A City for Living In
We have a big vision for making Stoke-on-Trent into a great place to live where businesses can thrive and residents can fulfil their potential. We know that this requires consistent, dedicated progress on many fronts. Making sure that we have the right sort of homes that are high quality and attractive is an important part of this process, but it is one of many strands of work that will make the change happen. This sets the scene; it explains our vision for the city and touches on some of the wider work going on across the council and beyond, in order to achieve our goal.
Building on Stoke-on-Trent’s assets
Stoke-on-Trent has an abundance of strengths and assets – physical such as green spaces and cultural such as our heritage in fine porcelain. We are going to employ and enhance them to make a much more liveable city. The city’s strengths and assets include:
Green Stoke-on-Trent: a system of healthy green spaces and green transport corridors throughout the city
Stoke-on-Trent is one of the greenest cities in the UK. The abundance of parks and green spaces is appreciated by Stoke-on-Trent’s citizens who come out in force to help maintain and improve them. It also has many canals, rivers and brooks that flow through several of Stoke-on-Trent’s towns, criss-crossing the city. Stoke-on-Trent is a perfect size for people who like to get around by bicycle, scooter and even on foot.
Stoke-on-Trent has an extensive network of green transport routes through parks and along greenways and waterways, connecting popular places with each other for use by cyclists, walkers and buggy-users. This inspired the CycleStoke programme that ran from 2008-11. We intend to enhance further these transport routes to make it easy to get around using healthy modes of transport. We will continue to work with communities, schools and businesses to make best use of these routes.
A place where businesses thrive
Over recent years Stoke-on-Trent has become one of the most successful UK cities at creating job opportunities as well as a record number of business start-ups. The Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire City Deal is worth £113 million and will support up to 23,000 jobs for local people over the next decade. Some of Stoke-on-Trent’s major employers include; Michelin, Steelite, Fuch, Bet365, Vodafone, Emma Bridgewater, Moorcroft and Goodwin International.
Connected Stoke-on-Trent: quick and easy access to just about everywhere
The city stands on the M6, West Coast Mainline and HS2 transport corridor - the backbone of Britain – midway between Birmingham and Manchester. Its location is enhanced by its proximity to Manchester Airport (45 minutes) and to the Peak District and Alton Towers (less than 30 minutes).
Stoke-on-Trent is already well-connected by rail links to London, Manchester, Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Crewe and Derby, and is well positioned in respect of the national road network. Taking maximum advantage of the city’s location by accelerating market demand through enhanced connectivity is one of the keys to driving the city’s high growth agenda. As a result the city is working regionally and nationally to improve strategic infrastructure and ensure journey times remain competitive with other destinations. Similarly we have identified local infrastructure improvements designed to facilitate site access and speed up delivery of housing sites.
In particular we have been working with the Department for Transport and HS2 Ltd on how best to connect the city, the Government having committed that Stoke-on-Trent will be connected to the HS2 network. We continue to work to ensure that Stokeon-Trent receives the highest level of connectivity possible, which would unleash the true potential in our city for new jobs and housing, including the opportunity to develop as a commuter destination on the back of significantly improved journey times, particularly to Birmingham.
Through the Northern Gateway Development Zone we have also been partnering our neighbours in Staffordshire and Cheshire to maximise the opportunities for economic growth from multiple HS2 connectivity, with ambitious targets for jobs and housing growth, a very significant proportion of which are expected to be delivered in the city.
Unique history and heritage: a stage for creative industries and alternative cultural experiences
Stoke-on-Trent has a range of attractive industrial buildings, the canal network, and other unique features associated with the pottery industry. We will retain and renovate, and build sensitively around them to maximise people’s enjoyment of an urban landscape that is truly unique. We have already embarked on developing new aesthetically pleasing homes and converted warehouse residences. With our partners we intend to continue developing the Spode factory in Stoke and other sites.
Alongside new homes, new infrastructure is coming to support the creative industries; artist studios, lowcost workspace, co-working possibilities, exhibition spaces – all at a fraction of the cost of similar spaces in London, yet accessible for artists who want to build their profile in the capital.
The spaces we design will reflect the city’s strong artistic and cultural themes, reinforcing Stokeon-Trent’s reputation as a nationally significant creative hub.
Outstanding countryside: for all to enjoy
Stoke-on-Trent is close to outstanding countryside that draws a range of visitors to the city.
The Staffordshire Moorlands has stunning gritstone outcrops – The Roaches, Chrome Hill, Cheeks Hill and Axe Edge Moor – as well as Rudyard Lake, Churnet Valley also known as ‘The Rhineland of Staffordshire’ and some unique features such as the Churnet Valley Railway. Not much further afield is the Peak District with a great many walks, bike rides, beautiful scenery and visitor attractions.
For those who prefer staying closer to the city, there is Park Hall, a national nature reserve and geological special interest site with woodlands, heathland and ponds to enjoy.
A centre of excellence for sport
Stoke-on-Trent offers a range of high quality sport and recreation opportunities. In 2016 this was recognised through the city’s designation as the UK’s European City of Sport 2016.
Work by the council and its and partners to celebrate this has led to the development of an extensive programme of events, activities and new opportunities which will be delivered over the next three years.
These developments support and build on existing infrastructure through both sports facilities and opportunities to train and compete which means that the city is able to offer the support needed for those with a talent and ambition required to join its long tradition of producing high calibre athletes. Equally for those who only want to participate for their own enjoyment and health, a diverse and exciting offer is available.
Affordable Stoke-on-Trent: some of the most affordable housing in the country
In most places, getting a foot on the property ladder has become a pipe dream for many young and not-soyoung people as house prices have risen faster than incomes. Stoke-on-Trent is different. The relative low price of the housing here is in stark contrast to many of the surrounding areas making it more affordable relative to those locations and, as the economy strengthens and incomes rise, affordability will improve further. We are committed to helping young people buy a good quality home without having to draw on the bank of Mum and Dad, which means there are great opportunities for those who don’t see themselves as ‘Generation Rent’.