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Key city regeneration site set for funding boost to unlock its full potential

Published: Tuesday, 11th May 2021

Stoke-on-Trent City Council is set to invest a further £3.25 million in a key city centre development site, demonstrating its commitment to bringing the area forward for redevelopment.

Subject to cabinet’s agreement next week, the budget for the City Centre Regeneration Area will be increased from £1.5 million to £4.75 million to ensure the site’s full potential can be unlocked and the economic benefits to the entire city are maximised through its redevelopment.

Since the city council stepped in and bought the eyesore East-West Precinct and former bus station site from the private sector in 2018 after failed attempts to develop the land, work has taken place to demolish its complex network of buildings and make the area ready for construction. The additional funding would pave the way for the demolition of the nearby Meigh Street car park and the adjoining Goodson building later this year, which have reached the end of their service life. The space created by their demolition would then be incorporated with the East-West precinct and former bus station, making the City Centre Regeneration Area one of the largest of its kind in the country and significantly increasing its attractiveness to developers and investors, while significantly enhancing the site’s development options.

Cllr Daniel Jellyman, cabinet member for infrastructure, regeneration and heritage, said: “This really is a once in a lifetime opportunity to create something bold and unique for Stoke-on-Trent that will benefit the city and generations of residents for decades to come. You won’t find many other city centres in the country that have this type of space available and ready for development, and that’s why the site’s potential is so exciting.

“This site is the single, largest regeneration opportunity in council ownership which we have power over, and we want to make sure that whatever we do on the site connects and benefits the whole city, and isn’t just about the city centre. This additional funding is absolutely vital to make sure the site’s full potential can be unlocked and make sure we get the best outcome for Stoke-on-Trent through its regeneration. It’s showing our commitment to bringing this site back to life as soon as possible because we don’t want it to be standing empty and doing nothing for the city for a single day longer than it needs to be. 

“It’s a key part of our Powering Up campaign as we build a strong and successful future for our city in the post-pandemic world. We have a responsibility for raising the ambition of our city and bringing forward investment opportunities that will make sure the city centre continues to improve, specifically as retail diversifies and different uses are needed in the future.”

The council has previously outlined its ambitious 10 to 15 year vision to include a transport hub in the redevelopment of the site, which would directly connect it by ultra-light rail trams to other parts of the city – improving inter-city connectivity and air quality. A planning application for the phased development of the site is expected to be submitted by the end of the year, with the first phase potentially starting in 2023.

A new 95-space car park has opened on part of the site this month, making it easier to visit shops and giving business a boost as lockdown eases. It also ensures some of the site is brought back into use while work continues in the background. The car park, on Charles Street, allows motorists to park for anything from up to 60 minutes to 24 hours and will help to absorb the loss when Meigh Street car park is demolished.

Cllr Jellyman added: “We’ve achieved a significant amount of progress despite the pandemic in a relatively short amount of time whilst we have owned the site, and I think that shows we are serious about redeveloping the area. It’s exciting to in effect be starting with a blank canvas due to the pro-active work we have done up to this point to acquire the East-West site from the private sector, flatten it and get it development ready after it had stood derelict for far too long.

“The car park is the latest step in gradually bringing the site back to life and increasing footfall in the area. It will also help address complaints we have received about a shortage of parking spaces in the city centre and provide an alternative to Meigh Street car park when that is demolished, so it makes perfect sense on both fronts.

“The demolition of Meigh Street car park and Goodson building, which are no longer fit-for-purpose, allows them to become part of a much bigger and more attractive development site for investors. This is a unique opportunity for the private sector to get involved in one of the city’s biggest regeneration projects in decades. The development would happen in stages and we’re looking at a range of options, from more homes following on from the success of the Clayworks apartments at Smithfield, food and beverage facilities, a multi-storey car park, conference and leisure facilities, a hotel, all these types of things.

“We will only get one shot to get the redevelopment of this site right for future generations and we will deliver the very best we can for Stoke-on-Trent.”