A feast of entertainment has been lined up to celebrate the official opening of the new-look Market Square in Stafford following its major renovation.
Residents, shoppers and businesses are being invited to enjoy a day of music, dancing and street performances on Saturday (28 October).
Leader of Stafford Borough Council, Aidan Godfrey, will officially mark the opening of the ‘Square’ - which has seen 2,500 square metres of paving, new furniture and planting, as well as significant improvements to underground infrastructure such as utility supplies and drainage.
It is the first phase of the transformation of the High Street with the work enabling the area to attract more events and specialist markets. The project was funded through a successful borough council bid to the government’s Future High Street Fund (FHSF).
Earlier this month senior councillors in Stafford gave the green light for the authority to purchase the former Co-op department store in the centre of the town, which has been empty for more than a decade, with plans for a mix of retail, residential, market provision and a food court. And work will also start soon on enhancing the entrance and approach to Stafford Railway Station as part of the FHSF programme.
On Saturday (28 October), the Mayor of Stafford Borough, Councillor Andy Cooper, along with Councillor Godfrey, will signal the start of proceedings which will include music, singing and dancing staged from the heart of the county town with street food, drink and free entertainment to mark the opening.
Councillor Godfrey said: “The state of the town centre was the number one issue for local people - and we have made it our top priority. So, I am pleased we have been able to deliver the first phase of plans to rejuvenate the High Street.
“What we now have is a fitting centre piece for our county town and a Market Square which is fit for purpose to stage more events and quality markets in the future.”
His deputy, Councillor Rob Kenney, who is leading on the town centre regeneration, added: “We have such exciting plans and the completion of the Market Square is only the start. We will be pushing ahead with some really exciting proposals to bring in more investment, more retail, increased footfall and make our residents and businesses proud of their town again.”
The official opening day for the Market Square will get underway at around 12 noon with Stafford FM providing music and commentary throughout the day. Stafford Corps of Drums, Jazz singer Sarah Eastwood and Stafford Rock Choir will be performing alongside local dance group Dappa Dance and a host of street performers.
More information about the day will be available from the borough council’s website and social media soon.
Other projects in and around the town centre include the Staffordshire History Centre off Eastgate Street and plans to transform land behind the railway station - which will include a government-backed Institute of Technology for Stafford College as well as new businesses, homes and leisure.
Press Release No 6076