Longton Town centre to be revamped with launch of heritage toolkit project

Published: Friday, 21st October 2022

Join Stoke-on-Trent City Council, in partnership with Historic England, on Friday 28 October at 11 am, as they launch a Stoke-on-Trent Ceramic Heritage Action Zone community project.

Longton Town centre to be revamped with launch of heritage toolkit project

Join Stoke-on-Trent City Council, in partnership with Historic England, on Friday 28 October at 11 am, as they launch a Stoke-on-Trent Ceramic Heritage Action Zone community project focussing on a new heritage colour palette for Longton Town Centre.

The event will be held at the community ‘Ping Pong Parlour’ in the Longton Exchange, and will showcase design advice from local artists, Urban Wilderness CIC.

Free family activities will be available this half-term, including cardboard constructions of local buildings, a paint-your-own shop front competition, and an exhibition of design advice as well as other work undertaken as part of the Stoke-on-Trent Ceramic Heritage Action Zone, including a 3-D tour of bottle ovens, will follow until 3pm.

The package, which will result in a toolkit called ‘Making the Most of our Heritage’ is aimed at business owners within the Longton Town Centre Conservation Area. The area includes Gladstone Museum, along Market Street and King Street, and incorporates The Strand.

The Longton Partnership Scheme in Conservation Areas (PSiCA), funded by Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Historic England will aid the repair and restoration of up to five buildings in the Conservation Area, bringing them back to their original beauty. The area is of special architectural and historic interest and its status as a conservation area means the special character of its buildings is protected through the planning system and property owners may need permission from Stoke-on-Trent City Council before making any changes to their building.

The design advice will show how shop fronts can contribute positively to the special character of the area and provide a more coherent finish to buildings. Building owners undertaking works as part of the PSiCA will be amongst the first to benefit from the advice, but business owners, throughout the conservation area, will be able to access design advice for updating signage and frontages.

Councillor Daniel Jellyman, cabinet member for infrastructure, regeneration and heritage has said: “I am thrilled to be able to share this project with residents and business owners of Longton. Longton Town Centre is rich in overlooked historical buildings and rejuvenating our town centres is part of our plan to attract more footfall to our once bustling high streets. We know the impact these types of refurbishment projects will have and can see an increase in footfall already starting across the city. 

Councillor Daniel Jellyman continues: “Hosting this event in half-term gives an opportunity for young people to get involved and for businesses to receive some bespoke advice. We know Stoke-on-Trent is an attractive venture for further investment opportunities, and this is another project which proves just that.”

Pete Boland, Historic Places Adviser for Historic England said “We are delighted to be partnering with the City Council and local community groups to deliver one of our flagship Heritage Action Zones (HAZ) in Longton. The HAZ is principally focused on the regeneration of Longton Conservation Area at Risk alongside the recording and conservation of the City’s many Bottle Ovens.

As such we are excited to support this highly imaginative initiative by Urban Wilderness that will help to add colour and vibrancy to the Longton Street scene which will perfectly complement building refurbishment carried out through the current Partnership Scheme in a Conservation Area (PSiCA). This grant scheme includes shopfront repair/replacement and an enhanced housing offer through promoting and facilitating “living above the shop”. 

Laurel Gallagher, co-director of Urban Wilderness CIC, says: “Our community interest company has been based in Longton for three years. As community-engaged artists, we’re interested in how public spaces make people feel. We run very popular heritage photo walks around Longton which demonstrate the beauty of the buildings here. We’re looking forward to working with local businesses to help them realise their ideas and to invite young people to reimagine the high street with us. The key thing for us is to help businesses retain their individuality, attracting heritage visitors to the area, hopefully inspiring further investment and improvements to the area”


About Historic England
We are Historic England the public body that helps people care for, enjoy and celebrate England’s spectacular historic environment, from beaches and battlefields to parks and pie shops. We protect, champion, and save the places that define who we are and where we’ve come from as a nation. We care passionately about the stories they tell, the ideas they represent, and the people who live, work, and play among them. Working with communities and specialists we share our passion, knowledge, and skills to inspire interest, care and conservation, so everyone can keep enjoying and looking after the history that surrounds us all. www.historicengland.org.uk


About Wilderness CIC
Urban Wilderness CIC is a not-for-profit organisation that provides arts and cultural activities to residents of Stoke-on-Trent. They are based in Longton Exchange and are heavily involved in efforts to regenerate the town. You can find their current programme of activities on www.urbanwildernesscic.com.