Smithfield Riverside takes step forward as demolition contractor Cawarden appointed

Smithfield Riverside takes step forward as demolition contractor Cawarden appointed

Shropshire Council’s plans to transform the Smithfield Riverside area of Shrewsbury town centre have taken a major step forward with the appointment of specialist demolition company, Cawarden.

Chosen for its vast experience of working on similar projects, Cawarden will start work next week (17 June 2024) to demolish the Riverside shopping centre and former Riverside medical practice, paving the way for key enabling works on site for future phases of the Smithfield Riverside scheme.

Smithfield Riverside is an ambitious plan led by the council and its development manager, RivingtonHark to transform the area between the River Severn, The Darwin centre, Roushill and Raven Meadows in Shrewsbury town centre.

Mark Barrow, Shropshire Council’s executive director of place, said:

“We’re pleased to have Cawarden on board for what will be the first real visible sign of change following the recent closure of the former Riverside shopping centre.

“The company has lots of experience of working on similar projects and a great track record of keeping nearby residents and businesses informed of their progress, as well as care and consideration for the environment in which they are working. Minimising disruption in the town centre as much as possible was a key consideration when awarding the contract.”

Oliver Crooks, Cawarden’s commercial director, said:

“We are thrilled to announce that we have been awarded the contract for Smithfield Riverside shopping centre, a significant demolition project that will pave the way for an important development in Shrewsbury.

“We are pleased to bring our extensive expertise in managing similar projects and environments, whilst ensuring that our social value commitments are met throughout the process. We look forward to working in partnership with Shropshire Council to deliver this transformative project, which will bring substantial benefits to residents and visitors alike.”

Once the site has been cleared, work can begin on the first phase of the Smithfield Riverside project – the creation of a new landmark park near Roushill which was granted planning permission in March (2024).

This attractive green space has been designed to help breathe new life and vibrancy into the area, as well as improve biodiversity and flood resilience in the town centre.

The park will feature play equipment, facilities for visitors of all ages, and a dedicated events and performance area. It is expected that work to build this will start by the end of 2024.

These developments are being financed from a pot of almost £19 million of external funding which was secured by Shropshire Council last year. Following the completion of the most recent public consultation, the next planning application will be submitted later this year, introducing ‘outline’ plans to the develop three plots located between Smithfield Road, Raven Meadows and the new park.

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