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Leisure and cultural hub, theatre refurb and new cafe included in plans to transform Cannock town centre

A planning application has come forward to transform Cannock town centre using money from the Government’s Levelling Up Fund.

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An artist's impression of a public open space In the Cannock town centre development plans submitted to Cannock Chase Council

Cannock Chase Council proved successful in its bid for a share of the Levelling Up Fund during the first round in 2021.

The £20m Government funding is being supported by further investment from the district council and the private sector. The aim is to create a new leisure, culture and workspace area in the north east area of the town centre, replacing more than 40,000sqft of vacant retail space and former market hall space as well as an “eyesore” multistorey car park

A planning application has now been submitted to Cannock Chase Council for the project. It seeks outline permission for a mixed use leisure and cultural hub, refurbishment of the Prince of Wales Theatre, new drinking and dining space in the theatre, a new cafe building, up to 1300 sq m managed workspace, replacement retail unit up to 1858sqm, up to 3,170 sq m new office accommodation and up to 70 extra care/retirement properties.

A design and access statement submitted as part of the application said: “The vision is to create a new series of destinations within Cannock town centre, to replace defunct and vacant retail space. Retailing will remain important in the centre but will be scaled back to a more appropriate level to meet local demand.

“The new and enhanced functions will focus on uses through the day and into the evening and be based around leisure, culture and workspace. This will diversify Cannock and attract more people and footfall.

“The refurbished and extended Prince of Wales Theatre will be at the heart of the scheme. This will include better performance and audience experience and improved facilities.

“New co-workspace and offices will bring people to the town centre. Café, bar and restaurant facilities as destinations and ancillary to the theatre and workspace will bridge and blend the day and night uses.

“The vision also sees much more direct and attractive route into the leisure and cultural area and the wider town centre via a re-made northern gateway from the bus station and Beecroft Road car park, removing outdated highway infrastructure in the form of a pedestrian subway and creating a stepped and terraced piazza into the town at the Northern Gateway. There will also be a landmark café gateway building.

“Cannock is changing. The vision for this change is exciting and with LUF funding is deliverable and the coming years should see transformational change in the town centre.”

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