The building of 135 new, high quality homes in a Stoke-on-Trent town is progressing rapidly following a pause in work due to coronavirus restrictions.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council is developing two sites in Fenton as part of a wider investment in the area. The two council-owned sites are the former Workshop site – previously known as the ‘Stoke Workshop for the Blind and Disabled’ – and the local centre and car park, off City Road.

Alongside the £8 million new-build scheme at the sheltered housing complex Queen Elizabeth II Court, this development will see an additional £18 million invested into Fenton. Funding is being provided by the Housing Revenue Account capital programme and grants from Homes England.

Leading regeneration business Seddon Construction Limited were appointed to develop the sites in December 2019 and permission was granted after planning approval and a consultation with residents and local businesses. Since work began in February 2020 on the workshop site, demolition work and the erecting of the site hoarding has taken place leaving the front façade of the main workshop building standing. This will be incorporated into the design of the new supported housing scheme.

Bottle-kiln-remains-fenton
Remains of a Bottle Kiln which were discovered at the Fenton site.

An archaeological dig has also been carried and uncovered well-preserved evidence of the bottle ovens and kilns used in the production of the factory’s wares. The factory was established around 1800 by the partnership of Harrison and Hyatt and was later taken over by the Pratt family of Fenton, who continued at the works until at least 1916. The site was redeveloped in the early 1930s as the Stoke Workshop for the Bind.

The former workshop, which has been empty since 2013, will become a new sheltered housing scheme of 65 homes for supported accommodation – mainly for older people – as well as a mixture of 28 two and three-bedroom family homes at the entrance to the site. Completion of the 28 two and three-bedroom family homes is expected by September 2021 with the 65 homes for supported accommodation being completed in January 2022.

Work is progressing on the second site which previously contained the council’s local centre and car park that hosts the weekly Fenton outdoor market. A new public car park will be provided in this area, which will host the traders on market day. Two apartment blocks providing 42 new affordable homes with private parking are also to be built on the site. They have been designed so people on City Road would still be able to see through to the market and the cenotaph in Albert Square.

The demolition of Fenton Local Centre has taken place and the foundations have been built for the new market block. Work will now commence on the main brickwork for the new market building alongside the formation of the new car park. Completion of the new Fenton town centre car park and market block is expected in October 2020 and the 42 apartments January 2022.

Councillor Joanne Powell-Beckett, the city council’s cabinet member for housing, said: “It’s fantastic news that the developments are progressing well. We are committed to investing in all of our towns and supporting housing growth across the city. These new homes will offer a choice of housing, with proposals for a modern supported housing scheme largely for older people, family homes, and contemporary apartments. Housing growth is at the heart of the city’s journey to economic independence, and making sure we have the right sort of homes that are high quality and attractive is an important part of this process.”

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