Prestigious Team To Revitalise Historic Stoke Town

The design team behind the popular Bristol waterfront development Temple Quay 2 are set to breathe new life in to the heart of a historic Stoke-on-Trent town.

URBED, which has played a successful role in major regeneration projects across the country, has been chosen to lead the Stoke Town masterplan.

The team, which includes Jan Gehl Architects, who designed Copenhagen’s public spaces, DTZ and Arup and is led by Manchester based URBED, is looking at ways to revitalise the current town centre as well as the neighbouring world renowned former pottery works Spode.

The legacy of the town’s ceramic heritage will be brought to life through contemporary uses of the remarkable heritage buildings and redevelopment opportunities offered by the Spode site. Ideas being explored through the masterplanning process include Creative Courts and Spode Lanes – made up of alleyways of cobbled streets with small independent shops and creative art spaces ““ as well as Circus Squares, with open space for street theatre and dance.

More immediate uses for the important site will also be woven into the masterplanning process with a combination of leisure uses, creative low cost studio spaces and exhibition and performance space all creating possible short term uses.

“The appointment of URBED is a significant step in the regeneration of the historic town of Stoke. The team have worked on successful projects across the country and I am keen to see the vision they have for transforming Stoke.”

The appointment follows a public consultation on the five short-listed teams’ concept drawings which showed residents were keen to see heritage buildings brought back to life, improved transport connections, a wider range of retail, quality open space and public realm, a pedestrian friendly town centre and regeneration plans that deliver jobs.

Over the next six months the team will pull together a detailed masterplan for Stoke Town incorporating the Spode site and connections to the University Quarter and Stoke Station. The designs, which will incorporate short-term uses as well as a longer term vision, will be worked up in consultation with the community and potential investors to make sure that it is a community led plan with real deliverability.

“As a team we are really excited about this new project and the opportunity to design the future plans for the historic town. This is an important heritage site and it is vital that the masterplan respects the past while creating something new and exciting. Our masterplanning approach is based on the three R’s ““ first rediscovering what was there before, then repairing the tears in the urban fabric before renewing the area with a new and contemporary urban layer.”

The masterplan will guide investment in to the town over the coming 10 to 15 years. It will also show how the historic town centre pottery site, Spode Works, can be redeveloped to play a significant role in the regeneration of Stoke Town.

Spode Works, in Elenora Street, Stoke, lays claim to the longest continuous period of pottery production. Built in 1759 the 10 acre site consists of buildings of international heritage significance and offers a unique opportunity to develop a mixed-use scheme which will lead to the regeneration of the town.

Stoke Town is home to Stoke Minster where some of the town’s most famous potters are buried including Josiah Spode and Josiah Wedgwood. The town is also home to the city’s Civic Centre, railway station and the rapidly developing University Quarter.

Spode Works, in the heart of the town, is probably best known for its blue-printed pottery and Willow Pattern. The company also invented bone china, which has been the standard British porcelain now for more than two hundred years. The Spode brand is still in production with Portmeirion Pottery continuing to produce many of the collections in the iconic brand.

The Spode Works site was acquired by the company’s founder Josiah Spode in 1776 and was operational as the Spode Works until 2008. The factory underwent extensive rebuilding and enlargement in the 1820’s and 1830’s. The more interesting buildings, in the courtyard in the northwest of the site, were Grade II listed in December 2007. The site is now recognised as being of national importance. It offers a remarkable opportunity for sensitive redevelopment in order to lead the regeneration of Stoke Town.