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Burslem Port update November 2019

Dear all

In the past few months there has been very significant progress with our project. The most significant development has been the acquisition of the former Co-op bakery site by developers Eden Valley Property. At our Trustees meeting in October we met with the new landowners. It was immediately clear that they are very enthusiastic about Burslem Port and the opportunity for our two projects to be developed together, but it is also clear that they intend to move quickly on this development and that if our project is not ready to proceed they will go ahead without us. They would like their development to be complete, with or without the canal, in 24 months. We see no reason why this timescale is unrealistic if we can achieve the necessary support and, of course, funding. They are proposing to submit a planning application which includes the section of our canal as far as Luke Street by the end of the year.

Accordingly we have taken the decision to suspend volunteer work parties for the next couple of months while we agree what works are to happen on the site. We have already reviewed the Footsteps project and decided that the next phase will be to lay the footpath from the footbridge in front of the former wharf and warehouse. This area is away from the site acquired by Eden Valley Property so is not affected by recent discussions. However the rest of the site all the way to the Trent & Mersey Canal is likely be affected by the new development so it is not presently clear if or how the Footsteps project will need to be amended in this area.

Vegetation clearance at the October work party - before and after
Vegetation clearance at the October work party - before and after

Our work party last month cut back vegetation in the area by the wharf, mentioned above, which allowed us to properly see what would be required to complete the path in this area. I subsequently had a discussion with the Waterway Recovery Group who we hope will assist our local volunteers in laying this section of the path. It is not practical to do this sort of work over winter so we are presently looking at dates in April. I will share more details on this when I have them.

Meanwhile I would like to thank everyone who has attended a volunteer work party or otherwise offered their support to our project over the year. We have jointly done around 400 hours of volunteer work along the line of the canal this year, which is an achievement that everyone involved can be very proud of. I look forward to seeing you all again in 2020. I will let you know when we plan to resume, but at present I think this will most likely be the usual date in March, which would be the 25th.

Can I finally remind you that it is especially helpful now, as we start to move to delivering parts of the project on the ground, that if possible you support our fundraising efforts through Potto Lotto. This provides you with a weekly chance to win up to £25,000 for £1.00 and provides funds to much needed good causes across the City of Stoke-on-Trent. Each ticket purchased through the Burslem Port Trust page and entered the draw provides us with much-needed financial support to carry on the work we are doing. 50% of each ticket sale comes directly to us with another 10% going to other good causes across the City.

Best regards