Planning permission has been granted for a number of improvements to the historic Spode site in Stoke-on-Trent - which will see new artists’ studios, workshops and office accommodation developed at the landmark heritage site.

Work at the former ceramic site is set to start this Winter, folllowing a successful planning application to Stoke-on-Trent City Council. The approved developments will include essential fabric repairs, alterations and refurbishments - taking place across various buildings on the Spode site: the former reception and accounts office, the counting house, work managers' offices, the former on-site seconds' store, the glaze crank store, and the China Hall courtyard (from Church Street in the town centre).

Current planning permission will see an external staircase, pitch roof and former door openings reinstated, whilst repairs will be made to roofs, windows, roof lights and the buildings themselves, bringing them back to their former glory.

Improvements will see studio and workshop space created for artists and makers, including those working in contemporary ceramics. The development will also provide office accommodation designed for small-scale and start-up creative enterprises.

Over £830,000 is being invested into this phase of improvements – £500,000 from the Stoke-on-Trent & Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, and £330,000 from Stoke-on-Trent City Council (as part of their capital investment programme). Additional funding will be provided by Arts Council England, in partnership with ACAVA, and the Stoke-on-Trent City Council Community Investment Fund.

Spode is owned by Stoke-on-Trent City Council, who through various phrases of work (£3million of investment since 2015) have redeveloped the site, safeguarding the historical former factory for long-term use. The current revitalisation of the site includes: an artists’ village with artist studios, an exhibitions and performance space – the China Halls is currently showcasing the British Ceramics Biennial – a hotel, café, museum and shop. The site has also been used for a range of events, such as charity balls, iconic theatre productions, and dance music nights.

The Spode site is located at the fringe of the "Stoke Town Centre Conservation Area" and is recognised as a heritage asset of national and local historic and architectural significance - there has been a bottle oven on the site since at least 1751. It was purchased by Josiah Spode in 1776, who made the site his namesake, and has remained as a pottery outlet until it went into administration in 2008.  It was purchased by the City Council in 2009.

Acting Chairman of the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Alun Rogers said:

"The Spodeworks building is iconic to Stoke and to the wider city. This project is building on Stoke-on-Trent’s traditional industries and will bring this space to life with businesses in the creative sector. It will help to further regenerate the town centre, bringing in more visitors and future investors. The LEP is pleased to have supported this project and we look forward to seeing it get off the ground."

Cllr. Jellyman, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Infrastructure and Heritage, said:

"This is great news for Stoke town. It shows that the site continues to go from strength to strength and I think Josiah himself would have been pleased to know the former factory is being preserved for future generations."

"This is another incredibly important milestone in directly anchoring Spodeworks into the town with more access being opened up.  We want this historic site to be a thriving, creative hub that is used on an everyday basis. Its success is central to the success of Stoke town and we’re working closely with businesses to make sure they are part of the future of the site and that what we do complements what’s happening in the area for the benefit of the whole community."

Tom Holley, Chief Executive of ACAVA said:

"We are absolutely delighted that planning permission has been granted for this proposal. ACAVA is proud to be working with Stoke-on-Trent City Council to deliver a dynamic mix of creative workspaces and people at the heart of this unique post-industrial heritage site. Our aim is to deliver the high quality workspaces, studios and professional support that enables artists, makers, cultural organisations and start-ups to thrive. This is an important moment for the development of this vision that will build on, enrich and diversify our current offering of 43 studios."

Edited by Josh Heath


Spode Development
Development Site
Spode Development

Spode is coming back to life and is now home to almost 50 artists’ studios, a 26-room hotel that is fully occupied most nights, a popular café and a revamped and extended visitor centre. The China Halls, a vast space which acted as the factory’s main production area where 250 people would once work, is now being used as a unique venue for private events.