Council leaders unveil plans to revamp the town centre of Longton, one of the six towns making up the city of Stoke-on-Trent as part of its Ceramic Heritage Action Zone project.
The project will be a partnership between the city council, Historic England, and Urban Wilderness CIC.
Councillor Dan Jellyman cabinet member for infrastructure, regeneration and heritage said he was “thrilled to be able to share this project with residents and business owners of Longton. Longton Town Centre is rich in overlooked historical buildings and rejuvenating our town centres is part of our plan to attract more footfall to our once bustling high streets”.
The project will create a toolkit called Making the Most of Our Heritage aimed at business owners in the Longton Town Centre Conservation Area. It will provide design advice on how shop fronts can be used to “contribute positively to the special character of the area”.
As part of the project the Longton Partnership Scheme in Conservation Areas, funded by the city council and Historic England will aid the repair and restoration of up to five buildings in the Conservation Area.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council has faced criticism in the past for not doing enough to protect historic buildings in the area; in July the Stoke Sentinel published details of 13 buildings that were at risk of being lost to the history books.
The council has responded by taking legal action against the owners of historic buildings that have been allowed to fall into disrepair, including the owners of the former Falcon pottery works in Stoke.
Speaking about the Falcon works, council leader Abi Brown said “Owners of historic buildings in our city who think they can let them go to rack and ruin can think again. We are proud of our city’s heritage, and buildings like historic pottery sites and bottle ovens are a rich part of Stoke-on-Trent’s history”.
Pete Boland Historic Places Advisor for Historic England said they were “excited” to be supporting a “highly imaginative initiative by Urban Wilderness that will add vibrancy and colour to the Longton street scene”. Urban Wilderness is a community arts organisation based in Longton and have been heavily involved in plans to regenerate the town.
Co-director Laurel Gallagher said that as “community engaged artists”, they were interested in discovering how places make people feel and were looking forward to helping attract investment to the town and to protect its individual character.
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