Caution urged over Shrewsbury Riverside demolition

A heritage leader believes a wrecking ball shouldn't be swung through Shrewsbury before we know what is going to be built.

Riverside Shopping Centre
Riverside Shopping Centre

Earlier this week Shropshire Council leader Peter Nutting announced that major regeneration plans to change the look and feel of the town centre could get underway in a matter of months.

The project will involve pulling down the Riverside shopping centre, medical practice, multi-storey car park, bus station and even Frankwell footbridge.

Shrewsbury Civic Society's secretary Byron Grainger-Jones insists the public need to know more about plans for what will be built and transport links in the town will work.

"It looks like it's happening, even without planning approval," said Byron. "They're talking about demolishing all sorts of things.

"It would be so much better if they had a sensitive design approach to the whole thing.

"We need to see the details before they just go through town to start the demolition."

Councillor Nutting said the demolition of the old buildings fronting the river along Smithfield Road will pave the way for the creation of a new ‘Riverside Quarter’ which will include flats, offices, hotels, restaurants, retail and leisure facilities, all set around a new promenade stepping down to the river.

With the Riverside Medical Practice set to relocate to its new premises at the Tannery this month, Councillor Nutting said it would not be long before bulldozers were on site.

He said: “Demolition has proven slightly challenging, we have had trouble identifying where all the services like gas and water get into the site, but we are near to resolving those.

Debate

“We hope to start demolition in the next few months.

“We are talking to hotel groups about a hotel on the site and there will be a reasonable amount of residential development, and there’s a debate going on about parking and bus stations.

“The bus station is most unlikely to stay where it is.

“As you drive around from Smithfield Road it’s the site you see first, so we see that as a commercial site. But at the back of the site we think that could be a good place for a car park, or possibly a car park above a bus station.”

Councillor Nutting said a new bus station would be smaller than the current one, with plans also afoot to create bus terminals at the town’s park and ride site.

He also said the project was intended to make the town more visitor friendly, with plans to include replacing Raven Meadows car park and Frankwell bridge with a more accessible structures.

“I think it will change the atmosphere. We are trying create a much more visitor-friendly atmosphere for the town centre," he added.

“By the spring people will see action on the Riverside, but to complete all these projects it is going to take at least two or three years, and some even longer.

“Covid has got in the way but now it is all systems go."

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