The following text is adapted from our successful bid to the Community Investment Fund
The Burslem Port "Footsteps" project aims to provide a walkway from the Trent and Mersey Canal along the line of the Burslem Branch Canal. The walkway will provide interpretation linked to the areas heritage along with information on the future for the potential re-establishment of the canal arm, work on developing the heritage sites and the development of the surrounding green space.
The funds sought will provide the volunteers working in the area with tools and materials which will enable them to better control the vegetation, develop the pathway, supply and fit the interpretation boards and provide directional signage. The work will enable the creation of walking/cycling routes connecting Festival Park with areas of Middleport and Burslem. It will create usable safe green space for residents, reduce the opportunities for anti-social behaviour in the area and prepare the area for wider investment alongside the Etruria Valley development.
Much of the work will be undertaken by an active group of volunteers co-ordinated by Burslem Port Trust and will build on that previously undertaken by the volunteers to remove some of the vegetation and expose the line of the old canal. The activity to date has already created interest within the community some of whose members have become volunteers on work parties helping to control the vegetation. The improved access has also increased footfall in the area plus, Feral Spaces an artist led, child centred, place making project have increased their use of the area to undertake activities with children from Stoke on Trent.
This project which has links to the wider regeneration of the area a catalyst for longer term investment leading to economic, social and environmental improvements
Several major factors are helping to reposition the areas of Burslem and Middleport, these include a major commercial investment programme, improved accessibility and transport links as plans progress for the Etruria Valley and the connectivity between the A500 and festival Park. The Burslem Port interpretation Project aims to complement these initiatives by developing a safe pedestrian route from linking the new employment areas with Burslem Town Centre and providing visitor information on the heritage of the local area.
The land which the project will tackle has through neglect become overgrown and needs remedial action to clear areas by cutting back vegetation, reinstalling pathways and then maintaining the area for use by the local community and voluntary groups. In this area accessible safe green space is at a premium and this project would enable safer use and be a catalyst for further investment.
Previously small working parties have attempted to remove some of the growth, create greater access to the area and where possible provide limited directional information. This proposal will enable volunteers to better control the vegetation, develop permanent pathways and provide information on proposals for the areas future along with directional advice and heritage information.