1,397 sign petition to stop Stoke-on-Trent City Council's Hanley HQ move
ALMOST 1,400 people have signed the latest petition opposing city council plans to build a new £40 million headquarters in Hanley.
The 1,397-name internet and paper petition will be presented to city councillors at a meeting next week.
Petition organiser Kristian Foster will address councillors after being angered by the authority's plans to sell-off Stoke's civic centre and move to the planned city centre Central Business District (CBD).
Architecture student Kristian, aged 29, of Penkhull, said: "It's great that so many people have supported the petition and people who don't even know me have forwarded the website link to others.
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"It's obvious that a lot of residents in Stoke-on-Trent feel strongly that the council has not justified the costs of building another civic centre. It seems like the council is spending a lot of money to build offices for themselves and it just seems like a massive waste of money."
The Kingston University student, who has also set up a Facebook group called Stoke City Civic Sense, said his family have also been aiding his campaign.
He said: "My family have been great in supporting me and my mum and dad have even taken the petition into their work.
"I'm pleased that my petition has created a lot of discussion and hopefully the many petitions and protests will mean that the council will start listening."
The Save Our Stoke campaign group has previously organised its own petition against the civic centre move. The group also organised last month's March on Stoke protest from Hanley to Stoke.
Group co-ordinator Richard Snell, aged 66, of Penkhull, said: "Kristian's petition demonstrates yet again that people are against what the council is doing.
"I feel like the council has never given a full explanation about the move.
"Cuts are being made throughout the city, while all the money to make investments is being concentrated in one town and two buildings.
"It's obvious that people are angry about the move and sooner or later the council will have to take our views seriously."
Stoke town centre traders are fighting to stop 1,300 council workers being relocated.
Robert Barrs, aged 37, who owns Rubber Soul Records, in Hide Street, Stoke, said: "We must keep the pressure on the council and not give up. Our biggest issue is the lack of dialogue between the council, local traders and residents.
"It is not that we are opposed to change or progress but we feel that we haven't been given any reasons for this move.
"There hasn't been any consideration and it is our livelihoods on the line."
The council is building and occupying two office blocks in the CBD. Over 10 years the CBD will expand in six phases to include six office blocks providing office space, ground floor shops and cafes around a central piazza and hotels. It is hoped 4,500 people will end up working within the CBD.
The existing civic centre is up for sale alongside the former Spode works, Stoke Town Hall, the King's Hall, Gordon House and Kingsway car park, all in Stoke.