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New 'high end' pub plan for former Dorothy Perkins shop in Stafford

By Charlotte Callear | Stafford | Business | Published:

A former Stafford town centre clothes store that has been empty for more than two years could become a “high end” pub.

The empty shop in Gaolgate Street

The Dorothy Perkins store in Gaolgate Street closed in 2016 – the same year a store stocking items from the brand opened at the new Riverside Shopping Centre.

It has been vacant ever since and is located opposite the street’s former M&S store – which also closed in 2016 when a new branch opened at Riverside.

But the former Dorothy Perkins branch could soon get a new lease of life as a bid to change its use to a drinking establishment has been submitted to Stafford Borough Council by Preston-based Amber Taverns this month.

A planning statement submitted by agent Innex Design Ltd as part of the application said: “Our client is proposing to operate the premises as a public house, as part of their Hogarths brand, which is high end Victoriana, with lots of timber panelling, brass, leather and stained glass, and a new timber shop front will also be installed which will fit with the existing style. A new rear drinks terrace will be formed in the existing yard area.

“It is not listed, as far as our research can establish, but is situated within the commercial quarter conservation area. Over the years the façade of the building has been rather unsympathetically altered in line with the trends of the age.

“The premises have been vacant for over two years, with all attempts to attract a retail operator failing. Our client’s proposals will therefore see life injected into a declining area, and help protect and save this prominent building in the town centre.”

This is not the first Gaolgate Street shop to be put forward for change of use to a drinking establishment however. In April the former British Heart Foundation shop was reopened as a bar by Stafford brewery Slater’s.

Last month a Stafford Borough Council meeting was told that one way to bring larger empty premises back into use could be to offer the space to more than one business.

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The council’s chief executive Tim Clegg told the meeting: “Some of the premises in Stafford could be divided into smaller premises. To get a retailer to take on something the size of the old M&S is quite difficult.”

By Kerry Ashdown

Local Democracy Reporter

Charlotte Callear

By Charlotte Callear
@CCallear_Star

Reporter based at the Express & Star's Wolverhampton head office

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