Stoke-on-Trent City Council has today purchased the historic Spode pottery site as part of plans to transform Stoke Town.
The former pottery site, which has remained empty since the company went into administration in 2008 - although the historic Spode brand is once again being produced in the town by Portmeirion Group - will now be brought back in to use as regeneration plans for Stoke Town get under way.
Councillor Mohammed Pervez, leader of the city council, said: “Today is a significant step in the transformation of this historic town and will provide an exciting opportunity to create a development which will breathe new life into the area.
“The former pottery site is at the heart of Stoke Town and houses a wealth of historic buildings on the 10 acre site. The aim is to bring the site back in to use as quickly as possible.”
The city council is currently under going a tender process to find a design team for the Stoke Town masterplan. The plan, which will help to guide investment in the town over the next 5 to 15 years, will focus on ways to bring the former pottery site back in to use and connect it with the University Quarter, mainline railway station and existing town centre.
Councillor Mervin Smith, Stoke-on-Trent City Council cabinet member for city development (regeneration), said: “Spode offers a fantastic opportunity to revitalise Stoke town and it is important that any regeneration undertaken is sympathetic to the history of the town and in keeping with the needs of the rest of the town centre. We are currently in the process of developing interim uses for the site while a more strategic and long term vision is completed.”
Spode Works, in Elenora Street, Stoke, lays claim to the longest continuous period of pottery production. Spode has become an iconic brand across the world and continues to be made in Stoke Town by pottery giants Portmeirion Group who took over the brand in 2009. Built from 1759 the 10 acre site consists of stunning buildings of international heritage significance and offers a unique opportunity to develop a mixed-use scheme which will lead to the regeneration of the town.
Michael Haynes, Group Sales and Marketing Director, Portmeirion Group said: “We are very pleased to see that the plans to develop the original Spode factory site are progressing well. It is vitally important to the future of the town that we make the best use of what we have and the regeneration of this architecturally unique historic site is excellent news for the local community and businesses alike.
“With regards to the actual Spode brand, we are delighted to report that once again Spode products are being made in Stoke-on-Trent in our own factory. Our belief in the importance of the Spode brand has been proved right with a very positive response from around the world. Spode and Stoke-on-Trent are inextricably linked and I am confident that our success with the brand will be repeated for the factory.”
Alan Shenton, who has worked as a security officer at the Spode site for 8 years said he was pleased the site would now be brought back to use.
He said: “Most of my working life has been spent at the Spode factory. Like everybody who has been involved with Spode I’m immensely proud of its history and delighted to help play a part in keeping the site safe and bringing it back to life again.”
Five teams have currently been shortlisted for the Stoke Town masterplan. A decision on the final selection is expected to be made later this month by a panel of experts lead by the NSRP and advised by our Commission for the Built Environment (CABE) advisor, John Pringle of Pringle Richards Sharratt Limited.
The masterplan will guide investment in to the town over the coming 5 to 15 years. It will also show how the historic town centre pottery site, Spode Works, can be redeveloped to play a significant role in the regeneration of Stoke Town.
[Stoke-on-Trent City Council press release 26th July 2010]