A range of ambitious and bold opportunities for Shrewsbury are being set out in a “Masterplan Vision” for how the town could evolve over the next two decades.
The document explores a range of ideas for how Shrewsbury could improve and develop, building on the priorities established in the Big Town Plan published in 2018.
The Shrewsbury Big Town Plan Partnership, made up of Shropshire Council, Shrewsbury Town Council and Shrewsbury BID, say the report is a “visionary document” intended to spark debate about the future development of Shrewsbury.
The report has been published by nationally-acclaimed urban designers, Glenn Howells Architects, on behalf of the Shrewsbury Big Town Plan Partnership, made up of Shropshire Council, Shrewsbury Town Council and Shrewsbury BID.
Dav Bansal, partner at Glenn Howells Architects, said: “We believe Shrewsbury could lead the way for others to follow with ambitious plans to ‘future-proof’ the town and we are delighted to be working with the partnership on this terrific opportunity.
“The Masterplan Vision explores how this historic town will address the challenges of climate change, healthy places and changing trends in how we live, work, shop and play, which is now even more so relevant during this pandemic while continuing to build on the great work that has already been done in establishing the vision for the Big Town Plan.”
Among the ideas suggested in the report are creating a new northern entrance to the railway station, creating a riverside walkway and park by rerouting traffic away from Smithfield Road, and revitalising the Abbey Foregate viaduct to provide space for businesses and community events.
The report considers how Shrewsbury could develop across four interconnected themes:
Quality and characterful public spaces
Creating opportunities and growth
These themes and the range of ideas outlined in the report will be explored in more detail during a series of online discussion sessions taking place as part of the Shrewsbury Big Town Plan Festival, running from January 19 to 29.
People are being invited to visit festival.shrewsburybigtownplan.org where they can register to join the sessions live or watch on demand. The full Masterplan Vision document is also available on the website.
Shropshire Council leader, Peter Nutting, said the Big Town Plan was a true partnership of local authorities, business groups and residents.
He said: “This document contains a lot of very exciting ideas and we hope it will instigate some positive discussions about the future development of Shrewsbury.
“People’s safety in the current climate is of course very much at the forefront of everyone’s minds, but the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated significant shifts that were already happening in town centres.
“It’s vital for our future prosperity that we are well placed and prepared to embrace new ways in which people will live, work and travel – standing still is not an option.”
Shrewsbury Town Council leader, Alan Mosley, said the Big Town Plan Masterplan Vision could act as a catalyst for positive change.
He said: “Shrewsbury is already a very special place and through this plan we want to ensure that our outstanding heritage and natural environment is enhanced and celebrated, whilst increasing what the town can offer to people of all ages and backgrounds.
“The ideas within this report are bold and ambitious and will create new opportunities for businesses, residents and visitors – attracting new investment and jobs into Shrewsbury and the wider community.
“We would like to thank the many local organisations who have contributed to this work so far and very much look forward to hearing the views of our community on the ideas and projects set out within this plan.”
James Handley, elected non-executive director of Shrewsbury BID, said the Big Town Plan Festival was an excellent way to start discussing the way forward.
“The Masterplan Vision is a very detailed document which is the result of months of research and discussions with businesses, decision-makers and organisations,” he said.
“It is a visionary document that we hope will inspire debate about how Shrewsbury can evolve to make the most of its rich assets and position itself in the best possible way in our rapidly-changing world.
“I would urge everyone to spend some time reading through the report and join us at the Big Town Plan Festival from January 19 when we can explore the details and discuss the wider context of how towns like Shrewsbury can thrive now and in the future.”
Visit www.shrewsburybigtownplan.org for more information.