Bold thinking behind Shrewsbury’s Big Town Plan
A ground-breaking Big Town Plan has been drafted for Shrewsbury, setting out an ambitious, landscape-led vision for how this historic county town will look by 2036. LDA Design has developed the Plan with partners Shrewsbury Bid, Shropshire Council and Shrewsbury Town Council.
The recently published Grimsey Review 2 (July 2018) set out 25 recommendations to revitalise the UK’s ailing town centres. Shrewsbury’s planners and decision-makers have gone a step further, adopting a holistic approach to make the whole town more liveable, not just the centre. It could become a blueprint for other county towns to follow.
The Big Town Plan provides a framework to make Shrewsbury more resilient, directing investment in new housing and start-ups from the periphery into the centre.
Priorities include: rethinking movement and place; supporting, creating and nurturing town vitality and a mix of uses; creating a place for enterprise; and boosting natural Shrewsbury. The Plan aims to strengthen the all-year-round appeal of the town through more events and activities, and increase its attraction for cyclists and pedestrians, including with a central pedestrian-priority promenade.
LDA Design took a landscape-led approach to the Plan. That meant starting with understanding of what local people need to live happy and rewarding lives, and the physical qualities that make the town special: the river loop and medieval quarters, and its parks and green spaces.
“The entire process behind this Plan is refreshingly different,” explains LDA Design Board Director Bernie Foulkes, who led the masterplan. “Our aim has been to make it as inclusive as possible. After all, if you are planning for people then you need to involve them more effectively in planning and managing change. This is what the Big Town Plan does so well.”
Consultation on the Big Town Plan is now underway with a pop-up exhibition running until Wednesday 19 September.
Comments on the Plan include:
Alan Mosley, leader of Shrewsbury Town Council said: “We are delighted to present this collective vision for our town’s future. It presents a series of realistic, practical and sustainable aspirations; together with a clear plan of how we can get there.
“It is ambitious and bold in putting people at the heart of the town so it becomes an even better place to live, visit, work and invest.”
Seb Slater, executive director of Shrewsbury BID said: “We have listened to what the public wants to see happen and taken soundings and insights from businesses and key stakeholders representing genuine partnership working.
“This final draft reshapes the physical public realm and matches it with an outstanding public experience, revolutionising movement around the town and attracting vital investment.”
Councillor Nic Laurens, Shropshire Council’s cabinet member for economic growth, said: “The Shrewsbury Big Town Plan has been a true collaborative piece of work and its aim is to put people at the heart of the town.
“Throughout the process we’ve asked for people’s views, with over 5,000 people visiting the Big Town Plan shop in September last year to hear more about the work and input into the plan.
“We have taken these views and used them to create and shape what I feel is a really exciting plan for the future. We’d love to hear people’s thoughts.”