Developers have the chance to throw their hat into the ring to deliver the first part of a major transformation project in Stafford.
The work on a £1.4m scheme for the town’s Market Square is going out for tender this week. The call for developers comes hot on the heels of the reopening of the iconic Shire Hall in the ‘Square’ as a business enterprise hub.
The Market Square is only part of the regeneration plan for the town centre which has been funded by more than £14m from the government’s ‘Future High Street Fund’ (FHSF) - and contributions from Stafford Borough Council and Staffordshire County Council.
The plans will enable the area to be equipped to hold more events and specialist markets - attracting local people and visitors to the heart of the county town. That 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.
Prospective developers are provided with the full details for the final design in the tender documents. The contract will also require ‘adaptations to surface water drainage systems, protecting and retaining existing features, refurbishment and relocation of street lighting, and work on power supplies for events.’
The deadline to bid for the work is Monday 12 September with the borough council expecting to have a contractor in place by the end of that month. It is hoped the work will then get underway in November - after the annual Christmas Lights switch on event in the Market Square which attracts more than 10,000 people to the town.
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 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.
“The transformation of Market Square is just one piece of the jigsaw. It will not just see cosmetic improvements – there will be significant infrastructure to ensure it is suitable to increase the range and quality of events that can be staged, therefore increasing footfall to the town and encouraging people to stay longer.”
There has already been a huge amount of investment in the town in recent times - with the opening of the £63m Western Access Road, work underway on the £23 million state of the art skills and engineering facility at Stafford College as well as the new Shire Hall enterprise hub, and £2.5m restoration of Victoria Park.
Money has been secured by the county council for the £7.1m 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, with other projects within the town expected to be announced in the future.
Staffordshire County Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for economy and skills Philip White said: “It’s fantastic to see the refurbishment of the Market Square taking a step forward with developers soon on board and a work programme mapped out. 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 we have just reopened as an enterprise centre. This is attracting new businesses into the town centre and bringing the hall back into productive use. Together these projects will support a thriving town centre in the future, making it a great place to visit and work.”
You can find out more about the tender document from the the website
Press Release No 5934