£4m investment for Burslem buildings?

Ceramica sign on Burslem Town Hall Burslem, home of the Wedgwood Institute, Burslem School of Art and the historic Leopard Hotel has secured further support from the Heritage Lottery Fund which means it could be inline for a further investment of £1m to help renovate buildings is Burslem’s Historic Quadrant and breathe new life into some of the town’s finest heritage buildings through the fund’s Townscape Heritage Initiative.

This support, secured from the Heritage Lottery Fund, secured by Stoke-on-Trent City Council make Burslem only the second town in the country to have the opportunity of receiving three successive rounds of HLF cash. Together with match funding of £1.2m from the European Regional Development Fund and private investment, it will pump around £4m into the town. Continue reading

Brewers dismiss proposed minimum price plans

Brewers in Staffordshire do not expect to be affected by Government plans to introduce a minimum alcohol price.

Titanic Brewery, which is based in Burslem and owns six pubs in the area, suggest that the price changes will only affect the cheapest alcohol.
David Bott, 53, who runs the brewery with his younger brother Keith, doesn’t expect the Government plans — to introduce a minimum of 40p per unit — to affect his business. Continue reading

Bid for a share of £1m for your high street and become a Portas Pilot

Towns and cities across the UK are being given the opportunity to bid for a share of a £1million funding pot to help them to turn arond their unloved and unused High Streets. Stoke-on-Trent with its six towns has more than enough unloved High Streets to choose from to put bids in against.

Mary Portas and Grant Shapps the Local Government Minister have launched a competition to choose 12 towns to become ‘Portas Pilots’ and bid for up to £100,000 to help them. The cash has offered as an incentive to those towns that come up with the best High Street blueprints in a move that fulfils the first and last recommendations of Mary Portas’ High Streets Review, commissioned by the Prime Minister and published before Christmas.

Speaking on Friday Grant Shapps said:

Our high streets have faced stiff competition from Internet shopping, and out-of-town shopping centres – leaving them underused, unloved and under-valued. The Internet is not going to go away, and so for our high streets to survive they need to offer something new and exciting.

So today I’m offering a golden ticket to 12 town centres across the country to become ‘Portas Pilots’ – areas with the vision and enthusiasm to breathe new life into what should be the beating heart of their communities, and they will get Mary’s and my support as they try out the ideas in her recent review.

Taking forward the first recommendation from Mary Portas’s review, the 12 successful localities will create Town Teams, made up of the key players in their local community – such as the council, local landlords, shopkeepers and the local MP.

These teams will then benefit from the backing of the Minister, Whitehall and Mary Portas herself as they take forward the recommendations from the review and in their area. They will also receive a share of £1 million.

Mary Portas said

I am thrilled that now there is an opportunity to turn my recommendations into reality by giving communities across the country the opportunity to come forward with their vision for breathing new life into their locality. I hope my Review has inspired people with another vision of tomorrow where our high streets are re-imagined as destinations for socializing, culture, well being, learning as well as shopping. I want the first twelve Town Teams to challenge the old ways of working, experiment, take risks and reaffirm their place at the heart of a community. A place we all want to be and can be proud of.

Successful bidders will need to demonstrate how they have the energy, enthusiasm and vision to make a real difference to their town centres and make them the hubs of their communities.

Energy & enthusiasm is something that, dispite the best efforts of the council with their poorly implimented regeneration plans, Stoke-on-Trent still has lots of, this along with the creative flair  will be ideal when areas are asked to demonstrate how they plan to breathe new life into their high streets and shopping parades, but not just in a standard application form – Mr Shapps would also like to see their pitches to become Portas Pilots in short YouTube clips.

Use the links below to read more about how to bid to become one of the Portas Pilots.

Reinventing Stoke-on-Trent

Last night saw the newly refurbished Mitchell Arts Centre packed out with people from all over North of Staffordshire, residents, business people, community groups, activists, local politicians and the media for a evening lecture given the former Mayor, Mike Wolfe.

Mike gave his vision of a united city based around ‘Stanley Square’, names after one of the city’s most famous sons, with Stoke-on-Trent is one City, not 6 towns which he refused to name during the lecture.

Matt from My Tunstall has done a long article on the lecture which you can read by following the link below.

Should we lose the identity of our six towns and just become Stoke-on-Trent?

Stoke-on-Trent A Five Green Flag City

Stoke-on-Trent City Council is celebrating after being given five Green Flag awards for 2011. Three cemeteries have retained their Green Flag status, as well as news award for Park Hall Country Park & Queens Park Longton

Park Hall Country Park, which contains the city’s only National Nature Reserve, has picked up a Green Flag Award for the first time. It has achieved recognition for the standard of maintenance of the country park’s many wildlife habitats, the provision of leisure and recreational facilities and the active involvement of the local community in management of the site.

