Longton is set to benefit from Stoke-on-Trent being awarded Heritage Action Zone status.
As part of the five-year scheme, the ambition is to bring neglected buildings back into use as housing or retail spaces, improve areas to kick-start regeneration, attract more visitors and transform the ‘at risk’ Longton conservation area.
While the Heritage Action Zone – one of eight announced around the country – will focus on the town of Longton, other aspects of the programme will aim to safeguard the future of the iconic surviving 48 bottle ovens and kilns throughout Stoke-on-Trent.
Heritage Action Zones aim to unleash the power in England’s historic environment to create economic growth and improve quality of life in villages, towns and cities.
Working with local people and partners, Historic England will help to breathe new life into old places that are rich in heritage and full of promise – unlocking their potential and making them more attractive to residents, businesses, tourists and investors.
The scheme is being led by the city council and will help to restore Longton’s historic character, insert new housing into historic buildings, rescue bottle kiln sites throughout Stoke-on-Trent, boost tourism and create jobs.
The detailed plan for the Heritage Action Zone will be worked up by spring 2018, and will include any grant-funding to be provided by Historic England.
Heritage Minister John Glen said: “Our heritage not only tells the story of our past, it creates great places to live, work and visit. The Heritage Action Zone scheme will make the most out of Stoke-on-Trent’s historic environment to kick-start regeneration, increase tourism and boost investment.”
Veryan Heal, planning director for Historic England in the West Midlands, said: “Longton has so much to be proud of, from the Gladstone Pottery Museum to its historic high street. Some of its historic buildings are showing signs of neglect but with a little investment and imagination they can become assets for the local community to enjoy and for the whole of Stoke-on-Trent’s economy. We are looking forward to working with Stoke-on-Trent City Council to increase awareness of what Longton has to offer and to make it easy for investors and developers to bring jobs, homes and visitors here.”