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Future in focus in Shrewsbury

The future of Shrewsbury will be the focus of a series of public discussions and debates to kick off the next phase of the Shrewsbury Big Town Plan.

The Shrewsbury Big Town Plan Festival will take place from January 19 to 29 in the form of a series of virtual events being streamed live on the Zoom video platform. 

A range of speakers, including Shrewsbury-based specialists and nationally-renowned experts, will lead the sessions looking at how Shrewsbury can develop and evolve over the coming years. 

The festival will mark the start of the next phase of the Big Town Plan, as a major ‘Masterplan Vision’ for the town is published in January. The report, produced by Glenn Howells Architects following engagement with a wide range of local stakeholders over the past year, puts forward a variety of exciting opportunities for the future development of Shrewsbury. 

During the festival, the ideas set out in the report will be explored, along with sessions discussing the wider context of town centre development. 

One of the speakers will be Bill Grimsey, author of the nationally-acclaimed ‘Build Back Better Report for Town Centres’, who said he was delighted to be involved.  “I am looking forward to discussing the challenges and opportunities which are facing town centres all over the UK,” he said. 

“The Covid-19 pandemic has made it more vital than ever for towns to have a clear and strategic plan of how they can adapt to encourage people to visit and businesses to thrive. Shrewsbury is leading the way by having a truly collaborative approach to town planning, and I am very happy to be involved with the discussions about these exciting proposals.” 

The full programme is:

Shrewsbury: Step into the Story –January 19: Business, education, community and public sector organisations have come together to develop a new story and marketing approach for Shrewsbury.  This involved understanding what makes Shrewsbury special, competitive and distinct from other places – and by bringing this together in a new story that every organisation and individual across the area can tell and be part of it. 

Introducing the Shrewsbury Masterplan –January 20: Bill Grimsey, author of the nationally-acclaimed ‘Build Back Better Report for Town Centres’ will deliver a key note presentation before Glenn Howells Architects present Shrewsbury’s Masterplan Vision. This project has engaged a wide range of local stakeholders over the past year and puts forward a range of exciting opportunities for the future development of Shrewsbury.

What’s next for Town Centres? January 22: A panel of town centre experts will discuss the evolution of town centres and Shropshire Council, LDA Design and Montagu Evans will share some emerging thinking and insights, as well as ideas being developed to re-purpose and redevelop the Riverside area of Shrewsbury town centre.

Better Movement and Healthy Streets – January 26: How can we improve movement into and around Shrewsbury and making the town centre experience better and healthier for everyone? Specialists from Phil Jones Associates and local organisations including the Shropshire Cycle Hub will lead the discussion.

Celebrating Heritage & Public Space – January 27: A diverse panel including representatives from Create Streets and Historic England will discuss how we can showcase and protect Shrewsbury’s rich heritage and public spaces.

Shrewsbury: The next generation –January 28: A discussion about the future of town centres with the Government’s High Street’s Taskforce Junior Fellow Joe Barrett and Adam Purnell who leads the Shrewsbury youth work for Shrewsbury Town Council.

Living and Breathing the Big Town Plan – January 29: Carl Jones of Shropshire Business Magazine will host a panel discussion with Peter Nutting (leader of Shropshire Council), Alan Mosley (leader of Shrewsbury Town Council) and James Handley (elected non-exec director of Shrewsbury BID) reviewing the festival, discussing what comes next and inviting comments and questions from our virtual audience.

Each session begins at 11am, will be broadcast live on Zoom and will be available to watch on demand following the event. For more information and to register a place, visit festival.shrewsburybigtownplan.org 

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