Community Voice Conference Announced on Environment and Community Safety

Community Voice have organised on of the first open, public* policy meetings in Stoke-on-Trent for many years.

The meeting is being held on Tuesday 19 October 2010, 6.30pm, Windsor Room, Civic Centre, Glebe Street in Stoke.

A presentation on the current state of two issues in Stoke-on-Trent:

a] Crime and Community Safety

b] Environment

This will be followed by an open debate.


“This is a wonderful opportunity for residents to tell us what they really think about these issues and what we should be doing about them”.

“These are the two issues many people tell us concerns them the most, and what most people complain about to councillors”.

“Community Voice wants to fight for policies that we know the people out there really want, they are welcome to come to our Policy Conference and tell us directly. This is a first for Stoke-on-Trent – never before has a political party giving such direct influence on its policies”.

“We said we are about putting communities first, and now we are putting that into action. I hope people will get involved by coming along and having their say, or sending us information about what they want to see Community Voice doing.

Residents can either come along to the meeting or can send views directly to us via:

contact@communityvoice.co.uk

*N.B. CV reserve the right to exclude individuals from the meeting where necessary

Plans for city regeneration go on display

Residents are being asked to have their say on plans which will completely transform the centre of Stoke-on-Trent over the next 15 years.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council is holding a six week consultation from Tuesday 12 October on the City Centre and Etruria Road Corridor Area Action Plan.

The plan, which pulls together all of the city’s regeneration projects, will be on display in the City Central Library, Bethesda Street, until 22 November.

There will also be a series of staffed exhibitions throughout the period to give people the opportunity to ask questions. The plans will be on the city council website (www.stoke.gov.uk/ldf) from Friday, 8 October.

“Over the next few years the people of Stoke-on-Trent can expect to see some big changes in their city. These plans help to highlight the work that is being done and we are keen to get people’s views. It is vitally important that the people of Stoke-on-Trent make their views known so that we can help shape the future of our city together.”

The plan aims to create:

*New public open spaces and distinctive gateway buildings

*A lively night-time economy with a city centre cinema and a better range of restaurants, bars, cafes and entertainment venues

*A second retail centre

*A new bus station on the existing John Street surface car park

*A high speed bus link between Stoke-on-Trent railway station and the city centre

*Better transport links with the completion of the Potteries Way extension

*Four city centre hotels

*A minimum of 500 homes

Staff will be available at the following exhibitions to answer any questions:

Tuesday 12th October ““ 9.30 ““ 5pm ““ City Central Library Foyer

Thursday 14th October – 1 – 6pm – Victoria Hall Foyer

Saturday 16th October – 9 ““ 6pm – Potteries Shopping Centre

Monday 18th October – 9 – 2pm Victoria Hall Foyer

During the consultation period documents will be available to view in all city council libraries and at the Civic Centre in Stoke.

Prestigious Team To Revitalise Historic Stoke Town

The design team behind the popular Bristol waterfront development Temple Quay 2 are set to breathe new life in to the heart of a historic Stoke-on-Trent town.

URBED, which has played a successful role in major regeneration projects across the country, has been chosen to lead the Stoke Town masterplan.

The team, which includes Jan Gehl Architects, who designed Copenhagen’s public spaces, DTZ and Arup and is led by Manchester based URBED, is looking at ways to revitalise the current town centre as well as the neighbouring world renowned former pottery works Spode.

The legacy of the town’s ceramic heritage will be brought to life through contemporary uses of the remarkable heritage buildings and redevelopment opportunities offered by the Spode site. Ideas being explored through the masterplanning process include Creative Courts and Spode Lanes – made up of alleyways of cobbled streets with small independent shops and creative art spaces ““ as well as Circus Squares, with open space for street theatre and dance.

More immediate uses for the important site will also be woven into the masterplanning process with a combination of leisure uses, creative low cost studio spaces and exhibition and performance space all creating possible short term uses.

