Bulldozers move in on historic Burslem building
AN INVESTIGATION is underway amid fears a landmark town centre building has been demolished without planning permission.
Workers from Fenton-based Potteries Demolition Ltd moved in earlier this week to knock down the former Home Securities building, in Burslem.
The Cleveland Street building had apparently remained vacant since the closure of the business in the late 1980's.
It is thought the site, next to the Heaven and Hell nightclub, off Waterloo Road, will be cleared by the end of the week.
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But Stoke-on-Trent City Council has now launched an investigation into the work after receiving no planning application from the property owner.
A spokesman for the authority said: "We have received no planning application for the building and would ask the property owner to submit a retrospective application to the council.
"We will be investigating and following up the work which has taken place as it is currently being treated as unlawful."
Historian Angie Stevenson believes the building once served as The Palladium which made up part of the town's cultural quarter.
Angie, from Longton, said: "It opened in 1910 and was the highlight of Burslem. "There was the Palladium and The Palace picture theatre just behind it.
"When cinemas first opened, people weren't sure whether or not they were going to take off, but the Palladium had travelling shows which people loved.
"It closed just after the First World War because I think it lost out on business to The Palace.
"A lot of people who may remember it as The Palladium won't be around anymore because I think it closed and became a car garage in about 1930's.
"Not a lot of people know about the building, but its history needs to be archived so that it isn't lost. I see people walking past and they have no idea of what it once was and that is sad."
Burslem historian Fred Hughes, added: "There were two cinemas in that area of Burslem in the early 1900's. They were both part of Burslem's cultural quarter and were knocked down many years ago.
"I know the building which is currently being knocked down was once a car hire place and it had been empty for about thirty years. But there is a lot of confusion as to whether or not it was a theatre. It would be very difficult to find photographs to prove this."