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Scruffy Stone town centre puts off visitors, say town councillors

By Stone Edition  |  Posted: June 12, 2014

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STONE businesses and commercial landlords are being urged to do their bit to smarten up the town centre.

Neglected repairs, scruffy alleyways and a forest of advertising A boards risk putting off shoppers and tourists, Stone Town Council has warned.

And Councillor Mark Green said visitors could be forgiven for thinking they were "entering Beiruit, not Stone".

"I know of one business that has left a broken window for the past five to six years without repairing it," he told the council's general purposes committee.

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"There are broken gutters and down pipes in the town centre that have been neglected as well.

"We need more general maintenance. Certain landlords in this town are not looking after the town."

And Councillor Ann Tomlinson, who is blind, said street "clutter", including A-boards and boxes of goods left outside shops, created obstacles for disabled people.

"It is a real problem," she said. "My guide dog usually gets me through, but I did get into a tangle with some chairs outside a coffee shop the other day."

Committee chairman Phil Jones said he counted 51 A-boards on a walk along the High Street.

"You wouldn't be exaggerating to call it an obstacle course for pedestrians," he said.

"It is absurd. No one wants to stand in the way of commerce but 51 A-boards create such a mess that it will put people off visiting the town centre when it looks so untidy."

Councillor Margaret Goodall called for action to spruce up the alleyways into the town centre and add hanging baskets and tubs.

"These historic alleyways could be a real asset, but they have been sadly neglected," she said.

The committee agreed to investigate whether an extra £1,000 in highways funding being given to Stone by Staffordshire County Council could be used on improving the alleyways.

Councillors also urged businesses and residents to support clean-up days.

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  • Stonemaiden  |  June 14 2014, 6:08PM

    Stone is becoming scruffy. The number of takeaways grouped at the bottom of the town does not help. St. Michael's churchyard and the surrounding streets are constantly strewn with the remnants of the previous nights meals. The takeaways themselves do not add to the appearance of the town. I remember a few years ago when "Hatters" was taken to task for installing the wrong window, it would seem that at the opposite end of the town anything goes. No-one seems to ever be taken to task for allowing their dog to foul the paths and pavements, and maybe a case could be made for keeping dogs on a lead in the churchyard.