“The appointment of URBED is a significant step in the regeneration of the historic town of Stoke. The team have worked on successful projects across the country and I am keen to see the vision they have for transforming Stoke.”

The appointment follows a public consultation on the five short-listed teams’ concept drawings which showed residents were keen to see heritage buildings brought back to life, improved transport connections, a wider range of retail, quality open space and public realm, a pedestrian friendly town centre and regeneration plans that deliver jobs.

Over the next six months the team will pull together a detailed masterplan for Stoke Town incorporating the Spode site and connections to the University Quarter and Stoke Station. The designs, which will incorporate short-term uses as well as a longer term vision, will be worked up in consultation with the community and potential investors to make sure that it is a community led plan with real deliverability.

“As a team we are really excited about this new project and the opportunity to design the future plans for the historic town. This is an important heritage site and it is vital that the masterplan respects the past while creating something new and exciting. Our masterplanning approach is based on the three R’s ““ first rediscovering what was there before, then repairing the tears in the urban fabric before renewing the area with a new and contemporary urban layer.”

The masterplan will guide investment in to the town over the coming 10 to 15 years. It will also show how the historic town centre pottery site, Spode Works, can be redeveloped to play a significant role in the regeneration of Stoke Town.

Spode Works, in Elenora Street, Stoke, lays claim to the longest continuous period of pottery production. Built in 1759 the 10 acre site consists of buildings of international heritage significance and offers a unique opportunity to develop a mixed-use scheme which will lead to the regeneration of the town.

Stoke Town is home to Stoke Minster where some of the town’s most famous potters are buried including Josiah Spode and Josiah Wedgwood. The town is also home to the city’s Civic Centre, railway station and the rapidly developing University Quarter.

Spode Works, in the heart of the town, is probably best known for its blue-printed pottery and Willow Pattern. The company also invented bone china, which has been the standard British porcelain now for more than two hundred years. The Spode brand is still in production with Portmeirion Pottery continuing to produce many of the collections in the iconic brand.

The Spode Works site was acquired by the company’s founder Josiah Spode in 1776 and was operational as the Spode Works until 2008. The factory underwent extensive rebuilding and enlargement in the 1820′s and 1830′s. The more interesting buildings, in the courtyard in the northwest of the site, were Grade II listed in December 2007. The site is now recognised as being of national importance. It offers a remarkable opportunity for sensitive redevelopment in order to lead the regeneration of Stoke Town.

Stoke-on-Trent’s Political Landscape Has A Change On The Horizon

Stoke-on-Trent is often described as ‘politically fragmented’.

In fact certain academic political commentators practically drool at the prospect that the city’s political structure is ‘broken’.

I have lost count at the many times that I have read, or been told by the great and the good that our city councillors lack quality and political acumen.

We currently have 9 political groups registered and represented in the council chamber. We are constantly told that this is a bad, bad thing.

Well we recently had a visit from the ‘Gossip Goblin’ to the Pits n Pots HQ. The good goblin told us that our city is about to get another political group, but not one like any other.

It would appear that this new group will be made up of councillors and former party activists that will put the communities that they represent as their number one priority.

Indeed it would seem that they see themselves as the voice of the communities.

They will have policies that are agreed by the majority but spurn the idea of a party whip as they would spurn a rabid dog.

Their policies, the Gossip Goblin told us, will have a strong socialist element to them. They are 100% committed to the delivery of top quality public services.

The new group feel that they have no alternative but to come together and scrutinise the Council Leader, his cabinet and the officer core. They feel that Stoke-on-Trent has been left with a political vacuum caused by the main parties entering into a coalition with the City Independents, thus robbing the electorate of a party that has got their backs.

The Gossip Goblin warned us that there will be collateral damage caused to the council chamber with the formation of this new political group. There are rumours that a number of councillors sitting in all groups who are despondent with the coalition policies, are waiting to join forces with this new band of merry men and women.

The launch of this new ‘people first – party’s second’ group is only a short time away and as more details emerge, or in the event of a further visit from the Gossip Goblin, we will be first to bring you the latest developments…..

