Council bosses break silence on future of Stafford's Shire Hall
Council bosses in Stafford have broken months of silence over the historic Shire Hall to reveal that an independent expert will assess proposals for the building.
It comes after campaigners called for clarity on what was happening with the Grade II* listed property in Market Square, which dates back to the 1790s and shut last July.
The first proposals for the building - which includes a courtroom and holding cells and was most recently used as a library and art gallery - went forward to the Princes Regeneration Trust (PRT) in August.
Suggestions included the nation's first women's museum, an art gallery and a Royal Air Force museum.
Campaigners were promised an update by November after a meeting was held two months earlier but have not heard anything until now.
Mark Winnington, Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet member for economic growth, said: “The county council is committed to maintaining and preserving Shire Hall for future generations, by finding ways to ensure the building is busy, successful and able to sustain itself without placing a financial burden on local taxpayers, while contributing to the wider regeneration of Stafford town centre.
“Several interested parties have suggested different ways the Shire Hall could be used in future and their ideas involve varying financial contributions from different sources.
“We want a solution that will work over many years, so we will appoint an independent expert to look closely at these ideas and others, to examine their feasibility and financial viability.”
The PRT report can be viewed online on the county council's website here after the groups rallied together and urged for it to be published.
The Shire Hall is still being heated and caretakers regularly maintain it while it is closed.