The regeneration of the town centre in Stafford is so important that a senior councillor has been added to the local authority’s top team to head up the work.
That was the message from new Stafford Borough Council Leader, Aidan Godfrey, who announced the role at a meeting this week (Tuesday 25 July.)
Councillor Godfrey, who became leader of the council following elections in May, said that the biggest issue for residents in Stafford had been the state of the town centre - so he had appointed Councillor Rob Kenney (pictured) as his Deputy Leader with a mandate to head up the ongoing regeneration of the area.
The town’s Market Square is currently undergoing a £1m makeover to attract more events, specialist markets and footfall to the centre.
Work will also be going ahead on improvements to the approach and entrance to Stafford Railway Station. That will include refurbishment of the concourse, new street furniture, increased disabled parking close to the station, road resurfacing and a new public short-stay car park. The station sits next to the award-winning Victoria Park which underwent a £2.5m restoration and has recently retained its national status as one of the best open spaces in the UK.
Councillor Godfrey told a meeting of the Full Council: “The number one issue for residents during election time was the town centre. I have appointed Councillor Kenney to head up this work as this is a priority of the electorate and it is now a priority for this council.”
He said Councillor Kenney would also be working alongside the portfolio holders for Environment and Economic Development as well as being able to cover for other cabinet members.
He added that the post was financed from ‘underspends from the members’ costs area of the council’s budget and no extra money would need to be found.
The ‘Market Square’ and ‘Station Approach’ projects are the first part of an overall transformation of the area with the borough council securing more than £14 million from the government’s Future High Street Fund (FHSF). This is aimed at increasing the number of people living in the town – to support the retail and hospitality sectors, creating new pedestrian routes around the centre with great links to public transport, and enhanced spaces encouraging people to socialise - with the revamped ‘Square’ the focal point for events and activities.
Press Release No 6057