Christmas arrives at Smithfield as works recommence and placemaking activity ramps up ahead of completion

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The city centre’s Smithfield site will be getting festive this week with carol singing and mince pies served around its Christmas tree

The festive celebration comes as construction work on Genr8 Developments and Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s mixed-use scheme continues to move forward, with both projects pressing on towards revised target completion dates in Q2 2020.

Willmott Dixon recommenced works on both the Clayworks and Hilton Garden Inn elements of the project in September, with Genr8 ensuring that the vast majority of the original supply chain was retained – a large part of which was local, keeping spend within the region. More than half of the c.£30m-value subcontract packages were allocated to businesses based within a 30km radius of Stoke-on-Trent.

Genr8 has employed many of the key Pochin’s site staff as part of the new construction management team and has also paid the university fees of one of the retained former Pochin’s apprentices – ensuring that he can continue to study whilst working on the site.

Richard Ingham, partner at Genr8, said: “The demise of Pochin’s was, of course, very sad, and the whole team has worked incredibly hard to ensure that both projects remain on track. We moved very quickly to implement our strategy for the completion of the two projects and we’re delighted to see works now progressing again at pace. The site is buzzing once more.”

Elsewhere, the project team has developed a place-making strategy for Smithfield which will solidify the estate’s status as an accessible, inclusive destination for the local community. The site’s full placemaking strategy for 2020 will be rolled out shortly. In addition, an official marketing launch of the build-to-rent Clayworks scheme is slated to take place imminently, with the apartments becoming available for rent in early 2020.

Richard added: “As we enter these final stages of the Hilton Garden Inn and Clayworks projects, we’re excited about unveiling the finished product to Stoke-on-Trent, whilst continuing to activate the wider Smithfield site with a dynamic, vibrant placemaking strategy.”

Cllr Abi Brown, leader of the city council, said: “It’s great to see the Christmas spirit spreading to Smithfield, and the site becoming an increasingly important focal point for activity among businesses and the city centre community. This week’s event follows on from the success of the Beats and Eats festival held on site in September. It’s really important the city centre and Smithfield sites are joined up and support one another, and I’m very much looking forward to hearing about the exciting plans for 2020.

“It’s also really pleasing to see so many of the original supply chain being kept on to deliver these two landmark buildings for the city. We’ve supported using local businesses at Smithfield wherever possible, to ensure the benefits are felt in the Stoke-on-Trent area. That is something which is really important to us on every project we are involved with.”