Work has begun on the Shire Hall. It’s going to become a ‘business hub’ and got a mention from Boris in the House a few weeks ago. As written previously I’d much rather have seen an arts venue or cinema or, better still, a place for people to play music, perform stand up comedy or poetry, in a safe environment. Towns like Stafford need to do so much more for younger generations if they’re not to leave for Birmingham, Manchester or London.
However, at least the building will be occupied as it’s been the focus of the town since 1795 and is beginning to look bedraggled. High Streets the length and breadth of the UK have suffered due to online trading, covid and other issues. There are cuts to budgets too. But Market Square is the town’s centrepoint and it is being neglected. For years the stones have been patched with black tarmac, giving the impression of a toothless grin or a broken old chess board. The phoneboxes are rusting, graffitied and scratched. There are weeds growing on the Shire Hall steps and pigeon poo all over the entrance and steps to the building. Market Square used to be a delight at Christmas or at the summer cycling events or concerts and it still scrubs up well when busy. But it badly needs some TLC as can be seen from the pictures below. I do see this elsewhere but I also see towns and cities – nearby Lichfield for example – looking much better. Perhaps we need a Transition movement and this has to be driven by communities.
I’d love to see the Market Square looking great again. Times are tough which is why it is more important than ever we take pride in our environment and heritage.
Slogans and logos and branding, and vinyls covering empty shop windows simply won’t do.
As an update there are plans to improve the square and North end of the town. Report here – https://www.staffordbc.gov.uk/news/staffords-market-square-vision-unveiled
There are no concrete plans yet but hopefully this will address the recent neglect and enhance the attractiveness once more.