Transformation publicity attracting potential businesses to Stafford


artists impression - shop fronts

Plans to transform a derelict department store in Stafford are proving a hit with potential businesses.

The former Co-op building on the high street has been empty for more than a decade but now Stafford Borough Council is buying it with plans for a food court, retail, market and residential offer.

And following publicity on the proposals, the borough council say they have had interest from businesses who would be keen to move into the new look development.

Deputy Leader of the council, Rob Kenney, who has responsibility for town centres, said the significant publicity was proving popular with prospective traders who had contacted the local authority to express their interest in the scheme.

The council agreed to use government money to buy the Co-op and has also purchased the ailing Guildhall Shopping Centre on the high street. It is part of huge transformation plans for the heart of the town - with £1m already used to refurbish the Market Square and work due to start later this year on enhancing the entrance and approach to Stafford Railway Station.

There is also major investment being made in the county town with other initiatives underway, or recently delivered, such as the £9m Staffordshire History Centre and the business hub at Shire Hall. And work is moving on the Stafford Station Gateway - which includes a government and private sector-backed £22m Institute of Technology for Stafford College - as well as a hotel, new businesses, homes, and leisure offer. The ‘Gateway’ was awarded £20 million towards the end of 2023 to help progress the project.

Councillor Kenney, said: “It is great to see how much interest our vision for our town centre is creating - not just within the community, but outside the borough and county as well.

“We have already had a handful of businesses get in touch with us, having seen the proposals for the old Co-op store, to express an interest and asking for more information. We are really pleased as they are the type of traders - for example artisan producers - that we are keen to attract as our market offer in the empty building.”

He continued: “We want residents to be proud of their county town, we want visitors to come and shop, we want people to socialise and spend time using hospitality venues, and we want businesses to invest.”

Council leader, Aidan Godfrey, added: “It is great to see that the publicity around ‘Project Stafford’ is already having an impact - and this is good news for the county town.

“I am extremely excited about the future of the High Street with so many projects taking shape. We listened to what our residents told us - and improving the town centre is our number one priority.”

For more on Stafford transformation plans go to

Press Release No 6122

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