New city prospectus aims to make Stoke-on-Trent litmus test for Government’s ‘levelling up’ ambitions
A new prospectus has been launched to help secure partnership and investment in Stoke-on-Trent.
The prospectus – called Powering Up Stoke-on-Trent – was outlined today (Friday) to a number of government departments, businesses, voluntary sector organisations, health partners and others from across the city. It’s being led by cllr Abi Brown, leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council and cllr Daniel Jellyman, deputy leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council. It’s backed by the three Stoke-on-Trent MPs – Jack Brereton for Stoke-on-Trent Central, Jo Gideon for Stoke-on-Trent and Jonathan Gullis for Stoke-on-Trent North.
Powering Up Stoke-on-Trent casts the city as the litmus test for the Government’s ‘levelling up’ ambitions. This is the Government’s policy to address inequality and ‘level up’ left-behind parts of the UK through a programme of infrastructure development, investing in education, skills and scientific research and development.
The prospectus has been published as an invitation to Government – it sets out simply and clearly the priorities for Stoke-on-Trent and what it would take to achieve them. It focusses on four key areas: Transport, Economic Development, Education & Skills, and Health & Productivity and sets out some target programmes, projects and changes that could make the biggest difference for the city.
Examples in the area of Transport include exploring the delivery of a light rail or tram system across North Staffordshire, improving bus services and ensuring the finance for the City East Link Road is made available.
To further the city’s Economic Development, the prospectus looks to build on the success of the Ceramic Valley Enterprise Zone and the recent city centre development at Smithfield. It focuses on regeneration of key sites, especially the cleared East-West precinct site where the city has ambitions for an arena-led redevelopment, and agreeing a single Towns Fund programme to address the specific challenges of towns like Tunstall and Longton, focusing on delivery of key sites and building restorations. There is also a strong focus on the cultural richness of the city with an intention of making best use of our heritage assets in places such as Burslem and Stoke.
The Education and Skills content includes a plan to deliver an integrated early years development programme, improve the quality of school and college education, and to make the most of our considerable digital assets.
The Prospectus’ final focus is on tackling ill health that prevents people from working and getting the most out of life. It invites Government and the NHS to establish a new work and health programme for the city and seeks to establish Stoke-on-Trent as a Mentally Healthy City, based on delivery of an agreed multi-agency strategy and improvement plan for mental health services.
Cllr Brown, leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council said: “Before COVID-19, Stoke-on-Trent was undergoing the most significant transformation in its economic fortunes it has experienced for over 30 years.
“Having been among the fastest local economies to rebound from the last recession, the city had continued to outstrip swathes of the UK in terms of economic growth, job creation and innovation.
“As we look ahead beyond the pandemic, we are determined to regain this momentum as quickly as possible.
“We need Government’s support to do that. We know that over this next period there will be many national initiatives and funds to support economic recovery but we want one conversation, one shared plan. This work will help us forge a partnership that crosses all relevant government departments and agencies.
“Powering up Stoke-on-Trent is, we believe, the national litmus test for Government’s levelling-up ambitions, focused on four priorities; transport, economic development, education and skills, and health and productivity.”
“This prospectus aims to bring together all the various strategies that have already been developed collaboratively within the city and partners are being asked to comment and input into what is quite probably one of the most documents for Stoke-on-Trent.”
Cllr Daniel Jellyman, deputy leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council said: “Through a new prospectus for the city and the dialogue that follows, our aim is to secure partnership and investment and set out how we need to work together, with our regional partners and partners across the city, at pace to agree with Government a single set of priority projects and interventions that are right for Stoke-on-Trent, deliverable in the next few years and to which we can all commit. The core purpose of this joint endeavour would be to drive economic development by fostering high growth sectors, creating the high skilled, well-paid jobs our city needs.”
For more information, go to www.stoke.gov.uk/poweringup