Creating a place for enterprise
A successful economy is at the core of any town that lays claim to being thriving and vibrant. That’s why economic vitality – offering a range of opportunities for its people and the right type of growth – sits at the heart of the vision for Shrewsbury.
Thriving economies are built on thriving businesses, and the task ahead for Shrewsbury is to create the right conditions – a managed ecology – that supports its future prosperity for the decades ahead. This means fit-for-purpose business space and supporting infrastructure, as well as access to a workforce – people – with the right skills and talent.
Improving Movement and Place
A town – and a town centre – that feels great to be in, to move around, is vital to Shrewsbury’s future success and sustainable growth. Quality places, designed with people at its heart, make people feel welcome and create a canvas for public life; while ease of movement, that strives for the right balance between modes, further supports quality of life and, as crucially, the business environment.
All in all, this sets the tone and lays the foundation for many other aspirations, from growing the night time economy to improving air quality. With ambition, vision, investment and action, Shrewsbury has the ability create a town and town centre that feels truly great to be in and move around, with people at its heart.
Nurturing Natural Shrewsbury
Shrewsbury is a beautiful, verdant town, renowned for its horticulture. Indeed, it’s one of the reasons for the town’s popularity; and a fitting birthplace of Darwin. The River Severn loops around the town centre like a green necklace, and green routes into and around the town are both wildlife corridors and valued green spaces in themselves.
This network is essential to protect and enhance, especially in the context of growth, which is placing development pressure on the town and its hinterland. Open green space helps keep its citizens healthier, too – mitigating pollution and incentivising people to maintain active lifestyles.
Supporting vitality life and mix
Over the recent past, British society has changed subtly but dramatically, and the economic and social future of towns and cities are intrinsically bound with the ability to provide a quality of life, on a measurement that very different from even a decade ago. The dial has moved to a greater interest in ‘public life’ – being out in our public realm – from dining to working in cafes, to families using public space as an extension of their living spaces.
People are attracted to places that they feel are pleasant and easier to be in, to move around. As such, attractive places, social spaces and activities, are an increasingly important element in thriving places; invariably, places that have strong, or emerging, contemporary economies usually have a greater street life. Responding to this is important for Shrewsbury, as it strives to bolster its economy by attracting and retaining a skilled workforce, since Shrewsbury’s future talent will look for ‘signifiers’ – indicators that there is something that speaks to their values and lifestyles.
10 Goals for Shrewsbury
The challenges facing Shrewsbury in the next two decades will bring about change whether we like it or not. Many of them are universal pressures and others are more individual to Shrewsbury. We want to face these challenges head-on and we will direct and shape the changes that emerge from them in the Big Town Plan in a way that delivers the greatest benefit to Shrewsbury. They need to fit with our vision and the Big Town Plan.
These are the goals we want to set for now, although we know that there will be others that appear over the next two decades that we don’t yet know about.
- We want to make it much better for the pedestrian and cyclist, especially in the town centre. This means shifting the balance of priority given to movement across the town from the private car to walking and cycling and greater use of rail and bus.
- We recognise the rapid changes in working patterns and working practice. We want to create new, flexible workspace environments built around buzzy, active places, both in and around the town centre and out on the edge of town.
- We want to plan for future sustainable growth that utilises development opportunities on a mix of sites, including land in and on the edge of the town centre, as well as development on land located on the periphery of town.
- We want to build strong physical and virtual networks connecting education, healthcare, business start-ups, new industries and sports provision across the town to improve mobility and to form new alliances. The importance of well-being in Shrewsbury is key.
- We want to open up the housing market in the town through increasing choice and improving affordability. This means increasing town centre living and introducing different housing models and tenures.
- We are very proud of our education establishments. We want to retain more of our best young talent in the town and attract new talent from outside. We want to support innovation and startups in exciting new places.
- We want to strengthen the all-round appeal of the town centre based around better place-making, the town’s extraordinary built heritage and the visitor experience. We want to strengthen independent shopping whilst continuing to attract destination brands. We want to inject greater diversity of use into the centre, housing leisure, entertainment, culture and the arts.
- We want to make this green town greener still, by connecting existing green spaces across the town, making new links and new parks where we can and making much more of the River corridor. We want to make strong connections from the town centre, through the suburbs and out into the wider countryside and improve the health and well-being for everyone.
- We want to raise the quality of design across the town, particularly for new housing. We will develop what we will call “The Shrewsbury Test” to raise standards for all new development.
- We want to encourage new development, infrastructure and investment but will take a much more holistic and integrated approach to the way we make decisions making them more joined-up in line with the Vision and Big Town Plan.