Work gets underway this week (Mon 9 January) on the renovation of the Market Square in Stafford.
It is the first phase of a project that will see the biggest transformation of the High Street in the county town for a generation.
The more than £1 million work involves enabling the area to be equipped to hold more events and specialist markets. It will include enhancing the look of the ‘Square’ with new paving, furniture, and planting - but also significant infrastructure changes such as improvements to utility supplies and drainage.
The work is expected to be completed by September 2023.
The investment 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 Frances Beatty, Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Planning, said: “I am really pleased to see this exciting first phase of work get underway.
Revitalising the heart of our county town is the next stage in our major regeneration of Stafford. Our ‘fit for purpose’ revitalised Market Square will increase footfall, encourage larger scale events and bring specialist markets to Stafford.
The award-winning civil engineering company, McPhillips (Wellington) Limited will be undertaking the work.
Councillor Beatty continued: “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.”
There has already been a huge amount of investment in the town in recent times - with the opening of the £63m Western Access Road, the £28 million state of the art skills and innovation hub at Stafford College as well as the new Shire Hall enterprise hub - which opened last summer.
Money has been secured by the county council with the William Salt Trust, for the Staffordshire History Centre, off Eastgate Street, and the FHSF will also be funding work to improve the landscape outside the front of Stafford Railway Station.
Confidential discussions are still taking place around other changes to the town centre which will form part of the Future High Street Fund project.
Staffordshire County Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for economy and skills Philip White said: “It’s fantastic to see work on the refurbishment of the Market Square getting under way and these really are exciting times for Stafford.
“The Market Square refurbishment is 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 visit for work and leisure.”
Press Release No 5991