Shrewsbury and Atcham
|Borough of Shrewsbury and Atcham|
Shown within Shropshire non-metropolitan county
|• Origin||Borough of Shrewsbury
Atcham Rural District
|• Succeeded by||Shropshire unitary authority|
|Government||Shrewsbury and Atcham Borough Council|
|• Motto||Floreat Salopia|
Shrewsbury was the only town in the borough; Atcham, although itself only a village, was included in the name as a reflection of the incorporation into the borough of the former Atcham Rural District. Other notable villages included Alberbury, Bayston Hill, Bomere Heath, Condover, Cressage, Cross Houses, Dorrington, Ford, Hanwood, Minsterley, Montford Bridge, Nesscliffe, Pontesbury, Uffington and Westbury.
The Borough of Shrewsbury and Atcham covered 602 square kilometres (232 sq mi), which was 19% of the non-metropolitan county of Shropshire. To the north of the borough was the North Shropshire district and the Borough of Oswestry and to the south were the South Shropshire and Bridgnorth districts. The borough lay in the middle of Shropshire and on the border with Wales. A 2006 estimate put the population of the borough at 95,900 (this accounted for approx 40% of the total population for the non-metropolitan county).
The River Severn runs through the area and in recent years (1998, 2000 twice, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2007) has brought severe and frequent flooding to parts of Shrewsbury and large areas of the countryside.
The district and its council was abolished on 1 April 2009 when the new Shropshire unitary authority was established, as part of the 2009 structural changes to local government in England. The Central area committee of the new Shropshire Council covers exactly the same area as the borough did.
The borough was formed on 1 April 1974, under the Local Government Act 1972 when the municipal borough of Shrewsbury was merged with Atcham Rural District, to form a new non-metropolitan district. This was initially called Shrewsbury, but was renamed Shrewsbury and Atcham on 12 June 1974 by the new council.
In 2004, when the borough council moved to their new Guildhall, it was suggested that it revert its name to simply "Shrewsbury Borough Council" - this never happened though, as the borough covered a wide area of countryside beyond the town of Shrewsbury and many felt that it should keep its historical name too.
The borough unsuccessfully applied for city status in the 2000 and 2002 competitions.
|Population figures for Shrewsbury & Atcham borough. Source: A Vision of Britain through Time|
The last council had forty elected members, called councillors, of which 22 were Conservative, 10 were Labour, 5 were Liberal Democrat and 3 were Independents.
The Conservative group was therefore the largest, with a majority, and had control of the council.
The headquarters of the borough council were on Frankwell Quay in Frankwell, Shrewsbury, and can be accessed from the town centre by the Frankwell suspension footbridge. The new Guildhall lies near to the River Severn, although it is protected firstly by the flood defences built to defend Frankwell and then also by its own flood defences. Three flagpoles outside the Guildhall fly the flag of St. George, the Union Flag and a flag depicting the Salopian Crest.
The borough council moved to the present Guildhall on 19 March 2004 from the old Guildhall, now known as "Newport House" (which was its original name before it became a Guildhall), on Dogpole. Newport House has since been converted into a residential building.
The borough council owned much land and property in the Shrewsbury and Atcham area. Shrewsbury Castle was owned by the borough council, as was the town museum and art gallery, which is located in the 'Rowley's House' building. The council also owned various car parks, offices, some public conveniences, large areas of parkland and a number of the town's bridges. Ownersrship of two main entertainment venues was also held by the council: The Music Hall, which holds the town theatre, its tourist information centre and a cafe, and The Old Market Hall, which was recently renovated to house a small cinema and cafe. The Bear Steps buildings were also owned by the council, although they are occupied by the town's civic society. The council once owned the Clive House Museum, but this was sold off and is now no longer a museum.
The borough council's housing stock was sold off in 2001 to a private social housing company, Severnside. The council earned some £60 million from this sale and this money has been used in part to buy and build their new Guildhall, build the new sports facilities at Sundorne and other large projects around the town, which are either under way or proposed.
The rural part of the borough had always been parished but the urban part of the borough (the town of Shrewsbury) was unparished until 2008. A town council for Shrewsbury was established in 2009 - the Mayor of Shrewsbury and Atcham Borough was also mayor for the town. There continues to be a Town Clerk however, as well as other ceremonial posts such as the sword bearer and mace bearers. The 40 councillors of the borough council represented wards (such as Sundorne ward) and a Mayor and Deputy Mayor were appointed by the council every year. The Mayor chaired full council meetings, which took place 6/7 times a year, and also had ceremonial duties. The administrative side of the council was headed by the Leader of the council (normally the leader of the party with the most councillors) and there was a permanent head of the local civil service, the Chief Executive.
There were 24 wards in total. The Shrewsbury Urban area is shown in Orange, within the larger Shrewsbury & Atcham district.
The former borough area is also a United Kingdom Parliament constituency, returning an MP. The boundaries of the borough and the constituency are the same, which is convenient. Paul Marsden was voted in as a Labour candidate in the 2001 general election and stood down before the 2005 general election, when the Conservative Daniel Kawczynski won the seat.
There has been a continuous succession of Mayors of Shrewsbury since at least 1638. In 1974, after the local government re-organisation, the style changed to "Mayor of Shrewsbury and Atcham Borough". The last Mayor of Shrewsbury and Atcham was Cllr Anne Chebsey.
It is customary today that a Mayor is in office for only one year and that the Deputy Mayor becomes Mayor. The position of Mayor is non-political and councillors were elected to be Deputy Mayor (and then usually a year later, Mayor) on basis of seniority. For example, in 2004-2005, both the Mayor and Deputy Mayor were Liberal Democrats, but control of the council was Conservative. A Mayor could come from outside the town of Shrewsbury - the only rule was that he or she was a Shrewsbury and Atcham Borough councillor.
Both the Mayor and Deputy Mayor wore their traditional "chains of office" at ceremonial occasions, which many mayors and chairmen of towns, boroughs and counties in England have. The Mayor was given the prefix title of "The Right Worshipful".