Positive and visible progress with essential preparatory work for Network Space's ground-breaking £54m Glass Futures development in St Helens has been welcomed.
Located on brownfield land on the edge of St Helens town centre next to the Totally Wicked Stadium, Glass Futures will be a 160,000 sq. ft Centre of Excellence, looking at how carbon can be reduced from the glass production process – an industry the borough is world-famous for.
Landowner and developer Network Space has appointed Civil & Remediation Ltd, an earthworks and remediation contractor to prepare the wider site for future development and significant progress is being made on site. This challenging site that was once a colliery before becoming a glassworks, has left a legacy of heavy metal concentrations together with gas and asbestos contamination.
The necessary works to make the site suitable and safe for future use will have caused some disruption to neighbours, for which their patience and understanding is very much appreciated. This phase of the project will now take around a month to complete before the main construction works start in late autumn.
The development is backed by St Helens Borough Council who committed funding to cover pre-planning and planning costs - while the scheme also received a major boost after Network Space secured a £9m contribution from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority. This collaborative approach with Network Space has enabled the acceleration of this project from concept to delivery.
Commenting at a recent site visit, St Helens Borough Council Leader David Baines said:
“A number of major cities and towns around the country wanted to bring this innovative Glass Futures project to their area, so for it to come to St Helens speaks volumes of the influence we still have in the world of glass making.
“A lot of work has been put in by the council and other partners to get this off the ground at record pace, so to be here to see preparation work start is a proud moment for me and a step closer to our dream becoming a reality.”
Councillor Richard McCauley, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Planning at St Helens Borough Council, added: “St Helens is steeped in glass manufacturing, and we want to keep it that way and at the heart of global innovation – and having Glass Futures here will put us at the centre of sustainable glass making for decades to come which also supports our climate emergency declaration.
“These are very exciting times for the whole borough, and I am sure this will be the first of many exciting and ambitious schemes that will be coming forward in St Helens over the coming months.”
Catherine Chilvers, Development Director from Network Space, who secured permission in May from St Helens Borough Council to develop the scheme, said: “There has been an incredible amount of work advanced behind the scenes to accelerate delivery since planning permission was granted back in May; seeing visible progress on site with initial remedial works and our appointment of Civil and Remediation Ltd is another major milestone successfully achieved.
“Our professional team and the partnership formed with the Council and Glass Futures will continue to work together to deliver this transformational and high-profile project for the Borough and we hope to announce further significant progress in the coming weeks.’’
Glass Futures is expected to be completed in 2022, bringing a number of high-skilled jobs to St Helens.