Shropshire Council is preparing a proposal to transform the centre of Oswestry, one of the county’s key market towns. Pedestrians will be prioritised in the new scheme, with wider pavements and a new outdoor dining area, The Shropshire Star reports.
The masterplan for the town centre is expected to be published later this year, with the aim of increasing footfall and boosting projects already underway, such as the re-purposing of vacant buildings and shopfront makeovers. Road layouts will also be changed, in an effort to reduce traffic and encourage more visitors on foot.
Shropshire Council deputy leader Steve Charmley said that they are considering closing the Festival Square Car Park to vehicles on a part-time basis, to allow businesses to use the site for outdoor dining, as café culture has become popular during the pandemic.
Cllr Charmley said: “You could just imagine a summer’s day, seeing it covered in tables and being really popular. There is a cocktail bar, noodle bar, cafés all around that could make use of it. Argos is closing across the road, that could become an eatery. It could put a new heart into this part of Oswestry and be a really welcoming area.”
Funding of more than £1.8 million has been secured for town centre improvements through Historic England’s High Street Heritage Action Zones scheme. Shropshire Council has now also submitted a bid for a grant from the government’s newly-launched Levelling Up Fund.
The £4.8 billion fund was announced at the last Spending Review, to support town centre and high street regeneration, local transport projects, and cultural and heritage assets.
Plans have already been signed off to make significant improvements to Oswestry town centre buildings, and to help other businesses move to bigger and better properties. The Council is also considering renovating the former B-Wise and Regal buildings, for possible use as a cinema and council offices.
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