Life As A Stoke-on-Trent Councillor – So Far, So Good

By Cllr Abi Brown [Meir Park & Sandon]

If a week is a long time in politics, then six weeks seems like a lifetime.

I’ve attended two full Councils, made my first speech and started to get into the routine of Council work, though I still don’t feel any surer about the answer to the most asked question of, “So what’s it like being a councillor?”

Although I have some experience in local government and politics, I didn’t expect to be quite so busy ““ I am a fairly well organised person, but trying to run my council diary and fitting in ward work alongside my work diary and family commitments is tough at times. Prioritising what needs doing can also be difficult ““ a few weeks ago, I had to send apologies to a committee meeting as I feel that important ward meetings should take precedence. I will now never get a gold star for 100% attendance, however I was able to have a big input into the priorities for my ward over the next 12 months.

The amount of paper arriving for me has diminished, though I am still trying to get my head round the system for council post. I aim to nip into the Civic Centre at least once a week to empty my pigeon hole, yet almost without fail an envelope of council post arrives either the night before or the morning after. It is interesting to see which departments and organisations are now almost entirely paper-free, using e-bulletins for briefings, and contrast to those who must be almost solely responsible for the eradication of a rainforest each every month. Most annoying are those who email me a letter, then post it to me themselves (rather than in a bundle with other post) and finally put a copy in my pigeon hole too for good measure. I am considering setting up a system of fines for the worst offenders.

One of my election commitments was having a regular surgery, which starts in July. I’ve also set up a blog (www.abibrown.wordpress.com) and you can follow me on Twitter too (@abibrown1), though I’ve also been getting out and about at various groups. I’m still deciding whether it’s a good thing to be told, “We thought you’d turn up,” when you arrive at a small community event. I suspect some think this enthusiasm will trail off, but as Conservative members will tell you, I am this enthusiastic all the time about being out in all weathers, chatting to people and campaigning.

My family are getting used to it ““ my parents are very proud, as are the rest of my family, however for my 4 year old son, it’s just another job Mummy does, albeit one that sometimes requires him to be dragged along to strange events with strange people who want to talk to him (he is quite shy). At times, it does require some juggling and I can’t always attend things, so instead I prioritise what I go to and get individual briefings where necessary, but then the same is the case for any working councillor.

The second most asked question at the moment is, “But are you enjoying it?” Without a moment’s hesitation, the answer to that is yes. Making a difference in your community is what does it for me

“Goldie” Celebrates One Hundred Years of Stoke-on-Trent

Stoke-on-Trent’s centenary puppy has been named ““ in honour of The Staffordshire Hoard.

In a competition organised by former Lord Mayor Councillor Jean Bowers to name a puppy who will grow up to be a hearing dog, the name “ËœGoldie’ was the winning entry.

Jane Moore, winner of the competition, said:

“I picked “ËœGoldie’ because it was something that reminded me of the centenary of Stoke-on-Trent. It has been a golden year for the city with the arrival of the Staffordshire Hoard and I thought this was the best way to celebrate it.”

Jane got to meet Goldie at the Civic Centre in Stoke on Tuesday, along with staff from the Hearing Dogs for the Deaf Charity, who have received £8,000 from the £17,000 Councillor Bowers raised during her time as Lord Mayor last year.

Councillor Bowers added:

“It is great to see so many people taking an interest in naming the puppy. “ËœGoldie’ is a wonderful name and I chose it as the winning entry because Jane said it reminded them of the centenary of the city ““ a Golden Year.”

Stoke-on-trent City Councillors Dress Code Comes Under Scrutiny

The chosen dress code of a certain Stoke-on-Trent Labour Group Councillor is becoming the talk of the Civic Centre.

Cllr Tony Fradley who represents the Chell & Packmoor Ward has turned up to two meeting wearing a polo shirt, shorts and open toed sandals.

