The future of town centres has been talked about for many years. In our city it is particularly important as we have at least 5 more than most cities.
The news that Sanctuary Housing have decided to close their Stoke office has really brought this home to me. From the time when it was Staffordshire Housing Association this building has had many office workers who used Stoke Town Centre throughout the week bringing trade to our town.
It appears management at Sanctuary have taken the opportunity of Covid-19 restrictions to decide that all staff will now work from home and the office will shut permanently. Although not in our town it appears the management at the Sentinel have done the same thing and their offices will not reopen leaving their staff without that vital need to interact on a face to face level. How many other organisations will take this same route?
Over the last 12 months many council staff have been working from home. I am still waiting to hear what the Tories plan to do to bring them back into Stoke. Many businesses rely upon staff from various offices around town to keep going. There needs to be some certainty for our shops, cafes and pubs to be able to plan for their future.