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Legal action taken against owners of former historic pottery

Published: Thursday, 18th August 2022

The owners of a fire-hit former pottery that has been vacant for more than 30 years are facing tough legal action after failing to take steps to improve the site.

The owners of a fire-hit former pottery that has been vacant for more than 30 years are facing tough legal action after failing to take steps to improve the site.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council has issued a summons to the owners of Falcon Works off Sturgess St, Stoke.

The action is being taken after the owners failed to comply with a planning enforcement ‘section 215 notice’, which required the following works to take place:

 

  • Window openings to be made secure by boarding up
  • Foliage growth on main building and bottle oven to be carefully removed
  • Repointing of brickwork on bottle ovens
  • Repointing of deteriorated joints on main building
  • Reinstatement of all missing rainwater goods.

The historic building has been a landmark in the town since it was constructed in around 1870, and features two warehouses and two bottle kilns that are Grade II listed.

Last month, fire crews spent more than four hours tackling a blaze at the site which is believed to have been started deliberately.

Council leader Abi Brown said: “Owners of historic buildings in our city who think they can let them go to rack and ruin can think again. We are proud of our city’s heritage, and buildings like historic pottery sites and bottle ovens are a rich part of Stoke-on-Trent’s history.

“In this instance, Falcon Works has been vacant for more than 35 years. We had served an enforcement notice on the owners to make improvements necessary to protect and preserve the buildings, but they have failed to do the works that were required.

“We take a very dim view of irresponsible people who disregard the rules. We are taking firm action in this instance.

“Earlier this year we launched a heritage congress to look at how we can bring national and regional agencies and resources together to support Stoke-on-Trent’s many wonderful and often privately-owned historic buildings. These are buildings that generations of our families have grown up with and we want to ensure that they can continue to be enjoyed by generations to come.

“We’re also working closely with our partners in Staffordshire Police and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service to gather and share intelligence on incidents such as fires and anti-social behaviour at historic buildings. The message is simple: we will not standby while historic buildings suffer neglect. If you are a building owner who won’t maintain your building, we will use our planning enforcement powers to prosecute you. If you think you can get away with anti-social or criminal behaviour, we are watching you and will work with partners to take action against you.”