Plans have been unveiled today outlining how a key site in the Stoke Station Masterplan area could be transformed into a ‘flagship’ development for the city.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council has commissioned consultants and architects to look at the redevelopment potential of Swift House, which sits next to Stoke-on-Trent railway station, and is a short walk to Stoke town centre and Staffordshire University.

The building and associated land currently houses a small number of city council and private sector staff. Owned by the local authority, the site is located in the Trent and Mersey Canal Conservation Area and the vaulted ceilings in the building’s two-storey basement that overlooks the canal are locally listed.

At MIPIM property conference in France today, four development options for the site were unveiled by Councillor Abi Brown, deputy leader of the city council, to potential developers and investors from around the world. The unveiling comes just days after the Government confirmed Stoke-on-Trent would get at least one High Speed 2 (HS2) train every hour, while continuing to be served by the normal inter-city London trains as well.

The options for Swift House are:

  • Two striking towers supporting more than 200 one, two and three-bedroom apartments with facilities including rooftop terraces, a gym and amenity space.
  •  More than 190,000 sq. ft. of flexible office space, providing state-of-the-art business facilities to suit any business, of any size, from any industry.
  • A 140-bedroom hotel with conference and meeting facilities, gymnasium and spa, and a standalone restaurant, licensed bar and casino.
  • A student residential complex offering more than 800 beds from undergraduate accommodation to post-graduate studio apartments, with a business hub on the ground floor.

Councillor David Conway, leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council, said: “We are delighted to be launching this key development that has the potential to play a big part in regenerating the Station Gateway to our fantastic city. This comes on the back of continued positive news about the local economy and confirmation that Stoke-on-Trent will be a HS2 connected city. The Swift House site is a very short walk to the train station, Staffordshire University and the Spode creative village, with the city centre little more than a mile away. With the A500 – the key arterial route leading to the M6 and M1 via the A50 – adjacent to the site, it’s in a unique location.

“We’re keen to consider a range of development options for the site, with schemes that are led by residential, office, hotel and student accommodation uses. This means developers have a choice. In recent years, we have worked hard to ensure we listen and work with partners and stakeholders, receive feedback and most importantly act on it – we are not a local authority which develops in isolation. Today is the start of a conversation that we will convert into inward investment to regenerate the site with a development that our residents, businesses and visitors deserve.

“Last year saw record passenger numbers at the railway station, with more than three million people passing through the turnstiles. The number of people using the station has increased by 27 per cent in the last five years, and is expected to rise further in the future. These figures show the transformation taking place in Stoke-on-Trent and it’s absolutely vital that we maximise the potential of the area. This development would be a landmark scheme for the city, building on our ongoing positive outlook as a growing city.”

The Stoke Station Masterplan, which was unveiled at MIPIM UK in October, builds on regeneration and development work taking place across the city, and outlines how the station has the potential to become a key transport hub not just for the city, but for the wider region. A series of potential developments to the station, and the land surrounding it, have been drawn up to cover the next 25 years, with later phases centred on the huge impact HS2 would bring to Stoke-on-Trent.

Councillor Abi Brown is representing the city council at MIPIM as part of the Constellation Partnership, a collaboration of councils and Local Enterprise Partnerships between Birmingham and Manchester. Speaking from the event, Cllr Brown said: “We were delighted to receive the news last week that the city would benefit from HS2 trains in the future. The station masterplan enables sustainable planned expansion while also planning ahead for HS2 train services that will ensure the city remains competitive on all fronts.

“Our city, its residents and our businesses deserve the best and we are planning ahead to make sure we remain competitive as a place to do business. That is why we are at events like MIPIM to really highlight opportunities like the Stoke Station Masterplan to potential developers and investors from all over the world and present the fantastic opportunities we have here in our city right now.”

Professor Martin Jones, deputy vice-chancellor at Staffordshire University, is also at MIPIM. The university is actively involved in the Stoke Station Masterplan as a key organisation in the area.

He said: “Staffordshire University welcomes this exciting development. The land and buildings surrounding our main Stoke-on-Trent campus are ripe for redevelopment. Stoke-on-Trent is on the up and this proposal for the future of Swift House is the catalyst needed to think creatively about iconic mixed-use spaces, ranging from flexible office and live-work spaces to hotel and student accommodation.”

Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP chairman David Frost CBE said: “We are delighted to see these impressive development options for Swift House. The station area is a key gateway to Stoke-on-Trent and the redevelopment of Swift House will a great asset in the continued transformation of the city.

“The city has a rising national and international profile as a business and tourism destination thanks to its enterprise zone and vibrant ceramics sector, its culture and heritage, as well as the amazing countryside on Stoke-on-Trent’s doorstep. It is excellent news for our local economy that the city is bringing forward such ambitious development plans to capitalise on these strengths.”

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