Transport vision maps out a better connected city

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A transport vision that will make Stoke-on-Trent a better connected city by linking the local economy, environment and health issues is being developed.

The ‘Transport Vision’ maps out future road, rail and bus connectivity in a way that will support the city’s continued growth.

It builds on multi-million pound investment by the city council through its capital programme that is already seeing £20.44m pumped into improving roads across the city over the next five years including £10.1m on repairs, £7.8m on energy efficient street lighting, and £3.3m on flood prevention works. The council has also set aside £8.3m for public transport and road safety improvements.

The vision includes:

  • Creating the UK’s first ‘smart’ trunk roads on the A500 and A50 to complement an upgraded ‘smart’ M6 between junctions 15 and 16, with greater capacity at junction 15.
  • Working with the government and rail providers to develop a fully connected HS2 station in the city – putting London under an hour away; direct rail connectivity to Manchester and Birmingham airports and redoubled tracks between Alsager and Crewe to increase connectivity between Stoke and Crewe.
  • Improved local rail services, with at least two trains per hour to all existing stations between Crewe and Stoke, and Stafford and Stoke.
  • Remodelling the Cobridge traffic lights road junction, with widening of both the A50 and A53 to increase capacity.
  • Continuing work on the £38m Etruria Valley link road which will open up new development land and provide additional direct connections into the city centre from the A500.
  • Continuing the £10.2m further upgrade of public areas in the city centre to improve paving and landscaping.
  • A £16m link road connecting the city centre to the expanding south east of the city.
  • A £4.5m programme to improve connectivity around Staffordshire University and Stoke-on-Trent Station.
  • Working with partners to operate newer, cleaner buses, with more electric hybrid vehicles.
  • Easier and quicker bus fares with contactless, mobile and web-based payment options.
  • Developing mobile bus timetable and service information.
  • Better integration of fares and services between bus and rail routes.

Work on the vision is being developed with a wide range of partners and funding bodies including the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, the Department for Transport, Network Rail, Highways England, Midlands Connect and other transport providers.

The vision will be put before the council’s cabinet on 16 May for consideration.

Councillor Jack Brereton, cabinet member for regeneration, transport and heritage, said: “I’m delighted to be welcoming the development of this important document and proposing it to cabinet. The transport vision will build on our multi-million pound capital investment and create the clear direction for further investment to better connect our city.

“This is about ensuring we have the transport we need to support more jobs and increased homes in Stoke-on-Trent. The document sets clear goals to work with government and key partners in transport such as Network Rail and Highways England to improve our transport infrastructure.

“Traffic flow is a big issue and this document is about helping to address congestion and improve both our road and rail connectivity. Better connecting all of our communities, opening up new opportunities for people to access jobs and improve quality of life.

“We don’t have enough local rail connectivity so we need to improve services and connect more places to Stoke-on-Trent. But also it’s about our bus network and our sustainable transport – in line with the national cycling and walking investment strategy – looking at how we can ensure the city is much more effectively connected throughout the entire area so that we can prosper as a city in the future.”

XPO Logistics Chooses Tamworth

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It is reported that XPO Logistics has signed a lease on Tamworth 594.

The present tenants, Hermes Parcelnet and Euro Car Parts will be vacating the property and moving to a nearby scheme. In order to meet XPO’s requirement for a 645,000 sq. ft. logistics hub, the site owner, Logicar, plans to extend the building by a further 50,000 sq. ft.

Staffordshire Housing Association Wins Queen’s Award

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One of the first recipients of the new Queen’s Award for Promoting Opportunities has been achieved by Aspire Housing.

Aspire Housing, a housing association based in Staffordshire received their award due to their work in addressing social disadvantage and supporting local communities to maximise their potential.

Sinéad Butters, chief executive at Aspire Housing, said: “We are passionate about making a difference in our region, in our neighbourhoods and to people’s lives.

“Everyone should have the opportunity to fulfil their potential irrespective of their background. Our role is to assist them through provision of quality housing, employment and training and support.

“It is an honour to be among the first recipients in the promoting opportunity category and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all my colleagues who make such a difference in our communities.”

The award, which is equivalent to an MBE for businesses, will be presented to Ms Butters at a Buckingham Palace reception later this year.

It will be her second visit to the palace, having previously received an MBE from the Queen in 2016.

Fuchs UK New HQ Opened In Stoke-on-Trent

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FUCHS UK has invested in brand new contemporary 21st century offices at its headquarters in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, continuing the Group’s policy of investing in local facilities whilst growing its global presence.

