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New name for huge Stoke-on-Trent regeneration scheme as council turns to private sector to help fund the project

Written by on 18/01/2022

A major regeneration scheme which aims to revitalise Stoke-on-Trent’s city centre has been given a new name.

The East-West shopping precinct site and the former bus station, in Hanley, has been earmarked for redevelopment for many years.

Since proposals were first put forward for the site, it has been referred to as a number of different names – including City Sentral, Unity Walk and most recently the City Centre Regeneration Area.

But now the scheme has been officially renamed Etruscan Square, according to StokeonTrentLive.

The most recent plans for the site – which were unveiled in 2020 – include an indoor arena, a multi-storey car park, a 10-storey block of flats as well as a 138-bed hotel and 82,000 sq ft of commercial space.

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Stoke-on-Trent City Council says the new name is more fitting for a leisure, retail and commercial development.

Councillor Daniel Jellyman, deputy council leader and cabinet member for regeneration, said: “The architects came up with various suggestions for the name but none of them really worked….It needed to be something that sells the site as something high quality.

“When Wedgwood built his new factory he named it after the Etruscan civilisation who were known for their pottery. They built a great civilisation and he believed he was doing the same.

“So we decided on the name Etruscan Square to connect back to Wedgwood, and the original Etruscans. It’s also good that there isn’t another place called Etruscan Square in the country, so it will be unique.”

The re-brand comes as the city council launches a bid for private sector investment to help fund the £38 million project.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council secured £20 million for the scheme from the government’s Levelling Up Fund last year, which will help to get the redevelopment off the ground.

But now the authority is looking to gain private sector funding to support further phases of the scheme.

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Councillor Jellyman said: “We’re very keen to get private sector investment in Etruscan Square. On Friday we’ll be hosting our first investor event, where we’ll be speaking to developers from across the West Midlands and North West. There will be another investor even in London next month.

“Now that we have the Levelling Up funding from the government, that removes the risk for the private sector. We’ll be selling this development as a turnkey scheme, where they’ll be able to see an immediate return on their investment.

“We are seeing more private sector interest in Stoke-on-Trent now. Smithfield was an entirely public sector development, while the Goods Yard is half-and-half, with our partnership with Capital & Centric.

“With Etruscan Square we are looking for private sector investment for most of the development. But we are planning to retain the multi-storey car park, as that will bring in an income that will help repay our borrowing.”

The city council is due to submit a planning application for Etruscan Square in March, with work on the first phase potentially getting underway this summer.

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