1107 Focus Spring 2020 Print - Page 5



COUNCILLOR
ABI BROWN.
leader OF STOKE-ON-TRENT CITY COUNCIL
THE FOCUS INTERVIEW
INTERVIEWED BY MARK BRAMMAR
Meeting Councillor Abi Brown, Leader of
Stoke-on-Trent City Council, is an uplifting
experience.
The nine years as a councillor, five years as DeputyLeader and nine months as Leader have done little
to dampen her enthusiasm, optimism and strongminded determination to make her native city great
again.
“Every day I want to do my best for this city, and to
challenge others to get involved on the journey”,
says Councillor Brown.
There is certainly plenty to be optimistic about
especially with the latest UK Powerhouse figures
released by law firm Irwin Mitchell in January 2020,
which show that jobs growth in the city is set to
increase by 2.2 per cent by the final quarter of 2020
– to 122,000.
It means that jobs growth in Stoke-on-Trent is faster
than 46 other major cities, including Cambridge,
Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham. A total of
8,000 jobs have been created in the city over the
past five years, with a growth in skilled and higher
paid jobs. A total of 2,000 jobs are being delivered
at Ceramic Valley Enterprise Zone, over 1,000 jobs
at Smithfield in Hanley, with a further 750 jobs in
the pipeline there.
The UK Powerhouse findings also rank Stoke-onTrent as the sixteenth best performing city in the
UK for gross value added – a measurement of the
value of the goods and services produced in the
city – beating other Midlands cities including Derby,
Leicester and Coventry.
Council budget proposals for the financial year
2020/21 outline £336m additional investment in
an ambitious capital programme up to 2025, it will
see the City Council build on an already successful
house building initiative with more houses built
in the city in 2019 on average than in any London
borough. A new Community Investment Fund of
£2.5m is also proposed to support community
groups and initiatives.
The Hilton Garden Inn Hotel in Smithfield will
be opening its doors in May coupled with a new
development, Clayworks, from the Council’s wholly
owned housing company, Fortior Homes, and a
new multi-storey car park. Clayworks is a mix of
one and two-bed apartments with amenity space
and communal gardens. In addition, there are plans
to develop the East/West Precinct – one of the
largest prime city centre development sites in the
Midlands. This will be a mix of residential, leisure,
food and beverage and retail.
5.

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