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Shropshire Council logo
Motto: Floreat Salopia
|File:Shropshire Telford and Wrekin.PNG|
Shropshire unitary authority area (pink) in the ceremonial and historic county of Shropshire
|Origin:||2009 structural changes|
3,197 km² / 1,234 mi²
- Total (2008 est.)
90.99 / km²
|Leadership:||Leader & Cabinet|
It replaced the former two-tier local government structure in the non-metropolitan county of Shropshire on 1 April 2009, which involved its immediate predecessor, Shropshire County Council, and five non-metropolitan districts - Bridgnorth, North Shropshire, Oswestry, South Shropshire and Shrewsbury & Atcham. These districts and their councils were abolished in the reorganisation.
The area covered by Shropshire Council is 3,197 square kilometres, or 1,234 square miles. This is 91.7% of the ceremonial county of Shropshire, with the remainder being covered by the other unitary authority in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin Borough Council, which was established as a unitary authority in 1998. Shropshire is located in the West Midlands region of England, on the border with Wales.
The council's seat is at The Shirehall in Shrewsbury, the largest town (with a population of 70,600) in the unitary authority's area and historic county town of Shropshire. The council however has numerous offices across the county and area committees will meet in the former district headquarters at Oswestry, Wem, Ludlow and Bridgnorth. The area covered by Shropshire Council is rural, with the second largest town being Oswestry with a population of just 16,600. Prior to the 2009 reorganisation, Shropshire was the least populated two-tier area in England.
Conversion to unitary status
The replacement of the two-tier system, which had been established in 1974, of five district councils and one county council, was part of the 2009 structural changes to local government in England. The county council became the continuing authority, though the change to unitary status led to the council dropping the word "County" from its title. Similar conversions occurred in 2009 in Cornwall, Wiltshire, County Durham and Northumbria.
In 2006 a local government white paper supported proposals for new unitary authorities to be set up in England in certain areas. Existing non-metropolitan counties with small populations, such as Cornwall, Northumberland and Shropshire, were favoured by the government to be covered by unitary authorities in one form or another (the county either becoming a single unitary authority, or be broken into a number of unitary authorities). For the counties in the 2009 reorganisation, existing unitary authority areas within the counties' ceremonial boundaries (such as Telford and Wrekin) were not to be affected and no boundary changes were planned.
Shropshire County Council, supported by South Shropshire District Council and Oswestry Borough Council, proposed to the government that the non-metropolitan county of Shropshire become a single unitary authority. This was opposed by the other 3 districts in the county, with Shrewsbury & Atcham Borough Council taking their objection to the High Court in a judicial review.
The proposal to create a Shropshire unitary authority, covering the area of the existing non-metropolitan county, was supported by the DCLG and 1 April 2009 was set as the date for the re-organisation to take place. The first elections to Shropshire Council will not take place however until 4 June 2009.
The new council inherited almost all of the properties and assets of the former district councils and county council (some assets were handed to the newly established Shrewsbury Town Council).
The area covered by the unitary authority is sub-divided into 63 electoral divisions, which are essentially wards. Shropshire Council has established three area committees, which deal with more local matters such as licensing and planning. The area committees cover a geographical area based on the former (pre-2009 reforms) 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 committee for that area.
|Area committee||Former districts||Location(s) of headquarters||Land area (km²)||Population (2007 est.)||Number of councillors||Parliamentary constituencies|
|North||North Shropshire and Oswestry||Oswestry and Wem||935.25||100400||25||North Shropshire|
|Central||Shrewsbury and Atcham||Shrewsbury||601.63||96200||24||Shrewsbury and Atcham|
|South||Bridgnorth and South Shropshire||Bridgnorth and Ludlow||1660.43||94300||25||Ludlow and The Wrekin (part)|
Committee meetings in the North and South areas will rotate between the two headquarters; the four headquarters of these areas were the headquarters of the former district councils in these two areas. The Central area has just one meeting location, The Shirehall, though some staff will be at The Guildhall, which was the headquarters of the former borough council.
This 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. The areas also correspond to the Westminster Parliament constituencies of Shropshire, with the North and Central areas being exactly coextensive with constituencies.
The county is entirely parished, with the formerly unparished area of Shrewsbury having been parished in 2008, with a single parish covering the town. A number of "local joint committees" exist, which consist of councillors from both Shropshire Council and the parish council(s) in a particular locality.
The current council, of 48 members, which was elected as the county council in 2005, will remain until elections take place on 4 June 2009. The council will, as from those elections, consist 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 will follow parish boundary lines, with the main exceptions being in the larger towns, where the parish will contain more than one electoral division. Shrewsbury for example, which was parished in 2008 as part of the change in local governance, will contain 16 electoral divisions, one of which is the sole 3-member division that also encompasses the parish of Bayston Hill.
The council has three major positions to which councillors may be appointed:
- Chairman - the ceremonial head of the council
- Speaker - who chairs full council meetings
- Leader - the leader of the controlling political group
The Leader and 9 additional portfolio holders form the Cabinet. This is effectively the executive branch of the authority.
The permanent head of the administration of the council is the Chief Executive. The employees of the council are structured within 5 departments, 1 of which is headed by the Chief Executive and the other 4 each being headed by a permanent director. The structure of the unitary authority is:
- Office of the Chief Executive
- Legal & Democratic
- Performance & Partnerships
- Human Resources & Development
- Development Services
- Community Services
- Children & Young People's Services
Sheila Healy has been appointed as the interim Chief Executive.
- 2009 structural changes to local government in England
- Shropshire local elections
- Shrewsbury Town Council
- Telford and Wrekin
- ^ upmystreet.com: Mark Pritchard
- ^ upmystreet.com: Philip Dunne
- ^ upmystreet.com: Daniel Kawczynski
- ^ upmystreet.com: Owen Paterson
- ^ Shropshire (Structural Change) Order 2008
- ^ "County's new logo design chosen". BBC News. 10 September 2008. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/shropshire/7608918.stm. Retrieved 6 July 2009.