Experts champion leisure facilities as integral to healthy town centres

More than over 75 local people and businesses gathered last night to hear the views of renowned architects and urban planners on the importance of leisure facilities to sustaining a healthy town centre environment.

The meeting at University Centre Shrewsbury, ‘Future proofing a healthy Shrewsbury town centre: Why the Quarry Swimming Pool matters’, was organised by Shrewsbury BID and Shropshire Society of Architects.

Chaired by leading architect Paul Keogh, former president of the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland, a panel of distinguished experts* presented perspectives and drew on other destination case studies to highlight the importance of the central location of the swimming pool to Shrewsbury for its social and economical sustainability.

Kirsten Henly, Shrewsbury BID Executive Director, said: “The audience learnt not only the importance of leisure and community facilities being at the heart of successful town centres, but that there are a number of ways to manage these places and facilities.

“The panel’s experience gave an inspiring perspective of the potential for the pool within Shrewsbury town centre, evidenced by examples of other successful schemes developed in similar townscapes and in difficult economic situations.”

The subsequent debate reinforced not only the community’s appetite for retaining the pool within the town as part of its social and economic wellbeing, but importantly the need for this to sit within a wider framework of a structured plan for Shrewsbury’s future. Members of the audience also called for a better analysis of the potential options at the existing site, including local management structures and commercial opportunities to sustainably grow the pool’s existing offer.

“The need for a strategic plan for the town is something Shrewsbury BID has been calling for and will be working with other partners to deliver.  Hearing the experiences of other locations really emphasised that a decision about our pool and the town centre cannot be taken in isolation of each other- there are many component parts that need bringing together and we’ll be focussing on addressing these” Kirsten added.

Shrewsbury BID will now share the outcomes from the debate with Shropshire Council which is considering the future of Quarry Swimming Pool. Shrewsbury BID has already raised concerns about the economic impact any move out of the town would have on the town centre.

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