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Chance for businesses and residents to get involved in plans to enhance Oswestry town centre

Opportunities for people to get involved in Oswestry’s Heritage Action Zone (HAZ) programme are set to be announced early next year – as work continues to tackle the town’s empty buildings.

As part of the development of the HAZ programme an initial workshop with invited community and cultural organisations was held on 26 November, and there will soon be a chance for interested local people to get involved.

As a High Streets Heritage Action Zone (HAZ) Oswestry will benefit from a share of £95m of government funding, following a successful bid by Shropshire Council, in partnership with the Future Oswestry Group, which also comprises Oswestry Town Council and Oswestry Business Improvement District (BID).

Becoming a Heritage Action Zone will help to support the aims of the Future Oswestry Group by tackling empty properties and enhancing the heritage of the town.

Meanwhile, Oswestry BID has arranged a meeting with the town’s agents and landlords on 10 December to discuss work relating to empty buildings within the town centre and proposals to look at how these buildings could be used or re-purposed.

Andy Wigley, natural and historic environment manager with  Shropshire Council, said:

“Building on the work of the Future Oswestry Group, the HAZ funding provides an exciting opportunity to tackle and address some of the heritage issues and empty properties within the conservation area of the town. Through a strong place-based approach to management of the high street, we will be working with key partners to deliver this vision and to bring the town’s high street to life.”

Adele Nightingale, Oswstry BID manager, said:

“This is an exciting time for Oswestry, and the HAZ fund will give the ability to push on with some of the projects that had already been started through the Future Oswestry Group. The key to the success of ensuring that we maximise on the impact of the funding is the collaboration between Shropshire Council, Oswestry Town Council and the BID. Working together means we can pull on each organisations strengths and deliver the best for our town.

“Shropshire Council have worked very hard in pulling together all the information in what was a short time frame for the application, with great input from Oswestry Town Council. We look forward to working together for Oswestry!”

Arren Roberts, Oswestry Town Clerk, said:

“This is a huge opportunity to tackle some of the issues on the high street. The Town Council are fully behind this work and have committed to using some of the Smithfield capital receipt to maximise the total budget available. The work of Oswestry BID also needs to be recognised – the connection with the business community is one that has been missing in Oswestry and their work, including engagement with local landlords, is valued and is valuable. I would also like to thank Shropshire Council officers for their hard work and diligence on the application to Historic England.”

The Future Oswestry Group is a partnership between Shropshire Council, Oswestry Town Council and Oswestry BID that’s working to help deliver activities and projects that will benefit the town, its residents and its businesses. The group will help to deliver each organisation’s activities and projects through working more closely together.