New homes could be created above a row of empty city centre shops – following the collapse of £6 million redevelopment plans.
Hanley Developments Ltd has lodged plans for 18 apartments on the upper floors of the units in Parliament Row, Hanley, which have stood vacant for years.
Realis Estates had previously secured planning permission to bulldoze the buildings, including the infamous Burton Stores pub, to make way for a new shopping development. But the scheme was eventually abandoned as it was ‘no longer viable’.
Under the new plans, some demolition work would be carried out in the inner courtyard area, while the first and second floors would be refurbished. The application does not include proposals for the ground floor shop units.
Some of the space on the upper floors had previously been used as flats, with other areas being used as offices or for storage.
Ten two-storey apartments would be created on the side facing Parliament Row, with another eight single-storey flats further back.
The apartments would each have between one and three bedrooms. No off-street parking is proposed as part of the development.
Hanley Developments Ltd says the scheme will help breathe new life into this part of the city centre.
The application states: “The proposal seeks to refurbish and bring back into use the upper floors of the existing buildings.
“The proposals will bring life and associated incomes which will help not only to preserve the heritage and significance of these buildings, but also to support the local economy and rejuvenate the city centre.”
“Whilst the application is for a ‘change of use’ it should be considered in most part this is a reinstatement of an existing use. A use that is widely supported by the local authority under the local plan and the National Planning Policy Framework.
“The social aspect of Parliament Square has not been fully promoted. It is hoped there is potential for this square to be fully restored and the benefits of the proposed development will be considered as a positive enhancement.”
Realis Estates submitted the original plans for Parliament Row after proposing a much larger Unity Walk redevelopment of the former bus station and East-West Precinct site.
But the Unity Walk scheme was eventually abandoned, and Realis subsequently sold the site to Stoke-on-Trent City Council – leading to the demise of the Parliament Row plans as well.
A spokesman for Realis Estates said: “Having sold the main development site we decided it was no longer viable for us to progress any further with the redevelopment of Parliament Row.
“We are as disappointed as anyone the scheme didn’t go ahead having invested millions of pounds trying to bring the project forward.”
Shoppers in Hanley are eager to see the Parliament Row site brought back into use.
Paul Thomas, aged 39, of Sneyd Green, said: “It just looks a mess and it doesn’t create a good impression for anyone coming into Hanley.”
Tracy Lancaster, aged 27, of Burslem, said: “It would be nice to get some independent shops in there. Or if not, then maybe a restaurant or a bar. But it needs something because at the moment it looks a mess.”
The application will be considered by planners at the city council over the coming weeks.