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Stoke-on-Trent City Council set to sell off historic buildings

Hanley Town Hall which is set to be closed to the public and sold off by the City Council

Stoke-on-Trent City Council have announced proposals to sell off more than 20 properties.

The authority is putting the plans forward to dispose of the sites to full council, as it tries to look for savings of over £9 million over the next financial year.

The decision will mean that some services in the Six Towns will have to relocate to new premises, or residents will have to make use of alternate provisions in other parts of the city.

Under the proposals a number of local centres are set to close permanently while others will relocate to other council owned facilities.

Among the more prominent buildings on the list are Hanley Library and Hanley Town Hall.

The proposed sale of the building that houses Hanley Library and the City Archives was announced before Christmas, and will see staff and services move around the corner into Smithfield 2 before the end of 2020.

The city council’s Registrars service will move from Hanley Town Hall into the recently refurbished Stoke Town Hall later this year – offering couples more choice and better facilities for marriages and weddings.

The service is being moved between the Grade II listed buildings so that marriages and weddings can be hosted in their entirety at Stoke Town Hall, rather than across the two buildings.

The council says that the town hall at Stoke, which underwent a £1.5 million refurbishment in 2018, has a much wider choice of rooms and upgraded facilities than Hanley Town Hall, as well as better parking for guests.

The move will also mean couples will now be able to have the option of having a civil ceremony, followed by a reception all under one roof.

The last civil ceremony at Hanley Town Hall will be held on Saturday, October 3.

The city council has contacted everyone with bookings after that date to talk them through the change in venue, and will be arranging open days at Stoke Town Hall so people can view the venue.

Anyone with bookings before that date have also been contacted and reassured their marriage ceremony will go ahead as planned at Hanley Town Hall.

The service for registering births and deaths is also moving to Stoke Town Hall as part of the change, along with the coroner’s service.

Councillor Randy Conteh, cabinet member for communities and safer city, said: “Hanley Town Hall has been a very popular wedding venue over the years, with thousands of people getting married there, but it doesn’t make sense for us to continue offering marriages at two town halls, as it can be confusing for anyone looking to make a booking.

“Moving to Stoke Town Hall will mean we can offer a complete wedding package to residents, from having just the civil ceremony on its own, to the wedding breakfast and evening reception, which is something we couldn’t do at Hanley.

"We’re excited to be able to do that and we think couples will be as well when the see the stunning facilities in Stoke Town Hall.

“We’ve spoken to every couple with bookings at Hanley Town Hall after October 3 to tell them about the move, and have written to couples with marriage ceremonies booked in before that date to tell them they are unaffected.

"If the move causes difficulties for any couples then we will of course work with them and see what we can do to help.

“The feedback that we have had is that town hall in Stoke is a stunning venue after the refurbishment work was carried out, and I’d encourage anyone who hasn’t been there to come and see for themselves at one of the open days.

"It really is one of the jewels in the city’s crown and is a fantastic venue for weddings with some amazing rooms, and so many opportunities for great photographs.”

When the Registrars service moves from Hanley Town Hall, the building will no longer be open to the public.

Other buildings around the city earmarked for disposal include:

  • Swift House,
  • parking services on Regent Road,
  • Queen’s Theatre,
  • Burslem Market,
  • Tunstall Library and Swimming Pool,
  • Tunstall Children’s Centre, social service contact centres in Burslem and Trent Vale,
  • Local Centres at Smithfield, Chell, Burslem, Fenton, Norton, Meir Local Centre and library, a small number of targeted buildings at Spode Works,
  • The former Mitchell High School,
  • The former Edensor High School,
  • The former Berry Hill High School and
  • The former Marychurch School.  

Councillor Daniel Jellyman, cabinet member for regeneration, infrastructure and heritage, said: “We review our assets on a regular basis to ensure they are being used in the most effective way, and to make sure we are getting best value for taxpayers at a time when every pound counts.

“The economy in Stoke-on-Trent is strong now, and that is down in part to council leadership and investment in assets such as town halls in Stoke, Longton and Tunstall, Spode and Smithfield.

"The private sector has seen the council put its money where its mouth is and invest in the city, and they now want a slice of the action themselves.

“The assets we are listing for development are ones the private sector have shown an interest in. 

"We don’t want them boarded up and empty, we will be looking to get them redeveloped as soon as possible, to benefit our High Streets, town centres and communities.

"Our economy is on the up and that gives us real confidence when it comes to attracting investors.

“We understand some of the buildings up for sale will be well-known and hold some special memories for people, they are part of our history and heritage.

"This is a really exciting opportunity to work with the private sector to regenerate and transform some of our assets and bring about real positive change for communities across the city over the next ten years, and for future generations too.”

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