Business district takes shape as planning permission approved

A thriving new business quarter is to be developed in the heart of Stoke-on-Trent as planning approval is granted for the first phase of the scheme.

The initial 50,000 sq m of mixed use space for the new Central Business District has today been granted outline planning permission. The move is a step closer for the development which will bring a variety of office, retail, leisure and public space to the city centre.

Genr8 Developments, the city council’s development partner behind the new mixed use project, is now working towards a detailed planning application for phase 1 of the project which will focus on 10,000 sq m of development space.

“The Central Business District will create a vibrant mix of commercial business opportunities in the city centre. This planning approval grants outline consent for the initial phases of an even larger scheme and it is fantastic news for the city.”
“The Central Business District is designed to create a vibrant day and night time economy which will complement other city centre schemes such as the East West Shopping Centre redevelopment, Mitchell Memorial Theatre, new bus station and city centre living. It is one piece of the jigsaw for creating a 21st century city. This planning approval means that the project is one step closer to starting work on site.”

Now that outline planning permission has been granted work is underway to prepare a detailed application for Phase 1 of the development. It is expected that this will be submitted later in 2011 in order to allow a start on site early in 2012.

The business district, which is expected to eventually provide up to 100,000sqm of business space in the city centre, will be delivered in phases over the next 10 to 15 years. Phase 1 is expected to focus on up to 10,000sqm of development space. The site lies behind the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery and near to the new Tesco store off Broad Street and the regional shopping centre being developed at the former East West site.

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.

Residents To Have Their Say On Designs For Key City Living Site

Designs for the three shortlisted housing schemes which could be built on a key city centre site have gone on display.

Around 100 homes are proposed for the Canal Quarter, off Lichfield Street, on the edge of the city centre. Local people are now being asked to review the designs being put forward for how the 5 acre site will be developed.

Images and proposals from the three shortlisted developers, Barratt, Keepmoat and Westbury Partnerships, will be on display in the City Waterside Community Centre, Dresden Street, until Friday, 18 March. Residents will be able to review the proposals and comment on the three submitted designs which will be taken in to consideration along with the design merits, provision of affordable homes, ground conditions and quality of the development when a decision is made on the final scheme.

“The Canal Quarter is a significant part of the Renew project and is designed to provide quality, affordable living in the heart of the city centre. As complementing city centre schemes are developed such as the Central Business District, East West shopping redevelopment, bus station and Mitchell Memorial Theatre, it is more important than ever that quality homes are provided for people wanting to move to the area or relocating closer to the city for new employment opportunities. It is important that people take the opportunity to look at the plans and see how they would like the area to be regenerated.”

The short-listed proposals will be evaluated at the end of March with a decision on the lead developer expected in the Summer.

The Canal Quarter forms part of the City Waterside project on the edge of the city centre it is designed to create a mixture of properties for city living. The scheme will have complementing public space features and focus on the unique waterfront location next to the Caldon Canal.

Lying at the South of the city centre the new homes will provide family and professional properties which will complement other city centre developments such as the Central Business District which will create a vibrant mix of business space, the landmark new bus station, Mitchell Memorial Theatre with community space and the £350million regional shopping centre being developed on the former East West site.

Plans can be viewed online at www.stoke.gov.uk and any comments should be received by Friday 28 March.

Business District Takes A Step Closer As Planning Application Submitted

Plans for a new city centre business district have been submitted to Stoke-on-Trent City Council.

Genr8 Developments, the city council’s development partner behind the new mixed use regeneration project in Stoke-on-Trent, has submitted an outline planning application for the initial 50,000 sq m of development.

The scheme, although office led, will create a thriving mixed use business quarter in the city centre with a variety of office, retail, leisure and public space.

The application, which provides outline details for the first phases of the scheme, follows a consultation event in November where residents were given the chance to see initial design proposals.

Mike Smith, of Genr8, said the planning application is a significant step forward in the delivery of a much needed new business quarter for the city centre.

“The Central Business District will create a vibrant quarter in the heart of the city centre where offices, retail and leisure sit side by side. The planning application is a significant step in the delivery of the scheme and outlines a business district which offers a thriving day and night time economy with complementing businesses, shops, bars, restaurants and public open spaces of the highest quality. We believe that it will be the catalyst for further regeneration throughout the city centre.”

The business district, which is expected to eventually include up to 100,000sqm of business space in the city centre, will be delivered in phases over the next 10 to 15 years. Phase 1 is expected to focus on up to 10,000sqm of development space. The site lies behind the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery and near to the new Tesco store off Broad Street and the regional shopping centre being developed at the former East West site.

“The Business District is designed to complement other regeneration schemes across the city. In the heart of the city centre it will offer a mixture of business and will complement retail and leisure facilities. The new Tesco store is nearby with the refurbished Mitchell Memorial Theatre due to open next year and work starting on the first phase of the East West redevelopment – the bus station – starting on site in March.”

A decision on the outline planning application is due early next year. Detailed designs are then due to be submitted later in the year as part of a detailed planning application. Further consultation events to review plans for the scheme will be arranged appropriately.

