Burslem Victorian vicarage demolition plans backed

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

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Stoke-on-Trent councillors have backed plans to demolish a Victorian vicarage which once received lottery funding.

Ceramics firm Steelite International said it needed to knock down the Heaths building in Burslem, as part of plans for a £12m expansion of the factory.

More than 330 people had signed a petition calling for the 1858 building, which received Heritage Lottery funding in 2002, to be saved.

Council officers had recommended going ahead with the demolition.

In a report which went to Tuesday's meeting of the city council's development management committee, planners said the benefits of the plan outweighed any negative impact on the city's heritage assets.

'Very tough decision'

A total of £300,000 had been given by the Heritage Lottery Fund to help refurbish the old vicarage in Newcastle Road.

Reyahn King, head of the fund in the West Midlands, said she was disappointed the building would be lost but understood the council had faced "a very tough decision".

She added: "We would not want to stand in the way of the creation of much-needed new jobs for Stoke-on-Trent.

"We continue to believe that imaginative use of heritage can contribute towards the regeneration of Stoke and look forward to continuing our discussions with the council about its heritage strategy."

As part of the factory's expansion plans, seven empty terraced homes at the site will also be demolished.

The expanded factory is expected to create 230 jobs.

Joanne Hine, from Steelite, said she was "delighted" the planning consent had been granted and that work would start "very soon".

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