Stoke-on-Trent city centre will soon welcome a new £10 million development which will add three family restaurants and a pub to the North Staffordshire leisure offering.
Characin Developments will construct the new development on a plot of derelict land opposite the Premier Inn following extensive preparation works on the site, which will include the demolition of a number of vacant industrial units.
The firm’s planning application has also pledged to deliver the development by the end of the year – a subtle reference to the problems surrounding the stalled City Sentral retail development.
It said; “It is important to emphasise that, unlike other leisure schemes granted planning permission in the city in recent years, there is active landowner, developer and operator interest in this scheme.
“The applicant has a history of investment in Stoke-on-Trent – the total investment in the site if planning permission is granted is estimated to be £10 million.
“The site is currently a rundown, blighted piece of land: this proposal would completely transform the area.”
Characin Developments’ decision to apply for planning approval at the Etruria Road site may raise some eyebrows locally, as the location is somewhat out of the way for major footfall. However, the developer rejected both the East West precinct site and the Smithfield business district development, as the former’s future remains uncertain due to ongoing uncertainty regarding the City Sentral scheme and the latter was deemed an inappropriate site for family restaurants.
Although the development has not yet been granted planning approval, Characin Developments has already signed up Nando’s restaurant chain for the scheme along with two other national brands believed to be Bella Italia and TGI Friday’s. None of these chains currently operate outlets in North Staffordshire at present, although Nando’s is due to open a new branch at the expanded Intu Potteries shopping centre later this year.
Should planning permission be granted, work will immediately begin to clear the site and construct the four leisure units along with a 245 space car park. It is estimated that the scheme will add £3.48 million worth of trade to the local economy per year, with £1.1 million worth captured from neighbouring Newcastle-under-Lyme’s town centre.
Local business leaders welcomed the news, claiming that, along with creating a predicted 110 jobs, an investment of this scale demonstrates a growing confidence in Stoke-on-Trent’s prestige as a consumer destination.
Economics lecturer Ian Jackson of Staffordshire University says; “This is good news; every new job gives a boost to the local economy.
“I suspect Hanley is looking more attractive to companies now because of the space available and the development going on in the area, but there is probably an element of catch-up as well.
“Stoke-on-Trent has been overlooked in certain quarters for some time now, and that is now changing.”
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