Work to start on East West Centre redevelopment as landmark bus station gets green light

Work on a state-of-the-art new bus station in the city centre will start next week as planning consent is granted.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s planning committee today approved plans for the new landmark bus station in the heart of the city centre as part of the first phase of the £350 million redevelopment of the East West Centre.

The decision means work to transform the site of the current John Street surface car park in to a stunning new gateway for the city centre will start on Wednesday 23 March, ahead of schedule. In preparation, work has begun to revamp the John Street multi-storey car park to make room for motorists when the surface car park closes in the next few weeks.

“This is fantastic news for the city. We gave commitment to starting on the bus station by 28 March. We have managed this. This is a sign of our absolute commitment to making sure we deliver. The new bus station will become a lasting legacy for the city and will provide users with a quality, warm and safe facility.”
“This really is a significant day for the city as we prepare to start work on the first phase of the city’s major regional shopping development. This comes at a time when the Mitchell Memorial Theatre is nearing completion, work on the initial phases of the Central Business District is progressing and we are preparing to start the first phase of public realm works.”

The reserved matters planning application details the specifics of the design for the bus station, which include a dramatic sweeping roof and glazed concourse, as well as plenty of public spaces, comfortable enclosed waiting areas, public conveniences, CCTV, cafes and shops. The plans have been designed by the internationally renowned architect Grimshaw, who were appointed following a major design competition and consultation with local residents and businesses last year.

Work will start on the project next week with the installation of hoardings around the site ready for remedial works to begin. The John Street surface car park will remain open until the 2.4m high hoarding is completed around the site so that motorists can benefit from existing car parking spaces for as long as possible.

The revamp of John Street multi-storey car park will improve the lighting and general condition of the site to make a safer, cleaner and more appealing facility. The 590 spaces on the multi-storey car park are currently underused with only around 29 per cent of the bays being used at one time. The improvements will mean that the multi-storey car park will be able to absorb the extra demand from motorists when the 296 space John Street surface car park closes in a few weeks.

The bus station is the first stage of Realis Estate’s new regional shopping centre in Stoke-on-Trent. The East West Centre redevelopment project will transform the prominent city centre site of the existing East West Centre to create a new, 650,000 sq ft high quality regional shopping centre that will include a department store, a wide range of new shops, cafés, restaurants, vibrant public spaces, a multi-screen cinema, a hotel and improved parking.

“We are delighted by the Council’s decision and look forward to the start of enabling works on site next week. The new bus station is a vital part of the redevelopment of the East West Centre and gives the city yet another good reason to look to the future with optimism. The development will become a stunning new gateway to the city centre that will create a memorable first impression for visitors.”

Plans To Rejuvenate City Centre Streets Go On Display

Early proposals for a revitalised city centre design are going on display for the first time in a bid to gauge public opinion.

Ideas for improvements to city centre streets and public spaces will be on display from Thursday 17 March with a series of roadshows in Tontine Square on 22 and 23 March.

The designs, which have been drawn up by the city council’s in-house design team, show how areas such as Tontine Square, Crown Bank and can be revitalised to create an improved, functional and attractive space for visitors and residents to enjoy.

“The city centre is currently undergoing major regeneration with schemes such as the new bus station, Central Business District, Mitchell Memorial Theatre and East West Centre redevelopment all moving forward. The public realm improvements will help to complement the major schemes by creating a mixture of new public spaces which create an inviting atmosphere for shoppers and visitors.”

Key priorities have been identified for the project to complement work on the city’s major regeneration schemes such as the new bus station, East West Centre redevelopment and Central Business District.

Areas that have been identified for investment include Tontine Street, Percy Street, Fountain Square, Upper Market Square, Crown Bank, Market Lane and Albion Square.

The first phase of work, which is due to take place in the next financial year, will focus on Tontine Street and Percy Street.

The consultation will give local people the chance to comment on initial designs for the area. Plans will be online at www.stoke.gov.uk/citycentreconsultation , on public display in The Indoor Market, The Potteries Museum and The Regent Theatre and at the roadshows in Tontine Square on Tuesday 22 and Wednesday 23 March between 10am and 4pm. Comments can be received up until 31 March.

Once the comments have been received a final design is expected to be drawn up for the first phase of works by the end of July.

Planning Submitted For New £350million City Centre Bus Station

Plans for a state-of-the-art city centre bus station have been submitted to Stoke-on-Trent City Council.

