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New rules to be introduced in Stoke-on-Trent to ensure city's heritage is protected

Published: Tuesday, 7th November 2023

Important action is being taken to make sure the city’s most well-loved public works of art are preserved for generations to come.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council has developed a brand-new Public Art Protocol which will support the protection of heritage assets – including statues, war memorials, murals, fountains and architectural features – on public land across the city.

The protocol outlines how any regeneration scheme in Stoke-on-Trent involving a site that contains a work of art, heritage asset or a listed structure on public land must be subject to an assessment of its cultural value and carried out in consultation with the Planning team and the Historic Environment Record Officer before it is approved by a director.

The protocol – which is expected to be approved at a Cabinet meeting later today (Tuesday 7 November) – has been developed following the removal of Vincent Woropay’s ‘Capo’ statue in January.

Council leader Jane Ashworth said: “We want to ensure that what happened to Capo will not happen again. I am confident that our new Public Art Protocol will support our efforts to safeguard our city’s heritage now and in the future.

“This piece of work is just one of a number of significant steps we are taking to protect our heritage assets including the development of a city-wide public art inventory which we will do in consultation with our local communities and stakeholders.

“We are also committed to developing a Public Art Strategy in the future, to help us continue to support and manage public art in Stoke-on-Trent going forward.”

The authority has listed an inventory of 72 public art installations across the city, and this list will be developed further following a public engagement exercise which is due to be launched later this month.