Stafford's Shire Hall plans revealed for £7m 'premium' events venue
An ambitious scheme to bring Stafford’s Shire Hall back into use will cost nearly £7 million, a new report has today revealed.
The long-awaited independent report by historic building specialists Ingham Pinnock Associates details a series of uses for the Grade II* listed hall, which shut its doors two years ago.
Bosses are now mulling over two separate plans.
One – which has been recommended in the report – would cost £6.9 million and would see the library transformed into a space for small business start ups, the vaults used as a restaurant or bar, while the Assembly Hall would become the county’s “premium” events and exhibition space.
The report also suggests the court rooms could serve as a museum or exhibition spaces for local groups.
A breakdown of the costs shows a £917,000 outlay on building repairs, almost £1.5m on toilets and circulation, £1.4m on revamping the old library area and £892,000 for work on the Civic hall and courts.
It is slated to cost £150,000 a year to run and would generate net revenues of £16,000 in its first year of operation, according to the report.
A “do minimum” option addressing only the most urgent repairs, would cost around £449,000.
The report says this would see the site used sparingly, “simply hosting occasional events and very little else”.
The plans are set to go before Staffordshire County Council’s ruling Cabinet in the coming weeks.
The report has been welcomed by county councillors, who have been desperate to see the hall brought back into use.
Councillor Aidan Godfrey, the leader of Stafford Borough Council’s Labour opposition, said : “
The reopening of the Shire Hall should help enormously in the regeneration of the northern part of Stafford town centre.”
Mark Winnington, Staffordshire County Council’s economic growth chief, has described the plans as “flexible and exciting”.