Oswestry East’s Shropshire councillor has expressed her relief after progress towards finding a purpose for a long-standing development site.

The seven-acre space at the former Smithfield Livestock Market development site was initially earmarked for a multi-million pound leisure complex almost a decade ago.

After the initial plans fell through the scheme was in doubt, before Morrisons began work on a new supermarket earlier this year.

Now, estate agents Halls which is responsible for the land is advertising the site – now named Smithfield Park – as being available, and has retail, leisure, trade counter and commercial purposes.

Cllr Clare Aspinall said she is happy to see progress being made towards the completion of the site, and believes it can help bring what Oswestry is lacking.

She said: “Yes, I’m very happy [to see progress].

“I’ve been working with Morrison’s for a while to resolve planning and highways issues.

“It looks like the other half of the site is aiming to accommodate offices which is good – offices are something which the town is lacking. The ultimate aim though has always been to use the space for retail and leisure.

“It was such a shame when the cinema idea fell through a number of years ago, because it’s something the town definitely needs.”

Cllr Aspinall described the area as an ideal space for a retail site and hopes potential buyers are soon found so work can get underway at the earliest stage.

“It’s a perfect spot for a retail site – it’s a big area in a great location,” she said.

“It’s very much a gateway into Oswestry, so something needs to be done to change it from what it currently looks like. Something to benefit the town needs to be built there.

“It is a site that needs development, but it is important it has the right kind of development.”

Despite concerns over the years, Cllr Aspinall believes the new development would not pose a threat to the town centre.

She added: “The way people use town centres has changed a lot. They tend to serve better as leisure nowadays as opposed to just shopping like they once did.

“Oswestry town centre is a place to be social and enjoy the trading side of things.

“We’re lucky that our town has embraced the change over the years and is still thriving.

“I think more retail and shops on the Smithfield site would encourage more people to turn off the bypass and make their way into Oswestry’s town centre for lunch or a coffee and other things.”