Wayne Walker's vision to turn fire-hit factory into shopping village with cafe, cash-and-carry and beer warehouse

The former Price & Kensington teapot factory at Longport. -Credit:Stoke Sentinel
The former Price & Kensington teapot factory at Longport. -Credit:Stoke Sentinel

A Stoke-on-Trent businessman has unveiled plans to transform a derelict pottery factory into a major shopping village. Wayne Walker, owner of Wayne Walker Quality Meats, has purchased the Grade II*-listed Price and Kensington Teaport Works in Longport, and has revealed his ambitions for the site.

Mr Walker wants to bring the whole site back into use as a 'destination' mixed-use scheme, with a discount cash-and-carry along with a raft of other shops. A 'vision document' includes proposals for a beer warehouse, a butchers, green grocers, florists, craft shops, along with restaurants and cafes. There could also be apartments, a performance area, artists' studios and a museum.

The potbank, which dates back to the early 19th century, closed 20 years ago and since then it has fallen into serious disrepair, with repeated fires and fly-tipping taking place. Historic England has placed the factory on its heritage at risk register and Stoke-on-Trent City Council has previously taken enforcement action against its former owner.

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Mr Walker, whose existing business lies next to the potbank, says he has been working with the city council and other organisations on his plans, which he revealed in Facebook video.

He said: "We've been working on this project for two-and-a-half years. We've finally signed the deal for the new site about three weeks ago. We've actually purchased the Price Kensington site. It's going to be absolutely fantastic. We've got loads of great plans for it - a cash-and-carry, a restaurant, a gaming hub. We'll be developing that whole site.

"It's going to look a lot better as soon as we put the roof on it. We're still going to keep the heritage of the site, and use the building to its full potential.

"We're working very closely with the council and everyone else - it's taking a long time, it's very frustrating, but hopefully we'll be going there very soon and we can start putting this building back together."

The city council took former owner Charles Lewis and Co to court in 2019 after it had failed to comply with an improvement notice, which resulted in £1,000 fine. The authority also had to demolish part of the potbank which was deemed unsafe. Charles Lewis and Co received a £72,000 fine following further enforcement action in 2021.

CGI of the restored Price and Kensington teapot works
CGI of the restored Price and Kensington teapot works

Mr Walker had previously hinted at his plans for the Price and Kensington site, when a CGI of a restored factory was included in a planning application to turn neighbouring land into a car park for Wayne Walker Quality Meats last year.

Council leader Jane Ashworth, who is also ward councillor for Burslem, said: "I've been chatting with Wayne about this for a while, and I think it's absolutely fantastic what he's doing. Here we have a successful local business person who is looking to turn around this site, and he's already made great strides with the work he's done with the area in front. This is just what we need.

"Price and Kensington is such an important heritage site, a gateway into Burslem, but it has turned into an eyesore. Hopefully that will change now."

A Stoke-on-Trent City Council spokesperson said: “We are committed to protecting and enhancing the heritage of our city and welcome working with the new owner of Price and Kensington to regenerate the site.”

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