£10k festival boost for Hanley
TALKS are being held to decide how a £10,000 cash pot should be spent to bring the city centre to life this summer.
Members of Hanley's Cultural Quarter committee met last night to discuss plans for this year's Piccadilly Summer event.
Ideas include dance festivals, workshops, performances by street entertainers and art displays.
The initiative comes after Stoke-on-Trent City Council was handed £10,000 earlier this year as part of the Town Team Partnership scheme.
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The authority has agreed to match the cash in the hope the event can be used to help boost city centre trade and further talks are planned to finalise the proposals.
Councillor Mark Meredith, cabinet member for economic development, culture and sport, said: "The Piccadilly Summer event has always been well received by shoppers in the past and we're now looking at what we can do this year to bring the city centre to life once more.
"We are keen to work with traders to discuss ideas and find out what they would like to see as part of the event."
A portion of the money will go towards funding a part-time marketing and events co-ordinator who will help promote the events. A similar festival held last year saw more than 21,000 people visit the city centre with footfall peaking in Piccadilly.
Stoke-on-Trent Central MP Tristram Hunt is supporting the efforts to bring more people into the city centre. He said: "It's always struck me that Stoke-on-Trent is an incredibly creative place.
"Just look at somewhere like the Regent theatre and not just the shows that we put on here, but also the workshops and competitions we have for our young people. We should look at how we move that creativity from inside, to the streets."
He added: "We will be providing something creative, interesting and artistic, but crucially family-friendly in a safe and secure environment. People will come here, have a nice time and then use the shops."
Traders in Piccadilly believe the money should be spent on live music and street games.
Thirty one-year-old Asif Amin, of Hanley, owns Big Bitez.
He said: "Last year there was a lot of people who came to Hanley for the entertainment and it worked because it was really busy. But this year I think they need to do a bit more for the children, maybe a few organised sports matches." Takeaway worker Ryan Marsden, aged 19, of Hanley, added: "Live music would be good, I know a lot of people enjoy listening to a band or a singer when they are out shopping."