Express & Star

Dance hall and bar plans for town centre shop unit

A town centre shop unit that closed last month after 38 years of selling DIY supplies and homewares is set for a new chapter – as a dance hall and bar.

The Home And Colour store

Home and Colour, which opened in Stone in 1984, has now moved online and its focus is supplying blinds, curtains and shutters to customers.

The High Street retail unit, which shut on October 22, could soon reopen to visitors.

An application has been submitted to Stafford Borough Council to change its use for a dance school, dance hall, café, retail and licensed bar.

A heritage statement submitted as part of the proposals said: “In the short term the applicant proposes retail, café and small dance classes. The application is to expand the permitted use to include dance hall and licensed bar.

“The proposed expansion of uses will make the business more flexible and robust and will help to provide a mix of attractions for Stone town centre.

Dance classes and events would be carried out in both the day and the evening, providing a positive contribution to the town centre vibrancy and regeneration.”

Some people have raised concerns about the prospect of another food and drink venue in the town centre however.

One Stone resident said: “Operating another café/licensed bar would be detrimental and unfair to the existing establishments who are already suffering due to patronage being spread thin across town.”

A town café owner said: “I love the dance school and dance hall idea but opening another café/bar is too much for the local economy to bear. There are a number of cafés and bars very close by that are already struggling with the low footfall.

“Granted the dance school may boost that, but adding a café and bar doesn’t add any value to the establishments already on the High Street. In the long run there will be closed cafés and bars if this keeps happening.”

Another business owner said: “My concern would be the noise. My business is an optometrist and audiologist and has been established in Stone for over 37 years.

“My pre-examination and consultation rooms are adjacent to the wall upstairs to the proposed dance studio. I would need assurance that the rooms would be sound proofed by the new business in order to ensure that the noise level is quiet and that that the music cannot be heard in my examination rooms for my patients (who) need complete confidentiality when discussing their medical needs.”

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