Work started in the summer of 2016 on the first stage of a multi-million pound scheme to radically transform the appearance and infrastructure of roads and public realm around Staffordshire University and the main rail station gateway – making it a much more welcoming environment for visitors, residents and students.

The improvements complement the recent series of large-scale investments of the University in its Stoke campus and its expanding numbers of students.

The plan
An ambitious programme of improvements is planned to the area which will include the reduction of congestion around the University Quarter and rail station, as well as access improvements and significant enhancements to the public realm. As well as improving facilities for pedestrians and cyclists, the work support’s the University’s development proposals and will encourage further investment into the area.

Phase one of the improvements have initially concentrated on Glebe Street Bridge Link and Thornton Road and Spencer Road. The latter two residential roads act as link roads connecting across the University campus and are heavily used by University staff and students every day. On these roads, the Kellen paving was laid flexibly. However, on Glebe Street, because of the need for the Highways England trunk road bridge surface to be impervious, the Kellen paving was laid rigidly over the bridge deck.

Materials used
Hardscape’s NEW innovative Kellen Breccia, Liscio and Sferio Pastiche mix was used as the main paving. This mix gave Stoke-on-Trent City Council the control of pre-blending the mix of colours, textures and paving unit sizes, selected by hand at the manufacturer. They were then delivered on pallets pre-mixed as per their specification – the first of it’s kind in the UK! Royal White and Crystal Black granite kerbs – Kilkenny Blue limestone setts were used to highlight the turning areas at the top of each of Spencer and Thornton Road. Each road was lined with Harland Blue Dragfaced Cobbles, Square Edged. The lining helped to differentiate the Kellen Pastiche mixes for the shared space pavement and roadway for pedestrian and vehicular use.

The end result
Councillor Daniel Jellyman, Stoke-on-Trent City Council cabinet member for regeneration, transport and heritage, said: “These works are of an extremely high quality and are part of a programme of improvements that we’re making across our University Quarter. This area is not only home to Staffordshire University, thousands of students and the city’s sixth form college, but also our main train station, which is used by more than two million passengers every year. For many people this area is the first impression they get of the city. This work is only the start to further investment in one of our key gateways into Stoke-on-Trent.

Stoke-on-Trent is one of the fastest growing economies in the UK and this work will help to attract further investment, creating more job opportunities. Our city is also expanding, with 1,200 new homes being built close by – the public realm works will help to ensure our infrastructure matches the ambitions we have for the city.”

Hardscape are proud to be involved and collaborating with Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s Landscape Development Team together with main contractors Galliford Try. We look forward to the on-going development to improve and enhance the University Quarter and Station Quarter over the next few years.