Stone Town Council has been approached by Joules Brewery and Stone Revellers members Leo Capernaros and Harri Bailey for their support with a project which would see the Brewery:
- Restore Wharfingers Cottage for use as a restaurant/coffee shop
- Create a Joules Brewery Tap with the potential of housing a Joules shop
- Facilitate space for a potential new build community theatre/cinema
- Facilitate space with potential for the Town Council to create a new build heritage and tourist information centre
It is early days yet, and dependent on a bid to the Canal and River Trust, who currently own the land.
Councillor Rob Kenney, Chairman of the Council’s General Purposes Committee, said
“This is a great opportunity for a new leisure and tourism development in Stone which could provide both an attractive gateway to the town for canal visitors and exciting new facilities for residents. The Town Council are happy to support this development in principle and work with Joules Brewery, as we would with any organisation bringing forward such a proposal, to help it come to fruition in a way that maximises benefit to the town.”
Steve Nuttall, Joules Brewery Director adds more details around their ideas:
Joule’s Brewery have for several years sought a suitable location in Stone for a flagship pub. The Joules story has its heart in Stone so it has been a long held dream of ours to have a special pub in the town.
Last year we sponsored the Stone Food and Drink Festival and we were overwhelmed by the warmth of local people and the interest in seeing Joules, once again, open for business in Stone. Around the same time the planning application for retirement housing was rejected on Crown Wharf so that site was potentially back in play.
The local opposition from the Town against housing for the Crown Wharf site has been impressive, when Stone takes the time and trouble to create a town plan then this shows that they mean what they say. Once housing had been rejected then we then approach the Crown Wharf Steering group and expressed our interest in stepping in with the idea to build a Joules brewery flagship pub.
Our proposal is to make the canal side accessible and visible and create a leisure facility at the site which will maximise the connection to the town centre. This plan is in tune with the town plan and the local development policy. As such the Town council have this week welcomed our idea. We have also during our discussions made a commitment that, if we are successful in a bid, then we make space available at Crown Wharf should the town council wish to locate some facilities alongside our development. We have also made the same offer to Stone Revellers who have expressed an interest in locating a small theatre project at the location. Our view is that the site is large enough to accommodate these complimentary leisure facilities and such collaborative local involvement will make the project stronger and better.
Our proposals also include plans to restore Wharfingers Cottage, also for a complimentary leisure use.
If McCarthy & Stone, who still have first option to buy the site, withdraw their interest then we hope to have talks with the Canal and River Trust with a view of making a bid. The significance of the meeting this week where the town council have shown some encouragement for our proposed use means we can have these talks with greater certainty and potentially make an unconditional bid now we know that the town council have a willingness and enthusiasm to take a collaborative approach to what has the potential to be a very exciting development.