The repair grant scheme, which forms part of the Stoke-on-Trent Ceramic Heritage Action Zone (HAZ), is jointly funded by Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Historic England.
Repair works underway in Longton Conservation Area
Repair work at Victoria Buildings on Market Street, Longton is now underway with aid from the Longton Town Partnership Scheme in Conservation Areas (PSiCA) grant.
The repair grant scheme, which forms part of the Stoke-on-Trent Ceramic Heritage Action Zone (HAZ), is jointly funded by Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Historic England whom are each providing £300,000. It is focused on Market Street with the aim of undertaking repairs and improving retail frontages on historic buildings on the route between Times Square and Gladstone Pottery Museum, helping to reinvigorate the town centre and create better links between the town and the museum.
Victoria Buildings, the first building to benefit from the Longton Town PSiCA grant, is an imposing building constructed in 1897 and was used as the premises of Frank Flint, a wine and spirit merchant from at least 1904. Works being undertaken include roof, brick, and stonework repairs, window repairs, and shopfront improvements. The work will cost around £208,000 with 80% being grant eligible.
The project is also benefitting from artist’s shop-signage design consultation provided by local artists Urban Wilderness CIC and offered to PSiCA applicants and other Longton business owners last autumn. The design advice will ultimately be incorporated into a forthcoming design toolkit called ‘Making the Most of our Heritage’ which will be made available to all business owners within the Longton Town Centre Conservation Area.
The grant scheme is likely to enable the repair and refurbishment of up to three further properties, with grants already awarded to 3 Uttoxeter Road and applications for two further properties well underway.
Councillor James Smith, cabinet member for infrastructure, heritage, and development management said:
“It is incredible to see local businesses getting involved and taking pride in the heritage of the city.
We have worked with some amazing organisations, that are passionate and knowledgeable about heritage. These schemes are pivotal to not only preserving historical buildings and architecture but also showcasing the investment the city council is making into town centres and actively encouraging visitors and investors back onto our high streets.“
Mike Fern, who owns Victoria Buildings, said, “My business has been trading in Longton for over 50 years and I am very excited to be involved in this project to reinvigorate our once bustling town.
Such schemes are essential to attract footfall and life back to the town centre after years of neglect and decline. In 2022 the Sunday Times named Stoke on Trent as one of the best up-and-coming areas in the country.
Such regeneration work is essential to “Level Up” the Potteries and bring pride back to the Potteries.”
Peter Boland, Historic England Historic Places Advisor, said: “We are delighted to see work start at Longton: it is an exciting step in the heritage-led regeneration of Longton, and a testament to the excellent work carried out by colleagues in the town. The works will not only allow these wonderful buildings to shine but also improve the public space for the benefit of all – from residents to visitors. We are thrilled to see Longton’s PSiCA have such a striking and positive impact on the ground.”
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.