East Staffordshire Borough Council has been working with leisure, hospitality, heritage and brewing experts to create a new and unique concept for the Burton High Street project, now centred around the full utilisation of the historic, vacant Bass House building. The proposed concept is for a Reimagined Brewing Centre, which would transform the areas around Bass House into a destination for both local residents and visitors across the country. This unique centre would include:
- The UK’s first Brewing Enterprise Centre, providing a hub for new graduates, aspiring brewers and hobbyists with modern and state of the art facilities to develop their skills, knowledge and recipes, placing Burton at the heart of brewing education.
- The Burton Beer Hall, professionally operated by a lead brewing operator providing food and drink facilities, complemented by a ‘Talent Tap’ that offers a space to sell and distribute the local products created through the Brewing Enterprise Centre.
- The National Brewing Collection, incorporating an interactive and changing exhibition of brewing history immersing customers in Burton’s rich brewing history, as well as from other parts of the country.
- The Beer Hall Garden and Public Piazza, taking the exciting offer of these new facilities and embedding them within an active outdoor area, creating a vibrant public realm space with seasonal street food, live music and other events.
- The Riverside Destination, which shows the connectivity between the new centre and important areas such as the Washlands, Water Tower and the Market Hall, creating a broader mix of attractions and experiences
If approved by Full Council on 25th September 2023, the Council will then look to engage the many interested brewers alongside the wider market in an open procurement process where it will seek a lead partner and operator to help further develop this concept and bring on board other local, regional and national brewers and investors to create a truly national destination.
Ahead of the Council meeting later this month, the Cabinet will be agreeing next steps for the Market Hall following the conclusion of the Outline Business Case assessment into a number of different options for operating the building. The Cabinet is set to approve further public consultation on two possible separate ways forward for the regeneration of Burton Market Hall, which are to:
- Convert the building into either a commercially led food hall, operated by a private provider; or
- Create a community co-operative model with facilities for community kitchens, activities, and specialist events such as the recent Food & Drink Festival and night time entertainment.
Both options require significant capital funding to be found and so the Council will be seeking resident’s views on these before proceeding as well as inviting further ideas and suggestions for possible uses. In the meantime, there will be initial repair work undertaken at the Market Hall, such as the reparation of the roof.
Cllr Mick Fitzpatrick, Leader of the Council, said: “These plans for the town centre are truly exciting, I am already impressed with the interest shown by the brewing industry, including a European brewery who would like to send their brewers on tour to Burton!”
Cllr Rob Hawkins, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Development, added: “Of course, it will be crucial to continue to develop these ideas together: so, we are really keen to see what the Burton public think of the options for the Market Hall while we work with the market to develop the concept for the High Street.”
Cllr Paul Walker, Cabinet Member for Tourism and Cultural Development, said: “Together with the exciting plans for the Bass House site that will transform the High Street, an invigorated Market Hall will add much to Burton’s town centre in the future. Although we are giving people two identified options in this consultation, we’re also keen to hear other ideas and suggestions that people may have.”