'Iconic' new civic centre is given the green light
CONTROVERSIAL plans to build a new £40 million council headquarters have been given the go-ahead.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council yesterday voted to approve the plans for the Genr8-led project.
It will see a 100,000 sq ft, five-storey complex built on land between Broad Street and Warner Street in Hanley, ahead of the authority's move to the Central Business District in 2015.
The building, which will include a 13,600 sq ft library, will boast a rainbow-coloured exterior inspired by Clarice Cliff pottery.
Designer Michael Clark, principal director at RHWL Architects, said: "We saw an opportunity to draw on the historic heritage of Stoke-on-Trent and we believe the introduction of the colour makes this a true civic building rather than an office."
Members of the city council's development management committee welcomed the plans and congratulated designers on the proposals.
Councillor Janine Bridges said: "I am a traditionalist. I love old buildings and furniture, but with an eye on progression and bringing the city forward, I think this building is iconic.
"The design team has carefully and thoroughly researched what would be suitable for the city."
Deputy council leader, councillor Paul Shotton, said: "Before I saw this design, somebody said to me you will either love it or hate it, but I think it grows on you.
"Other council buildings are brown and dull and we should be proud of this one. It will be an iconic civic building and a strong link to the city's heritage."
But the committee's chairman, councillor Tom Reynolds, admitted he had reservations.
He added: "The word 'iconic' has been used a lot but there is another way of looking at it and that is that it will stick out like a sore thumb.
"It isn't to my taste. Perhaps I have no taste, but there are many parts of the design that should be congratulated."
Stoke town centre traders have criticised the decision claiming the move of 2,000 council staff to the new site from the old Civic Centre will decimate trade in the town.
Jen Watkin, of Hartshill, who runs Jenuine Pets in Kingsway, said: "The whole thing is a waste of money. The council isn't listening to the little people. If it abandons the civic centre, Stoke will die and all the businesses will close."
John Cooper, aged 70, who runs Centre News, said: "This has been set in stone from the beginning. No matter how many times we objected, it was always going to happen."