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Shrewsbury and Atcham
|Borough of Shrewsbury and Atcham|
Shown within Shropshire administrative county
|Administrative and Ceremonial County:||Shropshire|
- Total (2002 est.)
159 / km²
Crest of Shrewsbury and Atcham Borough
|Shrewsbury and Atcham Borough Council|
|Leadership:||Leader & Cabinet|
|Mayor:||Councillor Miles Kenny (Underdale ward)|
|Deputy Mayor:||Councillor David Stanley Farmer (Bagley ward)|
The borough was formed in 1974, when the Borough of Shrewsbury was merged with Atcham Rural District, to form the Borough of Shrewsbury and Atcham. In 2004, when the borough council moved to their new Guildhall, it was suggested that it change its name to simply "Shrewsbury Borough Council" - this never happened though, as the borough covers a wide area of countryside beyond the town of Shrewsbury and many felt that it should keep its historical name too.
Shrewsbury is the only actual town in the borough and Atcham is included in the name of the borough for reasons mentioned above, although it is only a village. Other notable villages include Nesscliffe, Uffington, Pontesbury, Ford, Bayston Hill, Cressage, Condover, Minsterley, Westbury and Bomere Heath.
The Borough of Shrewsbury and Atcham covers 602 square kilometres, or 232 square miles, which is 19% of the administrative county of Shropshire.
The borough unsuccesfully applied for city status in the 2000 and 2002 competitions. To the north of the borough is the North Shropshire district and the Borough of Oswestry and to the south are the South Shropshire and Bridgnorth districts. The borough lies in the middle of Shropshire and on the border with Wales. A 2005 estimate put the population of the borough at 95'800 (this accounts for approx 40% of the total population for the administrative county).
The River Severn runs through the borough and in recent years has brought severe and frequent floodings to parts of Shrewsbury and large areas of the countryside.
The headquarters of the borough council is 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 English flag, the Union Jack (the UK flag) and the Shrewsbury flag (the Salopian crest shown on the right).
The borough council own much land and property in the Shrewsbury and Atcham area. A lot of this has been inherited from the former Corporation of Shrewsbury, for instance Shrewsbury Castle. The council also own various car parks, offices, some public conveniences, many acres of parkland and some bridges. Rowley's House, now the Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallary, is also owned by the council, as is the Music Hall (theatre and tourist information) and Old Market Hall (now a cinema) buildings on the Square in the heart of the town.
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 proposed sports facilities at Sundorne and other large projects around the town either under way or proposed.
The council once owned the Clive House Museum, but this was sold off and is now no longer a museum.
The rural part of the borough is parished but the urban part of the borough (the town of Shrewsbury) is unparished. Shrewsbury has no town council, the Mayor of Shrewsbury and Atcham Borough is also mayor for the town. The 40 councillors of the borough council represent wards (such as Sundorne ward) and a Mayor and Deputy Mayor are appointed by the council every year. The Mayor chairs full council meetings, which take place 6/7 times a year, and also has ceremonial duties. The administrative side of the council is headed by the Leader of the council (normally the leader of the party with the most councillors) and there is a permanent head of the local civil service, the Chief Executive.
The 43 parishes of the borough can be found here:
The 24 wards of the borough can be found here:
The borough is also a UK Parliament constituency, returning an MP. The boundaries of the borough and the constituency are the same, which is convenient. The current MP of Shrewsbury and Atcham is Paul Marsden, who was voted in as a Labour candidate in the 2001 general election, but has since defected to the Liberal Democrats. Shrewsbury and Atcham is now a marginal seat, with all three major parties battling hard to gain it at the next general election, expected in 2005. Paul Marsden has already stated that he will not stand.
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 are elected to be Deputy Mayor (and then usually a year later, Mayor) on basis of seniority. For example, in 2004-2005, both Mayor and Deputy Mayor are Liberal Democrats, but control of the council is Conservative. A Mayor may come from outside the town of Shrewsbury - the only rule is that he or she is a Shrewsbury and Atcham Borough councillor.
Both the Mayor and Deputy Mayor wear their traditional "chains of office" at ceremonial occasions, which many mayors and chairmen of towns, boroughs and counties in England have. The Mayor is given the prefix title of "The Right Worshipful".
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