A major national organisation that champions England’s heritage has completed a two-day visit to sites across Stoke-on-Trent.
Historic England commissioners and its executive board explored existing historical projects and future opportunities that support the city’s culture and heritage priorities.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council hosted the visit, which included a tour of Stoke’s High Street Heritage Action Zone sites and Spode to hear the council’s proposals for the site, ending with a tour of Burslem, the ‘mother town’ of the city, including Burslem Market, Queen’s Theatre and Wedgwood Institute.
Senior representatives from the City Council included Council Leader Abi Brown and newly appointed Heritage Champion Councillor Dean Richardson, who met with Historic England representatives, including Chief Executive Duncan Wilson and Chair Sir Laurie Magnus.
Councillor Brown said: “This visit builds on years of hard work put in to developing a good relationship with Historic England. This is just the latest visit in a long line of visits and engagements. Stoke-on-Trent is blessed with a rich cultural heritage and we’re determined that the wonderful buildings and architecture that link us to our past have a long future for generations to enjoy.
“We know that a number of these beautiful buildings are in private ownership and we have been able to demonstrate how good, constructive work with responsible owners have restored historic buildings in Stoke town. It is also clear that some of our city’s heritage buildings are in the ownership of people who do not care about them and would prefer to see them deteriorate rather than maintain them. We are committed to using our power and influence to bring these owners to task.”
Councillor Richardson added: “Hosting such high-level representatives from Historic England is a real coup for the city. It adds momentum to work under way such as through the heritage congress, and is a further sign of successful partnerships with agencies with specialist expertise that can help our work in the city.”
Sir Laurie Magnus, Chair of Historic England, said: “It has been hugely rewarding for my fellow Commissioners and I to see the collective vision for Stoke-on-Trent’s heritage regeneration and the landmark historic properties that are waiting to be restored and reused, alongside examples of success. I am really pleased that through the Stoke High Street Heritage Action Zone, Historic England is supporting the commitment to the town’s revitalisation that we’ve seen here. Heritage can not only contribute to long-term growth, but also has the power to improve lives.”