I went up to the Westfield Centre in Stratford again this afternoon. I’m aware that I head there rather too often, but today I wanted to go somewhere where my cap wouldn’t keep flying off. I’ve mentioned here before how gobsmacked I am at the regeneration of Stratford, yet to be fair it’s happening all over London: brand new buildings are going up all over the place, and the city is about to get a glittering, new, multi-billion pound tube line. To me, though, that raises an obvious question: are other parts of the country getting the same amount of investment?
To that end, I just tapped ‘Stoke On Trent regeneration’ into Google and came across this BBC article. Stoke has – or used to have – a reputation for being a bit of a run down, neglected city. According to the article though, “Plans to turn a former industrial site into homes, bars and cafes in a £60m scheme have been approved. Construction work on the Goods Yard project in Stoke-on-Trent, near the railway station, could start this year, the city council said….The scheme has received £16m from the government’s Levelling Up Fund.” Say what you will about the Tories and their ‘levelling up’ bullshit, surely this is great news. As much as I adore London, I come originally from Cheshire and I still care about other, smaller places in the UK. I’m also aware of the giant imbalance in investment there has been between the capital and places which aren’t in the south-east. If this really is a sign that things are changing, it will be good to see places like Stoke come into their own after so much neglect.