This has caused amusement in some quarters of the members room and an increasing number of councillors are voicing their concern at what they described as a blatant example of a lack of respect for the office of councillor.

Some councillors do not have an issue with ‘dressing down’ for committee meetings, but a large number say that it is disrespectful to the Lord Mayor to turn up for a full council meeting in such a ‘casual fashion’.

Writing on his Potteye Blog, Cllr Mike Barnes said:

Took this picture[see below] of an unnamed Stoke-on-Trent Labour councillor leaving a meeting they had just had of the Transformation and Resources Committee.

The same councillor then turned up in the very same shorts to the full council meeting last week three days later.

A number of members of the public have already commented to me and others that they thought it inappropriate and disrespectful, especially at full council with the Lord Mayor’s presence.

According to an ex councillor, who served on the council for many years, there is no written dress code that a Councillor has to adhere to. But, the understanding between members particularly in the past, was that they were to dress smartly in appearance.

Since Pits n Pots have started to cover the council meetings, we have found that most councillors dress like the officers and employee’s of the authority.

Council employees are reminded to dress appropriately but are given dispensation in periods of very warm weather.

A serving councillor who did not wish to be named told us that there is no way that former Lord Mayor Cllr Jean Bowers would have allowed Cllr Fradley to dress so casually for a full council meeting in the chamber. He said:

“you know what she was like for respecting the mace.

He would have been ordered out of the chamber and forced to go home to change.

God help him if his phone would have gone of too, he would have been banished to a rocky outcrop off the coast of North wales!”

It has been suggested that it is down to the Lord Mayor to set the standards in the chamber. and as current Lord Mayor, Cllr Denver Tolley is a lot more ‘laid back’ than previous occupiers of the office, maybe he is comfortable with councillors dressing how they wish.

Cllr Tony Fradley said today [Wednesday]:

“As a company director, when I’m at work I will dress accordingly, IE suit & tie.

But when I’m not at work I will dress in accordance with the weather. Both of the meetings in question were on very warm days so I dressed in designer shorts and a polo shirt.

I would like to point out that even though I attended full council in shorts, later that day I wore suit to the Lord Mayors dinner.

Most organisation have a ‘dress down’ day and I don’t see anything wrong in this.

I certainly don’t lack respect for the office of Lord Mayor, particularly the current one Cllr Tolley who is a good friend of mine.

Today, I am at the civic and have been in meetings and I am wearing a suit. It is all down to how I feel on the day”

What do you think?

Do you think that Cllr Barnes and others are wrong to criticise another councillors dress code?

Or, do you think it is disrespectful for a councillor to attend meetings dressed in shorts and sandals?

5oo Words – John Nicholls Non Aligned Candidate Norton & Bradeley


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**Archive Story From 2010 Election**
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Why should you vote for me?

Living and working in the area of Norton & Bradeley I meet many residents both young and old who raise many issues about what they would like to see improved in their local community.

To me the most important part of being a Councillor is listening to the community of people they serve. I know that I am unable to do everything alone so working alongside people who give their time in voluntary organisations for the community is one of the top
priorities for me.

I am a straight talking person, easy to contact and will
always be honest with people. If elected I will work to keep services based at Local level and help to improve them. It is far from ideal at the moment where residents have to make long bus journeys or make phone calls to
faceless people based in the Civic Centre.

I make you this promise should I get elected I will do everything in my power to work in partnership with all
sections of the community and agencies to make Norton and Bradeley a safer and a better place to live and work.

Anti-social behaviour is a top priority for residents ASBO’s are one answer but we have to do more to improve and
provide more youth and play facilities for our young people. These need to be supervised in an organised manner so that not only the young people benefit but also the wider community by reducing crime and anti-social behaviour and making everyone feel that they are part of the community.

I look forward to being involved in the decision making process at the Civic Centre and I make this promise that I will not shirk any responsibility and make sure that I
get the best outcome for our community. I truly believe that the community of Norton and Bradeley comes first and the Politics of NEED not GREED is my top priority.

