Big Town Festival set to put Shrewsbury on national stage

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Redeveloping Riverside is a priority
Redeveloping Riverside is a priority

The Shrewsbury Big Town Festival, a series of public debates and discussions, starts on Tuesday. The first event is called ‘Shrewsbury: Step into the spotlight’.

Individuals, organisations and businesses within the community have helped to create a strategy for promoting Shrewsbury to visitors and potential investors.

The “masterplan” for the town was released last week and has drawn scepticism over issues including public transport and how developments would impact on historic architecture. But civic leaders insist it was launched to initially spark debate, and nothing is “set in stone”.

Place marketing specialists, thinkingplace, who have worked on major commissions to promote all three of the UK’s cities of culture, led the work on the new marketing strategy, on behalf of the Shrewsbury Big Town Plan Partnership.

A revamp for access to the station

In Tuesday’s talk, John Till, of thinkingplace, will discuss the strategy, and said he was keen for as many people as possible to join in.

He said: “A lot of work has taken place over the past few months, talking to stakeholders about Shrewsbury, the good and bad, the important opportunities there are and their ambitions for the place.

“We have looked to identify what makes Shrewsbury distinct, special and attractive as a place and this has resulted in a forward-looking, collaborative and compelling story for Shrewsbury.

Seb Slater, executive director of Shrewsbury BID, which forms the Big Town Plan Partnership along with Shropshire Council and Shrewsbury Town Council, said the place marketing strategy was an important piece of work.

An artist’s impression of a pedestrianised Shrewsbury High Street

He said: “The aim of this work is for us all to put Shrewsbury on the map and we want to share how we’re going to do things differently to achieve this.

“This is a very important moment for Shrewsbury and this approach will be vital as we look to support and grow our economy for the benefit of all. We need and want as many people as possible to be part of it.”

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