Lakesmere appointed to design and build bus station roof

lakesmere logoLeading building envelope specialist Lakesmere is set to make another journey into the transport sector following the contractor’s prestigious appointment to work on the new Stoke-on-Trent bus station.

The £1m contract will see Lakesmere design and install the new bus station’s dramatic sweeping roof that is in the form of a breaking wave. The impressive structure will be created using the innovative Kalzip XT aluminium system and a complex combination of straight and tapered sheets. As part of the building envelope package, Lakesmere will also complete the installation of the sweeping fascias, gutters, rainwater pipes, smoke vents, access hatches and mansafe system. Additionally the team will install a Sika Sarnafil roof, aluminium rainscreen cladding and secondary steelwork to the adjacent concrete frame bus drivers’ accommodation building. Continue reading

The Journalism Foundation

The Journalism Foundation, a non-for-profit organisation that promotes, develops and sustains free and fair journalism across the world, launched in London this morning.

Its founding Chief Executive, Simon Kelner, former editor-in-chief of The Independent, said

I am delighted to lead this new body, which will show that journalism can be a force for good by supporting initiatives that have a direct and positive effect on people’s lives.

The Foundation, which is backed by the Lebedev family, has a board of Trustees chaired by Evgeny Lebedev, chairman of The Independent and the London Evening Standard. Other trustees of the foundation include, Baroness Kennedy, the renowned human rights lawyer, Lord Fowler, former chair of the House of Commons media select committee, and Sir John Tusa, former director general of BBC World Service.

The Journalism Foundation is launching with two initiatives to show the scope and range of its work. The Foundation, in partnership with the department of journalism at London’s City University, is establishing the first practical training courses for journalists in Tunisia, teaching local journalists how to report in a free and open society.

The second project sees The Journalism Foundation supporting a grass roots website in an effort to increase interest in local politics in the British town of Stoke-on-Trent. The site, Pits n Pots, was set up in response to a lack of coverage of local council matters, and the Foundation is supporting its development with the aim of bolstering public engagement in the area.

Mike Rawlins from Pits n Pots said

I’m delighted that Pits n Pots is going to be supported by the newly launched Journalism Foundation. Having the support of the foundation will allow me to do three things.

First, I am hoping to investigate ways for Pits n Pots to become a more sustainable public service business model while improving the awareness and reach of the site.
Second, I will be looking to find ways to promote better democratic, popular engagement across sections of the population who have not traditionally been engaged with democracy.
Finally, I will hope to use The Journalism Foundation’s support to create a template that can be used by active democratically engaged people across the country.

The launch of the Foundation has been acclaimed by figures across the political and cultural landscape.

Salman Rushdie said

This is an important and valuable – and needed – initiative that aims to uphold and propagate the highest journalistic standards. I wish it the very best.

Jemima Khan said

A vibrant democracy and a free press go hand in hand. I applaud the work of The Journalism Foundation in trying to strengthen this relationship.

Lord Ashdown said

There could not be a better time for an organisation like this to be set up to ensure we get the balance right between strengthening what is best in journalism and rejecting what we all now know to be bad.

Alexander Lebedev said

I am delighted the Journalism Foundation is launching. For over 20 years I have argued that democracy cannot flourish in countries without a free press. And it is only by championing brave, investigative journalists across the globe that international corruption can be tackled effectively. Now more than ever, we must support journalists who hold the powerful to account – and I am certain this foundation will do that brilliantly. 

Of course you will read and hear a lot more about this over the coming months here on Pits n Pots.

Stoke-on-Trent Tour stage sets TV viewing figures record

The Stoke-on-Trent stage of the 2011 Tour of Britain was easily the biggest hit with television viewers, recent audience figures have revealed.
Close to three quarters of a million people tuned in to ITV 4 to watch the hour-long highlights package of the 80 mile stage which began at Trentham Gardens and finished outside the Town Hall in the city centre.
The viewing figures were split over two days, with the initial programme shown on the night of the event on Tuesday September 13, with a repeat showing the following morning.
A record 592,000 watched Lars Boom power to victory up the hill on Albion Street, just hours after the event finished in the Stoke-on-Trent sunshine. A further 127,000 saw the repeat on Wednesday.
The closest stage to Stoke-on-Trent was Stage 4, when 649,000 tuned in over the two days to see the Welshpool to Caerphilly race.
The figures represent a record for the four-year period the event has been shown on ITV4 and was 250,000 more than watched the televised Stoke-on-Trent stage last year.
Organisers are delighted with the statistics, released by the Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board, which indicate the UK’s growing fascination with cycling.

The figures all over the country were vastly up on last year, with Stoke-on-Trent breaking records. Nearly three quarters of a million is on a par with ITV4’s Tour De France figures. It is great news for everyone and shows that the event and the sport is growing rapidly in popularity.

