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Chance Glassworks restoration given boost after skip firm told to leave site

By Clare Butler | Smethwick | News | Published:

Plans to breathe new life into the iconic Chance Glassworks site have been given a boost after a skip hire firm was told to leave.

The Chance Glassworks building is seen by thousands of motorists travelling on the M5 every day

It means a £10 million masterplan to revamp the site in Smethwick will have made ‘substantial progress’ by the end of the year.

Ideas of transforming the base into shops, homes - and even a hotel - have been put forward to developers, bosses say.

Graham Fisher, from Chance Glassworks Heritage Trust, said ‘big plans’ were now in place.

He explained: “We are certainly looking to do something as soon as the site is cleared.

"We have got people chomping at the bit to get involved. It will be a living thing that people can use. Some kind of accommodation for businesses and residents.

“We are considering residential units or small term industrial units with residents above.

"It could even be a hotel or something to live in. We have approached those type of people and it could be something like the Copthorne Hotel.

Serious thought has gone into this, we want to be as inventive as we can.

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We have had a few more grants come through so the funding situation is healthy.It is all positive news. Further substantial progress will be made.”

The restoration of the site was thrown into doubt earlier this year after bosses at No 1 Skip Hire said they would not leave the site unless an alternative place was found for them.

The firm operates on an acre of land on the Spon Lane site and the development cannot go ahead while it remains in place.

An enforcement notice has now been served, but Roger Page, of planning agent Page Swinford, which is acting on behalf of No 1 Skip Hire, said: “The enforcement notice can come into force on November 18 but that is a matter for Sandwell Council.

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"There is nothing to stop our clients from making another planning application for an alternative use and that is under consideration.”

Mr Fisher said: “The skip hire company will leave the site in November, but we have said all along that we want to sit down and work with them to find a more suitable place. We want to do what we can to help them move forward.”

“In the meantime we are formulating a business and marketing plan and we are seeking wider partners to help go forward.

“The enthusiasm is certainly there.

“Most importantly everything will be done with the engagement of the community.

“There are all types of options which are all viable - we are open to discussion at the minute.”

"There are all types of options which are all viable - we are open to discussion at the minute."

Clare Butler

By Clare Butler
Senior Reporter - @CButler_Star

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