Follow Us

Facebook Twitter

New Plan for the Stew – 14 August 2018

Another plan has been put forward for the Stew.

This one is an update posted on the previous application’s validation number (17/05538/FUL) so it is important to disassociate previous documents and comments.

Shrewsbury Civic Society feels this new plan is better than previous ones but reserves making overall comments until more information is known. It is noted that Shrewsbury Town Councillors are objecting to this scheme as it does not address their previous requests. It is also noted that Historic England says that the plan is better but still overwhelming. They insist that evidence is needed to justify such a large extension. A rigorous Viability Report has not been submitted.

The Civic Society has previously pointed out that Shrewsbury and its heritage buildings should not be undermined by past financial errors, nor by the lack of consideration of less intrusive schemes.

Shrewsbury Growing Forward


Shrewsbury Growing Forward exceeded all expectations with attendees from many different interest groups attending.

Shrewsbury’s Mayor Jane Mackenzie gave an introduction to the meeting, welcoming the panelists and Chairman for the day Mike Carter.

The Panelists consisted of :

Cllr Nic Laurens Shropshire Council Cabinet Member and Portfolio holder for investment and Economic growth

Ian Kilby Planning Development Manager of the LPA

Robin Mager Shropshire Wildlife Trust Planning Officer

Charles Green CPRE

David Ward Ex Government Planning Inspector

Peter Gilbert Sustainable Transport Shropshire


Each gave an evaluation of their particular area of expertise on Shrewsbury Growing Forward.

After refreshments the audience then divided into 6 discussion groups to formulate ideas on development priorities.

We then resembled for feedback from the various groups with questions for the panelists mostly answered by Ian and Nic who gave very comprehensive answers.

By the end of the day our attendees went away knowing more about the growth in Shrewsbury they had had the opportunity to share their views and identify key aspects of ‘Sustainable’ neighbourhoods.

Shrewsbury Civic Society Awards 2018 Entry Form

SCS Building Awards 2018

Shrewsbury Civic Society (SCS) Building Awards are for buildings in Shrewsbury which are considered to make a positive contribution to the built environment of the Town. The last Awards were made in 2016 and this year is to be the next time that the buildings of Shrewsbury are to be considered. There are four categories for the Awards:- 1. New built buildings. 2.Renovated or refurbished buildings. 3. Shop fronts, new or refurbished. For 2018 to celebrate 50 years since SCS first started work on the Bear Steps Restoration another category has been added for this year only: 4. The most outstanding new building or substantial renovation, of the last 50 years. The Awards are for buildings, or shopfronts, which have been completed between 14th September 2016 and the closing date 14th September 2018. The exception is for the building which is the most outstanding since 1968 where the obvious start date is as it says ‘1968’. Anybody can enter a building for an Award. You don’t have to be a member of SCS. You don’t have to own the building. Entries are welcome from Owners, Occupiers, Builders, Developers, Architects, SCS Members, other organisations and from anybody interested in the built environment of Shrewsbury. There is an entry form available at Bear Steps, on the SCS Website and in the Newsletter but you can just submit the name of the building and the category and we will do the rest. Just email, 01743 344994, drop in at Bear Steps or write to Building Awards, Shrewsbury Civic Society, Bear Steps, Shrewsbury, SY1 1UH. The more people who participate the more we can promote the quality buildings of Shrewsbury. Anyone can make more than one entry and SCS would like to see a wide range of buildings to be considered for the Awards. The closing date for entries is 14th September 2018 and entries are already being made. The Awards will be announced at a ceremony at Bear Steps on Friday 19th October at 12.30pm which will be open to the public. SCS wants to recognise the excellent buildings of Shrewsbury. They give builders of the future something to aspire to. SCS wants the people involved in building to know that buildings which deserve to be recognised will receive a positive accolade. Please do participate.

The Nash Glass Roof: Attingham Hall: photograph by Richard Bishop

The Nash Glass Roof: Attingham Hall: photograph by Richard Bishop

Mayors forum

Download poster

Tickets sold out




‘Young Darwin and Shrewsbury’ opened by Mayor Jane Mackenzie Monday February 20th 2018.

