The first kerb stones were being laid this week as part of the renovation of the Market Square in Stafford.
Leader of Stafford Borough Council, Patrick Farrington, joined the contractors carrying out the £1m work and heard that the project was on track to be completed in the Autumn.
The Market Square is the first phase of the transformation of the High Street. The work will enable the area to hold more events and specialist markets with significant improvements to infrastructure - such as utility supplies and drainage.
Work to put in the kerb lines began this week (Tuesday 21 March) with other enhancements to the ‘Square’ to include 3,200 square metres of paving, new furniture and planting. The scheme is expected to be completed this September 2023.
The investment in the scheme is a small part of a £21m pot that has been backed by a successful bid from the government’s Future High Street Fund (FHSF) with contributions from Stafford Borough Council and Staffordshire County Council.
Councillor Farrington said: “The Market Square is an iconic landmark in our town and it is great to see that work is on track to make it both an attractive centre piece for the area and fit for purpose for the future.
“Our plans will encourage larger scale events and bring specialist markets to the heart of the county town - and increase footfall which will provide the platform for other local businesses to flourish.”
The award-winning civil engineering company, McPhillips (Wellington) Limited are undertaking the work.
Councillor Frances Beatty, Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Planning, said: “Growth and prosperity for our borough is a key priority for the council and we have already attracted major investment working closely with our partners. The financial backing we have received from the Government is testament to their confidence in us delivering a town centre for the future and the magnet to attract further enterprise.”
She added there had already been a huge amount of investment in the town in recent times - with the opening of the £63m Western Access Road, work progressing on the £28 million state of the art skills and innovation centre for Stafford College, as well as the Shire Hall enterprise hub - which opened last year.
And work has begun on the Staffordshire History Centre off Eastgate Street and funding from the FHSF will be used to improve the landscape outside the front of Stafford Railway Station.
Staffordshire County Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for economy and skills Philip White said: “It’s fantastic to see how well work is progressing on the refurbishment of the Market Square and is a great reminder of these exciting times for Stafford.
“This is just one of a range of regeneration projects in the town and will complement the Shire Hall – which reopened last year as an enterprise centre and is already attracting new businesses into the town centre. Together these projects will support a thriving town centre in the future, making it a more attractive place to live and visit for work and leisure.”
Confidential discussions are still taking place around other changes to the town centre which will form part of the Future High Street Fund project.
Press Release No 6014