John Nicholls

Historic Town Of Stoke To Get New Lease Of Life

A plan is to be created for the future redevelopment of one of the historic towns of Stoke-on-Trent.

The North Staffordshire Regeneration Partnership (NSRP) has advertised for a company to create a masterplan for Stoke Town.

The masterplan will guide investment in to the town over the coming 10 to 15 years. It will also show how the historic town centre pottery site, Spode Works, can be redeveloped to play a significant role in the regeneration of Stoke Town.

Spode Works, in Elenora Street, Stoke, lays claim to the longest continuous period of pottery production. Built in 1759 the 10 acre site consists of buildings of international heritage significance and offers a unique opportunity to develop a mixed-use scheme which will lead to the regeneration of the town.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council, part of the NSRP which is leading the £1.5 billion regeneration programme across North Staffordshire, has in principle agreed the basis of a purchase of the Spode Works site. Through careful design, the site could be connected to the Kingsway car park site, which is next to the Civic Centre, bringing the site further into the town centre.

The partnership is now looking for a multi disciplinary team of architects, engineers and environmental experts to draw up the masterplan for the future of Stoke Town and the Spode site. Teams have until 12 April to submit expressions of interest through the Local Government eTendering Service at www.wmcoe.bravosolution.co.uk. Short-listed teams will then be selected by early May.

Kevin Bell, Stoke town regeneration manager, said:

“Stoke Town enjoys a wealth of industrial heritage, has great connections with the University Quarter and Stoke railway station and is the civic heart of the city. We are taking an aspirational approach to the town and looking to attract high profile architects and designers to create a scheme that breathes new life in to the area. Inspired design can generate quality solutions to attract the investment needed to develop a thriving town full of opportunity.”

Stoke Town is home to Stoke Minster where some of the town’s most famous potters are buried including Josiah Spode and Josiah Wedgwood. The town is also home to the city’s Civic Centre, railway station and the rapidly developing University Quarter.

Spode Works, in the heart of the town, is probably best known for its blue-printed pottery and Willow Pattern. The company also invented bone china, which has been the standard British porcelain now for more than two hundred years. The Spode brand is still in production with Portmeirion Pottery continuing to produce many of the collections in the iconic brand.

The Spode Works site was acquired by the company’s founder Josiah Spode in 1776 and was operational as the Spode Works until 2008. The factory underwent extensive rebuilding and enlargement in the 1820′s and 1830′s. The more interesting buildings, in the courtyard in the northwest of the site, were Grade II listed in December 2007. The site is now recognised as being of national importance. It offers a remarkable opportunity for sensitive redevelopment in order to lead the regeneration of Stoke Town.

Volunteers set for double celebration

A group of young volunteers from Stoke-on-Trent is set for a double celebration in the next week.

The thirteen young people, aged 16 to 25 years old, will be honoured by the Lord Mayor of Stoke-on-Trent, Councillor Jean Bowers, this Friday, at 7pm at the Civic Centre for taking part in a pioneering nationwide scheme called “vtalent year” – launched by the National Volunteers Service.

They took part in a range of activities including helping at youth centres, schools and Stanley Head Outdoor Education Centre. The scheme involved the volunteers contributing 30 hours a week for 44 weeks in the council’s children and young people’s services.

Following the city council event on Friday the thirteen will be off to London next Tuesday to link up with other volunteers from around the country where they will receive the Prime Minister’s Award for National Civic Service, which will be presented by Angela Smith MP, Minister for the Third Sector.

Commenting on the achievements, Councillor Ian Mitchell, cabinet member for children and young people’s services, said: “For these young people to be honoured like this is a great reward for all their efforts and hard work. Not only has it given them an opportunity to help others, but they’ve also completed a training programme and gained some valuable qualifications, which will help them personally and professionally in the future.”

The local volunteers were among 400 nationwide who have been recognised for giving up a total of 300,000 hours to help others in their communities.

The London event will have a party feel to it with entertainment from pop stars Bashy and dance group Subcrew