Burslem is to be given a much-needed makeover in a £10 million redevelopment plan to breathe new life into derelict land. The former Royal Doulton and Wades factory sites could be brought back into use instead of standing idle. Stoke-on-Trent City Council hopes to bid for government cash to kick-start several town centre housing projects. It is hoping it will be granted the money from the £2.3 billion Housing Infrastructure Fund, which aims to create up to 100,000 much-needed new homes nationally.
A number of sites have been earmarked for the new homes if the bid is a success. These include the 11-acre former Royal Doulton site, the former Wades factory, the old Co-op Bakery site and Woodbank Street car park. Altogether, the cost of the redevelopment would be about £23.9 million, with the hope that the private sector will invest in the projects to make up the shortfall if the government money comes through.
The problem Burslem faces
Once a thriving potteries town, Burslem has topped the list of UK ghost towns, according to a study by Local Data Company – https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/4508456/britains-emptiest-high-street-burslem/. About one-third of the shops are vacant as Brits turn to the internet for their shopping needs. On top of this, the historic indoor market has also closed as well as a glass museum.
How development will help
By bringing derelict land back into use in Burslem, it is hoped this will increase the town centre footfall and encourage more investment. The initial £10 million could be used in one of two ways. It can be a revolving fund with developers being offered loans to cover the costs of remediation works or the council could use the money to buy and develop the sites itself. Land remediation is the specialist removal of contaminants or pollution from land, particularly former industrial sites. It is carried out by specialist firms, such as http://www.ashremediation.co.uk/, to prepare the land for redevelopment.
The proposal has been backed by community leaders who believe it could breathe new life back into Burslem. Burslem Regeneration Trust chairperson Joan Walley said the community is blighted when land is completely abandoned. They say it is imperative that derelict land is brought back into use to save the town. The government money is needed to provide the foundation for further investment.