The demolition of a former supermarket will begin next month to help pave the way for a major regeneration project.

Plans have been lodged for the old Morrisons in Oswestry to be bulldozed, ready for the site to be redeveloped as part of the town’s emerging ‘Masterplan’.

The Oswald Road building has been vacant since the supermarket giant relocated to its new premises at the former Smithfield livestock market in October 2019.

Work is set to start on the site, which is now owned by Shropshire Council, at the beginning of February and is expected to be completed by the first week of April.

The land is earmarked for redevelopment as part of the ‘eastern gateway’ area of the town – a key component of the Masterplan.

The Future Oswestry Group (FOG), which is developing the Masterplan, has not yet set out what this might look like, but is considering a range of options including housing, retail and leisure.

Proposals for the area will also encompass the town bus station, which is expected to be scrapped in favour of a ‘transport hub’ outside the railway station, which will be refurbished.

Councillor Dean Carroll, portfolio holder for physical infrastructure, said: “An application has been made to demolish the former Morrisons site in Oswestry which, if granted, could be beneficial in the long run to any future use.

“No decisions have been made for the future of the site at this stage, but it is felt that it would be beneficial for it to come with this permission already attached.

“The site has now been vacant for more than two years and advertised for retail rent for five years, without a deal being completed.

“The application for demolition has been submitted to enable Shropshire Council to proceed promptly with the outcome of any future options appraisal study for the interim and long-term re-use of the site.

“Future development of the site will be subject to consideration of options to ensure that development will contribute to the vibrancy of the town centre.

“This is an important site in the town and are confident that, working with the Future Oswestry Masterplan and Vision consultation that a suitable use will become apparent.”

The supermarket was constructed in 1985 and the application, lodged by consultancy firm Tetra Tech on behalf of the council, says the building “has come to the end of its useful economic life”.

Following the demolition, the site will be levelled and secured with fencing, ready to be redeveloped when FOG has finalised the plans for the area and funding has been secured.

The Masterplan will also set out ambitions to regenerate the town centre, overhaul the road network and public transport system and re-purpose disused buildings.