Plans for a multi-million pound four-star internationally-branded hotel are being hailed as further marking the resurgence of Stoke-on-Trent’s economy, thanks to the Conservative-Independent coalition now running the city council.
Conservative-Independent coalition Councillors discussed a scheme that will bring a landmark hotel development to Smithfield in the city centre at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday (18th October). Discussions are already underway with an operator for the facility, which would create in excess of 50 jobs.
In the meeting, held privately due to commercial sensitivities, Coalition Cabinet members agreed to push ahead to finalise deal terms with a major operator who at this stage has asked to remain unnamed.
The news follows hot-on-the-heels of Severn Trent Water and United Utilities’ Water Plus joint venture, which has created 400 jobs at the authority’s premium office accommodation development at Smithfield. And it comes after an independent national report by law firm Irwin Mitchell placed the city’s economy at £4.8bn and as the fourth best performing in the country for job creation.
As part of the negotiations, the development has already been earmarked for grant funding from the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (SSLEP). Cabinet agreed that remaining finances could be made up from a council loan investment in the project and offered on commercial terms and direct developer funding. This will allow the council to move forward as a more commercial authority, investing in the development for a return which will generate income on a medium to longer term basis, which will help pay for council services in the future.
Further signs of investment across the city are already being seen, with news earlier this month that 1,000 jobs have been secured at the UK’s only Ceramic Valley Enterprise Zone at Etruria Valley, in just six months. Enterprise Zone status was confirmed by the Conservative government in Westminster, as part of our long term economic plan.
Earlier this summer the council also struck an historic economic partnership with Jingdezhen in China, a city with a similar rich ceramics heritage, showing that the city is once again open for business.
And the council is joining with the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership and partners in Staffordshire and Cheshire East to promote the huge investment potential of Ceramic Valley and the Northern Gateway scheme in front of national and international developers at MIPIM UK this week.
Conservative Deputy council leader Abi Brown said: “A hotel will not only be a massive boost for tourism in Stoke-on-Trent particularly as we look to bid for UK City of Culture status for 2021, but this is a major scheme that will help to bring additional investment to the city, create jobs and transform the city centre.
“Quite rightly, we have agreed as a cabinet that we will do all that we can to facilitate these deals to make them happen. Our Make it Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire investment team are continually working behind the scenes to attract big investors into the city and their work is really reaping rewards.
“This approach re-enforces our strategy to grow business rates, bring more jobs to the city and generate income for the city council to help pay for services within the city.”