Developer ready to transform part of this Staffordshire town

How the developed site could look as part of the Eastgate regeneration programme
-Credit: (Image: Staffordshire County Council)

Plans to transform part of Stafford town centre have moved forward with the appointment of a development partner by Staffordshire County Council. While Stafford Borough Council is leading projects to bring empty buildings in Gaolgate Street and Market Square back into use and breathe new life into the town's station gateway, the county authority is overseeing action to regenerate the Eastgate Street area.

The former magistrates' building has been demolished to make way for a temporary car park for county council staff and members while plans for a more permanent use are developed. The county council-owned Wedgwood and St Chad’s buildings are also due to be re-developed for a potential mix of residential, commercial or hospitality use.

Work is continuing on the creation of the new Staffordshire History Centre, which will showcase the county's heritage and bring three significant collections from the Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Archive Service, the County Museum and the William Salt Library under one roof. And at the latest county council cabinet meeting there was an update on the wider project to regenerate the Eastgate Street area.

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Council leader Alan White said: "I was pleased to see that ION Developments have been selected as our development partner for an ambitious regeneration scheme in the centre of Stafford. The Eastgate regeneration scheme aims to make the area more attractive to new residents, businesses and visitors, repurposing vacant buildings and land so that Stafford can prosper and grow as one of the UK's leading county towns.

"The proposals are likely to include new public and green spaces near to St Chad's Place and a new South Walls square, supported by a mix of living and commercial spaces that better connect the various parts of the town. I look forward to Councillor (Philip) White leading the way on that as it progresses."

Stafford Borough Council members were also given an update on plans to regenerate the Eastgate Street area at the latest Economic Development and Planning Scrutiny Committee meeting. A report said: "The county council are leading on two further significant developments within the town centre at Eastgate and the Staffordshire History Centre.

"The Eastgate regeneration project is focused around the former Magistrates Court site and the Wedgwood Building. Initial proposals have been submitted by ION for residential and mixed-use developments on the sites including the potential reuse of a large part of the former county council offices which are currently vacant."

Michelle Smith, the borough council's economic growth and strategic partnership manager, described Staffordshire History Centre as a "fantastic project". She added: "I went for a look round about six weeks ago and it's such a complete transformation of what was there before - the offer is completely different to the former record office."

Councillor Frances Beatty said: "They're expecting the soft launch to be September or early October, so the work will be completed early autumn. The work is very exciting - it's a project we have been working on for 10 years and there has been an enormous amount of work, particularly by volunteers, county council staff and William Salt Library staff.

"That's why it will be so nice to see the Eastgate project take off. We need something to complement the work that has been done on the history centre, so the site of the magistrates'car park becomes a really nice part of the town as well."

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