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£200m destination bid for Telford to go ahead

Telford | News | Published:

Telford town centre will undergo a £200 million transformation into an 18-hour regional destination after the borough's largest development for a decade won the approval of planners.

The green light for the grand-scale shopping, leisure and nightspot plans signals a reinvention of Telford town centre's entire image, paving the way for the town to become a landmark attraction for the 650,000 people living miles around.

The overhaul within the Box Road and Central Southwater will create a much-needed night time economy with 250,000 sqft of restaurants, cafes and bars and greater business opportunities with almost 400,000 sq ft of new shops.

The revamp also promises 2,000 new or safeguarded jobs. Work will get under way in the spring when Asda moves into its new premises on the site of the former civic offices in Malinsgate and the new development will rise up in its place.

It will link the shopping centre with the £250m Southwater scheme for shops, entertainment and homes, which is now being built and on track to open in April 2014.

Original plans saw the bus station demolished and replaced by stops at various points around the Box Road. But strong objection from Arriva and Telford & Wrekin Bus User Group saw a condition imposed that there will be no action until a solution is agreed.

A 600 shortfall of parking spaces identified by the highways authority was also set aside to be negotiated at a later date.

Councillor Shirley Reynolds hailed the plans, first revealed in the Shropshire Star last week, as "bringing our town into the 21st century".

And speaking after the meeting, David Sidaway, director for business, development and customer services at Telford & Wrekin Council said: "We are really pleased at the decision. It signals a £200 million investment in the town and it reflects the appetite of investors and their view of Telford as a place that is open for business. In terms of an opportunity for Telford, 650,000 is the population catchment that we could be drawing to our town. It's a regional destination which begins with the opening of Southwater in the Spring which will be the start to that night time economy.

"It will bring 2,000 new or safeguarded jobs as well as the incredible situation that the shopping centre will be extended by a third. It's the biggest planning application we've had in a decade."

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