Stoke-on-Trent council's £20m Civic Centre HQ faces demolition
THE Civic Centre in Stoke faces demolition as part of the city council’s move to a new headquarters – just two decades after the £20 million building opened.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council expects any developer taking over the 15 acres of land and five buildings in Stoke to bulldoze its current headquarters.
It is understood the Glebe Street building has been touted unsuccessfully by the authority for alternative uses – including as accommodation for students at nearby Staffordshire University.
Now officers say it is ‘probable’ any developer buying the site will knock down the HQ to make any supermarket or leisure development behind the historic Spode works visible from the A500.
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The civic centre is up for sale alongside the former Spode works, Stoke Town Hall, the King’s Hall, Gordon House and Kingsway Car Park.
Selling the land is designed to fill the void left by the authority’s relocation of 1,300 workers to a £40 million HQ in Hanley’s Central Business District (CBD) – a move intended to create thousands of city centre jobs by attracting new businesses.
Kevin Bell, the council’s strategic manager for city and town centre regeneration, said: “It is likely that a developer will want to remove the Civic Centre to generate better usage of the Spode site, close to the A500.
“There’s no getting away from the fact that developers will see a big clear site, now including the Civic Centre – which will probably be cleared.”
The council moved into the Civic Centre in 1992 to improve trade in Stoke – vacating the Unity House site on which the new HQ will be developed.
The authority’s vision is for Stoke Town Hall and the King’s Hall to be redeveloped as a conference centre and hotel, with Kingsway car park used for offices and urban housing.
Spode’s historic works are earmarked for artistic or heritage trade like ‘niche markets and cafes’.
But Mr Bell also warned the authority cannot afford to be ‘precious’ about historic buildings in Stoke.
Independent councillor Lee Wanger, a member of the authority’s city renewal scrutiny committee, which met yesterday, said: “The Civic Centre was built in 1992. It is not an old building and it has had a small fortune spent on it in the last few years. It’s inconceivable that it would be demolished.”
Save Our Stoke campaigner Graham Barrett, aged 61, of Honeywall, said: “It is appalling to think of knocking down a building that is only 20 years old to make way for a monstrosity in Hanley.”
The council has now appointed a full-time officer to oversee the sale of its buildings in Stoke.