The unveiling of the slightly controversial new Civic Centre at a recent consultation, brought wide spread condemnation and many letters have since been written to the local paper and comments made online, but what can we really do?
The City Council and the majority of its councillors have voted in favour of the move from Stoke to Hanley. We could raise a petition for them to reconsider their decision, but as seen recently a 3000+ petition to discuss closing Community Halls was ignored.
As its a planning matter we can raise objections of a material nature, this was the route I attempted (not very successfully) but it seemed reasonable that all potential sites be considered in Stoke Town. Sadly from a planning view point this is not necessary, and I received a very detailed reply which I was very grateful for, if only all officers and councillor could reply in such fashion.
If anyone has any views on planning merits of new civic and any possible angles of objection, please add a comment below or on the sentinel comments
To Planning & Genr8
I would like to say I believe there are more suitable sites within the City that will not harm regeneration of Stoke Town but would add to the regeneration of Stoke Town and those should be used first, for that reason I am against the
the proposed Civic Centre.
I accept that at the time of the outline application there was no need for sequentially testing as it was not know the impact the future development would have on Stoke Town.
Both the report to committee and the planning statement submit make no reference to PPS6 Planning for Town Centres, the new proposal for the
relocation of the Civic Centre will have a significant change in role and function of Stoke Town and this should come through the development plan process, rather than through a planning application.
believe the role of Stoke Town in development plans has always been as the Civic Centre, so believe this proposal will have a significant impact on that role
As this particular reserved matters now has a material impact on Stoke Town I believe PPS6 Planning for Town Centres and Sequential Site searching be applied.
In reply to your e mail below, PPS6 was replaced by PPS4 on 29th December 2009, which in itself was replaced by the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) on the 27th March 2012. The policy contained within both the committee report and submitted statements therefore correctly do not reference PPS6, which at the time of the application was not adopted national planning policy and had no weight in the determination of applications.
The key planning document for Stoke-on-Trent is the Core Spatial Planning consent which was adopted in October 2009. The document is based on the principles of targeted regeneration with a focus on rebuilding the City Centre. The Core Strategy recognises a hierarchy of centres within Stoke-on-Trent, to which the city centre (Hanley) is considered the key strategic centre, and is thus the focus of major office and retail developments in line with the then PPS4 and the now current NPPF. Stoke town is listed as a significant urban centre alongside Longton, Tunstall, Burslem, Fenton and Meir. These roles are defined in the Core Strategy as the following.
‘Strategic Centres – The Regional Spatial Strategy defines the role of ‘Strategic Centres’ as – the primary focus for major retail developments; the primary focus for uses which attract large numbers of people such as major cultural, tourist, social and community venues; and the primary focus for large scale leisure and office development.
Significant Urban Centres – These centres will play a complementary role to the strategic centres, primarily providing retail and services to meet local needs. Achieving the right balance of development within these centres will be vital for maintaining the sustainability of all of the centres within the hierarchy’
In policy ASP1 of the Core Spatial Strategy this trend is continued as the policy lists the delivery of a new, large scale, high density central business district as being key to the diversification of the local economy and the regeneration of the city centre. This is in line with the defined role of the city centre which is and should be the focus of major office development.
Policy ASP2 considers the Inner Urban Core and the area outside of the city centre and considers the role of Stoke town. Whilst the policy does correctly identify that part of the current role of the town is as the centre of civic administration, the Core Strategy also makes it clear that the town has a vitally important part to play in the interaction with Staffordshire University. The core strategy also identifies some 4,000sqm of retail and new housing for stoke town as well as a continuing role in the provision of new employment. This document will be underpinned by the City Centre and Etruria Road Area Action Plan which will provide detailed site allocations for the city centre.
The Core Strategy is therefore fully supportive of the location of major new office developments within the city centre. The role of stoke town in the Core Strategy is acknowledged as currently having a civic administration role but the strong university links are also acknowledged and there is no policy contained within the Core Strategy that would require the civic administration role to remain within Stoke town.
There is therefore no conflict with Core Strategy policies ASP1 or ASP2 which would mean that the CBD application was not in accordance with adopted planning policy. In any event even if there was this would not trigger the requirement for a sequential assessment, either under the old PPS4 or the current NPPF. The requirement for sequential testing is related to the provision of town centre uses outside of town centres, the CBD site is located within the defined city centre for Stoke-on-Trent. Therefore there was no need for a sequential test at the outline stage nor will there be a need for a sequential test on the submission of a reserved matters application.