Shrewsbury is to benefit by 2016 from a replacement of its three small shopping centres with a new £150 million Riverside development if developers, UK Commercial Property Trust Ltd, secure planning permission.

The plans will make Shrewsbury a prime shopping destination for the county region by providing a 95,000 sq ft full line department store, 50 new shops, 10 restaurants, offices and car parking. The enlarged commercial centre will extend overall to 480,000 sq ft and continue to represent the principal retail focus for the town, where no new retail space has been built in the past 20 years.

This scheme has already spent a long time in gestation as a period of public consultation and a public exhibition of the proposals has been held. UKCPT own the existing Riverside, Pride Hill and Darwin shopping centres which form the pillars of the proposal.

Christopher Hill, Chairman of UKCPT, said:

"The New Riverside project in Shrewsbury is a significant project for UKCPT, and a transformational scheme for the town. In conjunction with its development manager, Shearer Property Group, UKCPT has a wealth of expertise and experience in active asset management of retail property. We have been able to draw on those skills in assembling this site and creating an exciting, deliverable scheme with the potential to achieve significant value on behalf of our shareholders."

UKCPT raised £150 million in 2010 in a share issue and followed that up with a £150 million credit line from Barclays last year. A closed-ended Guernsey-based investment company, its £1 billion portfolio is managed by Ignis Asset Management, and comprises mostly retail, with some distribution, offices and most recently leisure, with the acquisition of the Rotunda cinema and leisure complex in Kingston on Thames last May. It spent £50 million on St. George’s Retail Park, Leicester, last year and £56.6 million on Junction 27 Retail Park at Leeds in 2010, so it should have the firepower for this development.