THIS week marks the 50th anniversary of one of Flintshire's most recognisable buildings.

Shire Hall, the enormous black and white office complex which has towered over Mold since 1968, has never been the county's most popular piece of architecture with its many critics often referring to it as 'Legoland'.

But the brutalist civic headquarters of Flintshire's county council does have its fans and five decades on from its opening it remains an iconic presence for many enthusiasts of its eye-grabbing symmetry and Eastern Bloc style utilitarianism.

Video: Former Mold mayor Bob Gaffey abseiled down County Hall in May as part of his fundraising campaign

Plans for a new civic centre were mooted by councillors as far back as the 1930s when it became clear Mold's original County Hall was too small.

In 1938, the council optimistically set aside the sum of £75,000 for new county offices and hired Sir Percy Thomas as consultant architect.

Related: No sweat! Mayor of Mold abseils down County Hall in aid of town project

Plans were drawn up for the building to be built on Earl Road in Mold but the outbreak of war in September 1939, meant the construction was put on hold.

At that time the number of council staff was rapidly on the rise with 105 workers given as 1939's official figure. By 1954, that number had risen again to 231 and a new building was back on the agenda. Staff were working from a variety of buildings across Mold with regular complaints about overcrowding and poor conditions. Alderman Thomas Waterhouse, the chairman of the Finance Committee described the council's office as "black holes of Calcutta" and expressed the council's determination to build new offices at a meeting held on October 11, 1954. Alderman H T Edwards said there was a need for "a county building worthy to house an important county authority, and house it in such a way that it can effectively discharge its duties and its functions".

With a new building in mind, the council had purchased Llwynegrin Hall and 52 acres of land on the outskirts of Mold for the sum of £14,000 in 1949 , but it took until a meeting on July 24, 1962 for the County Buildings Committee to "discuss the question of new County buildings". At a further meeting on November 27, the members unanimously agreed that "the existing offices, council chamber and committee room accommodation, the accommodation for courts and parking facilities were all unsatisfactory" and it was decided to build on the land at Llwynegrin.

The original seven-storey ‘Shire Hall’ – the main county administrative building – was designed by the late county architect Robert Harvey, a renowned name in modernist architecture who was strongly influenced by the work of Frank Lloyd Wright. The building's pre-cast concrete construction meant it could be pre-prepared and delivered to site for erection and good progress was made ensuring the building was ready for occupation in October 1967. The £75,000 originally earmarked in 1938 had now risen to £839,123 with an additional £65,000 spent on furnishings and equipment.

Shire Hall's big day came on May 29, 1968, when it was officially opened by Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, with many commentators at the time praising its excellent facilities.

That wasn't it for the newly christened County Civic Centre Complex with the neighbouring law courts opening in October 1969 and the County Library Headquarters opened the same year by MP Eirene White. An extension to Shire Hall was opened by Princess Anne in July 1972 with the Theatr Clwyd building completing the complex between 1973-76.

Five decades later and Flintshire Council look to be preparing for life after Shire Hall (now known as County Hall). Currently unoccupied parts of the Raikes Lane campus are planned to be knocked down with a “large proportion” of staff potentially moved to a new home in Ewloe.

The local authority is embarking on an “ambitious strategy” for its Mold campus which would involve moving office staff from County Hall – formerly known as Shire Hall – to the unoccupied Unity House on St David’s Park almost five miles away.

The vacant phases three and four of the site are earmarked for the bulldozer as part of a multi-stage proposal to redevelop the site which would eventually lead to full disposal and demolition – potentially in the sixth year of the plans.

Annual operating costs for the Mold building currently stand at £1.2m with estimated maintenance costs for the next 25 years predicted to be £26m.

Disposal of the County Hall part of the site to a developer for housing and associated development could raise between £4m and £6m.

The council has reduced the size of its corporate office space by more than 40 per cent since 2014 and now only occupies phases one and two of the Mold campus. Phase three houses CCTV operations while the fourth area was mothballed in 2015.

The move to Unity House, which has been empty since Unilever vacated the premises two years ago, would initially exclude councillors and corporate staff and enable council to make “effective use of County Hall” and “creating additional efficiencies facilitating the demolition of phases three and four and preparing for wider site development.”

At a meeting in November last year, Cllr Aaron Shotton, Labour council leader, confirmed the site was currently “too large” and “too inefficient” for the authority’s workforce hinting that Shire Hall's days are numbered.