A MEMBER of Parliament has said he backs the idea of making a high street building in the Moorlands into a community asset, subject to consultation. Last week the Times and Echo reported that community group “Friends of the Royal Oak” were poised to place a bid for former pub The Royal Oak, which is situated on High Street in Cheadle. The venue, which dates back to the 18th Century, has been vacant for a number of years but the group envisages to turn it into a community focal point, should their bid be accepted – something MP Bill Cash has backed in principle.
Mr Cash, who represents the constituency of Stone (which includes most of Cheadle), noted that the Grade II Listed building was becoming an “eye-sore” but said that it could still be used for “practical purposes.”
Mr Cash told the Times and Echo: “I regard the fact that the Royal Oak has been getting into further disrepair.
“It is right in the middle of the high street; it can’t be allowed to stay in a state of disrepair.
“I believe it could be put to community use on a basis of consultation which needs to be, and already has been, conducted.”
He described the Friends of the Royal Oak group’s proposals as “an interesting prospect” as long as it suited the satisfaction of the community and the town’s businesses.
He also stressed the importance of providing a business plan that the planning committee at the Staffordshire Moorlands District Council would approve of.
In terms of funding, the MP is willing to look down several avenues that would help with the plan.
He said: “We’d have to look at the extent money can be raised.
“Whether that would be through organisations such as the National Lottery or heritage sources – I’d want to explore that.”
Mr Cash said he has had “a lot of experience” spanning a number of decades with such projects.
He said: “I was on the board of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust and have been an active part in heritage ventures over the last 30 or 40 years before and during my time in Parliament.
“This idea, subject to consultation, has great possibilities.”
Mr Cash said he was supportive of the proposed new use of the empty building that the Friends of the Royal Oak have mooted, as initial ideas.
He added: “I am backing in principle for the move that is being taken by the group.
“I think it is a very positive way forward if it can be made to work.”
Cheadle Town Councillor Jamie Evans, who is a member of the Friends of the Royal Oak, recently told the Times and Echo: “Business plans are being put in place and we have a rough copy ready.
“It’s now about dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s.”
He went on to explain how these plans included a possible B&B upstairs with discussions still on-going as to what they would like to do on the ground floor.
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