Regenerating Riverside

Shropshire Council unveils the future of Shrewsbury’s Riverside area

Shropshire Council recently unveiled its vision for the Riverside area of Shrewsbury, with plans to create a 21st century destination and experience by taking the town to the water to create a new central attraction. Under the plans, the river which encircles the town centre is set to become a new focal point for the historic town.

The Council’s vision will see the Riverside area turned into a mixed-use development combining new leisure attractions, hospitality and public space, a new quayside and hotels to support the town’s existing retail while bringing new workspace that to attract high quality jobs into the town. The development aims to create almost 2,000 jobs, a modern, friendly multi agency hub, and offices with flexible space for 500 workers, providing the public with access to essential services in the heart of the town.

The proposed developments will be located near to the town’s railway stations, and will include a brand-new bus station, a high-quality transport hub kitted out for vehicles of the future with more charge points, better lighting and spaces. It will also see the creation of 270 new homes, offering the chance to live, work, shop and relax in the town centre.

In 2018, the council purchased Pride Hill and Riverside centres so it could control and enhance the future of the Shrewsbury retail experience. The Darwin centre is now Shrewsbury’s primary retail offer and performing well against national benchmarks. Footfall continues to rise every week and the centre is approaching 96% let – well above the post-covid UK average.

“The bold Council decision to buy the town’s three shopping centres has allowed the consolidation of covered retail into the now thriving Darwin centre and the release of former Pride Hill and Riverside centres to create the development site set to open up the Severn River frontage,” says Matt Colledge, project director of the High Streets Task Force.

The Council’s vision for Shrewsbury is to become place where people can work in a zero-carbon office and enjoy a vibrant mix of shops, restaurants and bars – all adjacent to and accessible from the new quayside fronting on the River Severn.

The timescales for delivery are constantly being reviewed as future development activities progress, and as it is such a complex project, sequence and programming will be assessed to ensure that access to the town centre for businesses, residents and visitors is not adversely affected during the demolition and construction works.

“The proposed mix of residential, office, civic agencies and community uses, attractive public realm, hospitality and leisure brings new life and investment to the town centre for the benefit of the existing and new businesses,” Colledge adds.

The overall transformation aims to help Shrewsbury attract 750,000 new visits a year and substantially increase investment and footfall for the benefit of existing businesses across the county, hoping to transform and thrive in a changing world and offer everyone using the redeveloped part of the town a unique experience, as well as the chance for the town to continue to evolve and open a new chapter in its long and vibrant history.

This was first published in Retail Destination Fortnightly. Click here to subscribe.

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