Greyfriars House, which has been derelict for a number of years, was previously earmarked for 51 apartments.
But an application to change the use of the Greyfriars building was refused permission by Stafford Borough Council last year. The proposal, put forward by Stafford Developments Ltd, was not considered “permitted development” under regulations allowing offices to be converted into residential space because the building was not in use as an office on May 29, 2013.
Now a new application has been submitted to the borough council by Eagel Mount Ltd to convert the first floor of Greyfriars House into 19 apartments.
The previous plans were welcomed by local residents who said the building was an eyesore and redevelopment would improve the area, as well as reducing antisocial behaviour. Five letters of support sent in to Stafford Borough Council.
One said: “I support this application, on behalf of the Stafford Historical & Civic Society. The provision of a number of residential units will satisfy a growing demand.
“My only regret is that the building was allowed to get into a poor state of semi-dereliction before the application was made; the Department for Work & Pensions should have considered a new use when they took the decision to vacate the premises, so that a new use could have been applied for and approved before the DWP left, and therefore a seamless transition to the new use could have occurred.”
Another said: “The building in its’ current state is an eyesore, and attracts unwelcome people hanging around it.”
Another added: “Not only does it get rid of a trouble spot, it creates vital new apartments for people within Stafford.
“Having more residents located within the Greyfriars strip should also deter crime from happening down that road as (there will) be an increase in footfall from people going to and from their apartments.”
In January a fire broke out in Greyfriars House. In June 2019 Staffordshire Police appealed for witnesses following a report that a teenager had been assaulted there – and in November paramedics found an unconscious man in the building.
Stafford’s Jobcentre Plus branch is now located in St Chad’s Place in the town centre.