As consumers continue to flock to destinations offering high quality leisure facilities, councillors in Stoke-on-Trent have finally granted planning permission for a £10 million regeneration project of this type in the Staffordshire city.
Along with boosting leisure options for customers visiting the city, the scheme will bring back into use an area of derelict land on Etruria Road in Hanley.
The scheme has gained widespread support in the local community already, not least because three big name tenants have already signed up for large units. Bella Italia, Nando’s and TGI Friday’s will be the first tenants to take up space in the development upon completion, marking the first entry into the North Staffordshire restaurants market for each of the brands.
Joint developer and owner of the derelict brownfield site, Simon Bland, revealed that the involvement of the three restaurant giants has allowed the completion date of the project to be pushed forward significantly.
He said; “Because the tenants are already secured we can deliver this development in the next 12 to 18 months.
“The site will no longer be derelict and the development will improve the entrance to the city centre.
“The scheme will complement and not compete with the city centre – the tenants have indicated they would be prepared to invest in the city centre in the future.”
In total, the new development will create three spacious restaurant units and a new pub, which will lie next to the Old Plough pub and directly opposite the Premier Inn on Etruria Road. While no occupier has yet been confirmed by the joint developers for the pub, it is believed that altogether the overall development will create upwards of 140 jobs for local residents.
Unfortunately, though, not all local residents and businesses have been fully in support of the brownfield regeneration project, with owners of nearby intu Potteries shopping centre voicing opposition to the scheme.
As the new development will lie less than a mile away from the retail destination, which is currently undergoing a leisure redevelopment scheme to create a cinema and seven restaurant units, there are concerns that the town centre will suffer when faced with such a high level of competition in outlying areas.
In something of a bizarre twist, it has emerged that Nando’s has also signed up for the leisure line up at intu Potteries, meaning that two branches of the same restaurant will be in direct competition with each other. Other confirmed tenants for the shopping centre redevelopment include Chiquito, Pizza Express, Gourmet Burger Kitchen and Frankie & Benny’s.
Despite the objections, planning committee members at Stoke-on-Trent City Council approved the scheme by nine votes to one, with Chairman Ross Irving claiming the project is an important step in improving the gateway to the city centre.
He said; “Etruria Road is rather special because it links the city centre with the main feeder routes from the A500 and Festival Park.
“When you drive down Potteries Way or Etruria Road this site sticks out like a sore thumb.
“We have got the Premier Inn development across the road and this is the last piece of the jigsaw.”
Do you think this development may prove to be a threat to intu Potteries?