£4.5 million masterplan unveiled for Craven Arms
Plans for a new food park, the expansion of a business park and a new roundabout and railway crossing on the A49 have been revealed in a £4.5 million masterplan to transform Craven Arms.
Shropshire Council hopes its big ambitions for the town will boost employment and improve transport links – but it is not known where any of the money will come from.
The town's new place plan, which sets out the council's priorities for its future, reveals ambitions to extend the Long Lane Industrial Estate, with a new roundabout off the A49 and a bridge crossing over the railway line, allowing for the closure of the existing level crossing.
There will also be infrastructure improvements, including broadband and 5G. A new food park could also be created in conjunction with extending the Craven Arms Business Park.
According to the place plan, Newington Food Park will include an abattoir, storage and distribution complex with future growth potential.
The document says: "A key proposal for the growth and regeneration of Craven Arms is the relocation of the Euro Quality Lambs (EQL) abattoir from its existing and physically constrained site on the high street at Corvedale Road."
To facilitate this, a new roundabout junction could be created off the A49, and eight hectares of new employment land would be released at Newington Farm.
A further 2.5 hectares of new employment land would be released to the west of the A49, and the historic Newington Farmstead would be restored to provide dwellings for workers.
Network Rail and Highways England are supportive of the replacement of the level crossing with a bridge, but no funding has yet been promised.
Gemma Davies, Shropshire Council’s assistant director for economic growth, said: “We are aware of the business opportunities for a new development in this area and are engaging with those involved.
"As part of the proposals, there will be a need for significant infrastructure investment, including a new roundabout on the A49 which will require discussions with Highways England, together with a new railway bridge crossing over the Shrewsbury-Cardiff line, which is the responsibility of Network Rail.
“Shropshire Council has been working as an enabler in the discussions to date. At this time, there is no commitment to funding from the agencies involved.
“The A49 corridor is identified in our Economic Growth Strategy as one of our key corridors, with a number of business opportunities associated with it.”