WORD FROM THE WEB
STOKE-ON-TRENT City Council is blocking Capital Shopping Centres' £14m revamp of the Potteries Centre – in order to protect the rival city centre plan by Realis (Sentinel, October 16).
Perhaps the reporter should point out again the precarious state of Realis's accounts. In the light of this, the cost of the city council's actions could be extremely high, where neither project goes ahead and at the expense of the rest of the city.
It seems to me the city council should not be in the business of backing one developer over another. They should let free market forces decide which has the better product for the shoppers and taxpayers.
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What a situation. Here's a thought: If the City Sentral fails, what happens to the Central Business District, because one will have a 'knock on' effect on the other?
What a horrible decision this council has made. It makes the people of Stoke-on-Trent appear as though we don't want fair play for a shopping centre that has served us well for many years. I'm ashamed of this Labour council.
I'm fuming, because I know what the outcome will be. Sentral will fall through or be a big taxpayer loss and CSC will withdraw their plans and invest elsewhere. Hanley will become less attractive to everyone.
May I suggest that CSC ensures that the Potteries Shopping Centre is run better before they think about expanding. The pulling of the food area was a dreadful move and the centre has never fully recovered.
So the council is blocking expansion by a loyal investor which has kept the city centre alive for many years, in favour of a developer, which has debts of more than £24 million, and I fear, is patently incapable of making the investment required. What a great decision.
Whatever the merits of the CSC and Realis bids and how it fits in to the city council's obsession with the city centre doesn't make sense. They want to spend millions of pounds to make it the business and cultural quarter for the whole of the city while neglecting the other five towns.
I think the council is absolutely right in this regard. Understandably, they do not want to sabotage the City Sentral development by allowing The Potteries Shopping Centre to seduce tenants that would and will be locating at the other end of town. The Potteries Centre has looked tatty for years and nothing has been done until the announcement of new competition – coincidence?