Part of Shrewsbury will be transformed into a “pocket park” while essential roadworks are carried out to encourage people to spend more time in the town centre. 

The park in Shoplatch will feature artificial turf and deck chairs, music and activities replacing the vehicles which usually use the road. 

It’s all part of a campaign by Shrewsbury BID (Business Improvement District) to take advantage of essential gas repair work which is due to start in High Street from May 20.

High Street will be closed to through traffic for the duration of the work, meaning inbound Wyle Cop, High Street and Shoplatch will be free from traffic. Access will still be available for deliveries and emergency vehicles. 

Seb Slater, executive director of Shrewsbury BID, said: “We want to encourage people to visit the town centre and spend more time here – even when roadworks are taking place. 

“This essential gas repair work will cause inconvenience for some, but the lack of traffic in High Street and Shoplatch can be a positive thing for the town centre. 

“So rather than traffic driving through Shoplatch, the whole area will be turned into a pocket park, with space for people to relax, take part in activities, listen to music and just enjoy being in the heart of Shrewsbury. 

“We are also hoping businesses on Shoplatch will use the space to showcase what they have to offer, creating a really vibrant and enjoyable experience for everyone. 

“The contractors undertaking the work have said they will do everything in their power to keep the noise down and enable the Shoplatch park to be a pleasant environment – although there will of course be some times when the work is taking place close to that area when there will be some disruption, but that’s entirely understandable.” 

Officials at Shrewsbury BID have been working closely with retailers in Shoplatch, Shrewsbury Market Hall, Shrewsbury Town Council, Shropshire Council and contractors on behalf of Cadent, which is undertaking the gas repair work, to bring the project to fruition. 

Lucy Murphy, from The Salon in Shoplatch, added: “It’s been a joint effort, with the retailers from Shoplatch and the management team at Shrewsbury Market Hall coordinating the activities in the park, and both councils being really positive to ensure we could make this happen. 

“It’s great to see everyone working together to create a positive initiative out of what could be seen as a negative thing for the town. Shrewsbury is very much open for business, and we hope even more people will come into the town centre during May and June to enjoy what’s on offer.”