A detailed planning application has been received for the landmark bus station, which will form the first phase of the £350million redevelopment of the East West Centre creating a stunning new gateway for Stoke-on-Trent city centre.

The reserved matters application details the proposed designs and layouts, drawn up by Grimshaw Architects, for the new city centre bus station.

A decision on the application is due in the coming weeks.

“A new city centre bus station is something many residents and passengers are keen to see in Stoke-on-Trent. The current facility is tired and out dated. The planning application details a modern, safe and warm facility in the heart of the city centre which will provide the first block of the new regional shopping centre. It is an important step and good news for the development.”

The planning application outlines the designs for the purpose built new facility on the current John Street surface car park and follows a series of public consultations on the proposals. The move will mark the first stage of Realis Estate’s new regional shopping centre in Stoke-on-Trent.

The East West Centre redevelopment project will transform the prominent city centre site of the existing East West Centre to create a new, 650,000 sq ft high quality regional shopping centre that will include a department store, a wide range of new shops, cafés, restaurants, vibrant public spaces, a multi-screen cinema, a hotel and improved parking.

“The submission of the planning application marks an important milestone for the redevelopment of the East West Centre and takes us another step closer to starting on site in the spring.

“These exciting plans have been developed in partnership with local residents and include a number of facilities that people requested – such as toilets, enclosed waiting areas and shops and cafés.

“The East West Centre redevelopment will create a new regional shopping destination that will tempt shoppers back to Stoke-on-Trent from cities such as Manchester and Birmingham.

“Working closely with the council, we successfully moved the project forward during 2010 and look forward to starting on site in the next few months.”

The Coachmakers Arms The Final Curtain

We have heard some disturbing news over the past few days. A number of sources have reported that the Coachmakers Arms is to close this weekend.

The licensees Jason & Sue are reported to be leaving this weekend and the pub will finally close its doors once the cellar is drunk dry, which is expected to be as early as Tuesday 31 August.

We have tried to contact Jason & Sue this week to get a statement or an interview without any success and we have heard from other sources that the staff are tight lipped when asked about the rumour, neither confirming nor denying the story.

Regular readers of this site will recall the campaign launched by patrons & staff of the Coachmakers last year to try and save this almost unique building from being wiped out in the name of progress, with the proposed development of the East West Centre in Hanley. A facebook campaign, a petition to Number 10 nor the numerous blog posts were able to stop the planning application which sealed the fate of the Coachmakers.

If you have any news on the closure of this iconic local pub, please do get in touch with us or leave a comment below

Boost To Business As Development Takes A Step Closer

Stoke-on-Trent City Council has confirmed its commitment to deliver a business district in the city centre.

At a meeting of the cabinet on Thursday, 29th July, councillors approved to sign a development agreement for the 1.2million square foot proposed Central Business District.

Mohammed Pervez, leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council, said the move was an important milestone in the progress of the project.

He said:

“Today’s decision is a significant step in the creation of a new Central Business District in Stoke-on-Trent.

“The proposed development is of the highest quality and one the city council is firmly committed to delivering with its partners. It will help to transform not only Stoke-on-Trent city centre but also the wider North Staffordshire region into a more prosperous and successful place.

“It will create more than 4,000 jobs for local people and provide career opportunities for students from our new University Quarter.”

Stoke-on-Trent City Council is currently under going a strategic property review which will help to determine whether it may be financially viable to house some council staff from a variety of locations across the city to a central location. Other options for an anchor tenant for the first phase are also being reviewed with an agreement in place between developer Genr8 and the city council to aim for progress by July 2011.

Councillor Mervin Smith, Stoke-on-Trent City Council cabinet member for city development (regeneration), said:

“It is important that we carry on exploring all options for the Central Business District. We are in challenging economical times and it is important that we make the right decisions for the residents of our city. The Central Business District will attract investment and businesses to the city centre. This in turn will help to boost other projects such as the East West Centre helping to create a thriving city centre with extra opportunities and footfall.”

John Early, Genr8 chairman, said:

“We are working with the NSRP and its partners to create a Central Business District that will put Stoke-on-Trent firmly on the national map as a location to do business.

“To do this we are focussing on quality, design excellence and integrating the Central Business District with the city’s other regeneration plans. This will ensure that Stoke-on-Trent is well placed to take advantage of the economic recovery.

