Saturday, 16 July 2011

The Future of Stoke on Trent

Last year was the 100th anniversary of the Federation of the towns that became Stoke on Trent. In this centenary year some of us who write for Pits n Pots are asking question s about the future direction of the City. The changes in the last 50 years of the City have been more profound than the first fifty even with the involvement of this country in two World Wars. Since 1960 there has been 100,000 job looses in the traditional industries of pottery, steel and mining. There has been in the influx of immigrants from the New Commonwealth, the changes of population as the city has suffered from middle class flight and the weakening of many of the communities, which face unemployment, poverty and the rise in anti social disorder. There has been something in the region of 19 national government initiative to arrest the decline of the City and there have been new industries emerging from the ruins of de industrialisation.

After 100 years it is about time to take stock of Stoke.

On the subject of anniversaries it is also the 10th anniversary of the report that Lord Rodgers wrote on urban renewal and what he envisaged the typical city to look at reflecting on the organic nature of the City.

Stress the importance of good design

Residents should be more directly in making the key decisions about priorities for services and how they should be delivered within local areas.

Agree a vision for growth areas based on strengthening
Existing urban areas, the retention of neighbourhood
communities and the provision of good public transport.
 
Exploit all opportunities for an urban renaissance by
taking a brownfield first approach, including in growth
areas, and recognise the continuing substantial role of
windfall sites in contributing to land supply and of urban
capacity studies in identifying future opportunities.
 
Increase the share of new building on brownfield sites
across the country by establishing a new target for an
average 75% of residential development across all
England’s regions to be on previously developed land by
2010, supported by varying targets for brownfield use in
Regional Spatial Strategies to reflect regional differences
in supply and demand.
 
Draw on local community views by making characte
assessments of historic and landscape value compulsory
and integral to regional and sub-regional planning and
the development of growth areas.
 • Raise the minimum density standard for new residential
development to 40 dwellings per hectare, subject to
exceptional circumstances, and extend the "density
direction", which requires all lower density housing
development to be notified to the Government Regional
Office for possible call-in, from three to all English
regions.
• Increase investment in the creation and long term
management of green infrastructure and open spaces
in growth areas and areas of existing deficiency.
• Ensure sustainability not only lies at the root of original
design concepts, but is followed as a philosophy through
to deconstruction.
• Support innovation and investment in environmental
infrastructure – including zero waste, combined heat
and power and sustainable urban drainage schemes.
• Place an energy efficiency obligation on developers that
matches the obligation placed on utilities.
• Recognise the huge energy and recycling potential
embodied by our 22 million existing homes, the vast
majority of which are structurally sound and potentially
re-usable
 
Some of us are wondering how the agenda for the renewal of Stoke in its second century of existence can be carried forward and how an agenda for the development of the area can be progressed.