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Old Stafford library could be turned into flats

Stafford | News | Published:

An iconic Stafford town centre building that was previously home to the town’s main library could be turned into apartments and a restaurant.

The historic library

The Grade II listed former library at The Green was sold off by Staffordshire County Council several years ago.

In 2016 the building, which was designed in 1913 and partially funded by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, was featured in the Victorian Society’s annual Top 10 Endangered Buildings list.

In recent years Friends of the Carnegie Old Library Stafford have been working towards giving the building a new lease of life as a community venue and previously launched a campaign to buy it.

But an application has now been submitted to Stafford Borough Council to convert it into 10 apartments and a bar and restaurant. Eight of the apartments will be located on the first floor and the remaining two on the ground floor.

A design and access statement submitted as part of the application said: “The Listed element of the building will remain unchanged externally from its current form. The rear extension and the inner first floor elevations will have windows added. The rear of the property is a 1962 extension which is not listed.

“The apartments will offer accommodation with a single bedroom, separate shower room and an open plan living and dining area with kitchen.

“The bar restaurant will offer two sports tv lounges based around the existing library screens and bookcases, a contemporary seating open plan seating area and bar and a 54 seat open theatre kitchen.

“This new proposed use for the building will offer a vibrant addition to the food and leisure facilities of the town centre. The accommodation will offer young and retired alike a maintenance free, lifestyle within a quality building.”

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A post on the Friends of the Carnegie Old Library Stafford Facebook page described the prospect of using the building for apartments as “disappointing”, but added that it would be good to see the building repaired and used.

A secure cycle shelter for 10 bikes has been proposed as part of the application, but other vehicle parking was not considered relevant to the application, according to a form submitted to the council.

One resident has raised concerns about effect of more homes in Stafford on the town’s infrastructure – and highlighted the plight of another town centre landmark.

Chetwynd House, once home to Stafford’s main Post Office, was later converted into a bar and venue. But its latest incarnation, a bar named The Apothecary, closed suddenly just over a year ago and the venue has been closed ever since.

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A Berry Road resident said in a response to the planning application: “The old Post Office has changed 2-3 times and now stands empty. We are a county town and have nothing in relation to shops – I believe Cannock is better off.

“I believe Stafford has over-exceeded the amount of houses that were required. There are that many houses going up on every available piece of land.

“The town cannot take any more – it is already causing problems getting appointments with doctors, no places in schools, we have half a hospital.

"Stafford has been ruined as a county town. Please no more houses and please sort out traffic congestion if you can.”

By Kerry Ashdown,

Local Democracy Reporter.

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