Shrewsbury Riverside development project delayed by at least two months

A major project to redevelop the Riverside area of Shrewsbury has been hit by a delay of at least two months over a planning technicality.

A new bridge is part of the plans for the Riverside
A new bridge is part of the plans for the Riverside

The demolition of the former Riverside Medical Practice, on the corner of Smithfield Road and Roushill, in the town centre, was expected to be rubber-stamped by Shropshire Council’s northern planning committee.

But members attending the online meeting were told the plans had been withdrawn.

A council spokesman said the application “was withdrawn on a technical point and will be back for consideration in due course”.

The next planning meeting is currently scheduled for June 8, but it is not known whether a new application will be processed in time for that meeting. If not it means it could be even later in the year that approval for the demolition is granted.

Shropshire council said in January last year that it was hoped a phased demolition would begin at the end of 2020.

Weeks later the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown began.

Clearance of the former medical practice site is the first stage in the council’s plans to completely redesign the Riverside area, which is in turn a key element of the Big Town Plan.

Complex

Also set to be bulldozed are the Riverside Shopping Centre, Raven Meadows multi-storey car park and the bus station, while Smithfield Road itself is set to be moved further back from the river to create a new waterfront destination.

New office buildings, a hotel, apartments and public open spaces all form part of the plans, while Frankwell bridge is also set to be replaced with a more accessible design.

It could also see Shropshire Council move from the Shirehall into the complex.

The Big Town Plan was developed in a partnership by Shropshire Council, Shrewsbury Town Council and Shrewsbury Business Improvement District.

When it published its report it say it was a visionary document intended to spark debate about the future development of Shrewsbury and how the town could evolve over the next two decades.

Among the ideas suggested in the report are creating a new northern entrance to the railway station, creating a riverside walkway and park by rerouting traffic away from Smithfield Road, and revitalising the Abbey Foregate viaduct to provide space for businesses and community events.

Several priority projects are listed in the plan, including the development of Riverside and Frankwell, the re-purposing of Pride Hill Shopping Centre which could become a cinema, and the council moving out of Shirehall and into a town centre site.

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