Plans have been unveiled to build two 11-storey ‘build to rent’ apartment blocks in the city centre – the first development of its kind in Stoke-on-Trent.
A public consultation has today (Monday, July 31) been launched about the proposed residential development at Smithfield, which will be delivered by developer Genr8 in partnership with the city council-owned housing company Fortior Homes.
The scheme has been designed specifically as a build to rent scheme to provide long-term private rental homes. The first residential block would deliver 151 apartments and consist of a mixture of one and two-bedroom units, with amenity space and communal gardens. There would also be leisure, commercial and retail opportunities on the ground floor, including a gym, office space and retail units.
The second building of 126 units, if approved, would be part of a future phase.
A planning application for the two blocks is due to be submitted to the city council in mid-August. Comments received during the consultation – which takes place until August 13 – will be considered for the final submission.
Fortior Homes is a private housing company established by the council to deliver high quality homes that address identified gaps in the private sector housing market. Delivering this scheme through Fortior Homes will generate income for the council, which can be used to support wider day-to-day service provision within the city. Fortior Homes will have a programme of ongoing activity in years to come, with this proposed scheme being an exciting early example.
Councillor Randy Conteh, the council’s cabinet member for housing, communities and safer city, said: “Historically there has been a lack of major residential development in Stoke-on-Trent’s city centre in comparison to similar-sized cities like Derby and Leicester.
“This would be a high quality development which will set a benchmark for similar schemes in the city and beyond, and importantly will remain affordable for people living or working in Stoke-on-Trent. It will primarily target 20 to 35-year-old single people and couples already living here, as well as those commuting here for work.
“The city centre is rapidly changing and has seen a lot of investment in recent years, from public realm improvements to new leisure developments such as the Hive, and the opening of new shops, restaurants and businesses – which is no more evident than in Piccadilly.
“One thing we need to improve is our city living offer, which currently falls behind compared to other cities. This will give the city centre permanent residents, who will increase footfall, support the local businesses and lead to further investment.
“This is a very exciting development for the city centre and Smithfield coming on the back of the Hilton Garden Inn plans being approved.”
Richard Ingham, partner at Genr8 Developments, said: “The delivery of high quality build to rent apartments is key to the ongoing regeneration of the city centre and wider Stoke-on-Trent economy.
“Alongside the delivery of the new Hilton Garden Inn these are really exciting times at Smithfield and as a result the scheme will undergo a further transformation over the course of the next couple of years.”
Plans can be viewed in the reception area at One Smithfield, where people can give feedback. Views can also be emailed to email@example.com.
The first phase of Smithfield Stoke-on-Trent, which included 210,000 sq ft of office space – now known as One Smithfield and Two Smithfield – was completed in August 2015 and is now occupied by the city council along with private sector companies. Further phases are now in the pipeline, including a 140-bedroom Hilton Garden Inn – which received planning permission in July 2017 – and the next phase of offices.