Oswestry is on the brink of an exciting future – with more jobs and prosperity around the corner.

And there are also signs the derelict land at Smithfield – which has lain dormant since Morrisons' plans for a supermarket, cinema and leisure facilities crashed and died – could soon see development.

That is the confident claim of Steve Davenport, a Shropshire councillor for St Martins, Dudleston Heath and Dudleston who is a member of the council's cabinet and is portfolio holder for transport and highways.

It comes after more than £9m was pledged by the government which, it says, will 'help much-needed homes to be built and help create jobs'.

The money will be used for:

n Improvements to the two roundabouts along the A5 at Mile End and Whittington Road, which will service the new Innovation Park;

n A new roundabout in Shrewsbury Road into the proposed estate of 600 homes;

n A pedestrian bridge link across the A5 linking the housing area with the Innovation Park.

Cllr Davenport said he expected high-profile businesses to move into the Innovation Park once it was ready for development.

"We have been working hard behind the scenes to make this happen," he said.

"We have been in talks with highways and the government to get into this position and it will bring jobs and prosperity to Oswestry.

"Once the roads are put in for the Innovation Park, it will be shovel ready – and that's when we'll start to see something happen there. I expect that to be within the next two years.

"The Innovation Park really is happening.

"I believe the Park will be a mix of buildings being provided for firms which want to move on to the site, and other businesses which will want to move there and build their own premises. It will be mix and match development.

"And because of where it is, right beside A5 and opposite a new housing development, I am certain some big businesses will be attracted. I expect a lot of new jobs to be created in Oswestry.

"I expect some existing local businesses to move there so they can expand, and for new businesses to move in."

Cllr Davenport believes discussions are again taking place between Morrisons and Shropshire Council to develop the derelict former livestock market site.

"I understand discussions are being had, with the prospect of housing and a supermarket on the site," he said.

"The problem with the site is that Shropshire Council does not own it, so we can only look at what is being applied for. But development is back on the map.

"The Innovation Park is different – we own the site so have much of a steer over what goes on it."

"It's an exciting time for Oswestry with a lot of much-needed positive investment.

"Speaking personally, I feel the next step will be to sit down with the town council and look at the roads structure in the town.

"It's my belief that people should be able to drive through the town centre, park in designated bays and pop into the shops – I think that would help revitalise the shops.

"That's on my to-do list and something I'm keen to discuss."

The £9.3m funding comes from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

In total, £9,321,963 has been awarded to Shropshire Council and the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) for a scheme named “western Shropshire interchange improvements – unlocking the Marches Gateway for housing and employment growth”.

Nic Laurens, Shropshire Council’s cabinet member for economic growth, said: “I’m delighted our bid for funding has been successful.

"Development within Oswestry is constrained by the existing capacity of the road network, and improvements to the strategic highways network are needed to bring forward planned housing and employment land developments.

"These improvements will stimulate planned housing in Oswestry, which is crucial to support demand for employment land in the area.”

Mandy Thorn MBE, the vice-chair of Marches LEP, said: “This work will be a catalyst for economic growth in Oswestry.

"It is vital that development land for housing and employment is delivered and infrastructure is put in place to allow that to happen. Improvements on this stretch of the A5 will also help lift constraints which limit the area’s potential to attract businesses and investment.

“The project will kick-start a new phase of prosperity for Oswestry, the second-largest market town in Shropshire, benefitng the people who live and work there, both now and in the future.”