Letter of Objection Sent to Civic Centre Move

I’d like submit my objection to 54398/FUL and the relocation of the Civic Centre, I’d like to first quote from,

The Adopted Urban Core Strategy 2009 – Hierarchy of Centres
3.32 Stoke upon Trent Town Centre – plays a number of key roles – the city’s administrative centre, a university town, a nationally important destination for ceramics factory shopping; as well as providing local convenience shopping and the conurbation’s primary railway station
5.120 The prospects of Stoke-upon-Trent, the centre of civic administration, have been considerably enhanced following completion of the A500 trunk road scheme. Stoke-upon-Trent is a small town centre, principally serving local convenience shopping needs in a subordinate role to the larger neighbouring strategic centres. It has developed as a centre for administration over the last few years.
The Vision of Stoke-on-Trent Inner Urban Core Area Spatial Strategy

5.92 Will provide for increased vitality and vibrancy of Burslem and Stoke-upon-Trent Town Centres and improve accessibility and availability of modern local facilities.The towns of Burslem and Stoke-upon-Trent will re-establish their distinctive roles within the hierarchy of town centres. Stoke-upon-Trent Town Centre will retain its role as an administrative centre, a University town and a nationally important destination for ceramics factory shopping.

It is clear the Councils current Policy and Vision for Stoke Town is to Retain the Civic Centre, and that the Relocation of the Civic Centre will have a significant change in role and function of Stoke Town and have a detrimental impact on the vitality and viability of Stoke Towns Amenities as it would draw trade and business away from the Town. This major change to Stoke Town should come through the Development Plan Process, rather than through a planning application.

The Impact on Stoke Town could have been dealt under the, Environmental Statement as a statutory requirement for inclusion in an Environmental Statement  is the reporting of the consideration of alternatives in the development of a proposal. “An outline of the main alternatives studied by the applicant and an identification of the main reasons for his choice, taking into account the environmental effects.”

But no such alternatives were examined as, the need for a new CBD was formally identified in the adopted joint Core Strategy policy ASP1. it was considered that the location of alternatives sites were not relevant and will not be considered further in the  Environmental Statement. This may have been satisfactory when outline permission was given, as no proposal for the relocation of the Civic Centre was being considered it was a simple new office development.

Now that major environmental changes to Stoke Town are being proposed, the Environmental Impact Assessment should now be examining the environmental effects within Stoke Town of the removal of a major employer and the future environmental impact on amenities of possible more derelict sites within the Town, as well as examining the alternatives available.

There are a number of petitions currently in Circulation at the moment in opposition to the Councils move from Stoke Town, while they may not be in reference to any material planning matters you should be considering, they do highlight the concern over the environment effects on the amenities and facilities on offer in the Town and should be consider as relevant matters and duly examined as part of your determination of this planning application.

Ian Norris


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