A £24.1 million refurbishment of Shropshire Council’s headquarters has been called a “farce”.

Councillor Alan Mosley, leader of the opposition Labour group, criticised the long-running project after a motion to launch the next phase of work was pulled at the last minute.

Members were to vote on Thursday, September 20, on the provision of £1.15 million for detailed designs and a planning application for the scheme.

But it was withdrawn at the last minute because of IT issues which prevented some councillors from seeing the plans ahead of the meeting.

Cllr Mosley said: “It is a farce.

“We’ve paid for consultants, more consultants and the cost has increased massively, and today we were supposed to be talking about more consultants telling us how we can do it.

“How do you think the public read this news and respond to it?”

Earlier this week the authority revealed the cost of the scheme had leapt from £18.7 million to £24.1 million to fund improved IT systems and more parking spaces for the public and private sector groups who are looking to move to the proposed business hub on the site.

The project will see the 1960s building redesigned with a new reception area under the existing council chamber featuring retail space and revamped office space for employees.

It also aims to improve efficiencies to help with savings and reduce the council’s carbon footprint.

Ahead of the meeting Clive Wright, chief executive, said: “The report concerning the refurbishment of the Shirehall has been taken off the agenda for the full Council meeting to be held tomorrow due to IT issues resulting in some councillors being unable to access all of the relevant reports.

“We hope that the report will now go to full council next month. This will give councillors more opportunity to properly consider the proposals before making a decision.”

A full business case is expected to be presented to council in March or April 2019 and if approved work is set to be completed by autumn 2021.