St Helens Glass Futures
AEW Architects designed the facility

Network Space puts plans in for Glass Futures

Dan Whelan

The developer has submitted its planning application for the 160,000 sq ft glass research and innovation facility in St Helens, and contractor Bowmer + Kirkland has been appointed to build the first phase. 

The £54m Glass Futures scheme is intended to revive a 14-acre site once home to United Glass next to St Helens R.F.C.’s Totally Wicked Stadium, which Network Space also developed.  

Under the plans, the glass melting facility would house a low-carbon production furnace with the capacity to process 30 tonnes per day of glass – equivalent to 60,000 wine bottles. It would 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 facility would be operated by not-for-profit organisation Glass Futures. 

The scheme is being funded in the main from a combined £20m from industry organisations including Glass Futures, and £24m from the Government – comprising £9m from the Getting Building Fund and £15m from UK Research and Innovation.  

Meanwhile, St Helens Town Investment Board submitted a bid for £38.55m from the Government’s Towns Fund at the end of January intended to help fund the scheme, and Network Space and St Helens Council said they are working to secure additional contributions.

Glass Futures

Glass Futures is aimed at helping the industry to decarbonise

Catherine Chilvers, development director at Network Space, said: “As landowner and developer, we have worked in partnership with St Helens Council and Glass Futures to establish an effective public-private sector delivery model. 

“The submitted planning proposals will regenerate the former United Glassworks site and enable industry-led research activity and training opportunities, as well as acting as a catalyst for further economic growth within St Helens.” 

The scheme is designed by AEW Architects and Spawforths is the planning consultant.

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