Shops and flats plan for derelict malthouse in Stone
A GRADE II-listed building left derelict for decades will get a new lease of life if fresh plans are given the go-ahead.
Owners of Stone car dealership Hill and Swift are working with Stafford-based Croft Architecture to transform The Maltings into two shops and three flats.
The historic and empty site in Crown Street in Stone was used as a malthouse by Joule's Brewery until 1908 and has been owned by Hill and Swift since 1963.
It was saved from being demolished when English Heritage gave it listed building status in the 1990s.
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Duncan Civil, aged 53, has lived in Stone all of his life. He works in maintenance at The Crown Hotel next door to The Maltings.
He said: "I think anything is better than a derelict building, but I am not sure if they will be able to rent out the apartments.
"People charge a lot in Stone and other apartments in town have been left on the market for years."
The planning application has been submitted to Stafford Borough Council. It aims to protect The Maltings' historic drying area by preserving it as a feature of the building.
Previous plans have been rejected by the council as they failed to preserve the historical and architectural features.
Greta Mountford, 81, from Meir, welcomed the preservation plans.
She said: "I come to Stone once a week to do some shopping and to have lunch at The Crown Hotel, so I walk past The Maltings quite often.
"The building is in a bit of a state, so it will be nice to see the old building and its features preserved."
Architect Carl Croft said: "Stone is a historic brewing town and we felt it was important to reflect this by incorporating elements of the Maltings interior into the plans.
"We are proposing a stunning space, utilising features including the original timber beams.
"Ideally this could be used by a company selling local produce, including beer, to reinforce the link to craft brewing in Stone.
Mr Croft added: "Adies Alley is an important site, connecting Stone High Street with the rear of the town centre."
Ben Hargreaves, 23, director of Stone Country Butchers, has worked in his shop in Adies Alley since May. He said: "It would be nice to see more passing trade and hopefully new shops along the alley would help us to attract more customers.
"Stone is great for selling local produce so shops like this would be great for residents and visitors."
A structural survey carried out as part of the planning application reveals the building to be in a generally very poor state.
Chris Hodgkinson, 50, works as an optical assistant at Nuyste Opticians in Adies Alley, which runs alongside The Maltings.
She said: "I think that introducing more shops will be good for trade, also it will be great to not have an empty, derelict building next to us and hopefully it will tidy up the alley."