City leaders have taken Stoke-on-Trent’s future plans for housing, transport, culture and growth directly to government in a meeting with senior cabinet ministers at 10 Downing Street.
The Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, chaired the 90 minute round-table.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council leader Abi Brown and deputy leader Daniel Jellyman helped to lead the discussion with other ministers from the Home Office, Department for Transport, Department for Education, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Department for International Trade and Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.
The high-level meeting also included the city’s three MPs and senior leaders from national agencies including Homes England, Network Rail, National Highways, Arts Council England, Historic England and the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The meeting was focused on three key areas:
- The first area of consideration was the economic development and regeneration of the city. Cllr Abi Brown, Leader of the Council set out progress to date and then the discussion centred on using the unique partnership that the council has forged with Homes England to help unlock a range of brownfield sites across the city for development, including next steps on Etruscan Square and the Twyford’s factory site in Shelton. There was also consideration of the next steps in the development of the Home Office’s regional innovation centre in the city.
- The second part of the meeting focused on transport including the city’s plans to explore options for a very light rail system for the area, and the creation of the transport hub at Stoke Station as part of the city’s £30m Transforming Cities Fund programme. Cllr Daniel Jellyman, Deputy Leader of the Council, set out our plans for the longer-term sustainable travel arrangements for the city, including the ambitions for a Very Light Rail system. The discussion also focused on rapid delivery of bus service improvements on the back of the £31m bus improvement deal, rail infrastructure, and options for governance arrangements to oversee transport improvement plans for the area.
- The final part of the meeting focused on culture and heritage. Jon Rouse, City Director, set out the city’s vision to develop Stoke-on-Trent as an ‘international centre of ceramics’, including specific support for the renewal of The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery. The meeting also discussed plans to rejuvenate historic buildings in Burslem and to establish cultural hubs and programmes in the city centre and towns to support grassroots cultural activity.
The city council will now bring together the many actions and opportunities that will flow from the meeting as it prepares for the next stage in the economic development of the city.