It’s great news up ‘Anley. Just a shame about the spelling…

If, like me, you are one of those sad individuals who gets upset when you spot a missing apostrophe on a shop sign or dodgy spelling in a menu, then you probably groaned at page seven of The Sentinel a few days ago.
A specialist agency in London was presumably paid a not insubstantial sum to ‘create’ the name of the new £350 million shopping centre which will be built on the site of the old bus station.
Bear in mind this is a scheme on which, it is fair to say, much of the hopes for the regeneration of the city centre are based.
The agency came up, wait for it… ‘City Sentral’ because, and I quote: “The use of the ‘S’ in Sentral reflects the very nature of the scheme – Stoke-on-Trent as central – while also giving it stand-out quality.”
Tragically, there’s more where that flannel came from.
Apparently, City Sentral has a “brightly-coloured ‘asterisk’ icon which reflects the exciting, dynamic nature of the project – with each of the arrows representing a different aspect of the City Sentral offer.”
I am not the first, and I dare say won’t be the last, to say that this is a crime against the Queen’s English. It’s also marketing nonsense. Nonsense that starts with a nonsensical name.
Yes, developer Realis has shelled out brass to a branding firm down south who have saddled us with what must be the most expensive spelling mistake in retail history.
Essentially the new name for the East West Precinct says to visitors that here in Stoke-on-Trent there is a desperate shortage of dictionaries.
‘City Sentral’ basically says we Stokies are either a) thick or b) trying a bit too hard to appear different.
It’s so much worse than calling a children’s play centre a ‘kidz zone’ or calling young people’s services ‘Uth services’ because we are talking about a showpiece £350 million development.
I’m pretty sure that had Realis run a competition through this newspaper or even with local schools it would have been presented with several hundred names which are better than City Sentral and a logo which didn’t look like it had been created using an Etch A Sketch.
They could have called the new shopping centre ‘Hanley One’, or ‘The Station’ or ‘The Phoenix’.
For heaven’s sake anything would have been better than City Sentral.
It’s not that I have anything against the development – unlike my columnist colleague Mike Wolfe. Indeed, I can’t wait for work to finally commence and to find out the names of some of the new tenants.
Some will say the name of the new complex is irrelevant but I disagree.
I’m just so disappointed that, in trying to be clever, Stoke-on-Trent has once again ended up with egg on its face.
Contrast this then with the Potteries Shopping Centre (a proper name that is because it does what it says on the tin) which has just announced a planned £14 million extension.
I suppose the owners of Hanley’s main retail complex had to react in some way to what’s about the happen at the old bus station site and I, for one, am delighted with the proposals.
Six restaurants, a 10-screen cinema, more parking spaces and 200 jobs? I’ll have some of that, please.
Forget the nay-sayers with their predictions of doom and gloom for Festival Park.
Just ask yourself this question: What kind of city centre doesn’t have a cinema? Enough said.
It strikes me that more and better places to eat and a multiplex movie theatre will perfectly complement the existing stores and market stalls.
So let’s finish on a positive note. When you combine what Realis is about to do at the bus station site with the expansion of the Potteries Shopping Centre, the opening of the wonderful Mitchell Memorial Youth Arts Centre and plans to upgrade the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery to take advantage of the acquisition of the Staffordshire Hoard, we are in danger of having a city centre to be proud of.
More to the point, it would be somewhere where you could genuinely spend a day out.
So long as you can stomach the poor grammar, that is.

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