Our environmental staff that work at Park Hall take great pride in their work, and it’s fitting that they are recognised for what they have achieved. The Green Flag Award is a hallmark in quality and we are proud to have achieved that status for the park.

The Green Flag at Parkhall will be raised on Tuesday at 10:00am by park volunteers.

Carmountside Cemetery and Crematorium, Burslem Cemetery and Fenton Cemetery have all been awarded the prestigious honour for their floral displays, horticulture and green spaces. Carmountside has been awarded a Green Flag for the 4th year, while Fenton and Burslem have been given the award for the 3rd year.

To receive the award for the third and fourth years running is great credit to the staff at the three cemeteries.

Carmountside, Fenton and Burslem all provide calm surrounds for people to reflect, and that is in no small part due to the work done in maintaining the grounds.

The Lord Mayor, Councillor Terry Follows will raise the Green Flag at Carmountside Cemetery on Tuesday and will celebrate all the flags being awarded to the three cemeteries.

All three of these cemeteries and Park Hall Country Park maintain a high standard when it comes to their appearance and the cleanliness.

The Green Flags also reward the diligence of our staff who work hard throughout the year to make sure that the cemeteries and the park provide a comforting and colourful appearance to everyone who visits them

The Green Flag awards are something that we should all be proud of.

Longton Park was also awarded a green flag award.

Launched in 1996 the Green Flag Award scheme is the benchmark national standard for parks and green spaces in the UK. The first awards were given in 1997 and, many years later, it continues to provide the benchmark against which our parks and green spaces are measured. It is also seen as a way of encouraging others to achieve high environmental standards, setting a benchmark of excellence in recreational green areas.

updated 26 July

Stoke-on-Trent Bids Final Farewell To Sam

The City of Stoke-on-Trent will bid farewell to one of its favourite sons on Monday at the funeral of broadcast legend Sam Plank.

The service will take place at Swan Bank Methodist Church in Burslem at noon. Prior to that the funeral cortege will pause for a minute beside the statue of Sir Stanley Matthews in Hanley.

Sir Stan used to listen to Sam on BBC Radio Stoke.

Verity Hilton, Sam’s wife is appealing to fans and supporters to send their photo’s of Sam by email so that they can be projected during the service. The email address to send them to is Samsphotos@hotmail.co.uk

A trust has been set up in memory of the veteran broadcaster. The Sam Plank Trust will ensure that his legacy continues, donations via PayPal will be available shortly but the Hanley Economic Building Society is taking donations now. Please visit any branch for details on how payments can be made.

All are welcome to attend the Service at Swan Bank on Monday where the proceedings will be relayed by loud speaker. BBC Radio Stoke and Moorlands Radio will also broadcast it live.

There is a large turn out expected as the City pay their final respects to Sam Plank in celebration of his life and numerous achievements and in remembrance of the good that he did on behalf of the citizens of Stoke-on-Trent.

No To 0844!

Download our No To 0844 poster and show the City Council that you don’t want to pay between 3 & 40+ppm to report repairs.

Display it in your window, write a note to your local councillors or the Chief Executive John van de Laarschot on the back, take it to the next council meeting and wave it from the public gallery.

Show YOUR council that they should be working for you and you don’t want to have to call this number at more cost to you each time you need to book a repair or find out why an appointment has been missed.

If the information we have been given and published in other posts is correct, why at a time of unprecedented cuts are the council spending £400 a month to cost you more money to call them?

This is a lose lose situation.

Tribute To Titanic Brewery Founder John Pazio

A special charity ale has been produced by Titanic Brewery in tribute to its founder.

John Pazio died recently following a long illness. John revived brewing in Stoke-on-Trent when he launched the Titanic Brewery in 1985.

Unfortunately the project faltered, before being taken on by Keith and Dave Bott.

The Titanic Founder’s Ale will be available in the brewery’s five pubs in Stoke, Burslem, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Stafford and Stone, for a limited period. A donation of 10 pence will be made to John’s favourite charity, the Edridge Fund, from each pint sold.

Titanic Managing Director Keith Bott, worked as a brewer for John in Titanic’s early days.

Keith said

I shall always be grateful to John for giving me a chance to pursue a career in the brewing industry

Titanic Brewery was John’s venture and when he could not carry on, I – along with Dave and our father – were fortunate to be able to raise the funds to take it on.

John was a kind and generous man who could often be seen enjoying a pint in the brewery tap the Bulls Head, Burslem long after he was forced to sell the brewery.

It was a measure of the man that he never felt any bitterness and remained a great supporter of Titanic Brewery throughout his later life.

John passed away on 4 December at the age of 60 following a long illness.

