What’s the future for Fenton?

William meath bakerWith Magistrates Court set to close and the library already closed, what future is there for Fenton?

As announced by the City Council last week, Burslem could be in-line to get almost £4m of further investment in the town. Hanley is having untold amounts of money invested in it, even Longton has had investment to help renovate the buildings but what of Fenton our most forgotten of the six towns of Stoke-on-Trent? Continue reading

A People’s Wreath for Lidice

Lidice Shall Live posterAlan Gerrard of Theartbay in Fenton is the driving force behind the Lidice campaign in Stoke-on-Trent and is trying to raise £500 to place a People’s Wreath on the mass grave of the 173 men of Lidice  who were executed on June 10th 1942.

The Lidice atrocity was Hitlers response to Reichs-protektor SS Obergruppenfuhrer – Reinherd Heydrich being mortally wounded in an operation by Czechoslovak parachutists on May 27 1942. Following a directive from Hitler himself it was decided that there be an act of vengeance for the death of “an outstanding man of the German nation”, and for this they chose the people of Lidice.

Continue reading

Penkhull residents campaign to set up their own council

Penkhull’s campaign to set up its own council is still ongoing as the resident’s committee’s long running work continues.

The Penkhull Residents’ Association (PRA) has campaigned for years to elect a structured council, which they believe would give the village a more appropriate representation. Continue reading

Fenton Town Hall

I read somewhere of the commitment of former Labour Councillor Stan Bate to protecting the heritage of Fenton especially the Town Hall.

All well and good as it’s a fine late Victorian building and his passion for defending what is a jewel has to be commended.

It’s a pity that Stan, who to be fair to him, memory might be hazy of events a quarter of a century ago has perhaps forgotten the stance he took on Longton Town Hall in the late 80s when Ellis Bevan and other concerned citizens of the town campaigned to save the building. 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.

Newtown

Newtown

This pub sign in Fenton was probably put up in the 1960s and has a prophetic view of the future rising above the smoky past. Hanley represents a shining city on a hill- a vision from the perspective of the late 60s of what the future might hold. Manhattan on the Trent or so they hoped.

I lived close to here for the first ten years of my life in Lytton St, Stoke. It is an industrial landscape and particularly a sound scape. Factory hooters, the grinding sound of flint being crushed, the shrill sound of a saw from the coopers across the road, steam trains, the clatter of goods wagons in the siding and the chugging of barge engines. The canal in the 60s was still a working place with barges filled with bones, clay flint and pottery.
Instead we seem to have gone from industry and grime to no industry and grime. I took the bus into Hanley yesterday and the evidence of decay is all around. We went past the old shopping precinct; we went past the mosque boarded up and no sign of recent activity. True went the new Sixth Form and the new University building but then into Stoke with its boarded up shops and then Harpfields with weeds growing through the playground of the empty school.

Looking through the archives regularly as I do there have been many plans of what the future should have held. In 1973 for instance there was talk of a Stoke-Hanley Axis with grandiose plans. It is something that over the years we have not lacked are fanciful drawings and detailed drawings.

What has gone wrong? Is it indeed fair to blame the actions of officers and councillors of the last 40 years for the mess that we are in. After all other places such as Burnley and Hull are in the same position as Stoke. In fact the Centre for Cities has suggested that the gap between places like Cambridge and places like Stoke is widening and the vision represented in the pub sign looks like a mirage

£150,000 for community projects

The Community Development Foundation has announced this morning that over £150,000 of funding has been made available across 4 wards in Stoke-on-Trent.

Burslem North, Burslem South & Fenton each get £33,910 while Hanley West and Shelton gets £50,865.

The funding is to be used to give community projects grants of between £250 & £2,500 and will be awarded by local community panels which means local people will get a say in how the funds are used in their areas.

The funding is a matched fund programme, which means that every £1 provided in funding must be matched by a similar amount of in-kind donations (this means donations of cash, services, free products or volunteer time).

For more information visit the Community Development Foundation website using the link below.

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?

Digital Switchover Starts Tomorrow

From 6am Wednesday 7th September 2011, you must to a perform a first time installation retune (sometimes Factory Reset or Shipping Condition) on your Freeview box or television set if you use the Fenton transmitter.

If you don’t perform a retune you will lose BBC2.

This is because the old multiplex 1 BBC service will be replaced by the BBCA multiplex on the old analogue BBC TWO frequency.

On Wednesday 21 September 2011 will see the second stage of switchover, which provides the final Freeview configuration, including Freeview HD for Fenton transmitter.

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