Mother Town plan to bring tourists to Stoke-on-Trent
AN AMBITIOUS project to revitalise Stoke-on-Trent's Mother Town could make it a centre for tourism within the Potteries.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council's cabinet will scrutinise the Draft Burslem Conservation Plan at its meeting tomorrow and is expected to approve the document.
The plan should provide the town's heritage with greater protection, which will mean in future repairs to the town's oldest and most important buildings will be expected to be in keeping with the original design.
The plan also highlights the need to make more use of Burslem's empty and derelict buildings, using funding from sources such as the Heritage Lottery Fund and Burslem Regeneration Company, to refurbish sites like the former Royal Doulton factory or Wedgwood Print Works.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
It recognises the current weakness of the town's retail sector – with many businesses struggling to survive.
But the document maps out a plan to revitalise the Mother Town by taking advantage of its historical importance, with heritage trails tracing Burslem's importance to the pottery industry a possibility in the future.
A report to the cabinet says: "In 1680, Burslem was an isolated hilltop moorland settlement but over the following 40 years, with the development of what would become the largest concentration of potteries in Staffordshire, it established the street pattern which is evident today.
"This historical development is directly relevant to the character of the town. In the late 20th and early 21st century, the pottery industry has declined and all but disappeared.
"The lower slopes of the hillside that were covered in chimneys are now cleared sites awaiting redevelopment.
"Many of the buildings within the town reflect the importance of these past glories, including the Wedgwood Institute, School of Art and two town halls."
Burslem's strengths are seen as its link to the industrial heyday of the potteries, along with the character of its many historically important buildings.
Its weaknesses are recognised as the number of derelict buildings, the poor quality of repairs, the struggling retail sector and the relatively high price for parking in the town.
The vision for Burslem is to develop it as an attractive place to live, to develop the tourist trade based on its heritage, to bring back derelict buildings into use and to make it easier to get in and out of the Mother Town.
But the city council admits more funding must be secured if it is to achieve its aims, including from private developers.
Lydia Palmer, aged 47, of Wycliffe Street, Burslem, a leader at St John's church, said: "Anything is better than how the town is at the moment.
"We desperately need the buildings brought up to scratch, particularly the empty buildings."
Burslem councillor Alan Dutton, Labour, said: "The heritage is all we have to sell in Burslem. The idea of retail coming to the town is slowly disappearing."