Wine bar to open at Stafford council HQ after six-year wait

A trendy wine bar is set to open in one of Stafford's most prestigious buildings – ending six years of embarrassment for Staffordshire County Council.

Wine bar to open at Stafford council HQ after six-year wait

A new Verso Lounge will be based on the ground floor of 1 Staffordshire Place.

The move will see an expensive fitting-out operation of the unit, which has been vacant since the £38 million building opened in 2011 and cost taxpayers' nearly £100,000 in business rates on the premises.

It is expected that around 20 jobs will be created after a six-figure investment by parent company Loungers.

It has applied for a licence to open 8am until 11.30pm Sunday to Wednesday and 8am until 12.30am Thursday to Saturday – and to sell alcohol until midnight at the end of the week.

Under strict licensing regulations, the bar has also had to apply for the 'provision of late night refreshment'.

This is to allow it to serve hot food and drink from 11pm until 11.30pm Sunday to Wednesday and from 11pm until 12.30am Thursday to Saturday.

If the licence is granted it will mean a private sector business will occupy one of the Staffordshire Place units for the first time since the building opened six years ago.

Labour's shadow health spokesman on the county council, councillor George Adamson, said: "When Staffordshire Place opened there were grand promises about how the building would be a boon for taxpayers.

"It has taken the council a long time to fulfil this promise. It has been something that has annoyed a lot of people."

County council finance director Andrew Burns said he was 'pleased' the bar would be coming to the town providing the licence is approved by Stafford Borough Council.

A spokeswoman for Loungers confirmed it had submitted the licensing application but declined to comment further. The firm already has Arco Lounge, Loco Lounge and Renato Lounge in Birmingham and Faro Lounge in Lichfield.

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