New cinema, civic centre and food quarter planned in Cannock masterplan
A new cinema at the heart of a food and drinks quarter is part of an ambitious masterplan for Cannock town centre.
Cannock Chase District Council has unveiled its vision for the town, which will bring sweeping changes over the next decade if the proposals are realised by 2028 as anticipated.
At the heart of the strategy is a major expansion of leisure facilities to transform the centre from a 'six-hour town' to a '12-hour' one.
The 50-page document reveals a 'significant redevelopment' of High Green has already been proposed, which would include a new 'medium-sized' cinema as well as restaurants.
The car park on Hunter Road has been deemed surplus to requirements and touted for a 'budget hotel'.
Other bids to improve the town's leisure offering include refurbishing the Electric Cinema, renovating the front of house, installing a new screen and upgrading the venue to digital projection.
At the moment around 670 people live within the town centre boundary but a priority is to double that figure by 2028 in a bid to drive extra footfall.
A car park on Manor Avenue has been earmarked for a potential housing development.
Council bosses want to develop a new 'civic quarter' on the Beecroft Road car park which would also accommodate Cannock Library.
The existing buildings would be redeveloped for housing as well potentially a new site for Cannock Police Station.
The current library and police station would be also be re-purposed for homes.
A major focus in the next ten years will be making the external appearances of Cannock Shopping Centre and The Forum Shopping Centre more attractive and opening up frontages onto Ringway and Church Street.
While the routes themselves could also be subject to significant changes.
Chiefs will consider restricting access on Church Street to improve the appearance of iconic St. Luke's Church.
Ringway, which has been a feature of Cannock since the 1970s, has been identified as a 'physical barrier' to people accessing the town.
The plan states an intention to re-design it to reduce traffic as well as improve pedestrian links across the route.
Further infrastructure commitments include enhancing access from the town to the £115m Mill Green designer outlet village when it opens in 2019.
Parking across the town has also be singled out as a major area of focus with current limits and charges branded 'confusing' and 'notably high'.
The multi-storey itself would be downsized to make it more attractive.
The masterplan was formally unveiled on Friday with a display set up in Cannock Market – another site earmarked for refurbishment in the document.
Heath Hayes resident David Marsden, was among the first to see the plans.
He said: "I think it's interesting. It has been well explained that what appears on the maps is not a definite development plan. There's obviously the concerns.
"We have got a cinema but is it the proposed new cinema the right kind of thing for people who live here?"
The Vision Statement says: "In 2028 Cannock town centre will be an attractive market town with an excellent range of well known stores and good quality indoor and outdoor markets.
"It will also have a strong independent and specialist retail sector.
"Another significant change will be the growth of a high quality food and drink sector, anchored by a popular new cinema, the refurbished Electric Palace, and by the Prince of Wales Theatre."
It adds: "Cannock will be a better connected place – a place for people first, easier to reach and move around on foot.
"Bus services will be located where people want to access them and there will be better connections to the train station and to Mill Green Designer Outlet Village.
"The centre will continue to be easily accessible by car, with car parking well placed and well priced."
The masterplan, and the options within it, has now gone out to public consultation.