Glass Futures set for sign-off

The £54m research and innovation centre for the glass industry is to go before St Helens’ planning meeting next week with approval expected.

With the 160,000 sq ft Glass Futures building at its centre, the application covers a 7.4-acre plot on the former United Glass production site, to the west of St Helens Linkway and south of the town’s Totally Wicked rugby league ground and Tesco Extra. The site in total is 14 acres.

Network Space, which also delivered those neighbouring schemes, submitted plans for the project in February. Bowmer + Kirkland has been appointed to deliver phase one.

The facility is to house a low-carbon production furnace with the capacity to process 30 tonnes per day of glass – equivalent to 60,000 wine bottles.

Glass Futures, promoted by British Glass and the Glass Technology Institute, will also provide space and equipment to host research trials aimed at advancing processes and techniques and improving efficiencies, with the ultimate aim of decarbonising the glass industry. The entre of excellence will support 40 full-time equivalent jobs, the applicant said.

The scheme is being funded from a variety of sources, including a combined £20m from industry organisations and £24m in central Government funding: £15m from UK Research & Innovation and £9m from the Getting Building stream, one of four Liverpool City Region projects sharing £26m.

The building will be powered in part by 16,140 sq ft of solar panels. No objections to the project have been received.

Spawforths is the planning consultant for Glass Futures. AEW is the project architect, with Tyler Grange providing the landscape plan.

Tetra Tech is engaged to provide a range of services, while Hoare Lee is advising on sustainability and Rachel Hacking on ecology. Walker Sime is project manager and QS.

St Helens’ planning committee meets on Tuesday 25 May.

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