Oakengates Theatre Quarter

A photograph of Oakengates Town Centre
A photograph of the buildings and walkways in Oakengates Town Centre
A photograph of the buildings and walkways in Oakengates Town Centre
A photograph of the buildings and walkways in Oakengates Town Centre

Oakengates Theatre Quarter

A plan of the development site with annotationsThe vision for Oakengates Theatre Quarter

The Oakengates Theatre Quarter project plans aim to regenerate Oakengates Town Centre, boosting footfall into Oakengates and transforming the 1960’s shopping precinct into a modern, welcoming shopping experience for residents and visitors alike.

The proposals for the Theatre Quarter which is located in the area between the Theatre and the Wakes, encompassing the area of Limes Walk and the adjoining Market Street frontages have been developed in response to feedback from consultation activities undertaken to support the development of the Telford’s Town Investment Plan (PDF, 21MB).

A collage of photos of the existing site

A plan of the development siteConsultation and engagement

Public engagement began in 2019 with stakeholders, residents and the wider community to help inform the development of the Town Investment Plan. View details of this engagement.

As part of the Phase 2 Towns Fund process, the development of the detailed business case was supported through further public consultation events which were able to take place in person. These included personal 1-2-1 meetings which were offered to local businesses affected by the proposals and a wider public consultation held in June/July 2022. This included a public exhibition at Oakengates Library and a public survey. These were publicised via social media, press, by direct mail drops, local advertising mediums and on the Telford Towns Fund website.

Alongside ongoing individual meetings with affected parties and the wider business community, a further tenant drop in session hosted by the Chamber of Trade was held in November followed by a wider public meeting in December. A further public exhibition was held in December 2022 showcasing the refined development proposals and details of the planning application. Plans remained up in the library until Planning Committee.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the consultations. In response to the feedback received we have produced a set of FAQs which aim to respond to comments and questions raised and provide further detail about the project.

Feedback was taken into account as the scheme’s design has progressed and been refined. The detailed planning application for the Oakengates Theatre Quarter development was submitted in November 2022 (with planning consent granted on 13 February 2023). You can view the planning consent on the Telford planning portal ref. TWC/2022/0924 (opens new window).

The project

The plans will see the:

  • removal of existing shop canopy to retail units to open up the area, improve natural light to the retail units and create a lighter more welcoming pedestrianised area directly outside the shops
  • reconfiguration of ground floor retail units and refurbishment of 14 new shop frontages increasing attraction for shoppers
  • creation of 10 new first floor sustainable residential units (mix of 1 and 2 bed) providing new homes in the centre of Oakengates, delivered by Telford & Wrekin Council's wholly owned housing company, Nuplace
  • creation of a new enlarged public space to host events and activities including an enhanced market. This will include:
    • improved paving to define the entrance space for Oakengates Theatre and The Wakes
    • provision of raised planters with integrated seating and enhanced street furniture
    • provision of spill out zones in front of retail units, the Theatre and The Wakes
    • screening at the top of the ‘theatre ramp’ to act as a screen to act as a wind break
    • pop up power for events.

It is a priority to keep all active businesses in Oakengates trading. The Council will continue to work with those who may be affected by the proposals to help them move to improved premises in the town, either within the development or into one of the vacant units available in the wider town centre.

The Council will also continue making grants available to businesses through its popular Pride in the High Street initiative. Previous recipients in Oakengates include Christine’s Florist, Gems and Kings. In addition, more work is being done to maximise the use of free local parking and planning is underway to boost the open air market.

Appointment of Contractor 

Morris Property one of the county’s leading construction companies have been appointed as preferred contractor to deliver the scheme.  A site office has been established at Unit 1 Limes Walk which is open for any construction related queries. 

Work started on Monday 2 October 2023 and will unfold in phases; the first phase seeing works to transform Units 6 to 22 Limes Walk.   

Key milestones:

  • Winter 2022 - planning application submission
  • Spring 2023 - planning consent
  • Autumn 2023 - start on site (phased)
  • Summer 2025 - scheme completion.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The removal of the retail units between Limes Walk and The Wakes is aimed at bringing The Place and Market Street closer to the High Street helping to consolidate the town centre. The redevelopment will support the provision of an enlarged public realm space to enhance the prominence of the theatre and create a focus for amenity and events/activities as well as creating better spaces for improved outlets within an enhanced, pedestrian focused environment. As part of the proposals, the retained units on Limes Walk will be reconfigured to create additional units, introducing diversity into the retail offer and support an active retail frontage to encourage footfall and spend in existing businesses and those relocated as part of the development proposals. These works will be supported by a programme of shopfront improvements to enhance the image of the town.

The significance of introducing residential development into a town centre is well documented as being key to sustaining vibrant town centres in the face of changing retail habits.

Among many other assessments, Traffic, Noise and Air Quality Assessments for the development are being carried out and the design detail will incorporate measures, like any other town centre living that ensure the town centre environment is an enjoyable place to live.

The development will provide a high quality housing offer, located at the heart of the town centre and benefitting from its amenities as well as proximity to Oakengates rail station. Delivered to Nationally Described Space Standards, with large open plan living spaces, the dwellings will be targeted at a younger demographic and seek to increase footfall, spend and vitality within the heart of Oakengates. The new housing offer will meet energy efficiency standards and is situated in a sustainable location with direct access to the Oakengates train station and bus services. Responsibility for housing and tenancy management will rest with Nuplace, the Council's wholly owned housing company.

The Council recognises this is a period of uncertainty for businesses and is in contact with those directly affected by the proposals to provide tailored support to each occupier. Whilst a number of businesses are being offered the opportunity to remain within the development, others will be supported to find new premises. Work is not programmed to start until 2023 which provides a lead in period for the Council to help businesses plan for the future and for the Council to design the phasing of the redevelopment works to minimise the effects on businesses and the wider town centre whilst works are underway.

We've bid against the parameters set out within the Towns Fund bidding criteria and to ensure that we give the greatest impact from the investment.

Extensive consultation and engagement has taken place at a number of levels to help inform the development of the Town Investment Plan.

These answers have been compiled from frequently asked questions arising from the latest consultation and engagement on the proposals which took place between 24 June and 15 July 2022.

We are committed to the ongoing provision of free car parking within Council owned car parks within Oakengates. We are aware of the issues of car parking availability and are working to develop a long term parking plan for Oakengates, taking into account concerns raised to us.

As part of the works to enhance and improve the public realm, the design proposals extend to incorporate the upgrading of the ramp leading from the main car park behind the theatre. This will include resurfacing works, addressing the condition of the handrails and views to the service yard behind The Wakes.

As a Council we are committed to ensuring that every child in the borough has access to good educational facilities. This is reflected in the current investments taking place at a number of schools including the recently completed Langley and Horton expansions and the current investment at Holy Trinity Academy. As is the norm with any planning application which include residential development, the Council, as applicant, will be expected to contribute by way of a Section 106 Agreement towards the continual investment in educational facilities. The provision of GP spaces is a matter for the NHS with whom the Local Planning Authority consult as part of planning and investment setting.

We are working with the landscape architects as well as colleagues at the Council to identify and specify materials that we know are sustainable and durable, but can be easily replaced and maintained. This includes reviewing lessons learnt in relation to materials used historically. Alongside this we are developing a maintenance strategy for the wider public space.

The aim of the development is to open up the area to improve visibility and accessibility between these key areas, including the demolition of the central block of retail and the removal of the canopy that wraps around the shops. The introduction of a residential use over the retail units provides an active residential community within an area that would normally close when the retail function ends. The team are also liaising with key stakeholders regarding the operation and refinement of the current CCTV system.