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New £5m GP Surgery & Pharmacy For Longton

Patients have just had the chance to have a preview of a new £5 million health centre that will transform delivery of services in the Longton area from 2021. Plans were displayed yesterday at a drop in session at St Paul’s Church Hall.

The new Longton South Primary Care Centre will provide GP and other primary care services on a large new-build site off Greendock Street in Longton.

The new health centre which is NHS funded, will replace two existing GP surgeries – Longton Hall Surgery in Longton Hall Road and the Longton branch of Willow Bank Surgery. The two surgeries currently have 12,000 patients, but the new site will be able to accommodate expected growth in the local area.

Practice Manager and Managing Partner Mike Sheldon said: “This is a really exciting development for our patients, for our staff and for NHS services in the south of Stoke-on-Trent.

“This will be a truly modern centre that will be efficient and economical to run, meaning we can really spend more on patient services and less on things like heating and maintenance.

“It will be easier to reach by public transport but also have more car parking, including provision for parking for disabled patients. There will also be an on-site pharmacy.”

The Willow Bank, Longton site has already closed after the landlord served notice on the leased building to make way for retail development.

Artist’s impression of the proposed Longton South Primary Care Centre site.

Mike said: “It means our Longton patients are currently having to travel to our branch at Meir Primary Care Centre, which is a fantastic facility but is not convenient for all of them. I am sure they will welcome being back in Longton.”

The larger health centre means there will also be opportunities to deliver a wider range of services, and it could become a base for more health professionals including specialist Advanced Nurse Practitioners and therapists, and be used for clinical training. The centre could also act as a base for some local voluntary services.

Mike added: “Our staff are excited about the plans for the new site and I think most of them would like to move in tomorrow.”

Dr Lorna Clarson, Clinical Chair of Stoke-on-Trent CCG said: “We are proud to have secured this investment for primary care in Stoke-on-Trent.  General practice and wider community care teams are the heart of healthcare for our patients, and this new build will ensure that these services will be delivered from state-of-the-art premises.

“We are delighted to be working with our practices to ensure that the new building will meet the needs of their staff and patients  with enough space for them to grow to provide services for our growing and ageing population.”

It is planned for building work to start on the new site in around 12 months time, if planning permission is secured.

Multi-million pound city development plans unveiled to international investors

Two multi-million pound regeneration schemes which will support the continued transformation of Stoke-on-Trent have been showcased to global investors at a major international property event.

The development opportunities on the former East-West Precinct in the city centre, and on land next to Stoke-on-Trent Railway Station, were unveiled on the first day of the Mipim property show in Cannes, which is expected to attract more than 20,000 people over the next four days.

Both schemes are being highlighted to potential investors as part of Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s regeneration strategy, which is focused on ensuring the city continues to raise its profile nationally and internationally as a leading destination to live, visit, work, study and invest. The city council is part of the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) delegation at Mipim and has formed part of the Midlands Engine Pavilion with the region’s nine other LEPs.

The city council bought the East-West Precinct at the end of last year after it had stood dormant for years under its previous owner. Demolition of buildings is already under way so the site can be marketed, presenting a once-in-a-generation development opportunity. The plans unveiled at Mipim show how the site could be transformed into a mixed-leisure use development, with a public square, the potential for a hotel and option for a 3,500 seat venue.

Investors at Mipim are also being shown how land in council ownership one-and-a-half miles away next to Stoke-on-Trent Railway Station could see construction of a mixed-use building with 76-bed hotel, student accommodation with 200 rooms and three restaurants. The Swift House development forms an important part of the wider Stoke-on-Trent rail gateway regeneration vision.

Outline proposals were unveiled at Mipim last year, with definitive plans for the site showcased today. Within easy walking distance of the Swift House site sits the newly transformed Spode Works and Staffordshire University’s campus, with its new £40 million Catalyst building.

The schemes represent an overall commitment to deliver development in the city with a development value in excess of £300 million over the next five years. The new developments would complement recently delivered city centre successes such at Smithfield which includes new office accommodation, build-to-rent apartments and a Hilton Hotel. The hotel and apartments are scheduled for completion later this year.

City council leader, Councillor Ann James, said: “The development plans unveiled today set out our long-term commitment as a council to continually transform this city – attracting multi-million-pound investment which ultimately leads to local job creation and greater prosperity. These developments offer significant opportunities for global investors. That is why are at MIPIM, to pitch Stoke-on-Trent’s potential at the highest level and make sure our name is out there at the forefront of development circles.

“These two sites present once in a lifetime development opportunities to create something special and improve the city for generations to come. It’s a very exciting time for the city right now.”

City council deputy leader, Councillor Abi Brown, said: “We are ensuring we build on our current successes to make Stoke-on-Trent an increasingly attractive place to live, work, visit and study. It is important therefore that together with our partners we are showcasing the city on an international stage. Working as part of the LEP and Midlands Engine gives us additional leverage. It demonstrates how effective cross sector working is essential to successful delivery.

