A scheme to improve the public realm and paving around Stoke-on-Trent’s main railway station, including the planting of 13 new street trees, is due to get under way.
The work will see improvements to Winton Square and Station Road, jointly funded by the first tranche of the Department for Transport’s Transforming Cities Fund and Stoke-on-Trent City Council.
Ahead of the main work, some trees on Station Road which were in poor health and had a relatively short life expectancy were removed earlier in the year. They will be replaced by 13 new semi-mature trees which will be planted in specialist tree pits, designed to support trees in paved areas. The large London plane trees in Winton Square are not affected by the work.
The main public realm work, which is expected to take five months to complete, will see yorkstone paving – matching the area immediately outside the station – renewed in Winton Square and installed on both sides of the road from the station entrance to the junction with College Road. The seating in Winton Square and around the station will also be replaced and improved, along with new kerbs and bollards. Station road will remain open to traffic during the work but will be down to one lane for safety.
Cllr Daniel Jellyman, cabinet member for regeneration, infrastructure and heritage, said: “The train station is a key gateway to the city and provides the first or last impression of Stoke-on-Trent for many visitors. Winton Square with its listed buildings and the Grade II listed train station itself are naturally very pleasing on the eye, and we are lucky to have such an architecturally impressive station area. The work will improve the overall appearance of the area, tidy the layout of Winton Square with better seating for the public and improve the connection between the station and University Quarter. The new trees will be put in specially designed trenches where they should be able to thrive and grow.
“We are in unprecedented times due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and we are continually reacting to the latest government guideline for construction works. The health and safety of workers and the public is our number one priority and all the necessary risk assessments have been carried out for this work to take place in a safe manner. The funding for this work was secured last year and it’s important we continue to move forward with projects which are going to improve the city and support the economy in the long-term.”
The project comes as the city council continues to work in co-development with the Department for Transport to access a second wave of Transforming Cities Funds to improve public transport, cycling and walking routes in the city.
Cllr Jellyman added: “These initial improvements are the lead into the future phases of work we hope to be able to carry out in the area if we are successful with our bid.”
The Winton Square and Station Road improvements were allocated funding through the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP’s Local Growth Fund as part of the city centre access project.
LEP acting chairman Alun Rogers said: “We’re pleased to see this important city centre gateway project get under way. It is critical we continue with these projects where we can to ensure the local economy can move forward as quickly as possible.”