shirehall.
The county is entirely parished, with the formerly unparished area of Shrewsbury having been parished in 2008, with a single parish covering the town. Most parishes have a parish council, with the towns having a town council (with a mayor chairing), and some less populated parishes having parish meetings instead of a council.
28 "local joint committees" exist, which consist of councillors from both Shropshire Council and the parish council(s) for the locality they cover (often a market town and its hinterland, or a part of Shrewsbury). These committees deal with a variety of very local matters.