AT LAST!

EX­CLU­SIVE

The Sentinel - - FRONT PAGE - Sen­tinel Re­porter news­[email protected]­sen­tinel.co.uk

Fif­teen years ago Royal Doul­ton’s head­quar­ters in Burslem closed with the loss of 525 jobs. It was a ham­mer blow for the town and one from which it has never re­cov­ered. Now, fi­nally, 200 homes are to be built on the site of Doul­ton’s Nile Street fac­tory – the first of nine schemes which will see more than 1,000 new prop­er­ties built in Burslem, breath­ing new life into the Mother Town of the Pot­ter­ies

DE­VEL­OP­ERS are set to un­veil plans to build around 200 homes on the for­mer Royal Doul­ton fac­tory site.

St Mod­wen Homes say the scheme will help boost Burslem, amost 15 years after the pot­tery firm closed its Nile Street works.

Last year Stoke-on-trent City Coun­cil se­cured £10 mil­lion from the Gov­ern­ment’s Hous­ing In­fra­struc­ture Fund (HIF), to boost the vi­a­bil­ity of nine ‘mar­ginal’ brown­field sites in the Mother Town.

Around £1.8m from this pot will go to­wards the Royal Doul­ton site, which has been ear­marked for 197 homes.

St Mod­wen has yet to re­veal fur­ther de­tails, such as the type of homes be­ing planned, or when they will be built, but mem­bers of the pub­lic will be able to learn more at a con­sul­ta­tion event on Jan­uary 22.

The de­vel­oper says it will con­sider feed­back from the event be­fore sub­mit­ting a plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion for the scheme.

Manag­ing di­rec­tor Dave Smith said: “We are de­lighted to be work­ing with Stoke-on­trent City Coun­cil to bring for­ward much-needed new homes on the site of the for­mer Royal Doul­ton fac­tory in Burslem.

“A pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion event will be held on Jan­uary 22, where fur­ther in­for­ma­tion will be made avail­able and we would wel­come feed­back and com­ments from the com­mu­nity re­gard­ing this pro­posal.

“We will lis­ten to com­ments, amend as ap­pro­pri­ate and then bring for­ward a plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion. “As part of the scheme, we will look to re­po­si­tion the war me­mo­rial that was pre­vi­ously sited on this land. “We be­lieve that in­vest­ment in this site will sup­port Burslem by pro­vid­ing ad­di­tional foot­fall in the town and much-needed homes for the area. We are com­mit­ted to de­liv­er­ing an ex­cep­tional scheme on this sig­nif­i­cantly im­por­tant site for the city.”

The Royal Doul­ton fac­tory closed in 2005, with the loss of 525 jobs. The loss of such an im­por­tant lo­cal em­ployer was a ma­jor ham­mer blow for Burslem, from which it has yet to re­cover.

St Mod­wen orig­i­nally se­cured plan­ning per­mis­sion for a £10m de­vel­op­ment on the site in 2008.

This scheme in­cluded 140 homes and an en­ter­prise cen­tre, which could have cre­ated 400 jobs.

But the plans were put on hold and even­tu­ally scrapped due to the re­ces­sion.

June Cartwright, left, founder of com­mu­nity group Our Burslem,

is hope­ful that this time it will be dif­fer­ent.

She said: “Any type of homes on that site will be bet­ter than what we’ve got there at the mo­ment. We just need them to de­velop it as soon as pos­si­ble. Burslem will need more school places, as our schools are al­ready full as it is. We also need more things for teenagers to do in the area.

“But I don’t see why these is­sues can’t be ad­dressed. The two things can hap­pen at the same time.”

Eight other sites in Burslem will ben­e­fit from the HIF cash, in­clud­ing the land be­hind the Asda

store off Sco­tia Road, the for­mer Wades fac­tory site and Bournes Bank. More than 1,000 homes could be built across the nine sites.

The HIF fund­ing will pay for costly land re­me­di­a­tion, which has been a bar­rier to de­vel­op­ment.

Randy Con­teh, the coun­cil’s cab­i­net mem­ber for hous­ing, said: “When we ap­plied for a grant from the HIF, this is ex­actly what we wanted to see hap­pen­ing. Many of the nine sites iden­ti­fied in Burslem and Mid­dle­port have been derelict, va­cant and un­de­vel­oped for more than 10 years due to sig­nif­i­cant ground con­tam­i­na­tion and sta­bil­ity is­sues.

“We’re now in a po­si­tion to bring for­ward res­i­den­tial-led re­gen­er­a­tion, and St Mod­wen Homes com­ing on board is re­ally pos­i­tive news. Bring­ing more peo­ple into Burslem will be a huge boost for the town and the city.” ■ The con­sul­ta­tion event will take place at The Ge­orge Ho­tel, on Swan Square, be­tween 6pm and 8pm on Jan­uary 22.

DERELICT: The for­mer Royal Doul­ton site on Nile Street in Burslem. Pic­ture: Leanne Bag­nall

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