Regeneration plans to bring two iconic Town Hall buildings back to life with 21st century purposes have been given the green light – with work due to start before the end of the year.
Conservative/Independent controlled Stoke-on-Trent City Council is investing in and reopening the historic buildings in both Tunstall and Longton to the community as part of a £5.7 million plan. The work, which now has planning permission secured, will safeguard the future of both Grade-II listed buildings and provide a boost to the town’s economies, with 38 permanent council staff being based across the two buildings.
The plans will see:
Tunstall Town Hall – the town’s library will be relocated from the nearby Victoria Institute, while the children’s centre will be moved in from its current building further down High Street. The former council chamber in the building will become office space for 18 council staff, working for the housing team.
Longton Town Hall – part of the ground floor of the building will be converted into a new local centre, housing 20 council staff. A new, stylish main entrance will also be built for the adjoining market, and the market toilets will be refurbished.
The move is part of the city council’s Stronger Together pledge to preserve and enhance the unique heritage of the city, and invest in all of the six towns.
Conservative Councillor Daniel Jellyman, cabinet member for regeneration, transport and heritage, said: “These two iconic buildings in the heart of Tunstall and Longton have been underutilised for a number of years, but I’m pleased to be able to say that is changing now. This scheme will see these much-loved buildings come back to life with real purposes, and opened up to the public once again. We’re preserving our past as well as supporting the present in addition to driving footfall into our town centres.
“The buildings have unique historical features that celebrate our heritage, such as a beautiful Milton tiled floor at Tunstall which will be protected and cleaned. In Longton, we will be relocating the local centre to the ground floor of the Town Hall. It’s one of the busiest local centres in the city, but due to its location it doesn’t really bring any footfall into Longton. We will have 20 staff based in Tunstall Town Hall and a further 18 at Longton, which will help to increase the town centre footfall and be a welcome boost to local shops and businesses.”
The work will also see just over £1 million spent on improvements to the city’s other nine local centres, based at Abbey Hulton, Blurton, Burslem, Fenton, Chell Heath, Bentilee, Stoke, Norton and Meir. Abbey Hulton and Blurton local centres will undergo full refurbishments, with Burslem, Fenton and Chell Heath being relocated.
This is the first time such vital local centres are refurbished, after years of under-investment by Labour councils.