Shropshire have taken an eco-system approach to recovery, demonstrating strong local leadership working with partners to understand how the council can support growth and development.
Shropshire have taken an eco-system approach to recovery, demonstrating strong local leadership working with partners to understand how the council can support growth and development. In 2020, Shropshire saw one of the biggest increases in commercial property enquires nationally, and as a result are bringing forward plans for collaborative office working spaces to meet demand. This is just one example of the council seeking to create the right conditions for economic growth.
The council reacted swiftly to the pandemic and established two taskforces; one economic, and one focused on the social impact of the pandemic. The Economic Task Force brought together key partners, stakeholders and organisations from across the County, with three distinct sub-groups established for employment and skills, town centre recovery and sectors. The taskforce has led a phased economic response, identifying immediate actions required to restart the economy, short term actions to revitalise and medium to long term measures focused on growth.
A desire and willingness to manage local changes have driven investment decisions. The council purchased the three main shopping centres in Shrewsbury as a means to control the foreseeable transformations expected to occur in the near future. These investments were not driven by financial gain, but instead to proactively manage local changes, whilst ensuring comprehensive financial plans reinforce all decisions. The council also set up a for-profit housing association, with the primary purpose of servicing the gap in the market and bringing forward the ability to expand the affordable housing market.
Long-term planning has recently been focused on developing an economic recovery, transformation and resilience framework for Shropshire. The framework was approved in early 2021 and as well as COVID considerations, sets out mitigation for challenges surrounding Brexit and priorities relating to the green and digital agenda. Additional regeneration plans are outlined in Shrewsbury Big Town Plan, a partnership between Shropshire council, Shrewsbury Business Improvement District and Shrewsbury Town Council. The Big Town Plan was developed in 2018 but has since been updated to include a COVID-19 response with specific adaptations through the Shrewsbury Recovery Task Force. The masterplan vision was launched as part of the Big Town Plan festival and sets out bold visions for commercial viability, heritage and conservation and movement and access.