Some key factors in the design of the offices were energy efficiency and the requirement to create an environment for employees that encourages team work and creativity.

The building utilises LED lighting, Climate Control systems and outstanding insulation properties.

In the open environment, even the CEO’s office doubles as an additional meeting space. Previous investment has seen solar panels installed within the manufacturing plant capable of 525kWp generating 14% of electricity demand, proving that sustainability for FUCHS means a real commitment, not just marketing speak.

FUCHS Chairman & CEO, Stefan Fuchs, cut the ribbon at todays official opening. Ralph Rheinboldt and Dagmar Steinert of the FUCHS Executive Board were also in attendance with UK Managing Director Richard Halhead, whilst UK staff from all departments gathered round to watch.

As well as being the UK manufacturing plant for the FUCHS Group, Hanley is also the FUCHS Global Centre of Excellence for the specialist sectors machining, mining, glass and Silkolene motorcycle oils.

In support of these specialist areas FUCHS has taken the opportunity to enhance the R&D Technical Centre which is attached to the new office block. This will create additional capacity for the ever increasing analytical work carried out in the Service and Quality laboratories. The new test centre will see additional machine tools being installed to enhance the CNC (Computer Numerical Controlled) capabilities already in place.

This, taken together with new test field building in Mannheim, home of FUCHS Global, gives the UK company unparalleled test facilities in the industrial and automotive sectors.

Hilton Garden Inn Stoke on Trent

Hilton Garden Inn signs at Smithfield, Stoke-on-Trent

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The ongoing regeneration of Stoke-on-Trent has been given a major boost following news that Hilton is to open Hilton Garden Inn Stoke-on-Trent.

The 140-guestroom hotel will be located in the Smithfield development in Hanley, following a franchise agreement between Hilton and Smithfield developer and hotel owner Genr8.

The plans can be revealed today (Thursday, March 30) and are being hailed as a major coup for the city. The new hotel will deliver an economic boost to the area, creating more than 50 jobs, and introducing high-quality meeting and conference facilities. Hilton Garden Inn Stoke-on-Trent will bring quality hotel accommodation to the rising number of visitors and will further support the City of Culture 2021 bid.

Councillor Dave Conway, leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council, said: “This truly is a fantastic piece of news for Stoke-on-Trent and a major milestone in the continued transformation of the city centre.

“Hilton is a name famous around the world and a lot of hard work has gone on behind the scenes to make this development a reality. It will not only improve the hotel offer in the city – which is vital if we are to be successful with our UK City of Culture bid – but will also help grow our tourism industry and further revamp the area with increased footfall.

“Having a brand like Hilton Garden Inn committing to coming here shows the confidence there is in the city centre from the private sector and will undoubtedly lead to further interest and investment from other businesses and organisations. Stoke-on-Trent is a city on the up right now and this is further evidence that our drive to attract new business and jobs is gaining fantastic results.”   The new hotel will be delivered by Genr8 and the city council. Genr8 is expected to submit a planning application in the near future facilitating a start on site later in 2017, subject to approval. The hotel is expected to welcome its first guests in 2019.

Genr8 partner Richard Ingham said: “The delivery of a Hilton Garden Inn at Smithfield is a huge step forward for both the city of Stoke-on-Trent and for the Smithfield development and will provide a significant boost to the local business and leisure economy.”

Patrick Fitzgibbon, senior vice-president, development, EMEA, Hilton, said: “Hilton Garden Inn Stoke-on-Trent joins more than 100 Hilton Garden Inn properties trading or under development across Europe. Stoke-on-Trent continues to make fantastic progress in its bid for City of Culture 2021 status, and the new hotel will considerably enhance accommodation in the city.”

The new hotel will be within walking distance of the main retail area, museum and theatres, and within a short drive to national attractions such as Alton Towers and Trentham Gardens.

Cabinet members at the city council previously agreed to provide £4.55 million investment for the project. Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership is also set to provide a £2.95 million grant for the hotel development, showing leadership and intent by the city council and the LEP to drive the economy and accelerate growth in the city.

Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership chairman David Frost CBE said: “This is excellent news for an ambitious city. Expanding and enhancing Stoke-on-Trent’s hotel sector has been a long-term aspiration of the LEP and the city council and it is good to see such positive progress being made.

