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Shropshire Council

Shropshire Council logo
Motto: Floreat Salopia

Shropshire unitary authority area (pink) in the ceremonial and historic county of Shropshire
Status: Unitary authority
Origin: 2009 structural changes
Region: West Midlands
Ceremonial County: Shropshiremarker
- Total
- Rank

3,197 km² / 1,234 mi²

Admin. HQ: Shrewsburymarker
ONS code: 00GG
NUTS code: UKG22
ISO code: GB-SHR
- Total ( )
- Rank
- Density

90.99 / km²

Ethnicity: 97.3% White
1.2% S.Asian
Shropshire Council
Leadership: Leader & Cabinet
Executive: Conservative
Shropshire Council is a unitary authority in Shropshiremarker, United Kingdommarker.

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 - Bridgnorthmarker, North Shropshiremarker, Oswestrymarker, South Shropshiremarker and Shrewsbury & Atchammarker. 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 Englandmarker, on the border with Walesmarker.

The council's seat is at The Shirehall in Shrewsburymarker, 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 Oswestrymarker, Wemmarker, Ludlowmarker and Bridgnorthmarker. 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 Cornwallmarker, Wiltshiremarker, County Durham and Northumbriamarker.

The logo for Shropshire Council is the former county council coat of arms with "Shropshire Council" written to the side, in white and blue.


The ceremonial county and unitary authorities from 1 April 2009; the larger "Shropshire" unitary authority (1) and Telford and Wrekin (2)
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 Cornwallmarker, Northumberlandmarker 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 DCLGmarker 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).


See also: List of civil parishes in Shropshire, List of Parliamentary constituencies in Shropshire.

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.

Sub-divisions of Shropshire Council
Area committee Former districts Location(s) of headquarters Land area (km²) Population (2007 est.) Number of councillors Parliamentary constituencies
North North Shropshiremarker and Oswestrymarker Oswestrymarker and Wemmarker 935.25 100400 25 North Shropshire
Central Shrewsbury and Atchammarker Shrewsburymarker 601.63 96200 24 Shrewsbury and Atchammarker
South Bridgnorthmarker and South Shropshiremarker Bridgnorthmarker and Ludlowmarker 1660.43 94300 25 Ludlowmarker and The Wrekinmarker (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 Parliamentmarker 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 council

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 Hillmarker.

Main positions

The council has three major positions to which councillors may be appointed:

  • Chairman - the ceremonial head of the council
  • Speaker - who chair 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
  • Resources
  • Community Services
  • Children & Young People's Services

Sheila Healy has been appointed as the interim Chief Executive.

See also

External links


  1. Mark Pritchard
  2. Philip Dunne
  3. Daniel Kawczynski
  4. Owen Paterson
  5. Shropshire (Structural Change) Order 2008

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