More public consultation is needed over Oswestry Masterplan say organisations

Organisations and individuals in Oswestry say there has been no community consultation over the town's Masterplan aimed at providing a look into how its future could be shaped.

Saffron Rainey from Oswestry Civic Society at Cross Street
Saffron Rainey from Oswestry Civic Society at Cross Street

The town's Civic Society, Campaign for the Protection of Rural England, Oswestry Community Enterprise and others have signed a letter to Shropshire Council saying that, apart from an initial meeting and survey five months ago, there has been no interaction with the public.

An initial report about the Masterplan has been drawn up by urban planning specialists Allies and Morrison for the Future Oswestry Group , made up of Shropshire Council, the town council and Oswestry Business Improvement District.

Ideas include the refurbishment of historic buildings, a rethink of the road network and an overhaul of public transport.

The railway station, indoor market and former B-Wise and Regal buildings have been identified for potential regeneration schemes, which could include new workspaces, residential accommodation, and community and leisure uses. One-way streets could be made two-way, public spaces could be revived and, controversially, the bus station could go.

The letter to the council says the appointment of consultants to help progress the planning of the town was a welcome step as was a statement that the work should be carried out collaboratively by engagement with the council, stakeholders and community groups.

One of the signatories, Saffron Rainey, said: "Collaborative planning means the active participation from the beginning of everyone who wishes to take part, guided by the professional consultants. That way a plan is produced by the community, for the community."

"At the start a short meeting was held, and there was a survey. Since then, there has been no public information of work on the plan. There has been none of the promised collaborative planning nor has any information been given of the results of survey work. On March 4 however there is to be a presentation of a plan and vision for the town."

"It has never reached out to the community and meetings are not public."

Mark Barrow, Shropshire Council’s executive director of place, said: “A lot has been said about this very early version of the presentation looking at aspirations for the future of Oswestry. A presentation was made to representatives of the town council, BID board members and Shropshire Councillors.

“The purpose of this session was to gauge initial responses to the emerging proposals in advance of a stakeholder workshop in March."

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