Masterplan for Oswestry should be finalised by the end of the year

Plans to regenerate key areas of Oswestry will be finalised by the end of the year, council and business leaders have said.

An artist's impression of the eastern gateway in Oswestry
An artist's impression of the eastern gateway in Oswestry

The Oswestry Masterplan – the brainchild of the Future Oswestry Group – will set out proposals to overhaul the road layout, revamp disused buildings, improve open spaces and boost public transport.

As well as schemes concentrated on the town centre, details for a new ‘eastern gateway’ will be revealed concentrated on the former Morrisons site, bus station and surrounding land.

A ‘transport hub’ could replace the bus station with options for the site including retail and housing and reconnecting Oswestry to the mainline railway from the town's station

A number of smaller-scale projects could be realised much more quickly, including road layout changes in Church Street and the creation of an multi-purpose pedestrianised square on Festival Square car park.

Proposals will be set out for derelict buildings in the town centre, including the former Regal cinema and B-Wise building in Cross Street, both of which Shropshire Council hopes to buy.

The document will also put forward plans for a ‘cultural quarter’ around the castle and Bailey Head, as well as improved cycle infrastructure and bus connections between the town centre, Maesbury Road Industrial Estate, and the sustainable urban extension and Innovation Park at Mile End.

Adele Nightingale, Steve Charmley and Mark Jones canvassing opinion

Shropshire Council deputy leader Steve Charmley said he would like to see the Festival Square area used to host markets, pop-up exhibitions and offer surrounding food and drink establishments the change to capitalise on the growing popularity of European café culture by extending their outside seating areas.

“Some things are going to be popular, some controversial, and others thought provoking," he said.

"Some are likely to be more deliverable and some people will think are plain crackers.

“You float your ideas, get the feedback and revise your plans accordingly.

“We are hoping it will be finalised by the end of the year. From that we will aim to secure funding to start delivering some of these schemes.

An artist's impression of part of the Bailey Head in Oswestry

He said a big part of the consultation would focus on the eastern gateway.

“With Shropshire Council now owning the Morrisons building, we have an opportunity to do something different there."

Oswestry mayor Mark Jones said the regeneration of the eastern gateway area was “essential” to the future of the town.

“We have always thought Oswestry has got a bright future and it has always been a buzzing town anyway. You sometimes need a big plan, to do it all piecemeal isn’t always the way forward.”

An artist's impression of Festival Square in Oswestry

Adele Nightingale, Oswestry Business Improvement District manager, said having the masterplan in place would open up the chance to bid for government grants to fund some of the schemes.

She said: “The idea of the masterplan is to collate everybody’s views, everybody’s thoughts on what people like about Oswestry, what they don’t like, what they think can be improved.

“Funding opportunities come from government but they often need an ‘oven-ready’ project. So we will be able to apply for funding and relate it back to our masterplan.”

Ms Nightingale said the masterplan would be far-reaching and cover everything from transport, road infrastructure and accessibility to business sites, education and tourism opportunities.

Future Oswestry Group is encouraging Oswestry residents, visitors and business owners to have their say on the plans.

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