Heritage centre plans move forward

Work to create a new heritage centre in Stone is moving forward after councillors approved the building design and gave the go-ahead to appoint contractors.

The former Stone fire station
The former Stone fire station

The town’s former fire station in Newcastle Road is set to be converted into a centre showcasing Stone’s history.

And plans presented to Stone Town Council on Tuesday revealed that the building will include a café.

More than £150,000 has been earmarked by the town council for works to the building in the coming financial year. A further £180,000 was budgeted for the project during 2021/22.

Councillor Rob Kenney, chair of the general purposes committee, said: “Over the last couple of months we have approved the finance for the build project for the heritage centre. Now it is time to put it into action and start work on the heritage centre.”

At Tuesday’s meeting councillors backed the design proposals and agreed to appoint contractors to undertake the work.

A report to Tuesday’s meeting said: “The Heritage Centre Steering Group has considered the design of the building and the works required to bring it into use. The next stage, following approval by the committee, is to let the contracts for building, heating, electrical, mechanical and similar works to enable the shell of the building to be converted into a form that would provide the framework for the Centre.

“Once this has been done, the interior design in respect of displays can be considered in more detail and a further report brought back to the committee.”

The heritage centre forms part of the new Crown Wharf development, which also includes a community theatre and flagship Joule’s Brewery taphouse which opened last year.

Joule’s Brewery, which was previously based in Stone, now owns the Crown Wharf site which Stone Town Council had hoped to buy for the community a decade ago.

In 2009 the council raised £100,000 through a tax hike as part of its bid for the land, which has been used as a free car park for many years.

It is now working with Joule’s Brewery to develop the heritage centre.

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