Multi-million pound plans for a retirement village on a derelict factory site have been unveiled. The redevelopment of the Crown Works in Longton would see the creation of 62 apartments for the over-55s, along with a courtyard and communal garden.
Members of the public are being invited to have their say on the draft proposals for the former Tams factory before a planning application for the scheme is submitted. The project, which is being delivered by Ovi Homes, has been allocated £6.5 million of taxpayers’ cash from the government’s Levelling Up fund, following a bid from Stoke-on-Trent City Council.
The Crown Works dates back to 1841 and was in use for over 160 years until Tams Group went into receivership in 2006. Since the factory closed the site has sustained fire damage and become a magnet for anti-social behaviour.
According to Ovi’s consultation website, heritage has been a ‘leading consideration’ in the design of the scheme. While the facade of the building fronting The Strand would be retained, all other buildings would be demolished.
The website states: “The heritage assessment notes that the site has fallen into a significant state of disrepair and is in a derelict condition. Without intervention the site is at great risk of deteriorating further.
“The main architectural value of the site is derived from the facade of building A fronting the Strand and so this will be retained within the development. However, the remaining buildings have been significantly altered throughout the years and are considered detrimental to the sites overall appearance so these will not be retained.
“The assessment concludes that the proposed design will add visual interest to the site and signify a new phase in the life of this long-since vacant site, reinforcing its role as a local landmark at this key gateway into Longton and contributing positively to the distinctiveness and vitality of the conservation area.”
The development would consist of four buildings, ranging between four and five storeys. There would be 35 one-bedroom and 27 two-bedroom apartments, with 25 per cent of the homes set to be affordable.
Balconies would face an internal courtyard, with a communal seating area and private outdoor space. Primary vehicles access would be via The Strand, and there would be 31 parking spaces.
A spokesperson for Ovi Homes said: “Since the closure of the Crown Works site in 2006, this important gateway site into Longton has suffered from fire damage, anti-social behaviour, partial demolition, and collapse. OVI Homes is delighted to be undertaking pre-application consultation on our plans to transform the site to provide a high quality scheme of 62 retirement (over 55s) homes, 31 car parking spaces, provision for cycle storage and attractive communal gardens.
“The pre-application process closes on Friday 26th August and we would encourage as many people as possible to view the plans and provide feedback via the project website. OVI Homes will review all the feedback prior to submitting the final plans to Stoke-on-Trent City Council.”
Stoke-on-Trent South MP Jack Brereton welcomed the plans. He said: “It is fantastic to see us move one step closer to the redevelopment of this important gateway site in Longton. This site has been derelict for many years since the closure of Tams and the redevelopment of the Crown Works site is a key part of the regeneration of Longton.
“The government Levelling Up Fund has been a key part of enabling this site to progress and will leverage in significant private investment to the town. This will bring new residential uses into Longton, helping improve the future success of the wider town centre.”
Dave Proudlove, founder of development and regeneration advisers URBME, is also glad to see the site being brought back into use. He said: “It’s a relief to finally see a solution for the site after all this time. Putting vacant historic buildings to use to address local housing needs is a real positive, and it will hopefully generate some much-needed footfall for Longton town centre.”
View the proposals and have your say by visiting the consultation website. The pre-application consultation ends on August 26.