Next stage of Shrewsbury town centre redevelopment granted green light

The next stage of the county's biggest town centre redevelopment in decades has been signed off by councillors.

The Riverside will be the focus of a consultation on redevelopment plans
The Riverside will be the focus of a consultation on redevelopment plans

Plans to re-shape Shrewsbury's Riverside could completely change the area of the town, with a leading Shropshire Councillor saying the authority wants the development to be the "foundation stone for future generations of Shrewsbury".

The council's cabinet has agreed to start a consultation on ideas for the four-hectare site, which is currently home to Riverside Shopping Centre, Raven Meadow multi-storey car park, the bus station, a police station, a Premier Inn, and a health centre.

The radical and ambitious plans would see the majority of the current site demolished, and redeveloped with a focus on a new riverside promenade.

A current proposal of how the project could work includes a suggestion for re-routing Smithfield road and creating a new riverside park area called 'Smithfield Gardens' in its place.

The illustrative plan also include a new 'Smithfield Square' described as "a major riverside square bringing together various connecting routes and providing a focal civic space".

Other proposals include replacing the current footbridge with a new Smithfield Bridge, and creating 'Spanish Steps', rising up from Smithfield Riverside into the town centre.

The outline of potential ideas for the area, which would represent one of the biggest developments in the town's history, are contained in a paper called the 'Riverside Strategic Development Framework', which will go out to a six week public consultation.

The proposals have met with some concern, with several councillors insisting a town-centre bus station must be created if the current one is demolished as part of the development.

'Fantastic opportunity'

Presenting the document to Shropshire Council's cabinet, Councillor Steve Charmley, Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Assets, Economic Growth and Regeneration, said the framework would showcase the ambition for the town and what could be created with the proposals.

He said: "The Smithfield Riverside provides a strong vision for his part of the town, it comes hot on the heels of the big town plan which sets out the wider vision for Shrewsbury."

He said the proposal would show potential investors, developers and visitors the ideas for the future of the site.

He added: "The council has a fantastic opportunity to shape this part of the town. This is a foundation stone for future generations of Shrewsbury."

The report considered by councillors outlines the ambitions for the site saying: "In our vision for Smithfield Riverside this part of town dramatically changes its role.

"A part of the town, that has largely been forgotten about for centuries, suddenly takes centre stage, becoming a unique destination within this wonderful historic town.

"The river is the destination, where Smithfield Gardens replaces a busy road, where what was the back of the town, now becomes the route to a dramatic new bridge over the river to Frankwell."

A date for the consultation to start will be set in the future.

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