Ex-pub space to be converted into flat instead of heritage centre after historian's death

First-floor space in a former Cannock pub will be converted into a flat instead of a heritage centre following the death of an historian.

The former Stumble Inn
The former Stumble Inn

Cannock Chase Council gave the go-ahead last year for the Stumble Inn off Walsall Road, Bridgtown, to be transformed into two apartments and a centre for Bridgtown and District Historical Society on the first floor and a ground-floor nursery.

But the facility is no longer suitable for the historical society’s needs and will now become a third apartment in the building instead. Cannock Chase Council’s planning committee unanimously approved the change of use at a meeting on Wednesday.

A design and access statement submitted as part of the application said: “It was anticipated that The Bridgtown and District Historical Society Heritage Centre would occupy the centre and the design was based around the society’s needs at the time. Although the society was formed early in 2009 by a group of people who were keen to keep alive the spirit of the village of Bridgtown over recent years the group has lacked younger members.

“When planning permission was granted a further drive for younger members was made but this was unfruitful.  A lot of the people are now quite elderly and in the last few years a number of its biggest supporters have died.

“In early December its main historian died and despite great efforts to try and interest the younger generation in being involved there has been little or no interest.

“The society have now decided that the historical centre would be too big for them and difficult to justify financially in their operation. The society will be offered alternative free accommodation by the applicant to store their records and will continue to operate for larger meetings from the Bethel Church in Bridgtown.

“The society’s proposed use of the premises was very unique and it is not anticipated that any similar use would work in the building. For this reason it is proposed to add a further one bedroomed flat in the area proposed to be occupied by the society.

“This will dovetail well with the existing use on the ground and first floor. It will also satisfy the enormous demand for rental residential property in the Cannock area."

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