HERITAGE watchdogs are intent on saving an historic piece of the town’s history.
English Heritage believes the surviving Cannington Shaw Bottle Shop glass works building, highlighted in the Star a fortnight ago, is of national and international importance.
Charles Smith, Heritage at Risk principal adviser for English Heritage in the north west, said the site is an important part of St Helens’ proud industrial past and remains a scheduled ancient monument and a Grade II listed building.
He said: “Since the late 1980s, this significant structure has deteriorated and has been on English Heritage’s Heritage at Risk register for a number of years.
“When the development of the surrounding area with the new stadium, supermarket and car park took place, an opportunity was missed to find a new life for this important building.
“However, we will continue to work closely with the bottle shop’s owner, the council and other interested parties to help ensure this site, which was once so important to St Helens, will have a future and can be removed from the English Heritage Heritage at Risk register.”
A St Helens Council spokesman said: “When considering the planning application to redevelop the Langtree Park site, the council had to try and balance several competing issues.
“With the proposed development having marginal economic viability, the options had to be weighed carefully.
“The key factor, though, was the prospect of creating hundreds of jobs for local residents, including 300 at the Tesco store.
“Just as important was the borough’s sporting heritage. With Saints rugby league club having been told their Knowsley Road ground was no longer up to Super League requirements, a new stadium was also a priority for the council.
“The economic viability of the overall development relied heavily on funding from the North West Development Agency.
“Without this, the scheme would never have gone ahead. Needless to say, there was no money to renovate the bottle shop.
“However, the site owners have a management plan in place to prevent any further deterioration of the building.
“The council does not own the bottling shop and, therefore, has no land ownership rights to carry out any work to the structure.
“The estimated cost of securing its medium term future is more than £1m – and to date no individuals or organisations have come forward with a viable scheme that would be able to fund the upkeep of the structure.
“The council is committed to protecting, enhancing and promoting its heritage assets – especially those relating to the glass industry.
“We help fund the nearby World of Glass visitor attraction, which brings in thousands of visitors every year.”