“As Stoke-on-Trent’s City of Culture 2021 bid illustrates, we have a growing range of tourism, cultural and leisure destinations developing in and around the city, making this an increasingly attractive destination for visitors.”

Planning Consent At Burntwood Business Park, Staffordshire.

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Lichfield District Council has granted planning consent to London and Cambridge Properties (LPC) for a 50,000 sq. ft. speculative scheme on Burntwood Business Park, Staffordshire. The units will be available in multiples of 10,000 sq. ft. and work on the development will commence later this year, with completion expected by the summer of 2018.

Andrew Preston, industrial portfolio manager at LCP, said the project was designed in response to an increase in enquiries from companies seeking industrial and trade premises in the area.

“We have very low levels of voids there and the level of enquiries we are receiving from businesses that want either to relocate to Burntwood or who are already there and want to expand suggests that there will be a demand for them,” he added.

“We are offering flexibility in the size of units available, which makes it an even more attractive prospect.”

Prime Point 14 aerial Mar 17

Prime Point 14 Site Acquired For Industrial Development By Trebor/Seddon Developments

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Leading Midlands based commercial developer Trebor Developments and Seddon Developments have formed a joint venture to develop further industrial units in Staffordshire on a new industrial site extending to 11.7 acres, known as Prime Point 14, located within 1 mile of Junction 14, M6, Staffordshire.

Planning consent has been granted for the development, which will provide a 2 unit scheme of 66,000 sq. ft. and 78,000 sq. ft., with work due to commence on site from summer 2017 and phased delivery of each unit.

Bob Tattrie, Managing Partner of Trebor Developments, on behalf of Trebor/Seddon commented: “We are delighted to have obtained detailed consent for this industrial development schemes.  We will be bringing forward high quality industrial units, manufacturing or logistics/distribution, on the site which is located adjacent to the Redhill Business Park, which has seen very successful development over the last 2 years.  The site is in a well-established industrial location, with a range of existing occupiers and we believe that given the lack of quality accommodation available within the Staffordshire area for occupiers to consider, this new development will be well received by a number of potential tenants/purchasers.

We are offering the buildings on a freehold or leasehold basis to occupiers’ requirements.”

The development partners have appointed the Birmingham offices of BNP Paribas (Andrew Cosnett and Richard James-Moore) and Savills (Ranjit Gill and Katie Aitchison) as joint marketing agents.

L-R Seddon’s Phil Kennedy, County Councillor Philip Atkins and Amey’s Greg Watkins in front of the new bridge at Branston Locks

Building work gathers pace at new county high school and roads to access business and homes development

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Work is continuing on Staffordshire’s first brand new secondary school for 25 years as new road construction for a major business and housing development nearby gathers pace.

Construction began on the 1440 place secondary school on Branston Road near Burton late last year and is progressing well. Nearby new roads to access the Branston Locks developments are being built, along with a new road bridge across the canal, and scheduled to be completed in the autumn. The total investment in the area could be over £800million.

The £30million school is being built in response to planned housing developments and an increasing birth rate in the Burton area, which mean up to 3,500 new secondary school places will be needed in the town over the next 15 years.

Officers from Staffordshire County Council, Seddon Construction and Entrust, as well as the local parish, borough and county councillors were taken on a tour of the site to see first-hand how the construction is going.

They were also taken on a tour of the Branston Locks site, which will see 2,500 houses built along with a range of community facilities and a 50-acre employment site, which will be known as Quintus. There will also be retail, health, leisure and recreational facilities, as well as provision for older people.

Staffordshire County Council leader Philip Atkins, who attended the site visit, said:  “Burton is a centre for tremendous growth, as we have seen with the development of Branston Locks.  The new school will ensure all children growing up in Burton now and in the future can get the very best start in life, and it was fantastic to see how well construction is progressing.

“It has also been pleasing to see the new road and bridge at Branston Locks taking shape which will provide access to the new business park and housing. This is another example of how the county council with the Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership is laying the foundations for the creation of new homes, jobs and continued prosperity in Staffordshire.”

Phil Kennedy, business unit director from Seddon who are delivering the high school development said: “Work on the high school is progressing really well and we were delighted to welcome visitors from the council and local parishes onto site. The development programme and investment in the Branston area brings with it fantastic opportunities and we are thrilled to be a part of it.”

When the road scheme is completed, Nurton Developments (Quintus Ltd) will move on site to carry out the main Branston Locks project, together with residential developers.

