Major developers and national leaders heard how Stoke-on-Trent ‘means business’ when it comes to levelling up.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council is one of dozens of local authorities from across the country showcasing its city at the UK’s Real Estate Investment and Infrastructure Forum (UKREiiF) event in Leeds this week.
Now city council leader Abi Brown has addressed national agencies, government departments and major investors and developers about how the authority is using levelling up funding to accelerate a major city centre development site.
Delegates heard about the plans for the 7.12-acre Etruscan Square site, in Hanley, which include a 3,600-capacity arena, 82,000 sq ft of commercial space, 285 homes, a 701-space car park and a 138-room three-star hotel.
Work on the site – which secured £20 million in Levelling Up funding in October 2021 – is now officially underway and is progressing quickly. So far, a 1960s multi-storey car park has been demolished to pave the way for a new transport facility, with plans for the new transport hub set to be submitted in the next two weeks.
A second application, which includes the first-phase development of an apartment block, is also due to be submitted within a fortnight.
Councillor Abi Brown said: “In Stoke-on-Trent we mean business. We have a plan and we are delivering. We secured £56 million in Levelling Up funding – the largest allocation for any single city – because we know what our city needs to succeed and we are progressing at pace to get there.
“Etruscan Square is a case in point. This is a major development opportunity that will transform a significant part of our city centre with outstanding leisure, retail, residential and commercial opportunities. In just seven months we have already achieved what could take at least two years’ worth of consultation, market testing and planning. We’re not just achieving this at pace at Etruscan Square, but at other key Levelling Up sites in the city.
“National leaders are taking note. It is no coincidence that the government’s cabinet met in our city just last week and ministers continue to visit our levelling up sites. There is a tremendous buzz about what we’re delivering in the city.”
Cllr Brown added: “We’re passionate about Stoke-on-Trent and know we have an outstanding offer for development and investment. UKREiiF is a great opportunity to showcase this and we are working hard to explain to national audiences how they can come and work with us.”