Former town centre shop could become micropub

A new micropub could be on the horizon for Stafford town centre after plans to convert an empty shop unit were put forward.

A Google Street View image of the shop unit in Stafford's Market Square that could become a micropub if plans are approved by Stafford Borough Council
A Google Street View image of the shop unit in Stafford's Market Square that could become a micropub if plans are approved by Stafford Borough Council

The Market Street unit was previously a fashion and sportswear shop. But this month an application for change of use was submitted to Stafford Borough Council.

July has also seen the opening of a new drinking venue in a former shop unit in nearby Gaolgate Street. The former Dorothy Perkins store, which closed in 2016, has become Hogarths.

In April 2018 Gaolgate Street’s former British Heart Foundation shop was reopened as a bar by Stafford brewery Slater’s.

The latest shop conversion plans, put forward by Alex James, are for The Ship Aground Micropub. A design and access statement submitted as part of the application said the venue would specialise in “high quality craft beer and spirits” and combine drinks with “a specially selected playlist of excellent music ranging from jazz and ska to indie and rock n’ roll”.

The statement added: “We will be based on Market Street bringing new life to a row of largely unused retail units.

“We shall be keeping to ‘traditional’ pub opening hours, keeping the atmosphere friendly and welcoming. The bar will also offer a take-out service, however this will only be a side-line and not the main service offered by the bar.

“Being an interesting and independent new bar we believe that we will be a strength to the area, bringing fresh new clientele to the centre of Stafford, raising diversity of use for Market Street and improving the Stafford economy as a whole.

“We will be remodelling the internal space, converting it from brightly lit retail space to a comfortable drinking establishment with suitable lighting. There will be very little change to the external appearance.

“We shall be replacing the old shop name with our own moniker and freshening up the paintwork, still keeping to a neutral palette. There are no proposed extensions or major structural alterations.

“We will be keeping all and any redecoration in keeping with the existing shops, particularly as there is an established tearoom next door, which will allow for further cross-community interactions.”

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