Here’s a roundup of what has been happening at A Little Bit of Stone throughout 2017
On our website we published in excess of 500 news articles, with many more items posted to Facebook and Twitter. We’ve published a range of articles on topics from news and sport to business, events and more, all with a Stone bias – see below for for the 10 most read articles fo the year
We saw another year of fantastic year on our social media profiles with Facebook contiuing to be the go to place for people asking about Stone.
This year we’ve hosted 3 off line events.
- Easter saw us working with the local shops to put on an Easter treasure hunt for children in the town
- In December we did a pub quiz take over of the Crown and Anchor pub quiz. We raised £200 each for Stone Community Hub and the British Heart Foundation
- At the end of December we organised A Little Bit of Cheer where we looked to match people with a space at their table to those seeking company
A massive thanks to team member Lauren who organised all of these events, they were all fantastically received from those who attended.
Top 10 most read stories on the A Little Bit of Stone Website in 2017
This years Stone Bonfire and Firework display took place on Saturday 4th November and the details of the event once again proved popular with people seeking out the ticket prices and timing information.
The bank closure, along with 6 other branches across the the North Staffordshire region, was announced in March 2017 and closed in October 2017.
The bank cited declining transactions due to the uptake of online banking as the reason for the closure.
There is now a community banker serving Stone with weekly sessions in Walton and Stone Library
In March Stone Town Council held a sepcial meeting to discuss with the traders in the town what could be done to improve the prospects for the town.
Upon the announcement of the meeting we ran an online survey which quickly amassed an amazing 1300+ responses which we provided a brief summary of in the town council meeting.
We were also called by BBC Radio Stoke for an on-air disucssion about our thoughts about our town.
The High Street has seen a lot of movement in 2017 and we’re hopeful for bigger things in 2018.
In May we brought the news of the menu for the new vibrant bar and dining venue at Aston Marina.
The new menu sees the marina continue the tradition of its popular Bistro restaurant; using the finest locally sourced produce wherever possible. Dishes were designed to reflect seasonal produce and breakfast, lunch and dinner is now being served daily.
Initiated by Stone’s County Councillor the proposal detailed the suspension of parking bays and introduction of double yellow lines in an attempt to tackle inappropriate parking.
The overwhelming feedback was that rather than improve things the changes would cause more issues and the basis for introducing them was questionable.
The Town Council rejected the proposal but felt that the County Council should take a more holistic view of parking in Stone with the loss of free car parks in the town.
In February, following an approach from Joule’s Brewery and Stone Revellers members Leo Capernaros and Harri Bailey, the Town Council provided their backing for 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
The plan was subject to the brewery acquiring the land from the Canal and River Trust which they did in December 2017.
The closure of Stone’s High Street Co-Op is confirmed for 20th January 2018 but when we announed the closure in February 2017 there was a massive amount of feedback from our readers.
The selection for closure came after a review of the stores trading performance, although the development of a new Marks and Spencer food store may have brought the stores performance under tighter scrutiny.
As a consequence of the store closing Stone is also losing its only Post Office, which is a further blow for businesses and Stone residenst.
We look to 2018 wondering what will become of this large retail unit and whether another Stone business can take on the Post Office franchise for the town.
This news in January 2017 had our readers clinking their glasses in delight.
Already incredibly successful in Newcastle Under Lyme, 10GB made Stone High Street the venue for their second bar and it’s been packed ever since it opened!
2: Council backs new high speed canal network – HS2O
On 1st April we broke the news that the Council was backing plans for a new High Speed Canal Network dubbed HS2O.
The new £6.8million network aimed to cut the time it takes to navigate the Trent and Mersey canal from 26 days to 17 days, and was expected to be completed by the end of 2022.
The existing canal network is limited to a maximum speed of 6mph but the proposal is for the new network to almost double this to 10mph.
In May the tragic news about the discovery of a body in the Canal in Stone was published.
Stone fisherman Ricky Broughton drowned in a ‘tragic accident’ after he fell asleep in his tent next to the canal after he’d been drinking whilst fishing.
Rick’s body was found by a dog walker in the early hours, wrapped in his tent, in the Trent and Mersey Canal near to lock 30.