The most visible sign of Burslem’s decline is seen on a high street littered with To Let signs and dozens of empty shops – but could the Mother Town’s fortunes by revived by niche, independent stores and a 'cafe culture'? A shop count carried out by Stoke-on-Trent City Council officers last October, showed there were 139 potential business properties within the town centre, of which 41 were empty – a vacancy rate of 29 per cent. Since then, the most startling attack on the high street has been the loss of all Burslem’s banks. NatWest closed last October, and then the Mother Town’s last remaining bank, Lloyds, closed in April. The fall of Burslem’s once thriving high street can be directly linked to the collapse of industry. Gone are the days when thousands of workers would pack into Burslem town centre during lunch breaks, when factories like Royal Doulton, Johnson Matthey and Sadlers were at their peak. It has also suffered – like all … [Read more...] about Could a cafe culture & ‘destination shops’ help revitalise Burslem?
“Beauty was achieved, and none saw it,” wrote Arnold Bennett of the Burslem encapsulated in his classic novel Clayhanger. It’s fair to say the beauty which so enthralled the novelist when he walked through the Mother Town, has gone unnoticed by many within the national press who ritually bash Burslem on an annual basis. Burslem was called a ‘ghost town’ by The Sun in March, after it was revealed it has the lowest shop occupancy rate in the country – not the first time it has achieved this dubious distinction. The description in Britain’s best-selling tabloid was of, ‘empty shops, dilapidated buildings and tatty To Let signs’, which, ‘stretch along Britain’s worst-hit high street’. A year earlier the same story appeared on the pages of the national press, when The Daily Mail wrote: “Pictures of the once-thriving Potteries town now show an empty, desolate high street with dozens of boarded up shops.” … [Read more...] about The rise & fall of Burslem
Port Vale owner Norman Smurthwaite has revealed he attempted to buy the old Natwest Bank building in Burslem. Smurthwaite bid for the building, in Fountain Place, when it went up for auction last month. It was put up for sale with a guide price of £145,000 but eventually sold to another bidder for £175,000. He believed the building would make good premises for the Vale community scheme, which currently rents offices at Vale Park. The Vale owner said: "I did try to buy the one in Burslem because the community scheme is growing so quickly. But someone else made a higher offer in the auction. "I wanted to buy it and donate it to the Port Vale community scheme because the scheme is growing, which is a positive. "The old Natwest bank building is an iconic building in Burslem, and only five minutes from the club so was ideal." Although he was outbid at the auction, Smurthwaite says he could remain interested if the building became available. Smurthwaite says he has been impressed … [Read more...] about Port Vale owner’s bid for iconic Burslem building
Burslem have vowed to lodge an appeal against 71-point deduction imposed by the North Staffs and South Cheshire League Regulatory Board. The Premier Division club were punished after it emerged they fielded two overseas players in four league matches this season. Clubs are only permitted to register and play one in any league and cup fixture. Burslem had registered Kamran Ghulam as their overseas player - a Category 3 - and also fielded former Somerset and Glamorgan all-rounder Jim Allenby. Allenby, who was born in Australia, is a British passport holder and qualifies to play for England and was registered as a Category 1 player by Burslem. However, because he spent more than the allowed number of days out of the country in the last 12 months and wasn’t born in the UK, he is deemed by ECB club cricket rules not to qualify as a local player. Burslem fielded both Allenby and Ghulam in matches against Leek, Whitmore, Longton and Ashcombe Park. They have now lost all of the points … [Read more...] about Burslem to launch appeal against NSSCL Premier Division points deduction
Since gaining the courage to join a slimming group two years ago Alex Foster-Pegg has not only lost 10 stone – but has met a new partner and moved almost 200 miles to start a fresh life. The 43-year-old’s ‘life changing’ journey with Weight Watchers began when Alex found out she was pregnant and wanted to get healthy to cope with the demands of raising a child. But after initially going to help her lose weight she went on to meet partner Simon Clegg through the slimming group’s website and has now swapped Dorset for Burslem. Now the chef, whose daughter Ella will turn three next month, is set to run her own Weight Watchers sessions. When she joined a slimming group in Dorset back in January 2016, she was 20 stone and 5lbs. Alex said: “I was always led to believe I wouldn’t have children and then I found out I was pregnant. Being older I wanted to make sure I was able to do everything this child would want to do and be able to run around after … [Read more...] about This 43-year-old lost 10 stone… and then swapped Dorset for Burslem!