31/01/2013 - Permalink

Council in negotiations to sell Edinburgh House in Wem

Related topics: Community / Partner organisations

Shropshire Council is in negotiations with Meres and Mosses Housing Association (MMHA) – part of Shropshire Housing Group – to sell its Edinburgh House HQ in Wem.

The sale is proposed as part of Shropshire Council’s review of its buildings and property, which aims to help the council meet its savings targets. The building is not currently fully occupied and the sale will enable the council to raise much-needed capital, while making significant savings in day-to-day running costs.

The sale would provide MMHA with office premises, and provide its customers with access to its housing service within Wem, while saving the organisation money by not having to build new premises.

Under the plans, MMHA would use Edinburgh House for delivering its housing services, with Shropshire Council remaining as a tenant and continuing to provide council services from the building.

The proposals are due to be considered by Shropshire Council’s Cabinet in March 2013.

Under the plans a Shropshire Council customer service point would remain at Edinburgh House to enable local people to access council services, including revenues, benefits and housing options.

The council chamber and ante room would continue to be used for wedding and other civil ceremonies, for town and parish council meetings, for meetings of Shropshire Council’s planning committee, for some inquests, and as a polling station.

Part of the building would continue to be used as the police station.

If the sale is agreed by Cabinet, Shropshire Council will continue to occupy part of the building and MMHA would move into the building in spring 2014 after carrying out refurbishment work.

Keith Barrow, Leader of Shropshire Council, said:

“With Edinburgh House currently only around one third full the sale of the building provides an opportunity for the council to raise much-needed capital, and make much-needed savings. However, and very importantly, under the plans, local people would be able to continue to access key council services in Wem, and the building would remain open for use by the local community.

“The increase in occupancy of the building will also ensure that a larger number of people use local shops and services, providing a welcome boost to the local economy.”

Paul Sutton, Executive Director of Assets and Development with Shropshire Housing Group, said:

“The acquisition of the existing building in Wem would allow Shropshire Housing Group to continue to develop an approach to multi-use buildings in our important market towns. Edinburgh House will be developed with the same principles as the Gateway in Craven Arms.  We will invest significant funds into refurbishing the building, bringing it up to modern day standards for office accommodation whilst enhancing the customer experience from a multi-functional reception service. This opportunity is very exciting and continues to maintain and create employment opportunities in Wem.”

Pauline Dee and Chris Mellings, local Shropshire Councillors for Wem, said:

“It is important that local residents will have access to officers who can answer their queries quickly without having to travel out of the area.  We are very pleased that Edinburgh House will be used to its full potential.”