‘Young Darwin and Shrewsbury’ opened by Mayor Jane Mackenzie  Monday February 20th 2018.
The Mayor is working to have Charles Darwin’s home saved as the lease come up for renewal, she spent some time viewing the exhibition and said, “ This is a comprehensive look at Charles Darwin’s childhood and as life a young adult in Shrewsbury, from his birth at The Mount to his return from 5 year’s on The Beagle.
Byron Grainger Jones commented “This exhibition comes at a very appropriate time with news of The Mount possibly becoming available in the near future.
Anyone interested in young Darwin and his connection with Shrewsbury should come along and take a look.”
Young Darwin and Shrewsbury can be found upstairs in Bear Steps Hall the meeting room of Shrewsbury Civic Society, it gives a good introduction to the young Charles Darwin’s life in Shrewsbury. His young days at home at The Mount where he was born in1809, his love of the land surrounding his house covering his education in Shrewsbury School which left him with lifetime memories and goes on to explain how he got his chance to go on a voyage of a lifetime, on The Beagle returning to Shrewsbury 5 years later with many note books of research. Bibbs Cameron Vice Chairman Shrewsbury Civic Society said, “Many people attending the preview of the Exhibition from different parts of the country and abroad, have said the exhibit is very informative regarding his early life, they were not aware that his love of the natural world was nurtured in Shrewsbury also that The Mount his birthplace and home would make an excellent place to open to the public.”
Mayor Jane Mackenzie opening Young Darwin and Shrewsbury

Mayor Jane Mackenzie opening Young Darwin and Shrewsbury

Mayor Jane Mackenzie. Byron Grainger Jones Chairman Shrewsbury Civic Society Mark Scutt Member Shrewsbury Civic Society

Mayor Jane Mackenzie.
Byron Grainger Jones Chairman Shrewsbury Civic Society
Mark Scutt Member Shrewsbury Civic Society


Bibbs Cameron V Chairman Shrewsbury Civic Society  David Lupine Art Gallery Manager Mayor Jane Mackenzie

Bibbs Cameron V Chairman Shrewsbury Civic Society
David Lupine Art Gallery Manager
Mayor Jane Mackenzie


Forum – Shrewsbury Growing Forward: Urban Sprawl or sustainable development. April 28th 1pm.

“Shrewsbury Growing Forward: Urban Sprawl or sustainable development”. An Open Forum Meeting to share views.

Shrewsbury’s Mayor, Cllr Jane Mackenzie, and the Civic Society want to consider how the town might accommodate some 8000 new dwellings and maintain high quality of environment and living. This Forum will briefly hear from a number of experts on different aspects of Shrewsbury’s growth and then collect views from discussion groups. These may suggest working towards outcomes, which could complement the Big Town Plan.
Please come to hear the issues and give your views on Saturday April 28th 1pm – 5pm Room 020 The Guildhall (UCS) Shrewsbury. It’s a chance to have a say!
While this Forum is free, it is helpful to have an advance ticket from or from the Bear Steps.

Stew Update February 2018 Mike Carter

Shrewsbury Civic Society has added to its objection to the application concerning the Stew

We re-iterate the urgent need for a sensible and sympathetic re-use of the building. However, we note that Historic England (HE), the nation’s inspectorate of heritage and buildings, has objected very strongly:

HE objections are that:

the proposals would cause harm to this heritage asset and the Special Character of Area of the Conservation area;

the current proposals are contrary to the 1990 Act and the NPPF;

an additional storey of development would have a highly detrimental impact;

if there has to be an extension, it should complement and be informed by the architecture of the existing building.

HE would encourage addressing the highway-dominated setting…. and…enhance the relationship with the river.

