City leaders have praised successes in attracting Levelling Up funding and support as giving confidence to national decision-makers and investors in Stoke-on-Trent’s ability to deliver.
Stoke-on-Trent has received the largest levelling up fund investment for any city in the country, securing £56m for regeneration, infrastructure and heritage projects, and was last week named in the Levelling Up White Paper to receive further investment and support in education, culture and bus improvements. Now Stoke-on-Trent City Council leaders are using its Levelling Up Prospectus to tell investors and developers of the bold and exciting opportunities available in the city.
Council leader Abi Brown said: “We told government that we were the litmus test for Levelling Up, that if it is to truly level the playing field for all parts of the country, then it must come with the right support from education and skills, to transport, to regeneration, to infrastructure. We’ve already got a plan for Stoke-on-Trent; what Levelling Up can do is help us to accelerate this mission-critical work more quickly.
“Before the national Levelling Up announcements, we set out our very clear priorities on what is needed for Stoke-on-Trent to thrive, based on a deep understanding of the issues and challenges that need to be addressed, and the opportunities that need to be grasped.
“It is clear now that national decision-makers are talking our language, they are reflecting back our priorities, and giving support so that we can get on with delivering for the city.
“Last month we launched our Levelling Up Prospectus, it’s our city’s biggest investment prospectus to date. It shows that the opportunities for leisure, office, residential and industrial investment in Stoke-on-Trent are real. They are bold, exciting and gathering strong momentum.
“We told local, regional and national businesses about our plans at a launch event in the city. We’re telling national and international investors about the opportunities in Stoke-on-Trent and have now met them in London, and will be showcasing what our city has to offer at other major business events in the next few months too.
“We already have plans in place and sites ready for development. We have government backing and funding to support this. This gives developers confidence in our city’s ability to deliver. There’s never been a better time to invest in Stoke-on-Trent.”
The prospectus highlights Stoke-on-Trent’s rapid and sustained economic growth since 2015, with multiple key investment and development opportunities currently available in the city. It includes Etruscan Square, The Goods Yard and infrastructure projects within the city such as the £47 million Etruria Valley Link Road, the city-wide full-fibre network and development opportunities at Grade-II listed buildings including Hanley Town Hall and Tunstall Library and pool, Spode Works and Crown Works, in Longton.
Rob Turner, Public Sector Consulting Director at Grant Thornton UK LLP, said: “With the publication of the Levelling Up White Paper last week it is very clear that, if government is to deliver against this agenda, investing in and regenerating places like Stoke-on-Trent are mission critical. The city already has many of the foundations for change in place and there are significant opportunities that – with the right investment and local leadership – could drive positive and meaningful change for the local community.”
Cllr Daniel Jellyman, cabinet member for infrastructure, regeneration and heritage, said: “We are using the prospectus and every opportunity possible to encourage inward investment into Stoke-on-Trent right now.
“We are an ambitious city, and we are looking for partners who share our vision and are committed to driving forward regeneration that will have lasting social and economic impact. The prospectus provides a snapshot to potential investors of a range of exciting investment and development opportunities across the city, and makes it abundantly clear why Stoke-on-Trent is such a great place for them to come and get involved in right now. It says loud and clear that we are open for business.”
Tim Heatley, co-founder of Capital&Centric, said: “Stoke-on-Trent’s prominence in the national levelling-up story is a real vote of confidence in the city’s future. We’re playing our part, creating a new urban quarter by regenerating an industrial site with bags of untapped potential. The Goods Yard will be a destination neighbourhood, right next to the train station with loads of green spaces to hang out, with foodie outlets and pop-up events. But it’ll also be a genuine community, with a new generation of people calling the city home. Not only is leveraging new investment into ambitious places like Stoke-on-Trent essential, so is delivering creative communities that preserve a city’s identity and celebrate it’s past.”