When the A527 Tunstall bypass was built, the original route through Longport and Little Chell was renumbered. Some early maps show the route west of the A50 as B5999 but the road is now definitely the A5271, although this is a number that road signs tend to ignore. Initially the road existed only west of the A50, as also did the first part of the A527 Tunstall bypass; when the latter was completed, however, the A5271 was extended east.
The road starts on the A500 at Porthill roundabout (where the B5370 is the westward continuation of the old A527) and heads north-eastwards, passing almost immediately into the city of Stoke-on-Trent as it crosses the railway line. It climbs through Longport, passing Steelite Potteries and the Trent and Mersey Canal before reaching a roundabout called Trubshaw Cross. There is indeed a cross on the roundabout (put there in 1949 although a cross of sorts had existed there for centuries).
At the roundabout the A5271 heads northwards, passing the entrance to Westport Lake and then the Cooperative Academy, all the while climbing before eventually Tunstall High Street is reached. Although the A527 used to proceed along the High Street as far as the Town Hall, it was later routed to the right along Williamson Street as a cheap town centre bypass – and the A5271 takes this latter course. A large Asda is passed before the A5271 comes to a temporary end on a roundabout with the A50.
The A5271 reappears after a few hundred yards to the north, following a multiplex with the A50, at a set of traffic lights at the back of Tunstall Market. It proceeds east along The Boulevard, before turning left at a badly-signed crossroads. From this point, it keeps the Victoria Park to its right for some distance. At the end of the park, a roundabout is reached which is part of the works for the Tunstall Northern Bypass. The old A527 continued along St Michael's Road but the A5271 bears slightly left along the new James Brindley Way to meet the A527 bypass, confusingly also called James Brindley Way.