Cabinet Pledges To Deliver Key Projects

Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s leader Councillor Mohammed Pervez has today announced the cabinet’s pledge list for the city that will be delivered by the end of March 2011.
The pledges cover seven core service areas including; housing, education, employment, health, safety, cleanliness and delivering value for money services.

It’s no secret that we have to make some tough decisions and come up with ways of significantly reducing our spending. But there are many good things going on in Stoke-on-Trent which are improving the quality of life for our residents. We are publishing our pledges to promote this good news and in spite of tough financial times we are clearly driving the city forward.

We have already made significant progress on some of these pledges like the new Sixth Form College but I wanted to send out a very clear and positive message on the projects we will deliver by the end of March 2011.


The pledges include:

  • Deliver 100 Extra Care housing units to support older people.
  • Build new homes in Coalville, Blurton and Fegg Hayes.
  • Work in partnership to provide 100 affordable homes.
  • Start a new adult learning programme.
  • Start work on the new REACH short stay school at Trent Vale.
  • Support 2,000 people with advice on training and employment.
  • Help 500 people into permanent jobs through the city’s JET centres.
  • Introduce 11 more No Cold Calling zones
  • Complete the refurbishment of the Mitchell Memorial Theatre.
  • Start work on the development of a new city centre bus station.
Regeneration will continue in the city centre, the University Quarter and on our housing estates. Alongside that progress, people will also see the benefits of our efforts to make the city safer, cleaner and healthier, with better education, homes and job prospects.

Historic Stoke-on-Trent Theatre Gets Added Boost With New Café Extension

A city centre theatre is to benefit from an extra boost as approval is given for a unique glass fronted extension.

Councillors at Stoke-on-Trent City Council today gave the green light during a full council meeting for a café extension and balcony at the Mitchell Memorial Youth Arts Theatre, in Broad Street, Stoke-on-Trent.

The café extension, inspired by the famous Reginald Mitchell designed spitfire, is the final piece of a £4 million refurbishment of the community theatre.

Cllr Jeremy Dillon [Labour] spoke passionately and articulately in moving the motion in support of the new extension for the refurbished 50 year old theatre. He said:

We have a proud industrial heritage, but as our traditional industries fade, there is a need to encourage creative industries such as photography, film, web design and IT. We have a wealth of talent in out city and the arts are important.

The Mitchell is the gateway to the cultural quarter and it will provide a fantastic aspect to that area of our city centre.

This project has come in under budget and ahead of schedule and is something that I am proud to support.

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

“The Mitchell Memorial Youth Arts Theatre lies at the heart of the cultural quarter and is a valuable asset in providing community led theatre and dance. The multi-million pound refurbishment will provide a much needed update to a building which has been well used for the past 50 years. By careful planning and delivery the city council has been able to free up a proportion of the initial funds to provide a truly inspirational front extension within the initial budget.”

J&S Seddon started work on the refurbishment of the Mitchell Memorial Youth Arts Theatre in October last year. The project, which will include a rear extension, will provide new dressing rooms, dance studio, workshop and toilets. It will see the building, with more than 50 years of history behind it, transformed in to a modern facility for community theatre.

The new front extension will have a curved wing roof which covers a fully glazed curved wall extension to the café. Seating will look out over the city’s Cultural Quarter with the new Central Business District proposed nearby.

All councillors across the whole of the chamber voted for this extension.

There were also calls for a vote of thanks for Cllr Peter Kent-Baguley for all his work and dedication that he has put into the deliver of the Mitchell Memorial project.

MITCHELL MEMORIAL THEATRE GETS A REFURB!

citylogoEverything that can be good about our City Council was on display in the Council chamber today when councillors of all parties united to vote unanimously in favour of a massive investment project in the Mitchell Memorial Theatre.

The theatre affectionately known as the ‘Mitch’ has played host to amateur drama societies for the past fifty years. The theatre has a tremendous atmosphere that draws the audience in. It’s a magical place to see anything from a saucy farce to popular musical because the performers are so close to you giving it an intimate feel. The ‘Mitch’ remains the embodiment of an instinct expressed by a famous one-time amateur when he sang “Let me entertain you.”

The scheme will see ownership of the £3.7 million theatre pass from the city council to a council-backed charitable company.

The authority will contribute £2.1 million towards the refurbishment and about £150,000 a year to the new company. The Big Lottery Fund has pledged almost £2 million, while the Coalfield Regeneration Trust is donating £285,000.

The work will transform the theatre and adjoining Cartwright House into an arts hub for voluntary and community groups and creative industries.

This whole project  is going to cost in the region of £8million and is another jewel in the crown of our city centre regeneration.

Click here!The theatre will shut in July and reopen in spring 2011.
Listen to these Audio Interviews for reaction to this fantastic decision:
Mick Salih:
[audio: http://www.pitsnpots.co.uk/audio/0209/mick-salih-190209-mmt.mp3]
Mike Barnes:
[audio: http://www.pitsnpots.co.uk/audio/0209/mike-barnes-190209-mmt.mp3]
Joy Garner:
[audio: http://www.pitsnpots.co.uk/audio/0209/joy-garner-190209-mmt.mp3]
Roger Ibbs:
[audio: http://www.pitsnpots.co.uk/audio/0209/roger-ibbs-190209-mmt.mp3]
Over to you, what do you think of this fantastic news story for our city?…