New bar opening in Stafford tomorrow
A trendy new bar is opening tomorrow to mark the beginning of the end of a costly six years of empty units for taxpayers.
It has been six years since the £38 million Staffordshire Place complex in Stafford town centre was opened, but the county council only announced it had filled the empty units this month. The bare units have cost taxpayers' nearly £100,000 in business rates on the premises.
Verso Lounge, run by the Loungers company, opens at 9am tomorrow at Staffordshire Place 1. Dessert shop Sweet Cafe is expected to open its doors at Staffordshire Place 2 in the coming months.
Loungers has opened bars all over the West Midlands, including Birmingham and Sutton Coldfield, and has placed a six-figure investment into its Verso Lounge. Around 20 jobs have been created by the lounge, which had its licensing application approved earlier this year.
The bar will be open 8am until 11.30pm Sunday to Wednesday, and 8am until 12.30am Thursday to Saturday.
Tomorrow's opening includes a private event from 6pm, with special guests including Stafford's mayor and mayoress.
Verso Lounge will offer coffees to cocktails and a wide range of food include special menus for vegans and vegetarians. The bar will also host regular quiz nights.
Other units filled at Staffordshire Place, the HQ of Staffordshire County Council, include the north side of Staffordshire Place 2, which the University of Wolverhampton is occupying after vacating the Shire Hall. The last space on the ground floor is already occupied by the town's library.
The units, that have sat predominantly empty since 2011 when the building was opened, have attracted criticism from opposition councillors, who were furious about the time it has taken to get them filled.