Telford is a contemporary urban town, with its popular Southwater shopping, entertainment and outdoor attractions and 450 acre Town Park, voted the best park in the UK. Set in the rolling hills of beautiful Shropshire, its fresh modern outlook belies a rich history as a key site igniting the industrial revolution, and there is much to see and do whatever your interests. It lies twenty-one kilometres (thirteen miles) East/ South East of Shrewsbury, the County Town of Shropshire and five miles East of the famous Wrekin in the Shropshire Hills area of Outstanding natural beauty.
Telford was created in 1963 as Dawley New Town, on a site initially founded as a monastic settlement in the 11th century. The build was led by Dawley New Town Development Corporation, with the first homes on the new Sutton Hill housing estate being occupied in 1967. Initial planning and design concepts for Dawley New Town were produced by the Birmingham-based John Madin Design Group.
In 1983, after fierce opposition and three public enquiries, the M54 motorway was completed, connecting the town to the M6 and thereby to the rest of the motorway network. Other major roads are the A5, A518 and A442, known as the Queensway.
In 2007, a £250 million regeneration plan for the town centre was announced, which will include the pedestrianisation of the road surrounding the shopping centre, and the creation of new cafés, bars and shops which will lead to 1,750 new jobs. The reason for this expansion is that the original “centre” was only ever a shopping place with no real heart. Since the “centre” closed early evening, there was no nightlife at all in the area, the only major local entertainment areas being in Oakengates and Wellington.
The first phase of the town centre development, named Southwater, was completed in 2014. The official opening ceremony on 18 October 2014 included live music and fireworks. The area comprises a refurbished library, various chain restaurants, Cineworld IMAX Cinema, bowling alley/arcade and a new multi-storey car park.
The town advertises itself as “The Birthplace of Industry”, due to it having Coalbrookdale and other important early industrial sites in the Ironbridge Gorge area, within its boundary. These areas are internationally recognised as being important to the Industrial Revolution, and are largely constructed on the Shropshire Coalfield.