Our current campaigns and concerns

Campaign to save Shropshire’s iconic Shirehall

A landmark civic building designed to make a striking impression on those arriving in the town from London, and, according to Pevsner, “the major monument to post-war modernism in the county”, one of Shropshire’s most important 20th century buildings is under threat.

In September 2020 Shropshire Council indicated it would rather sell the building and move to the town centre. The Guildhall becoming vacant has accelerated these plans, potentially disposing of the site for housing.

Last year (2023) Shrewsbury Civic Society organised two sell-out talks: a personal view from local conservation architect Andrew Arrol that filled the Council Chamber, and a superb presentation of the building’s history and cultural value from the Twentieth Century Society, which has placed the Shirehall on its top ten buildings-at-risk list. Our exhibition of RIBA photographs from 1967, entitled “Shirehall: Civic Pride in Architecture” drew in over 800 visitors



These highly successful events are testimony to the level of local interest and concern about the building. The Shirehall tells part of our national story, capturing a dramatic turning point in post-war history in which buildings helped to shape a more democratic, open and less stuffy society – the true spirit of the 1960s

“Reception area 1967: stunning geometry gives drama to Shirehall’s lightfilled spaces. Note the polished parquet flooring.”

It was built to a high specification with aquamarine ceramic tiles and Portland stone among materials used externally and specially commissioned works of art embellishing its interior.

Meanwhile, it is full of untapped potential for future uses and adaptation, though its state of neglect creates a negative impression that can obscure these possibilities. In a climate emergency, there is also a moral imperative to repurpose and reuse.

If you would like to join us in our campaign to save our county’s irreplaceable 60s heritage, please contact us on shycs2023@gmail.com.

For further information, we have produced a leaflet entitled “A Modernist Icon under Threat”, which is available free at the Bear Steps Gallery


KEEP IT GREEN: Our policy on the Destruction of Front Gardens

Increasingly, planning applications are made in the suburbs of Shrewsbury to turn part, or the whole, of a front garden into a car parking space. While such applications sometimes only involve part destruction of a front garden, and we may make additional comments on specific applications, Shrewsbury Civic Society has a policy of objecting to them on the following grounds:

1: The car parking application involves the removal of the essential character of a property by replacing the front garden with tarmac, concrete, solid or stone hard-standing.

2: It removes lawns, shrubs, hedges, trees and plants which add character and essential variation to the local environment.

3: One application may not alter the character of neighbourhood significantly, but each application adds up to a major change. This would be especially damaging in conservation areas.

4: The creation of more car parking surfaces increases surface water run-off which adds to general surface water drainage problems.

Shrewsbury Civic Society believes that the Local Authority should:

  • Challenge the assumption that the removal of neighbouring front gardens sets a precedent for the removal of another one. A policy of refusal for such applications should be adopted to stop the problem becoming worse. Each potential owner of such a property would then know that any application will be refused in all but exceptional circumstances.
  • Address the limited space available for car parking by helping residents to find communal parking nearby. Where possible, existing carriageways could be reorganised to allow a combination of angled car parking, traffic calming and landscaping.