Shrewsbury Big Town Plan is “hugely exciting” says national expert

Shrewsbury’s Big Town Plan has been hailed as “hugely exciting” and a “bold vision” for how the town could evolve over coming years. 

The comments have been made by Mark Robinson, Chair of the High Streets Task Force, which has highlighted Shrewsbury as a model of collaborative working in town centre planning. 

The Big Town Plan Partnership is made up of Shropshire Council, Shrewsbury Town Council and Shrewsbury BID, and a Masterplan Vision containing a range of ideas for the future of the town was published earlier this year. 

More than 2,400 contributions were made in the initial consultation into that vision, and an updated document is due to be published later in 2021. 

The High Streets Task Force is run by the Institute of Place Management on behalf of the Government and is an alliance of place-making experts working to redefine the high street. 

Chair of the Task Force, Mark Robinson, said Shrewsbury should be proud of the Big Town Plan.

Mark Robinson of the High Streets Task Force

“The Shrewsbury Big Town Plan is a hugely exciting initiative,” he said. “It is not only a bold vision but one with collaboration at its heart, a key placemaking principle that the High Streets Task Force is keen to support. 

“Brave moves such as acquiring, not one, not two, but three struggling shopping centres requires strong place leadership and a clear vision for the future, especially following years when private owners of these assets had let the community down. 

“It is especially pleasing to see the vision grounded in detailed data driven insight, this will build an investable masterplan which is key to the future renaissance as local government can’t be expected to do all of the heavy lifting. 

“Shrewsbury is of course blessed with some fabulous foundations on which to build this vision – the River Severn, medieval streetscape, and gorgeous heritage buildings, but excitingly the plan also leans into the future, looking to high spec office and collaboration spaces. 

“I especially love the focus on using placemaking to improve people’s mental and physical wellbeing, partly being driven by a ‘Movement Vision’ promoting sustainable and inclusive travel to and around the town. 

“I’m very much looking forward to visiting Shrewsbury post pandemic and regularly checking in on your progress and hopefully having a nice cold beer, overlooking the river from a rooftop bar sometime in 2036, or hopefully before!”