“As a council we are a facilitator of economic growth and with both schemes our actions are directly providing prime city centre land for development as soon as possible. When we consider recent developments, our existing businesses, university and connectivity, we can be confident of the future success of the exciting schemes unveiled today.”

Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP chairman David Frost CBE commented: “The LEP and our key strategic partners will be working together at MIPIM to promote Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire on the world stage. The wide range of showpiece projects planned for Stoke-on-Trent is a great illustration of the ambition and forward-looking, can-do attitude of our region.

“Our prime location at the centre of the country makes this a great place to live, work, invest and do business, and we have a very impressive case to make to international investors.

“It is vital that we generate a continuing flow of new investment into Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire by promoting growth opportunities to a national and international audience, so that we can create more and better jobs for local people.”

Darren Horley, Head of Commercial (Operations & Station) for Virgin Trains said: “Record numbers of people are now choosing to travel by train. In the last year along over three million journeys were made to and from Stoke station reflecting the city’s excellent rail links. Our and Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s shared ambition is to place the station at the heart of the community, making it a destination in its own right. The regeneration plans for the area will bring new life to the surrounding area and give the city a station to be proud of, and its visitors a first-class welcome.”

The Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire delegation has attracted 17 sponsors – including developer St Modwen and Virgin Trains.

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Working together to tackle knife crime

Staffordshire Police is calling on partners, parents, schools and the wider community to come together in support of a national operation to tackle the issue of knife crime.

This week (11-17 March), under Operation Sceptre, the force will be rolling out a wide variety of enforcement and educational activities, with the support of partners, to help reduce the impact of knife crime in the communities of Staffordshire.

Superintendent Ricky Fields, strategic lead for knife crime at Staffordshire Police, said: “Staffordshire Police continues to see increases in recorded crime involving the possession or use of knives alongside increases in overall violent crime. Knife crime is unfortunately a visible part of communities in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent and not an issue we can tackle on our own.

“We are doing lots to tackle knife crime and we are actively pursuing those who intend to cause harm within Staffordshire’s communities. We will do all we can to bring offenders to justice, however enforcement is just one element of the response needed. Knife crime cannot and must not be treated in isolation.

“The threat of knife crime increases when considered with street gangs or drugs activity. Our approach is not to criminalise young people but to safeguard them and protect them. With partners, parents and schools we need to understand why young people choose to carry knives, because we have seen a marked increase in recent years in Staffordshire.”

Staffordshire Police’s neighbourhood policing teams will be visiting schools and colleges to educate young people on the dangers and consequences of carrying knives, setting up proactive knife operations in busy town centres to detect and deter habitual knife carriers, and organising knife sweeps in knife crime hotspots to discover any knives concealed in public areas. The force will also be continuing in its efforts to deter offenders through the use of stop and search.

To complement this activity, a targeted social media campaign aimed at those most likely to commit offences with a knife will be rolled out. This hard-hitting campaign will shine a light on the stark realities of knife crime and youth violence.

Supt Fields added: “We must encourage young people, parents, schools and other public bodies to have conversations about knife crime. This week of targeted activity will hopefully help to raise the profile of this important topic and help us to prevent the terrible events that have been seen recently in other areas of the country.”

Staffordshire’s Commissioner Matthew Ellis, said: “We have seen in recent months the sickening violence involving knives in some parts of our country.  Police in Staffordshire have seen an increase in recorded crime involving the possession or the use of knives, although some of this can be attributed to an increase in stop/search and a more proactive approach to tackling violence. The tragedies we have seen elsewhere relating to knives are a timely reminder that this could happen here unless urgent and proactive action is taken.

“The knife crime summit we held in July 2018 has resulted in positive and proactive work with young people to educate and prevent the risk of involvement in this behaviour. I have this week written to strategic leaders from all key agencies to invite them to come together to develop and refresh strategies and actions that need to be taken. Policing must play a significant role in this issue but other public agencies also play a vital role in dealing with the scourge of knives and knife crime.”

Knife crime has increased in Staffordshire by 5% (32 crimes) over the past rolling 12 months (1 March 2018 – 28 February 2019) with personal robbery where a knife is used having increased by 20%. The top three neighbourhood policing teams in Staffordshire for knife crime are Stoke-on-Trent North, Stoke-on-Trent South and Tamworth.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council was recently awarded £226,000 following a bid to the national Supporting Families Against Youth Crime Fund. The money will be used to provide extra training and support to help children who might be vulnerable to criminal exploitation and their families. The council’s youth offending service is also working with schools and the charity Street Doctors to deliver targeted sessions to children who might be at risk of carrying knives and offensive weapons.

Cllr Randy Conteh, cabinet member for housing, communities and safer city, said: “Knife crime has no place in our city and communities and we are committed to working with partners to stamp it out. The majority of people do not carry knives and are generally safe within the city. We are putting a lot of work in with schools to educate children and young people about the risks and dangers of carrying knives and weapons, and the dire consequences doing so could have on their future.”

To support the Operation Sceptre campaign, you can share messages on social media using the hashtag #opsceptre.