Concerns about plans for new Stafford town centre micropub

A new micropub could open in a Stafford town centre shop – but objectors have raised concerns about the venue opening in an area “heavily populated with licensed premises”.

A Google Street View image of Lichfield Road Stafford with the shop unit set to become a micropub on the right
A Google Street View image of Lichfield Road Stafford with the shop unit set to become a micropub on the right

The Ship Aground would bring new life to a disused retail unit in Lichfield Road, a supporting statement submitted to Stafford Borough Council said.

It added: “We will specialise in high quality craft beer and spirits, pairing them with a specially selected playlist of excellent music; ranging from jazz and ska to indie and rock 'n' roll. We shall be keeping to ‘traditional’ pub opening hours, keeping the atmosphere friendly and welcoming.

“The bar will also offer a take-out service, however this will only be a side-line and not the main service offered by the bar.

"Being an interesting and independent new bar we believe that we will be a strength to the area, bringing fresh new clientele to the centre of Stafford, raising diversity of use for Lichfield Road and improving the Stafford economy as a whole.”

A change of use proposal for the unit and an application for a premises licence have been submitted to Stafford Borough Council.

The authority is due to consider the premises licence at a hearing on Tuesday after four objections came forward from a proprietor and owners of other units in the area.

One objector said: “The addition of new licensed premises given the opening hours would have a detrimental and financial effect on trade and custom.

"The application proposes that alcohol will be sold for consumption off and on the premises between 10am and 12am, seven days a week, the performance of live music from 12pm to 12am seven days a week and the playing of recorded music from 10am to 12am seven days a week.

Revellers

“Granting a licence would provide a further source of alcohol within an area already so heavily populated with licensed premises where crime and disorder have already reached problem levels for the local police.

"The premises have been subject to vandalism and theft over the last 24 months and an additional license in the area will only add to these problems.”

Another said: “This area is historically heavily populated with licensed premises. There are continuing issues with regard to public nuisance and antisocial behaviour including trespass, public urination to the rear of the properties and vandalism, all associated with revellers from the existing licensed premises.

“To add another licensed premises in this area would greatly enhance the opportunity for continued distress, antisocial behaviour and public nuisance.”

Staffordshire Police have agreed a series of conditions with the applicants however and will not be contesting the application, a report to the council’s licensing sub committee stated.

Applicants Alexander James and William Roberts have said they will refuse service to drunk customers and discourage excessive drinking, as well as operating a zero tolerance approach to drugs.

They added that there would be no “irresponsible drink promotions” and soft drink options would be advertised.

They also plan to join the local Pubwatch scheme and carry out regular staff training, as well as communicating with neighbouring businesses and pubs and maintaining a good relationship with police.

Last month Stafford Borough Council granted a premises licence for a new beer shop, The Devil’s Bottlehouse, in nearby Newport Road.

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