Shrewsbury traders hail town pocket park scheme
Businesses in Shrewsbury town centre say a 'pocket park' which appeared during an extended period of roadworks was a big success.
The park in Shoplatch, which featured picnic benches and deckchairs, was set up by Shrewsbury BID to take advantage of a traffic-free town centre while High Street was closed from May to July.
Lots of people used the park, with seats often being full as people enjoyed the atmosphere during their lunch-break, and special events took place hosted by businesses in Shoplatch.
One such business, Ashley’s Wine Bar, enjoyed one of their busiest days ever when they hosted a music party in the park.
Owner, Ashley Davies, said: “It was just so nice to see people spending time in this part of the town centre and enjoying the atmosphere rather than walking past and dodging traffic as they crossed the road.
“We wanted to make the most of it, so organised a couple of events where we had music outside and people really enjoyed it. One of the events during the May Bank Holiday weekend was one of our busiest days ever.”
Fellow Shoplatch business owner, Gwen Burgess, of Darwin’s coffee shop, said she is now thinking of ways to reduce the amount of traffic in the town.
“Having the park for a prolonged period of time has really helped us see the benefits of a more pedestrian-friendly town centre," she said.
“A lot of our customers said how nice it was to not have traffic going past the shop, and it’s exciting to think that the town centre could develop in a way which sees less traffic having to pass through in the future.”
Lucy Murphy, who runs The Salon in Shoplatch, said the park encouraged more people to visit that part of the town centre.
“The pocket park really put Shoplatch on the map,” she said. “Rather than seeing less people during the roadworks, the park actually brought more people into Shoplatch which was just fantastic.”
Seb Slater, executive director of Shrewsbury BID, praised the teamwork from businesses and local authorities for enabling the park to happen.
He said: “It’s important to thank everyone involved - Shropshire Council, Shrewsbury Town Council, Shrewsbury Market Hall and of course the traders of Shoplatch who really got into the spirit of it and worked together to make it a success.
“While the roadworks was undoubtably a challenging period for many businesses in the town, it was great to see businesses working together to create a public space which was enjoyed by people of all ages.”