The first stage of the redevelopment of the shopping centre will be considered when Shropshire Council’s cabinet meets next week.
A report will outline the work planned for the next two years and seek cabinet’s approval to proceed.
This includes beginning the demolition of the existing Riverside Centre by 2020.
Over the next two years Shropshire Council will work closely with the existing Riverside tenants.
Through the purchase of three of Shrewsbury’s shopping centres, and the recently approved Shrewsbury Big Town Plan, Shropshire Council aims to create a distinctive, thriving and future-proofed town centre offer in Shrewsbury.
To do this, the council will be producing a Strategic Development Framework (SDF) series of documents which will determine the appropriate mix of retail, leisure, tourist, commercial, residential and other destination attractions.
The SDF will set the principles for what the council, as asset owner, wants to see come forward, and will articulate these in a way which is easy for investors to respond to. This, in turn, will bring investment forward, including further potential for investment from the council and the private sector.
The investment opportunities will be set out in an indicative masterplan, showing architectural drawing and conceptual ideas which might, for example, include a hotel, cinema, public open space, improved transport, offices, leisure, and public realm; all of which will add more detail to – and work with – the Big Town Plan.
At their meeting Cabinet will be asked to approve an initial budget of £500,000 to secure the appropriate resources and expertise to deliver this next stage of work, and to agree the appointment of two dedicated posts to support its implementation.
Two jobs are to be created. One will be a Shrewsbury-focused project manager to support the next stage of the shopping centres, including producing the Strategic Development Framework to take the project to delivery stage and the other a Shrewsbury Big Town Plan programme officer – co-funded by Shropshire Council, Shrewsbury BID and Shrewsbury Town Council.
Meanwhile, Shropshire Council is also finalising its investment plans for the Darwin Centre and Pride Hill Centre.
Peter Nutting, Leader of Shropshire Council, said: “Our primary objective in purchasing the shopping centres was to enable the economic growth and regeneration of Shrewsbury town centre. To meet this objective we now need to progress the future development of the shopping centres, in particular Riverside, in the context of the Big Town Plan."
Steve Charmley, Deputy Leader of Shropshire Council, said: “The redevelopment and transformation of Riverside is both exciting and fundamental for the future of Shrewsbury, and we are committed to getting this right for generations of residents, businesses and visitors in the town.
“The opportunity to redevelop Riverside is truly transformational. An opportunity of this scale and impact comes along once in a generation and it provides the platform to create the long-term sustainability of Shrewsbury and wider benefits for Shropshire as a whole.”