Joule’s Brewery on behalf of the Crown Wharf Steering Group, has today unveiled the full plans for the Crown Wharf development in Stone Town exclusively to the Stone Gazette. Joule’s Brewery confirms the plans will be lodged with the Council this week for formal consultation, with a view that construction can commence in the Autumn this year with a completion date targeted for the Spring of 2020.

Joule’s purchased the 1-acre Crown Wharf site in November of 2017 having had discussions with the Canal and Rivers Trust during the year. The Trust was impressed by the vision of the Steering Group and the objective to make the canal more accessible from the Town and to focus on leisure use rather than residential use. This proposal dovetails neatly into the Stone Town plan.

Ian Sprott of Canals and Rivers Trust supports the new development and adds, “We were confident that Joules and the steering group would bring forward some exciting plans for us to consider. The proposal is ambitious and architecturally interesting. This is an inspiring vision for Crown Wharf, which is why we supported Joule’s last year. That vision was for leisure use, which would make the canal side more integrated into Stone Town. Over the last few months, our team has enjoyed working alongside Joule’s, advising on the look and feel of the development. We are pleased that the scheme compliments Canal Cruising, the oldest hire boat company on the canal network, and retains Wharfinger’s Cottage an important heritage asset. We were especially pleased to see such an ambitious design to incorporate features, inspired by the old Joule’s warehouse building. The Trust will now formally look at the fine detail over the coming months and we wish Joule’s, Stone Town Council and Stone Revellers every success with the development.”

Peter Wyatt, of Canal Cruising, which lies adjacent to the Crown Wharf site, comments, “We used to occupy the whole site, but the waterways asked us to vacate Crown Wharf in 1961, as they had agreed to sell to Joule’s. Joule’s Brewery was at full tilt and wanted the Wharf to extend the service area between the Brewery opposite and the Warehouse adjacent. It took over 50 years to complete the deal. I remember helping to clear site ready for Joule’s, if only we had known there really was not a great rush.”

Karen Wyatt of Canal Cruising is a member of the Steering Group and comments, “We are very pleased to see this scheme, it is important that Stone makes more of its canal. There are not many towns with a canal adjacent to the High Street, its special, and Stone has such a profound canal history. The canal network in Stone ensured Joule’s was the first to export beer, ahead of its rival Bass to Liverpool. This scheme will be a boost for the whole Town, and I hope for our business and lift our profile, we are the oldest yard on the network and yet some people even in Stone don’t know we are here. The scheme looks wonderful and I can’t wait to see it all come together.”

Vicky Shirley from Joule’s explains how the Brewery has been looking for a Taphouse in Stone, “Stone is the home of Joule’s we have been looking to create a Brewery Tap in Stone for over 10 years. We have received great encouragement locally that Joule’s should have a flagship pub in Stone. Over the years, we have looked at many opportunities, pretty much every rumour was true, and we have been close to several deals. Of all these the Brewery connection to Crown Wharf and the location by the canal means that this is the best by far, it has certainly been worth waiting for. The next challenge is, of course, to secure planning and then to build it. It will be a proud day for all of us when Joule’s is back in Stone.”

Jim Entwistle of Bleazard and Galletta who are the Architectural Design Team for the Crown Wharf Project adds, “I hope the public will like the plans, which we are unveiling today. The effort has been collaborative with input from the Steering Group and the Community Groups who will be a part of the new scheme. The design is of itself, a unique building that is designed for a single purpose, really focused which is great for a designer.”

Jim also comments on the positioning of the Crown Wharf development “We have orientated the Taphouse to have a vista across the canal and the meadows, and the theatre to nestle into Wharfinger’s Cottage adjacent to the canal side. This then forms a courtyard behind, creating an entrance. We have aimed to reflect canal-side architecture, but the key inspiration has come from the old Joule’s warehouse next door, to connect the heritage of the canal, the Town and the Brewery. The references are mainly quite subtle, some less so. The finials are a particularly important touch, which we hope to have re-cast locally as an exact match. This nod to the Brewery connects the heritage of both the Town and the beer. I am very pleased with the outcome and hope that the Town and the Council will be supportive of the ambition.”

Steve Nuttall, Project Director for Joule’s Brewery, explains the exciting challenge that lies ahead, “I first wrote to Rob Kenney, Chair of the Crown Wharf Steering Group, in December 2016, so it’s taken a while to get to this milestone. If the Town and the Council support the development then we are committed to making this happen, and in a relatively short time period. We have been looking for an opportunity in Stone for nearly 10 years; this project is our biggest undertaking, for it to be in Stone, the home of Joule’s beer makes it very special. I hope many people will and visit the Brewery in Market Drayton, see the plans and meet the Team in the near future”.

Bill Cash, Stone MP shares his support for the Crown Wharf developments ‘I was pleased to meet the Steering Group last year and very happy to lend them my wholehearted support. When we met, the scope of the scheme seemed ambitious, these proposals have not diminished that ambition, in fact, they are perhaps even more ambitious, and I welcome the vision.

I will be supporting the application, now subject to formal consultation. The return of Joule’s to Stone with great style is very welcome, the Brewery’s sponsorship of our established amateur theatre company seems like a serendipitous coming together and I am sure the Town will embrace that. The proposal for a fully professional studio theatre will be a great cultural asset and a very worthy successor to St Michael’s hall.” Bill Cash then goes on to explain the importance of the additional developments to support the Town,

“Add to this, the proposed Heritage and Visitor Centre, which can explore the cultural heritage of this fine Town and tell the story of Stone, the whole scheme will have a significant impact. The High Street is changing fast, I cannot remember a time when the headwinds have been stronger for the retail sector and especially challenging conditions for small Market Towns like ours, a response is needed, and we must reinvent the Market Town. This development will make Stone at the forefront of that change, cultural attractions, leisure facilities of the highest standards, meeting spaces and community engagement.”

Leo Caperanos, member of the Stone Revellers Theatrical Society shares his thoughts about the proposed development, “This year we have proudly been celebrating Stone Revellers’ 40th Birthday, and our ambitious plans to design, build and operate a new Theatre for the Town of Stone has made the year feel all the more special. The plans, which are now ready for the public and planners consideration, offer a unique Theatre space, and we are thrilled by the prospect of the development. We have a long way to go, but today is a key milestone in making our dream a reality.”

Leo goes on to explain the importance of the development to the Town, “We are thrilled to be working alongside Joule’s and the Town Council to bring this new facility to Stone. Whilst it will be fundamental for Stone Revellers to keep producing great local theatre for another forty years, we also envisage this high-quality theatre space to be a facility for the whole Town. Alongside a community cinema, we are confident many different community groups, local schools and budding new creatives will benefit from having a quality facility on the doorstep.

We are only a few steps into what we hope will be a long and exciting journey for Stone Revellers, its members and our audiences, but in welcoming back Joule’s to Stone, we feel we are making the journey in great company.”