David Proudlove's
critique of the built environment of Stoke-on-Trent

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'On the Waterfront'
- page 5 -


What has been described could have, and should have been the foundations of what would have been one of RENEW North Staffordshire’s most important regeneration projects. Instead, the historic waterfront has been ignored in favour of demolishing perfectly good homes with a view to creating opportunities for new development. 

As has been illustrated, Middleport and Longport has plenty of new development opportunities such as Middleport and Port Vale Mills, and what could be the catalyst for transformational change in the area, Burslem Port.


Early concept plan for Burslem Port
Early concept plan for Burslem Port
note the area of terraced housing to the left of the plan. This is the Slater Street area, soon to be demolished.

At the heart of proposals for Burslem Port is the proposed reinstatement of the Burslem Branch of the Trent and Mersey Canal – “bringing boats back to Burslem”.

Alongside the route of the branch are a number of development sites, including the former Co-operative Bakery which is the subject of proposals to deliver 103 new homes.

Early plans for Burslem Port were developed around ten years ago by a group which has now evolved to become the Burslem Port Trust, which has recently become a Company Limited by Guarantee.

The plans for Burslem Port saw development opportunities brought forward around the reinstated canal arm, and interestingly included the retention of the Slater Street area, soon to be demolished by the City Council. It has been said that the cost of reinstating the canal arm may be in the region of £10million. Compare the cost of this, what would be an important piece of local infrastructure work, to the clearance of 200+ homes.

RENEW’s aim was to reinvigorate the local housing market. The delivery of Burslem Port and other development opportunities would help deliver new local infrastructure and contribute towards improving the local environment. This would surely help to ‘renew’ the local housing market, if it needed renewing at all.

What if RENEW had invested in helping to bring forward opportunities such as Burslem Port, alongside a more considered and sustainable (i.e. renovation-led) approach to the existing housing stock, local environment, and neighbourhood management in Middleport (surely the most appropriate role for the public sector?).

What if RENEW had invested more time and money in helping to regenerate the local economy, providing local people with employment and training opportunities, helping them to ensure that they could invest in their homes in the future?

Would this have been money better spent?

David Proudlove
April 2011


next: Good News from Glebe Street
previous: On the Waterfront page 4



Related pages

Burslem Port - restoring Burslem Branch Canal.

Burslem Branch Canal - constructed in 1805 - details of the canal and buildings alongside it. 

External links..

Burslem Port Trust - 'Bringing boats back to Burslem'