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Work to Start on Shrewsbury Riverside Regeneration Development
25 Jan 2024

Work to prepare Shrewsbury’s Riverside Shopping Centre for future development will start next month (Monday 5 February 2024) when the centre is closed to the public. Pictured: illustrative view of the new park - looking southeast towards the proposed wall and amphitheatre. 

The proposed demolition of the Riverside centre and approved demolition of the former Riverside Medical Practice have been described by council leaders as a 'vital step' in the transformation of Shrewsbury town centre - and will be funded by £19 million of Levelling Up money from the Government.

The first stage in Shropshire Council's Smithfield Riverside regeneration project will pave the way for key enabling works, clearing the site, and creating a landmark new public park adjacent to Roushill; helping to reinvigorate the area, creating a green and inviting public meeting space, and allowing the town to embrace one of its best assets, the River Severn.

The planning application for the demolition of the Riverside centre is now in its final stage, and the outcome will be announced shortly.

An artist's impression of the Smithfield Riverside development

An artist's illustrative impression of the Smithfield Riverside development phase 1

To bring forward the development, Shropshire Council had to move tenants out of the Riverside centre, having taken similar action within the Pride Hill centre in recent years. The leasing strategy for the Riverside centre was put in place to facilitate obtaining vacant possession at the appropriate time, and all tenants were aware of this when moving in.

The management team for the Riverside centre has kept tenants fully informed of progress as the need to close the Riverside centre became necessary, and has worked with them on relocations where possible.

One example is Rob Buckley, owner of the Cycle Shop in the Riverside centre, who will be relocating to the middle level of The Darwin shopping centre imminently.

Direct access to the Riverside centre will now be closed, with alternative routes via Raven Meadows, The Darwin shopping centre and Roushill clearly signposted to help visitors understand these recommended routes. Access using lifts from the Raven Meadows multi-story car park to The Darwin centre remains unchanged.

Over recent years Shropshire Council has consolidated the retail offer inside The Darwin shopping centre and removed surplus space to ensure the overall retail offer is enhanced and protected within Shrewsbury. The Darwin has been invested in, and is now a key regional retail and leisure destination, consistently outperforming the UK Shopping Centre benchmark.

Ian Nellins, Deputy Leader of Shropshire Council, said: "We have always been clear on our intention to develop the Riverside centre, so I am delighted to see that progress on such an important stage in this redevelopment is getting underway. We were very pleased with the responses to the consultation and this upcoming work demonstrates the council's commitment to this project. 

"We want to create a desirable destination for Shrewsbury's residents and visitors that is like no other town in the UK. This is a transformative and innovative project which will create jobs, bring new investment into the town centre and help grow the county's economy."