“We are now working extremely hard with our partners to identify and realise pre-lettings for the scheme that will underpin the first phase of development and be the catalyst for further expansion and growth”

The agreement means that a planning application is now expected to be submitted by the end of the year with the aim of securing an anchor tenant in the next 12 months.

Proposals for the Central Business District include:

* 750,000 square feet of “grade A” office space
* 60,000 square feet of leisure and retail space
* 250 hotel beds
* 80 apartments
* 230,000 square feet of high quality public space

The design will integrate with the rest of Stoke-on-Trent city centre and the wider North Staffordshire conurbation helping to create a city centre that is strong and able to compete nationally.

Public open space will be designed to provide strong connections to the rest of the city centre, including the main shopping area, the planned new Realis Estates £285 million East West Centre, the Cultural Quarter and University Quarter.

New Bus Station For Stoke-on-Trent

After years of waiting, consultation, and empty promises, Stoke-on-Trent City Council finally agreed the company that will design the city’s new bus station.

Last night Stoke-on-Trent City Council unanimously agreed that Grimshaw Architects LLP, designers of the Eden Project in Cornwall and the International Terminal at London Waterloo station, will be the lead architectural company creating the full design for the city centre bus station.

With the designers being agreed, the next steps of the project was also revealed and work is targeted to start on site in just 9 months, on March 28 2011.

Council Leader Mohammed Pervez said, ‘I am excited and pleased with this significant step towards a new bus station. At long last the people of Stoke-on-Trent will know their new, state of the art, modern and fit for purpose bus station is within reach.

The bus station will be located at the heart of the East West Redevelopment which will bring a critical mass of investment into the city directly creating much needed new jobs.

I will personally be there on March 28 to see the work start on site. It is a project the council has been keen to progress. It has been a long time coming but we are definitely a significant step closer after tonight’s decision.’

Grimshaw Architects LLP will now complete the final design for the city centre bus station after producing a concept designs for stage two of the design competition. The final design for the bus station is expected in November before work begins in March next year.

Richard Blackwell, Associate for Grimshaw said, ‘We are delighted that our concept proposal secured the client’s support and look forward to developing and realising this exciting project. The competition brief clearly described the need for a new Bus Station but we soon recognised that the significance of the project extended beyond the immediate confines of the site.’

He continued, ‘We aim to deliver an elegant, simple building of enduring quality and are confident that the project will play a significant role in shaping the on-going redevelopment of Stoke-on-Trent.’

Duncan Mathieson, Managing Director of Realis Estates,the company behind the East West Centre, said, ‘We are excited to be working with one of the world’s top architectural practices on this important project. Yesterday’s decision demonstrates the significant progress that has been made since we gained planning consent last year and reiterates our desire to press ahead with a scheme that will enable Stoke-on-Trent to take its rightful place as one of the top 30 shopping destinations in the country.’

Shiny Happy People

We had a press release from the council mailed to us yesterday about the new Inward Investment Team.

Along with all the PR guff about this new team and the trip to Cannes for some trade show, there was an image attached. This image was untitled but shows what we think is a mock up of the interior of the East West Centre.

We didn’t bother publishing the picture as it wasn’t really relevant to the story, but one thing struck me when I looked at all the shiny happy shoppers in this cathedral of retail, all the faces were white, I could not see one person who could be unmistakably be from an ethnic minority.

Have a look at the image, see if you can spot anyone who is not IC1 to use the Police identity codes.

I have had a good look around the image and apart from the host of celebrities, as reported by the BBC, shopping in the East West centre, it does seem to be a lot more west than east.

Diggers move in as work gets underway preparing for an extended ring road and new supermarket

Preparatory work for an extension of Stoke-on-Trent’s city centre ring road and a new supermarket will move up a gear on Thursday as diggers move in to clear the land.

Since January 4 workers have been carrying out initial preparation works securing the site, off Clough Street.

On Thursday, contractors will start to clear the land for the new Tesco store and 540 metre extension of Potteries Way.

Councillor Brian Ward, Stoke said: “This is a major step forward in getting the extension to Potteries Way completed. The new Tesco store will redevelop land that is currently unused and help to kick start regeneration in the city centre. The ring road will improve connectivity to future developments like the East West Centre and Central Business District, helping motorists to access city facilities. It is an exciting time and it is fantastic to see things taking shape in the city.”

Tony Fletcher, Tesco Corporate Affairs Manager, said: “We are delighted to see this important step taking place in such a major scheme.”

