The newly-refurbished middle level of Shrewsbury’s Darwin Centre, through significant capital investment from Shropshire Council, has opened to visitors.
The new toilets and a Changing Places facility have been created, alongside a brand-new family room which features a baby changing area, breast feeding zone, play area and dining counter, kitchenette and family toilet facilities.
The Changing Places unit allows accessible toilet and changing facilities for adults and carers and is the most modern and up-to-date facility of its kind in Shrewsbury.
New floor tiles and renovated ceilings have created a contemporary finish and new way-finding signage has made all the new services easy to locate and use.
Shop fronts have been upgraded and the existing ceiling has been stripped out and new lighting installed, to make the centre brighter and lighter.
To minimise disruption, most of the work was phased and carried out overnight.
These major improvements were planned when Shropshire Council purchased the centre in 2018.
Steve Charmley, Shropshire Council’s cabinet member for assets, economic growth and regeneration, said: “The new facilities are outstanding.
"This work was a significant investment, but it was well worth it – in my opinion our new toilets, family room and Changing Places facility are now the best in the region and will help attract people to the centre from Shrewsbury, Shropshire and beyond.
"The refurbishment has also enabled the mid-level to be far more welcoming, which will undoubtedly help our tenants in the run-up-to Christmas.”
Kevin Lockwood, Shrewsbury shopping centre manager, said: “The Darwin centre was able to trade throughout the refurbishment works and our footfall levels have remained strong.
"In fact, our footfall is higher than the national average, which is helping to further restore confidence and spend within our stores.
"The first milestone has now been met and we are excited to embark on the next stages of the transformation of the Shrewsbury Shopping centres.”
Durmus Bozdogan, owner of Frankie’s Café in the Darwin Centre, said: “The new facilities are really impressive and will make everyone’s visit to the centre much more enjoyable and comfortable.
"The new family room is incredible – they have thought of everything.
"I have no doubt that this work will help attract new shoppers to the centre and I am excited to see the next stages of the transformation of Shrewsbury shopping centres come to fruition.
"As an independent business in Shrewsbury, I am personally really pleased to be on this journey with Shropshire Council, as they make Shrewsbury a much more appealing destination for all.”