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.

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