Stoke & Staffordshire

Vicarage demolition in Burlsem backed by council planners

Victorian vicarage
Image caption The Heritage Lottery Fund spent £300,000 on refurbishing the Heaths building

Plans to demolish a 19th Century vicarage in Stoke-on-Trent have been recommended for approval.

Ceramics firm Steelite International wants to knock down the Heaths building in Newcastle Street, Burslem, as part of a £12m expansion of its factory.

Planners at the city council said the benefits of the plan outweighed any impact upon Stoke's heritage assets.

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and more than 330 people, who have backed a petition, are among the objectors.

The demolition of the 1858 building is among three applications for the site which have been recommended for approval, subject to conditions.

'Economic benefits'

The plans will be considered by the Labour-run council's development management committee on 5 February.

In 2002 HLF awarded £300,000 to help refurbish the old vicarage.

The fund's Reyahn King said it had invested more than £8m in regeneration schemes in Burslem and would have "serious concerns about the authority's commitment to local history" if the demolition was approved.

Meanwhile, objectors who have backed an online petition say the Heaths building has "significant historical importance" and should be preserved.

But planners advised the committee to back the demolition of the building and seven empty terraced homes at the site and approve a factory building and associated development.

They said the scheme would "on balance" be acceptable as it would "facilitate the expansion and growth of an important local manufacturer and in this instance this would outweigh any impact upon the city's heritage assets".

The expanded factory is expected to create 230 jobs and planners said the scheme would provide "significant economic benefits".

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