His wife, Janet, said

John would have loved the fact that a real ale was being produced in his memory. He was a great supporter of CAMRA and was really pleased to see that Titanic Brewery was thriving.

John worked as a probation officer from 1998 until earlier this year and he often fund raised for the Edridge Fund which was set up to help current and present probation officers and their families.

Business Boost For Burslem

A report by the Burslem Regeneration Company shows that there are now a total of 187 businesses in the town compared to 137 in 2006. Figures for a Stoke-on-Trent town highlight a 27 per cent increase in businesses in the past four years.

The study, which covers the town centre, has just been completed by the Burslem Regeneration Company for Stoke-on-Trent City Council. The figures cover the same area which was surveyed during the 2006 report undertaken by Experian for the GOAD Report. The report also details the number of community organisations in the town which was not included in the original report in 2006. In total in the town including community organisations there is now 194 units.

The findings come as work starts on creating six more business opportunities in the town. Nessa Butler and her partner Alistair Simpson have secured funding from the Burslem Townscape Heritage Initiative to refurbish three derelict buildings in Nile Street. Three retail units will be created on the ground floor with a further three live work units provided on the upper floors.

A former business woman herself Nessa is keen to provide graduates and new businesses the opportunity to flourish and is excited by the opportunities Burslem offers new businesses.

The three properties in Nile Street are currently derelict and in need of improvement. By bringing them back in to use and creating small start up businesses it provides a real opportunity for local entrepreneurs to bring their dreams in to reality. Both in Ireland and here there are a lot of challenges in the market. But where there is a challenge there is an opportunity and I would have loved to have had this kind of facility when I was starting out. Burslem has really started to attract a variety of niche businesses and I am very impressed and excited by the opportunity this development offers in the town.
Burslem is an area which is seeing a lot of improvements. This report goes to show that the changes that are being made are really having a positive impact as more and different businesses move to the area. The improved street scene, restoration of the town’s heritage appeal and increased business space are all helping to create an attractive atmosphere for businesses to grow. There is still a lot more to do but the latest figures and the creation of new business premises in Nile Street show a promising trend with the town taking a step in the right direction.

Work on the new units is expected to be completed by Spring next year.

Pits n Pots are also part of the regeneration of Burslem, with the offices for our Community Interest Company, Potteries Media, and the 6 Towns Radio studios being based in the town and getting ready to move in to a new unit with a purpose built studio, in the next few weeks.

The extra stores include six new retail units, 13 new specialist stores including photographic, music and toy stores, 19 new financial and business services and eight new leisure services including cafes, takeaways and bars.

It is encouraging to see that not only has the number of empty units dropped in the town but new shops and businesses are also being created. A number of Live/Work facilities have been developed which have been well received by creative start up businesses. It is a promising sign and it is important that work continues to make sure that even more progress can be made.

CycleStoke extend “ËœBe Seen’ pit stops after more than 1000 turnout for first month

A campaign to keep cyclists safe has been extended until Christmas after more than 1000 people took advantage of the cycle pit stops around the city.

The month long “ËœBe Seen’ campaign, launched by CycleStoke on October 11, aims to ensure cyclists are clearly visible to motorists and pedestrians. Roadside pit stops have been held every morning and evening between Monday and Thursday for the past month. The CycleStoke team and Safer City Partnership have fitted over 1000 bike lights so far and kitted cyclists out in a similar number of high visibility vests.

The extended Pit Stops, located in each of the city’s six towns, will take place between 4pm and 6:30pm as follows, unless stated:

*Thursday 11 November – Longton, Corner of Gold Street and The Strand.

*Thursday 18 November – City Centre, Albion Square. 1.30pm to 8.00pm

*Thursday 25 November – Burslem, Market Place.

*Thursday 2 December – Fenton, City Road (by Pay and Display Car Park).

*Thursday 9 December ““ Stoke, Junction of Kingsway and Church Street.

*Thursday 16 December ““ Tunstall, Tunstall Park Entrance on corner of Victoria Park Road and The Boulevard.

{quote=Councillor Hazel Lyth, cabinet member for sport, leisure and culture, said] “It’s great to see such a large number of people taking advantage of this scheme as we try to help cyclist keep themselves safe and hopefully we will have an equally high turnout for the extended pit stops.

“Cyclists need to take extra precautions to maintain their safety during the darker winter months. As long as people have a few essential items like lights, reflective clothing and reflectors on their bikes, there is nothing stopping them pedalling through this cold period.”[/quote]

Interested cyclists can come along with their bike to any of the roadside pit stops to have free lights fitted to their bicycle, gain a free high visibility waistcoat and obtain hints and tips on route planning, hazards and advice on bike essentials and spares during the winter months.

Dates, times and locations could change so visit www.cyclestoke.co.uk or call 01782 238692 for up-to-date information.