Over the past few months momentum for a new group in Stoke-on-Trent called "March on Stoke" has been growing.
Having met this week the group's decided that they should campaign under the umbrella ‘No confidence in our Council., in opposition of the plans to move the civic centre into Hanley costing over £50 million pounds. Local assests are being sold off to fund some of the build costs. All of this at a time were the council is facing massive funding cuts effecting many of the councils services.
I have wrote the below e-mail to all local Councillors and will publish their replies as and when
Have you had chance to read the Consultants reports produced for the City Council? Despite petitions of over 3000 local Councillors have been very quiet in giving their public support to the Cabinets decision to ignore the reports findings (see below).
The people of the City deserve answers, please reply giving reasons for your support based on the consultants reports and not what your press department have told you to say.
Your reply or Failure to reply will be reported on facebook and published as the “March to Stoke” protest progress across the City
King Sturge was appointed by Stoke on Trent City Council to review the 40 administrative buildings in Council occupation
a quick summary of the reports finding was
Prefferred Option 3a – Consolidate into city centre CBD project, core operational property plus such administrative buildings as required to include the Civic Centre
This option scores well across all categories, showing that it fits in well with the Council’s objectives. By taking a pre-let of the CBD scheme, the Council use its occupation to enable new development in the central business district that otherwise would not be viable. This in turn should see spin-off benefits to wider regeneration in the locality. By disposing of older stock and taking occupation of new BREEAM Excellent office space, the Council will improve the overall sustainability of its occupational estate. Retaining the Civic Centre maintains a presence in Stoke and is considered to be more appropriate politically
Current Proposal Option 4 – Consolidate into the CBD project
This option scores well in terms of achieving the Council’s strategic and economy and efficiency objectives, in particular for promoting city centre development, improving the sustainability of the Council’s operation and the economic position of the Council’s operation. However, the option scores poorly in terms of deliverability since it is considered to be too significant an operational change, and the single location is considered to provide a business continuity risk to the Council. Disposal of the current civic centre would also be problematic.
First Reply is from
Cllr Jack Brereton
Thank you for your email.
I would like to express my agreement with the preferred option 3a. I think proposal 4 is an exceptional risk the Council simply should not be taking, a huge number of residents in my ward have been in contact with me expressing their anger at this ridiculous wasteful decision. Whilst I agree with the need to consolidate office space and sell of some buildings to reduce long term costs, I feel the total abandonment of Stoke Town is totally unacceptable. The arguments that have been put that the Stoke Town package will be more attractive to developers remains totally unsubstantiated, meaning the move will likely impact on business in the Town. The Civic Centre should be a part of the consolidation of office space and could be utilised to a much greater extent than is currently the case, retaining a significant presence in Stoke Town. I also believe it is important for the Council to be supporting the creation of a CBD, but I don’t agree that it is necessary for the Council to invest all its resource in one extremely risky basket. Option 4 as you have pointed out ‘scores poorly on terms of deliverability’, the chances for failure are very high, with the potential economic success of the entire CBD project remaining untested by the market.
I continue to express my opposition to the current proposals.
Cllr Jack Brereton
Cllr Breeze - unaffiliated & Cllr Conway - City Independents
Have submitted the below motion to the Full Council meeting 23rd January.
In view of the dire economic circumstances, globally, nationally and in particular, devastatingly, locally in Stoke-on-Trent, and in light of widespread public disapproval of the council’s previous decision to borrow £40m, and rising, of taxpayers money to relocate the civic headquarters from Stoke Town to Hanley, this council:
1) radically rethink it’s overall strategy of the future regeneration of the city centre and the city of Stoke-on-Trent as a whole, and whilst the strategy is revised, the £40m proposed borrowing for the Central Business District contained in the council approved capital programme be suspended.
2) request the Cabinet to rescind the decision to move the civic headquarters from Stoke Town to Hanley, and retain the civic centre building in its current location and for its current use in Stoke Town.
Cllr Platt- Labour
Hase called the March on Stoke group
Trotskyists, racists, petit-nationalists, doom-sayers etc. etc. and hangers on!!
Cllr Ann James - City Independent
In July 2008 Peter KB & I called in the Strategic Partner Proposal Delivery. This was to move to the New proposed Business Quarter. The intention was to kick start the Business Quarter in Hanley. The only difference with this proposed move, there is no Strategic Partner YET planned.
At that time there was the same concerns, ie.
What plans are in place for Stoke when they vacate the Civic Centre.
How will over costs be funded?
Where is it in the policy framework? etc
It is strange that this Chief Exectutive in 2010 advise against this move, what has changed.
They could not answer the question then, nothing has changed. At least at that time it went to scrutiny, this has not been allowed this time, even although Dave Conway tried to move a motion at Full Council, Labour out voted the opposition.
At the time that this council is making cuts to front line services, redundancies, the present economic situation in the country, this move should not go ahead. There is no evidence that it will bring in jobs, the Council are making people redundant to pay for the move.
If this move goes ahead my concern is they will then look for a Strategic Parnter and follow Staffordshire County Council, what happens to the New Civic Centre then?
If this move goes ahead Labour will have fullfilled there orginal Plan in 2008.