Kirklands Properties win Historic England grant to renovate historic Phoenix Works chimney

An iconic landmark on the Stoke-on-Trent skyline is to be preserved, thanks to a grant from Historic England.

Kirklands Properties, the owner of the Phoenix Works, Longton, has made a successful bid for 90 per cent of the £100,000 costs of repair and renovation of the former pottery works. 90ft high chimney.

The company has been carefully restoring the Phoenix Works and reinventing it as office and retail space.

Director Mark Milner applied for Historic England funding as part of his plans to refurbish new areas of the former Thomas Forester and Sons factory.

Mark said: “The chimney dates back to when the factory was originally built in 1881 and is a familiar feature above the Longton skyline. While we have no future use for the chimney or the bottle kilns on site, we see their preservation as part of our duty as custodians of an important part of Stoke-on-Trent’s history.”

Kirklands Properties is now working with CTD Architects, based in Leek, to draw up plans to restore the chimneys brickworks. A report by Historic England states that some level of structural intervention will be required, along with renewal of defective bricks and repointing. It adds: “Partial dismantling and rebuilding of the crown brickwork should also be anticipated. The full extent of structural repairs will only be determined once an access scaffold has been erected and the Chimney brickwork examined in detail.”

All the current office units are let and Kirklands Properties have begun work to renovate a further 6,000 sq. ft. of space over two-storeys for offices.  Portmeirion have recently vacated their outlet shop at the Phoenix Works and this is currently available to let through Mounsey Chartered Surveyors.

There’s also more long-term plans to develop a large undeveloped part of the former majolica works for housing.

During lockdown, Mark has installed large parasols over outdoor seating in the courtyard between the shops and offices and the Glost House café bar.

“Now staff are returning to the offices and customers are back at the Glost House, the area is ideal for people to enjoy a drink or a meal in the fresh air,” said Mark. “We’re hoping it will help with social distancing and give a boost to the Glost House, a popular café bar that has recently reopened after more than three months in lockdown.”

Jane Corfield, Heritage and Design team manager at Stoke-on-Trent City Council said: “I am pleased to be working with Mark to bring about the heritage led regeneration of this Grade 2 listed former factory. Mark has created a positive and attractive destination in Longton and it is great to see how good modern design sits in this historic context to achieve a best of both solution.”

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