Shrewsbury’s Riverside shopping centre to be demolished within next two years

Shrewsbury’s Riverside shopping centre is set to be demolished within the next two years as part of its regeneration.

Riverside shopping centre in Shrewsbury. Photo: Google Street View
Riverside shopping centre in Shrewsbury. Photo: Google Street View

Shropshire Council says it will work closely with the existing Riverside tenants, sharing information, plans and timescales – and working with them to ensure the success of the centre during the period leading up to its demolition.

A report outlining the first stage of the future redevelopment of the centre entre will be considered by Shropshire Council’s Cabinet next week.

At their meeting Cabinet will be asked to approve an initial budget of £500,000 to secure the appropriate resources and expertise to deliver this next stage of work, and to agree the appointment of two dedicated posts to support its implementation.

Meanwhile, Shropshire Council is also finalising its investment plans for the Darwin Centre and Pride Hill Centre, and more details will be shared in the coming months.

Future-proofing Shrewsbury town centre

Through the purchase of three of Shrewsbury’s shopping centres, and the recently approved Shrewsbury Big Town Plan, Shropshire Council aims to create a distinctive, thriving and future-proofed town centre offer in Shrewsbury.

To do this, the council will be producing a Strategic Development Framework (SDF) series of documents which will determine the appropriate mix of retail, leisure, tourist, commercial, residential and other destination attractions.

The SDF will set the principles for what the council, as asset owner, wants to see come forward, and will articulate these in a way which is easy for investors to respond to. This, in turn, will bring investment forward, including further potential for investment from the council and the private sector.

The investment opportunities will be set out in an indicative masterplan, showing architectural drawing and conceptual ideas which might, for example, include a hotel, cinema, public open space, improved transport, offices, leisure, and public realm; all of which will add more detail to – and work with – the Big Town Plan.

Peter Nutting, Leader of Shropshire Council, said:

“Our primary objective in purchasing the shopping centres was to enable the economic growth and regeneration of Shrewsbury town centre. To meet this objective we now need to progress the future development of the shopping centres, in particular Riverside, in the context of the Big Town Plan.

“Producing a strategic development framework will ensure that the appropriate quality is demanded in development and investment opportunities. And, through the Masterplan, we can ensure that there’s a coherent and logical feel to the town centre, which will create an attractive and distinctive experience for users, and increase footfall throughout the town.”

Steve Charmley, Deputy Leader of Shropshire Council, said:

“The redevelopment and transformation of Riverside is both exciting and fundamental for the future of Shrewsbury, and we are committed to getting this right for generations of residents, businesses and visitors in the town. The redevelopment has started to be considered as part of the Big Town Plan, but we have much more work to do to develop plans to create a new part of the town centre.

“The opportunity to redevelop Riverside is truly transformational. An opportunity of this scale and impact comes along once in a generation and it provides the platform to create the long-term sustainability of Shrewsbury and wider benefits for Shropshire as a whole.

“Over the coming months, we’ll be working up a framework for this and we’ll be working closely with the existing Riverside tenants over the next two years, sharing information, plans and timescales with them once available – and working with them to ensure the success of the centre during this period.”