This year’s event was the fourth time the Tour of Britain has come to Stoke-on-Trent, with more and more local people coming out to watch each year.
In September Mark Cavendish took part in the race, using it as a warm-up event for the World Championships a week later ““ which he duly won.
Since then Cavendish, a favourite for Olympic Gold next July in London, has joined Team Sky which increases the chances of the 20-time Tour De France Stage winner taking part in his home tour each year.
Initial reports suggest that the Tour resulted in a net economic impact of over £3.5 million for the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire region, with further results expected next week.
In further good news, the city council Event’s Team has won recognition after being awarded a runner’s up place in a competition run by sponsors Halfords for the Tour Series Event back in June.
The award was based on the supporting events, promotion and effort. Stoke-on-Trent were judged second out of eight venues which will result in a number of prizes for the council. 
Stoke-on-Trent engaged local schools and community cycling groups for the day’s activities with a great response. The team at Stoke-on-Trent also worked well during the planning process, making sure everyone was up-to-date with their plans and also open to suggestions and developments.

The city council’s Events Team were beaten into second place by Colchester, but were granted runner’s up ahead of other race hosts’ such as Oldham, Exeter and London. They will receive a certificate, a trophy and a framed winners’ jersey.
All of this is really good news. This year’s cycle events have been better than ever. That so many people tuned into our stage shows how popular cycling is in this region and how good a job our team do in putting it on with partners. It is great to see Stoke-on-Trent setting records.
That our Events team has also been recognised for their excellent work is fantastic. London has a stage of the Tour of Britain and also a leg of the Tour Series and more people watched on TV to see our city’s Tour of Britain stage than they did for the one in the Capital and our leg of the Tour Series has been judged a better event than the one in Canary Wharf by sponsors’. This shows exactly what the city is capable of and is reward for everyone’s good work.

This is brilliant news. It is fantastic that so many people watched the Stoke-on-Trent stage on television ““ and a record too! It was a wonderful day, it is a fantastic event and let’s hope we can bring it back next year.

James Rushton Next Stop Stoke-on-Trent

James Rushton Conservative Candidate for Stoke-on-Trent South has this week launched a petition “NEXT STOP STOKE-ON-TRENT!! Bring the trains to bring the jobs…” to get high speed rail to Stoke-on-Trent.

The Government has set up a company, HS2 Ltd, to look in to the feasibility and to plan a route for a multi billion pound high-speed rail network that is capable of carrying passenger trains at speeds of up-to 400km per hour. The company plans a full public consultation on the recommended route from London to the West Midlands, to start in autumn 2010. HS2 is now starting to work on potential route options for high-speed lines from Birmingham to Manchester, and from Birmingham to Leeds, for consultation later.

James Rushton is spearheading a campaign to make Stoke-on-Trent the next stop, after Birmingham. James, who is also a partner with Baker Tilly, Accountants and Business Advisers on Festival Park, has the backing of a number of business leaders.

In Friday’s Sentinel, Bryan Carnes, Chief Executive of the North Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce and Industry said, ‘High speed rail will be extremely important in developing the national economy over the next 20 to 30 years.’

‘North Staffordshire needs to ensure that it features strongly in the high-speed rail route network, otherwise the region will fall even further behind the major conurbations like Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds.’

James said, ‘I’m calling on the people and business leaders of Stoke-on-Trent to unite so that we can make the best possible case for Stoke-on-Trent. I see getting Stoke-on-Trent on the high-speed network as a vital element of regeneration.’

James launched a petition at Stoke Station on Thursday morning and obtained more than 100 signatures at the station.

He will put the campaign to the Government’s petitions website after Easter. The petition is also available for signing at WATERWORLD on Festival Park and PRUNERS BARBERS in Longton. James will send the list of signatures to the Secretary of State for Transport and HS2.

48,000 view Pits n Pots Rally Coverage


48,000 people have viewed our You Tube channel footage of the EDL & UAF rallies in Hanley this weekend.

The video interviews on our YouTube Channel and rally footage recorded by the Pits n Pots team over the weekend have been viewed by over 48,000 people in just two days. One video alone has attracted over 22,000 views.

Today [Monday] our YouTube Channel is second to ITN as the most watched news/politics channel, with just under 50% less views than the National News Agency. We are also the 16th most watched channel over all categories.

Our photo gallery of the day has had over 10,000 views and the live coverage on the day had 1000 people watching our aggregated feeds at one point.

The site had over 5000 unique visitors on Saturday afternoon as people hit us to get the latest information from the rallies.

Tony Walley, founder of Pits n Pots said, ‘this is fantastic news for us as a local news site, to see that people are hitting us to get the latest information. We have been working with Staffordshire Police and the Stoke-on-Trent City Council to get information out to our readers on the run up to the rallies and did our best to cover the days events as they happened. Being able to use our site and technology to be able to report on the events almost live was a challenge and an experience to say the least. We had planned on covering things such as council meetings live not running around the streets of Hanley covering rallies!’

He went on to say, ‘we were able to use our local network of regular readers and commenter’s to help provide information and feeds from around the town on the day. We know the press office in Hanley Police station were monitoring our feed during the day on Saturday as well as a number of other news organisations.’