Council chiefs have set out a wish list of key projects for regenerating Stoke-on-Trent – including a new tram network, town centre investment and a programme for tackling long-term unemployment.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council has submitted its new ‘prospectus’ to the government in the hope of establishing an agreed set of priorities, and the funding needed to deliver them.
The council says Stoke-on-Trent will be the ‘litmus test’ for the Conservative government’s levelling-up agenda, which has the stated aim of boosting the fortunes of so-called left behind places like the Potteries.
The Powering Up Stoke-on-Trent Prospectus sets out the challenges facing the city in four areas – transport, economic development, education and skills, and health and productivity – and lists specific projects to tackle them.
Many of the proposed schemes, such as a light rail network and regeneration of the East-West site in Hanley, have previously been discussed by the council and its partners.
But council leaders are now challenging the government to back the proposals and help ensure they actually happen in the coming years.
Other projects listed in the prospectus include:
- Develop Stoke Station and the local rail network to facilitate the arrival of HS2 services through Stoke-on-Trent, potentially including services from Birmingham North
- Launch hydrogen bus services in Stoke-on-Trent in collaboration with Wright bus
- Agree a single Towns Fund programme for town centres such as Tunstall and Longton, allowing buildings to be restored and brought back into use
- Secure a strategic partnership deal with Homes England to deliver ‘significant’ housing growth in the city centre, Station Gateway and Longton
- Establish a new Education Challenge Area to drive up educational standards across the city, bringing the best Multi Academy Trusts in the country to work with local schools
- Invest in a city-wide health and work programme to prevent and tackle long-term joblessness due to ill health and provide ‘intensive’ back to work support
The prospectus, which also has the backing of the city’s three MPs, is now being discussed with the government along with local businesses and partner organisations.
Council leader Abi Brown said: “Before Covid-19, Stoke-on-Trent was undergoing the most significant transformation in its economic fortunes it has experienced for more than 30 years.
“As we look ahead beyond the pandemic, we are determined to regain this momentum as quickly as possible.
“We need government’s support to do that. We know that over this next period there will be many national initiatives and funds to support economic recovery but we want one conversation, one shared plan.
“This work will help us forge a partnership that crosses all relevant government departments and agencies.”
The StokeonTrentLive app delivers the latest news, sport and what’s on information to your mobile phone – all for free.
Designed for iPhone, iPad and Android, you can discover breaking news as it happens and you will also find a wealth of information covering entertainment, business, community, weather and lifestyle. Click on the App Store here to download the app for iOS devices, and on the Google Play store here to download the app on Android.
Deputy council leader Dan Jellyman added: “Through a new prospectus for the city and the dialogue that follows, our aim is to secure partnership and investment and set out how we need to work together, with our regional partners and partners across the city, at pace to agree with Government a single set of priority projects and interventions that are right for Stoke-on-Trent, deliverable in the next few years and to which we can all commit.”