Stoke shopping street to get six figure revamp
A TOWN centre is to receive a £280,000 makeover designed to boost trade by making it more appealing to shoppers.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council has confirmed it will spend the cash on sprucing up Campbell Place in Stoke with new pavements and street decor.
But traders and residents said the investment was overshadowed by the authority's planned relocation to a new £40 million headquarters in Hanley in 2015.
They fear an exodus of 1,300 council staff will put them out of business, while the authority insists it can sell the Civic Centre, King's Hall and Spode as a joint package to a major developer to fill the void.
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The improvements in Campbell Place will be funded using Section 106 funds paid by developers in exchange for planning permission and are set to begin next spring.
John Cooper, owner of Centre News, on the corner of Campbell Place and Church Street, said: "It feels like they are just trying to appease us.
"Obviously this kind of work will brighten the place up a bit, which does need doing, but it's not really going to help the traders.
"Our main concern is that, just as all of the shops on Campbell Place have filled up, the council is going to take all of the footfall away again. It is going to hit me very hard and a lot of us are very worried."
Shopper Irene Hill, aged 78, of Oakhill, said: "It isn't going to do a lot of good putting in new pavements if all of the shops are closed.
"Everything has gone to Hanley and Festival Park and when the council offices go there won't be anything left. They're leaving us to rot."
Harold Evans, aged 71, a retired pottery worker from Stoke, said: "It is far too little, too late for the council to try and sweeten the blow of moving the civic centre by giving us a tiny bit of cash. The money makes no difference."
Janet Dale, aged 52, a shop assistant from Longton, said: "I don't think the council should be moving out of Stoke so the money is beside the point."
Councillor Ruth Rosenau, city council cabinet member for regeneration, planning and transportation, said public consultation on the work would start in the new year.
"The area was identified for improvements in the Stoke town masterplan and works are now proposed to take place in spring 2013," she said.
"The work could include new pavement surfaces, wider pavement areas, better control of traffic flow in and out of Church Street and improved definition of the pedestrianised areas."