The roads project is being funded through the Government’s Local Growth Deal, which was accessed by the county council and Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership. Nurton Developments has also made a substantial contribution.

Omicron Redhill

Global energy firm’s new training and service centre takes shape at Staffordshire business park

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A new UK service centre for a global energy technology company is taking shape in Staffordshire.

Electrical energy firm OMICRON is investing £2 million in a purpose-built, state-of-the-art facility at Stafford’s Redhill Business Park. The county council-developed Redhill is nearly at full occupancy.

OMICRON is renowned for its innovative testing, diagnosis and monitoring solutions for electrical energy systems. Customers include energy providers and utilities, manufacturers of equipment for the transmission and distribution of electrical power and more.

The company is currently based at Stafford Technology Park, and will relocate to its new premises when complete. It has worked closely with Staffordshire County Council to secure the move. The county council completed the necessary infrastructure to aid its development.

Staffordshire County Council’s economic growth leader Mark Winnington said: “OMICRON is the latest addition to Redhill Business Park, which is becoming renowned as a leading site for innovation and growth. The site development by the county council has been a great success and with near full occupancy we know our investment has made a difference.

“Our inward investment team has been working closely with OMICRON and so we’re pleased to welcome the company to Redhill, especially as it is a company in one of our key sectors with a highly skilled workforce. We look forward to its continued expansion and contribution to Staffordshire’s ever-growing economy.”

Birmingham-based Pinnegar Hayward Design (PHD) Architects is leading the project. The 8,000 sq ft building will serve as a technical, training and sales centre. The development is progressing well, with the steel framework and infrastructure already completed. OMICRON is expected to relocate to the new building this summer.

Redhill is home to GE’s new facility which is already in operation, with a second under construction. Birmingham developer Trebor recently completed its industrial unit at the site and is now ready for occupation. The county council invested £10million to create Redhill Business Park.


Network Space Receives Planning Consent for Tunstall Arrow Stoke-on-Trent

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CGI of the proposed Tunstall Arrow phase 1A development

Network Space, the industrial property investor and developer, has secured detailed planning consent for phase one of its Tunstall Arrow site in Stoke-on-Trent.A The consent includes detailed plans for 5 new industrial units including a 44,000 sq ft warehouse, production and showroom facility for innovative high grade railing and balustrade systems provider Q-railing, alongside a further 85,000 sq ft of high quality industrial workspace accommodation.

The site, acquired in 2013 forms part of the Ceramic Valley Enterprise Zone and Network Space is working in partnership with the EZ team to ensure that this strategic employment scheme is one of the first new developments to be brought forward following the EZ announcement in November 2015. It is expected that works will commence in summer 2017 with the delivery of the 44,000 sq ft Q-railing unit alongside 4 speculative units comprising a 10,000 sq ft unit, two 20,000 sq ft units and a 35,000 sq ft unit.

Stephen Barnes, Managing Director of Development at Network Space said aThis consent is a key milestone in the delivery of this important scheme. We continue to work very closely with the City Council and the EZ team to ensure that the scheme can be delivered as quickly as possible.A This is especially important as so little new space has been brought forward in recent years. Our agents, Mounsey Surveyors, are already reporting very keen interest in the speculative units.a

Cllr Abi Brown, the city councilas deputy leader and chair of the Ceramic Valley Enterprise Zone Board, said: aA new planning consent for good quality business space in the Ceramic Value Enterprise Zone once again illustrates that demand for business growth is strong in Stoke-on-Trent. We welcome Network Spaceas confidence to build these industrial units and will continue to work hard to promote the site to potential inward investors and expanding local businesses. We calculate that when completed, the industrial units could accommodate over 250 new jobs.a

Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership chairman David Frost CBE said: aWe are delighted to see this kind of development taking shape in Ceramic Valley, creating jobs and growth for the future. aThe six strategic sites in the Enterprise Zone are attracting significant interest. We have the advantage of a great location at the centre of England and we are actively promoting all the excellent development opportunities throughout Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire.a

Bruce Bradshaw, General Manager of Q-Railing: aThe granting of planning permission represents a significant step milestone. We look forward to seeing work starting on site soon on this important development for the company.

Tunstall Arrow is a 28 acre employment site situated in the north of Stoke-on-Trent and very well located for access from the A500 and M6 Junction 16. It is accessed directly off James Brindley Way, the recently constructed Tunstall town centre by-pass, and phase one will deliver 5 units ranging from 10,000 sq ft to 44,000 sq ft.

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