Newcastle-under-Lyme, which comprises the towns of Newcastle and Kidsgrove, is a busy market community in Staffordshire. Located west of Stoke-on-Trent and north of Stafford, in the 2011 census it recorded a population of 128,264. Like Stoke-on-Trent, Newcastle's economy was traditionally based around pottery, coal mining, silk and cotton, all of which have declined in recent decades. The emphasis now is on manufacturing and the associated logistics, with several national and international firms operating in the area.
Our town centres
Newcastle has arguably the most attractive town centre in the North Staffordshire conurbation. With its beautiful, well-maintained Georgian and Victorian buildings and an abundance of independent businesses, it is a pleasant place to visit; its many charms have helped it to remain buoyant despite stiff competition from out-of-town retail locations. The market continues to be an integral part of town centre life and the Council has recently partnered with Market Place Management, an award-winning market operator that has a wealth of experience in the sector. They will help us to develop our markets and build on their success.
Investment in the town centre continues, with a concentrated focus on retail, accommodation and culture. Developments providing high-quality apartments for students and key workers, and the £50mn Ryecroft scheme will deliver extensive benefits to Newcastle-under-Lyme’s economy, as well as bringing hundreds of new jobs. We are also investing heavily in our townscape, commissioning civic art and carrying out structural refurbishments to ensure that the town is accessible, safe and attractive.
Kidsgrove town centre boasts a fine array of independent shops and is well served by pubs and restaurants. The town, which has a strong community feel, nestles in some of the county’s most beautiful countryside; clustered around it is a selection of smaller hamlets and popular suburbs. To the outskirts of Kidsgrove is the destination shopping centre, Freeport Talke.
The Borough has always been a popular residential area, both for people working locally and for those who commute to larger cities in the region. In urban areas, properties range from terraced houses dating from the 19th century to modern detached and semi-detached homes on newer estates. Although house prices are higher than in neighbouring Stoke-on-Trent, they tend to be significantly lower than the national average. In rural areas, the Council and other partner organisations are committed to providing increasing choice for local communities.
Of course, new housing doesn’t only increase the number of residences in a place; it is also a significant driver of inclusive growth through the local supply chain as people use local professional services to fit out and furnish their new houses. Over the longer term, an increased resident population means more money spent in local shops, cafes, restaurants, and leisure providers; it also encourages the creation of new businesses eager to capitalise on consumer spending.
Between 2012 and 2017, the Borough has, on average, built a fairly modest 300 homes per year. We aim to raise this number significantly in order to address the current housing shortage and to provide housing choice. However, it will not be growth for growth’s sake. All new proposals will be formulated with consideration to their impact on our borough, planning factors such as green field/brownfield, density, sustainability and design.
Good communications have been responsible for much of the Borough’s past development and our position in the centre of the country and at the heart of the motorway network ensure we remain a key distribution centre. Our closeness to the M6 and our central location between Manchester and Birmingham have been boosted by the development of the A50 link road which has speeded up access east to the M1. We also intend to capitalise on HS2, the high-speed rail link between London, Birmingham and the North.
HS2 will significantly reduce travel times between London and the key regional cities of Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield and Birmingham. This will attract future investment and links with the Government’s strategy for ‘The Midland Engine’ and ‘The Northern Powerhouse’.
Through the establishment of a partnership of Local Authorities in Cheshire and North Staffordshire, which is called The Constellation Partnership, work is underway to maximise the economic advantage that can be gained from the siting of the planned new Rail Hub near to Crewe Railway Station with the aim of bringing together a better HS2 service with the existing rail network.
The Science Park at Keele University is helping to diversify the area's reliance on jobs in traditional manufacturing. The development of the Science Park has been central to the University’s policy of developing strong links with businesses in the region and this has already resulted in research and consultancy contracts, flexible training schemes, and the provision of conference and banqueting facilities and business information services. There are currently five Innovation Centres on the site, with plans for more in the pipeline. Together, the buildings offer more than 130,000 sq.ft. of modern commercial mixed-use space, including a range of high-specification offices, laboratories and workshops for use by start-ups, spin-outs and established buildings.