The 100,000 sq ft store is due to open by the end of the year. The city’s Job, enterprise and Training (Jet) scheme and Job Centre Plus will be working with Tesco to help local people benefit from the extra jobs created.

When completed the extended Potteries Way ring road will help traffic flow into and out of Stoke-on-Trent city centre. It will also help make the city centre more attractive for occupiers and investors into the major redevelopment projects of the East West shopping centre and the Central Business District.

The dual carriageway will be extended between Broad Street and Etruria Road. Tesco will fund improved landscaping along the route to tie in with the City Council’s existing Potteries Way tree planting and lighting scheme.

Tesco was given planning permission for a new store and link road in May 2005. A public enquiry in to a compulsory purchase order was resolved this Autumn.

Business owners kept in the dark over demolition plans

Despite being told they would be consulted by Stoke-on-Trent city council, licensees Jason Barlow and Sue Grocott feel they have been kept in the dark over the plans to regenerate the Lichfield Street end of Hanley.

Since the council accepted an outline planning proposal back in February which would see the transformation of the dilpidated East West Precinct into a modern shopping centre, along with the demolition of the Coachmaker’s Arms in the process, Jason and Sue have heard nothing, apart from what they have read in the press.

Last week, after reports that the project may never actually go ahead, the council and the developers, Realis, reasserted their stance, confirming that the proposal was still very much alive, and that they would also be working with the authority on plans to replace the eyesore of a bus station.

But, whether ultimately the plans go ahead or not, the fact that the council disregarded 10,500 people who wanted the pub to stay, what is amazing is the way in which these demolition plans are handled, without considering communicating in an effective manner with those who would be detrimentally affected by the plans.

Jason said:

“I think this recent news is all a bit of a PR stunt.

“There has been no news since the outline planning permission was granted, no final planning proposal has been put in.

“But I have heard nothing from the council or the developers since that meeting on February 13th. We are completely in the dark.”

There is evidently some debate over whether this contentious project will ever begin, or indeed, the embarrassingly bad bus station will ever alter. But what is very wrong about the whole deal is how the authority consistently continues to disregard the views of the public which it serves. And not talking, writing or sending a carrier pigeon to keep those who will lose their businesses and their homes into the bargain is simply unforgiveable.

Work to start on new road and supermarket

Work on an extension to Stoke-on-Trent’s city centre ring road and a major new supermarket is due to start next month.

Tesco has today announced preparatory work will begin on its 100,000 sq ft store in Clough Street and the 540 metre extension of the Potteries Way dual carriageway in January.

The scheme will help to ease traffic flow and bring new job opportunities to the city centre. The supermarket will also create 674 car parking spaces with new pedestrian links from the site to Broad Street and the Mitchell Memorial Youth Theatre.

The 29.3 acre site, off Clough Street, will be cordoned off from January 4 so that work can start on preparing the land. Building works are then expected to start in February.

Brian Ward, cabinet member for regeneration at Stoke-on-Trent City Council, said: “The scheme will redevelop land that is currently unused and help to kick start regeneration in the city centre. The ring road will help to connect future developments like the East West Centre and Central Business District, helping motorists to access city facilities. It is an exciting time and it is fantastic to see things taking shape in the city.”

The city council is working with businesses and residents to make sure that the works, which are due to take 11 months, cause minimal disruption to motorists and visitors.

Motorists are being asked to use alternative car parks in Clementsons Mill and Broad Street when Clough Street car park closes on January 4.

Morley Street will also be closed for through traffic from early January, with traffic diverted along Potteries Way.

Tony Fletcher, Tesco Corporate Affairs Manager, said: “The Tesco store relocation will bring 300 additional jobs to the city centre and help to create a fantastic modern shopping facility for residents. It is great news that this exciting project can now get under way”

The store is due to open by the end of 2010. The city’s Job, enterprise and Training (Jet) scheme and Job Centre Plus will be working with Tesco to help local people benefit from the extra jobs created.

When completed the extended Potteries Way ring road will help traffic flow into and out of Stoke-on-Trent city centre. It will also help make the city centre more attractive for occupiers and investors into the major redevelopment projects of the East West shopping centre and the Central Business District.

The dual carriageway will be extended between Broad Street and Etruria Road. Tesco will fund improved landscaping along the route to tie in with the City Council’s existing Potteries Way tree planting scheme.

Tesco was given planning permission for a new store and link road in May 2005. A public enquiry in to a compulsory purchase order was resolved this Autumn.