The Civic Society completely agrees and adds that the most recent design for the building’s development, does not comply with these points. As SAVE says, “It would cause significant harm to the building’s integrity and historic character, as well as harm to the Conservation Area.” The latest design, with changes to the windows and removal of the door, fails to grasp the distinctive qualities of the Queen Anne facade. Rather than elucidating the individuality of the building, it has rendered it unintelligible. Consequently, we are gratified to hear that this drawing is to be re-considered.

Planning Application 17/05538/FUL for the Stew Frankwell Quay Shrewsbury 2017

Planning Application 17/05538/FUL  for The Stew, Frankwell Quay, Shrewsbury, December 2017.


Along with a number of other local and national groups and many residents, Shrewsbury Civic Society has been concerned about this building for years. It is again the subject of what we think is an inappropriate planning application. We are very keen for a speedy development but not the wrong one.


The Stew has been left unloved for many years and deserves a good quality sympathetic rejuvenation to help it pay for itself. We think it is “non-designated heritage asset of regional significance”. (That’s what the Planning Inspector said on ruling that it could not be demolished.)


The application is to enlarge the structure, turning all but the ground floor into apartments. It would entail removing some walls and the roof, adding another floor, a large glazed side extension and two dish-shaped roofs. The Civic Society believes that the plan is wrong for Shrewsbury and for the building.  Too little of the historic Stew would be retained. Its important history in Shrewsbury’s development as a river port would be belittled and the new storey and roofs would be excessively dominant.  The proposal is wrong for the Frankwell Quayside area (whose previous plans do not include accommodation anyway).

So Shrewsbury Civic Society is objecting.












  1. The modern additions, especially the extra storey and roof, would dominate the building’s appearance, over-powering its heritage characteristics and its architecture.
  2. The proposed dish-shaped roofs are alien even to the modern surrounding buildings.
  3. The plan would greatly reduce the Stew’s “important positive contribution to the character and appearance of the Conservation Area”.
  4. A scheme that is mostly providing accommodation would mar the potential economic opportunities for the Frankwell quayside and its partnership with the Glen Maltings.
  5. After over a decade of waiting, Shrewsbury should not accept this ill-fitting scheme when better ones and economic solutions are unexplored.
  6. The scheme pays insufficient attention to local policies/plans and inspectors’ rulings.

We hope the Shropshire Local Planning Authority will help protect Shrewsbury from such an inappropriate scheme.

Facts and irregularities concerning the Stew’s recent history.

1982 An application for demolition was refused. (There may have been others.)
1997 SABC Frankwell Design Brief suggests roles for The Stew & The Maltings in the Quayside’s
future. (Several others’ plans also value the buildings, eg “Shrewsbury Vision”)
2004 (October) In negotiating to sell the lease, The Stew’s then owner, SABC reported that “The..
(prospective)..purchasers are taking all the risk ..with a planning application.”

2006 A full-maintenance 999-year lease was finally signed between a developer and SABC. The developer had an understanding that the Stew could be demolished. (This assurance was unwisely given and unwisely acted upon.)
2007 An application for The Stew’s demolition presented technical documentation which misrepresented its origin. This application was refused by the then Planning Committee and a subsequent Appeal was withdrawn at the last minute.
2008 (Dec.) A Section.215 Order was issued to enforce basic maintenance. Neither have the Conditions of the lease been enforced. Thus the building is neglected but structural sound..
2009 (March) The Sec 215 Order was not rescinded, despite the Council reforming as a Unitary
Council. The new Theatre was opened, followed by the Guildhall. These developments
greatly reduced the number of buildings that reflect Frankwell’s rich past.
2013 A new application for the Stew’s demolition was submitted but found incomplete and the applicant was given more time to correct it. This application did not reveal the previous attempts, despite the requirement to do so.
The property was not offered for sale to test its economic viability within a conservation area.
There were no notices attached to the building when the application was first made.
2014 The application’s determination was refused by delegated powers in May. These applications ignored the advice of English Heritage (and now Historic England) and a number of other respected organisations. There were several occasions when the developer
made late submissions to Applications or Appeals, including missing documents.
2015 Through the year, a 15-day Appeal Enquiry was heard at which the Inspector ruled that the building could not be demolished (December)
Objectors put forward alternative proposals for the building which have been disregarded.
2016 (January) A meeting was arranged for the developer to meeting with some of the key players
to discuss the building’s heritage value and possible uses. He failed attend. A basic repairs
list, agreed with the Council was not carried out.

