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, and in association with Phil Jones Associates.
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. This meant starting with an 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.
Images from the Shrewsbury Big Town report [PDF]