Plans for ‘industrious neighbourhood’ to offer town new homes and businesses

Artist's impression of Watson Street scheme

Plans for a new ‘industrious neighbourhood’, including 700 new homes, have been unveiled for St Helens.

A public exhibition will outline the exciting plans for the Watson Street scheme later this month, glass giant Pilkington, has revealed.

The business, now part of Japan’s NSG Group, ceased glass production at its Watson Street site in February this year, transferring work to a nearby sister plant, at Greengate, which is expected to begin production this August.

The Watson Street Works opened in 1826. The glass giant is upgrading its Greengate furnace to accommodate the site’s continued production of float glass, as well as the additional manufacturing line from Watson Street. Pilkington UK expects that all jobs will be retained as part of the move.

NSG Group has been in discussion with St Helens Council to determine how the future of the Watson Street site could support wider regeneration plans for the nearby town centre.

While Pilkington UK/NSG Group won’t be directly involved with any future development of Watson Street Works, it intends to demonstrate how the site could positively contribute to the future regeneration of St Helens.

A public consultation event this month will be showcasing this vision and will explore exciting proposals to create a new ‘industrious neighbourhood’ on the 30-acre site.

The masterplan concept, which has been developed by a team of consultants led by Broadway Malyan on behalf of St Helens Borough Council and Pilkington UK/NSG Group, envisions a new mixed-use district on the edge of the town centre that will include 700 new homes, and light industrial and business space, all integrated around generous green space and inspired by the site’s rich industrial heritage.

Ivor Phillips, director of architecture at Broadway Malyan, said: “This is a huge opportunity for St Helens to regenerate and reimagine this key brownfield site and create a vibrant, liveable and sustainable place that takes reference from the past while responding to the future needs and aspirations of the town.

Watson Street neighbourhood

“The proposals are both complementary and supportive of the existing regeneration of the town centre and together they can set a benchmark for authentic context-driven urban renewal that delivers meaningful social, environmental and economic value.”

Neil Syder, Managing Director at Pilkington UK, said: “While we won’t be directly involved in future development of Watson Street Works, we are keen for potential developers to recognise the contribution the site could make to the future regeneration of St Helens. It’s a really exciting time for the region, and with our investment into Greengate, and possibilities for the future of Watson Street looking really interesting, we are committed to supporting the St Helens community to thrive, and ensuring that the town remains at the heart of UK glass manufacturing.

Other consultants working on the project include Nexus Planning, IMT Consulting, Curtins, RSK, TEP, Buro Happold and Aspinall Verdi.

The public drop-in consultation event for the regeneration of the former Pilkington UK glass works at Watson Street will take place on Friday, July 12, and Saturday July 13, at the LaGrange Arcade in the Church Square Shopping Centre in St Helens.

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