Hilton Garden Inn under construction at the Smithfield site (December 2019).

Two new city centre developments are now expected to be finished by Summer 2020, following a two-month shutdown on the site. Work on the Smithfield developments – located in Hanley,  Stoke-on-Trent – came to a halt in early August, due to the collapse of main contractor, Pochin.

Construction of the £17.5million Clayworks apartment complex and the £20million Hilton Garden Inn managed to resume shortly after (in late September), following the appointment of new contractor, Willmott Dixon.


Property developer, Genr8, which is working with Stoke-on-Trent City Council to deliver on the developments at Smithfield (Hanley), has stated that both buildings are now expected to be complete in the Second Quarter of 2020 (between April and June). The project was originally due for completion by the end of this year.

Willmott Dixon retained ‘the vast majority’ of the original supply chain, with more than half of the £30million sub-contract packages going to businesses located within a 30km radius of Stoke-on-Trent.

Genr8 also commented that it has employed many of the key Pochin site staff as part of the new construction management team, and has paid the university fees of one of the retained Pochin apprentices, meaning he can continue to study while working on the site.

The one and two-bedroom apartments at Clayworks will become available for rent in 'early 2020', with a show apartment due to be ready by February.

CGI of Clayworks Apartments

An artist's impression of what Clayworks will look like once complete.

Richard Ingham, Business Partner at Genr8, said:

“The demise of Pochin was, of course, very sad, and the whole team has worked incredibly hard to ensure that both projects remain on track.”

“We moved very quickly to implement our strategy for the completion of the two projects and we’re delighted to see works now progressing again at pace. The site is buzzing once more.”

“As we enter these final stages of the Hilton Garden Inn and Clayworks projects, we’re excited about unveiling the finished product to Stoke-on-Trent, while continuing to activate the wider Smithfield site with a dynamic, vibrant placemaking strategy.”

Middlewich-based Pochin, which had been working on the Smithfield schemes since last year, went into administration in August, bringing construction to an abrupt halt. Sub-contractors turning up for work at Smithfield were barred from the site, with some not even being allowed to retrieve their tools.

Clayworks Apartments under construction (December 2019).

However, Willmott Dixon was appointed the following week, with both Genr8 and Stoke-on-Trent City Council making a commitment to avoid a lengthy delay for the projects.

The 11-storey Clayworks complex, which is being built for the City Council’s Fortior housing company, will feature 151 one and two-bedroom build-to-rent apartments aimed at young professionals.

Around 50 jobs will be created at the 140-room, four-star Hilton Garden Inn, which will include a bar, gym and coffee shop.

Artilce and images provided by Genr8 Developments.

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