Traders must make way for council HQ
EIGHT businesses will be forced to leave their premises to make way for a flagship city centre regeneration project.
Traders in Broad Street, Hanley, will lose ownership of their buildings under compulsory purchase orders to allow work on the Central Business District (CBD) to continue.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council is to buy up the properties 'within months' to allow developers to clear the site.
The cost of the compulsory purchase orders has not been disclosed and the authority is yet to confirm which eight businesses will be affected.
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Regeneration leaders say the CBD is a crucial part of Hanley's revival which will create thousands of private sector jobs in four premium office blocks, two hotels and a series of shops and cafes.
But it is at the centre of a bitter campaign by residents who fear Stoke town will be cut adrift by the council's plans to boost investment in the CBD by relocating to a new £40 million headquarters at the heart of the development.
Lynn Shemirani, aged 54, of Tittensor, has run the Quartermaster store on Broad Street for 29 years. She said: "We still haven't received any formal notification. We won't make any concrete plans until we hear for definite.
"It will be very sad to leave. We would like to carry on elsewhere but after almost 30 years in one place it may be difficult to take our customers with us.
"A lot of people that come in are visiting after a couple of years gap, and others come in with their children after visiting here when they were young.
"It's those customers we will have trouble informing if we have to move."
Kevin Broad, who has run The Gentry Hairdressers on Broad Street for 39 years, added: "It looks as though we will have to move. I'm currently in discussions with the council over what happens."
Some businesses, including Hancock's Pet Centre, Wonderland fancy dress shop and Rendezvous takeaway, have already relocated as part of the CBD's development.
Councillor Ruth Rosenau, cabinet member for regeneration, planning and transport, said: "There are eight properties affected by CPOs on the front of Broad Street.
"These will be acquired as part of the redevelopment of the CBD over the course of the next few months.
"The £180 million CBD development will create at least 300 construction jobs and up to 4,500 new jobs when all six phases have been completed.
"It will also stimulate private sector confidence in the city."