Work is taking place to refurbish and renovate a row of shops in Stoke town centre – the final project to benefit from a £900,000 scheme being delivered by Stoke-on-Trent City Council.

The improvements to the properties on 104 -116 Church Street will see a total of seven shop fronts replaced, including new windows on the upper floors. It is the latest project to be carried out under the successful Stoke Town Partnership Scheme in Conservation Areas (PSiCA) – a collaboration between the city council and Historic England working to preserve and enhance conservation areas. The owner of the properties is planning to let them out to small businesses at affordable rates once the renovations are complete, breathing new life into the town and improving the overall appearance of the area.

Since it was granted by Historic England in 2015, the Stoke town PSiCA has seen £900,000 spent on 11 restoration and enhancement projects in the town. Last year the historic Sutherland Chambers, which dates back to 1899 and is directly across the road from 104-116 Church Street, benefited from £150,000 towards the repair or replacement of approximately 50 windows, new doors, new guttering and the replacement of late 20th century shop fronts with traditional shop fronts, retaining and repairing the historic elements where possible. In addition to the grant scheme, the owner also paid for the complete roof replacement and re-pointing of chimneys.

The scheme has offered grants of up to 60 per cent – split evenly between Historic England and the city council – to eligible property owners, with the remaining 40 per cent to be paid for by the property owner. Other projects have included: a £202,000 project (grant £114k) towards the conservation and repair of 11-17 Liverpool Road, which has since been brought back into use as part of the Spode Museum Trust, a £48,000 project (grant £29k) at Stoke Town Hall to restore stonework, clean and repair stained glass windows and roof lights, and remove a 1950s concrete canopy. The building is now promoted as a wedding and ceremony venue, a £22,000 project (grant £15k) to repair the historic stone plinths to the Smith Family Grade II-listed tombs at Stoke Minster churchyard, an £18,000 project (grant £11k) project to carry out external restoration works to 75-79 Church Street (former Barclays bank building). The upper floors of the building are now being marketed as accommodation, and the ground floor as retail or office, a £35,000 project (grant £21k) at 3 Brook Street, to undertake historic work to the front elevation of the building.

Cllr Daniel Jellyman, cabinet member for regeneration, infrastructure and heritage, said: “It’s fantastic to see all of the money from this funding pot now allocated and helping to improve Stoke town centre for businesses, residents, visitors and shoppers. The scheme has breathed new life into some of the town’s buildings and street scenes and is a great example of how the council can work in partnership with a national body like Historic England and the private sector to bring about positive changes.
“Once the renovation of these properties on Church Street is complete, it will make the area look much better and will provide a fantastic opportunity for small businesses. I’m looking forward to seeing businesses move into these units and really adding to the town.”

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