The developer engaged a local architect to draw up plans for enlargement without
demolition. The brief was that some 1000sq ft would be needed to provide economic
sustainability. This need is not proven nor have other possible uses been explored.

2016 (July) The Civic Society applied to Historic England for Listed Status for the building in order
to protect it from unsympathetic alteration.

2017 (Feb) The Listing application was unsuccessful. Some basic maintenance work was reported.
The architect discussed his plans with the Civic Society, who advised a different approach.
Submission of this application was delayed for months, ostensibly while the
developer “waited for information from the Environment Agency and absence abroad”.
This latest plan is based on an idea to provide a “statement building to harmonise new and
old”. Unfortunately, this concept was encouraged by Shropshire Planning Authority staff.
The application is listed to be determined on 25th January 2018. Advice generally from
experts and Appeal Inspectors favours careful conservation of this prominent heritage asset.
Some historical findings concerning The Stew.

1334 Taxation records show Shrewsbury was the country’s 7th most prosperous town.
The name “Stew” probably came from the word for a (river-fed) pond holding fish to help feed
those in the adjacent medieval St George’s ‘hospital’ (ie offering hospitality).
1406 The Stew “comprising land, a croft and a dove cote” passed to James Dyer’s sons.
1462 Edward IV passed the “Dyer lands” on to the Drapers.
1471 Although disputed, a petition to the King, allowed the Drapers to retain “the croft called le
Stewe, croft with pond there in Frankwell, next to the chapel of St George and ….the bank of
Severn”. There are then records of their various lettings eg to T. Donne in 1553.

1713 The owners were the Scotts, of Betton Strange, who passed it to John Astley (a Little Berwick
Yeoman). He probably had the merchant’s house built, as it is now dated to early 1700s.
(This could have been on earlier structures as foundations dated about 1660 were found on
the Stew’s SE corner.)
The road between the Stew and the Maltings building was St George’s Waterlode and a main route to the early fortified bridge (of which footings still exist under the Theatre).
1730-on From the evidence that does exist, many historians deduce that The Stew was playing a
significant role in the river trade. (It is now Shrewsbury’s only such remaining building from
this period).

This was when Severn Trows were in their heyday and before the impact of the railways.

c.1830 The quay-side part of the building was erected as a warehouse and has extra strong roof
beams made of baltic pine.
The Stew has had several additions built on during Frankwell’s industrial period. (Victorian era and 20th Century.These are now removed leaving superficial scarring to the exterior.

The building has had several commercial uses since its role in Shrewsbury’s river-port
development. These were often associated with Frankwell’s industrial and commercial heritage,
which only ended in this century.
The modern Guildhall/University building design deliberately copied several architectural features of the Stew to maintain the character of the Frankwell quayside area.
The Stew is a popular and valued building. In 2015, it attracted the support of some 1500 petitioners.
In heritage terms, the Stew tells two stories. The oldest part reflects Shrewsbury’s river-trade and 18th Century architectural history, while the larger 19th Century part reminds us of Frankwell’s more recent industrial past, where storage and warehousing were at a premium.
The Government Planning Inspector for the last Appeal, described the Stew as “a regionally important non-designated heritage asset” and that “the significance (of the designated heritage asset – ie the Conservation Area) would be harmfully damaged by the loss of The Stew.” This must include the loss of parts of the building (especially its prominent roof-line) and any overshadowing of its historical references.

NB In these pages we have sought to be as accurate as possible but we understand there are many more details not recorded here.
Shrewsbury Civic Society December 2017.






Sir Neil Cossons Keynote Speaker on Saturday 9th September at 7pm at St Alkmund’s Church SY1-1UH