Squares, gardens, new road and 'Stairway to Severn': Shrewsbury riverside revamp plan unveiled

Squares, gardens, a new road and a "Stairway to Severn" - that is the vision for Shrewsbury's new riverside development.

Redeveloping Riverside is a priority in the Shrewsbury masterplan
Redeveloping Riverside is a priority in the Shrewsbury masterplan

More details have been unveiled of how the riverside could look, and as well as a raft of new open spaces, the designs show a new Smithfield Road further back from the river and a stairway, which will follow the line from Smithfield Bridge to Pride Hill.

There would also be a mixed use office building which would form a major part of the project.

Next week councillors will be asked to approve the commission of a procurement and delivery strategy for the Smithfield Development Framework, which will provide more detail and costings of the project.

The framework document, which has just been published, details each aspect of the plans. It says: "Smithfield Square will be a major riverside square bringing together various connecting routes and providing a focal civic space. Smithfield Gardens will be a destination public space, making use of the space released by Smithfield Road, the gardens provide a beautiful natural river space to spend time and for walking and cycling.

"New Smithfield Road will pass through the middle of the site enabling excellent access to the quarter by public transport, creating a vibrant high street with active frontages and newly found long views toward Shrewsbury Castle. Darwin Street and the Shrewsbury Steps provide a direct link to Pride Hill through the Darwin Centre creating spectacular views across the site, towards the River Severn."

It also goes into further detail on Castle Square and Garewalds Square - which was previously known as Station Square, which would be a pedestrianised, open area around the train station.

"Garewalds Square provides a waymarker, announcing arrival into Smithfield Riverside from the east and providing an orienting space to either head into the heart of the neighbourhood or towards Smithfield Gardens. It will be key arrival point from the train station.

Visually striking

"Castle Square provides an interim space along New Smithfield Road and an informal arrival space for pedestrians entering the site from Castle Court and Castle Street. The square will facilitate movement into the Darwin Shopping Centre for servicing and, therefore, will need to carefully manage vehicle and pedestrian movement."

The document also outlines aspirations to create a visually striking new Frankwell Bridge.

Phase one of the physical work would be demolition of the Riverside Shopping Centre to allows early development of the western land. Raven Meadows multi-storey car park and the bus station would remain until their relocation. The next phase would be the demolition of the car park and bus station to allow construction of New Smithfield Road and development of the land behind The Darwin Shopping Centre. This would set up the new connections between Smithfield Riverside and the shopping centre.

The final phase would be the redirection of traffic onto New Smithfield Road, which would make the riverside area available for redevelopment and the infilling of remaining land parcels.

In the document, prepared by architects LDA Design, it says: "It is anticipated that through traffic management measures generated by the Big Town Plan and strategic infrastructure work such as the North West Relief Road that traffic will be reduced at this time to allow New Smithfield Road to function in its desired capacity."

Next steps will be procurement and delivery, followed by exploration of funding options, putting together a governance team, demolition of existing buildings and then planning and consultation.

To view the full Smithfield Development Framework document visit https://bit.ly/3e4k0PA

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