Shropshire Star

Shrewsbury shopping centre demolition on cards after key appointment made

A demolition firm has been appointed to knock down major town-centre buildings as part of the redevelopment of Shrewsbury's Riverside.

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The Shropshire Council project for Riverside proposes a wholesale revamp of the area.

Now the authority has confirmed that it has appointed "specialist demolition company" Cawarden, who will be tasked with arranging to knock down existing buildings in the area such as the former Riverside Shopping Centre and Riverside Medical Practice.

The council said Cawarden had been "chosen for its vast experience of working on similar projects".

It said the firm would start work next week, with the demolition paving the way for "key enabling works on site" for future phases of the Smithfield Riverside scheme.

Mark Barrow, Shropshire Council’s executive director of place, said: “We’re pleased to have Cawarden on board for what will be the first real visible sign of change following the recent closure of the former Riverside shopping centre.

“The company has lots of experience of working on similar projects and a great track record of keeping nearby residents and businesses informed of their progress, as well as care and consideration for the environment in which they are working.

"Minimising disruption in the town centre as much as possible was a key consideration when awarding the contract.”

The Riverside Shopping Centre in Shrewsbury.

Oliver Crooks, Cawarden’s commercial director, said: “We are thrilled to announce that we have been awarded the contract for Smithfield Riverside shopping centre, a significant demolition project that will pave the way for an important development in Shrewsbury.

“We are pleased to bring our extensive expertise in managing similar projects and environments, whilst ensuring that our social value commitments are met throughout the process. We look forward to working in partnership with Shropshire Council to deliver this transformative project, which will bring substantial benefits to residents and visitors alike.”

The council said that once the site has been cleared, work can begin on the first phase of the Smithfield Riverside project.

That will be the creation of a new landmark park near Roushill, which was granted planning permission in March 2024.

A statement from the council said: "This attractive green space has been designed to help breathe new life and vibrancy into the area, as well as improve biodiversity and flood resilience in the town centre.

"The park will feature play equipment, facilities for visitors of all ages, and a dedicated events and performance area. It is expected that work to build this will start by the end of 2024.

"These developments are being financed from a pot of almost £19 million of external funding which was secured by Shropshire Council in 2023.

"Following the completion of the most recent public consultation, the next planning application will be submitted later this year, introducing ‘outline’ plans to the develop three plots located between Smithfield Road, Raven Meadows and the new park."