Stafford County Council has today confirmed that they have accepted a bid from Joule’s Brewery to buy Stone’s ‘Old Fire Station’ building adjacent to Crown Wharf, which is already owned by Joule’s who have submitted plans to the Council to build a Brewery Taphouse and Studio Theatre. The Fire Station was put on the market last year,
Steve Nuttall, Director for Joule’s Brewery comments,
‘We are delighted to have a deal agreed. It will be an important part of the new Joule’s Taphouse and Theatre, which we have proposed to build on Crown Wharf. We will landscape this site within the whole development to act as a gateway to the canal from Stone Town centre. Our agreement with the Town Council is then to provide the building for use as a Heritage Centre, which we will sponsor by way of a subsidy, charging just £1 per year. The building is charismatic and, it will form a part of the suite of buildings that will make up the new Joule’s footprint in Stone if planning is granted. It’s an extraordinary building which was once part of the original Joule’s footprint in Stone, opposite the Crown and Anchor yard, once the old Joule’s cooperage, adjacent to the Joule’s warehouse and bordering the original Brewery site.’
Rob Kenney, Stone Town Councillor and member of the Crown Wharf Steering group adds,
‘This is terrific news, Joule’s have committed to offering the Fire Station the town for just £1 year. We can now work up the plans to refurbish the building and look at how we will operate it. I think it will be a tremendous addition to the town and the exciting Crown Wharf development. The Council is not obligated to lease the building, so we will consult in the coming months and check this is something that the Town supports. We just now have to hope that planning for Crown Wharf is approved. The application is still with the planners who have expressed some reservations about the scheme.’
Heritage and Visitor Centre more information and Joule’s Involvement
Joule’s Brewery has agreed on heads of terms with Stone Town Council to sponsor the establishment of a heritage centre within the Old Fire Station building.
The Brewery is keen to support a long-term initiative that will promote the story of Stone, of which Joule’s is a significant part. The Brewery wishes to contribute to the community and facilitate a worthwhile project that will play a role in assisting with the cultural identity of the town for visitors and local people. The support to this project is driven first, by a desire to mark the return of the Brewery to Stone. Second, the Brewery wishes to promote the Crown Wharf site as an art and leisure orientated location and to recognise the wharfs relevance to the original
Brewery, sitting adjacent to the listed original brewery stores. Third, the Fire Station is an essential gateway to the whole Crown Wharf development.
In 2009, Stone Town Council raised £100,000 for a community project that would save and enhance the Crown Wharf site for the town and that money is still held and earmarked for this project.
This opportunity offers the Town Council an exciting prospect to preserve and enhance this vital gateway to the town. It proposes to create a Heritage Centre that can engage with the 30,000 visitors to the Town from the popular canal route, in addition to the many other destination visitors to Stone. The facility will principally be a Heritage Centre and bring to life the story of Stone as well as providing visitor information, promoting the town facilities and businesses, as well as the possibility of creating a community orientated coffee and meeting facility.
It is planned that the centre will be run by Stone Town Council and involve community groups from a cross-section of the town’s population.