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Council step in for fire hit building in Burslem, New Mural in Newcastle under Lyme

Written by on 9 June 2024

Specialist engineers brought in by Stoke-on-Trent City Council have today given the go-ahead for council contractors to stabilise the fire-hit buildings on Newcastle Street to ensure this important city road can be re-opened as a matter of urgency.  Newcastle Street in Middleport has been closed since April 2024 due to a building fire.

The owners of the building have been unresponsive and have failed to take appropriate action.  Having decided to step in, the council has engaged specialist engineers to see if it could avoid demolishing the building and instead undertake emergency works to make the building safe – so that at least one lane of the road can be reopened as soon as possible.

Over the next week operatives will be on site to begin to prepare the area for the erection of a more specialist scaffolding and working platforms that will allow safe access to the buildings.

A spokesperson for Stoke-on-Trent City Council said: “We are disappointed that the owners of the building on Newcastle Street have not taken responsibility for the building which has delayed the re-opening of the road.

“With thanks to the specialist engineers, we now have a plan of action which should allow the road to be opened as a matter of urgency.  and one which will allow our contractor to work on the buildings without having a physical impact on the surrounding area. Once the work is completed, we will be seeking recompense from the owners.

“We understand residents and businesses are frustrated with the delay. This has been a complex problem with a number of different factors to consider. We remain committed to preserving and protecting historic buildings in the city, and will take action against owners who neglect their responsibilities.”

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A stunning new mural has been completed on Newcastle-under-Lyme High Street. The vibrant artwork is the creation of acclaimed local artist Ethan Lemon who is well known for his large-scale pieces.  Ethan’s latest mural celebrates the legacy of renowned illusionists and magicians, Fred Van Buren and his wife Connie Greta. Beginning their illustrious career in the early 1950s, the Van Buren’s captivated audiences worldwide with their spellbinding performances.

Fred Van Buren, who sadly passed away in March 2024, just three years after Greta, was not only a celebrated performer but also a passionate advocate for Newcastle-under-Lyme’s cultural heritage, including back in 1982 raising awareness of local born Philip Astley, the founder of the modern circus.

Fred and Greta’s son Andrew Van Buren, has continued the family illusionist tradition taking the shows on to new heights and new audiences worldwide.

Andrew expressed his heartfelt appreciation for the mural, saying, “This mural is such a surprise and a wonderful tribute to my father and mother’s magical legacy of providing entertainment and enjoyment to countless lives during their career. It’s a beautiful reminder of the vibrant showbiz history that Newcastle-under-Lyme holds and hopefully through this portrait it allows my mum and dad to continue entertaining people even though they have both now passed away.”

Artist Ethan Lemon shared his enthusiasm for the project, stating, “Creating this mural has been really rewarding.  It’s been an honour to find out more about the Van Buren’s and bring Fred and Greta’s legacy to life in the town centre.”

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