Case Study

Pilkington Glass, Cowley Hill

Following the emergence of new technologies and the consolidation of Pilkington’s activities over the past decade, 104 acres of the Cowley Hill Works were purchased by BXB Cowley Hill Ltd. In support of their outline planning application for 1100 homes DBR designed the site remedial strategy gaining EHO and EA approval in late 2020.

Key Information

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Client - BXB Cowley Hill
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Start date - January 2019
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Site - Cowley Hill
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Status - On going
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Area - 104 Acres
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Location - St Helens
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Former Use - Cowley Hill Works
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Programme - 18 months

The Challenge

Further to BXB Cowley Hill acquiring the 104 acre site from NSG (Pilkingtons) DBR were tasked to provide a Remedial Strategy to facilitate the outline planning application for a  proposed 1,250 homes and 52,000 sq ft of mixed-use space.

The site was, until recently, owned by Pilkingtons Glass and was used for the manufacture of sheet glass. Pilkingtons continue to retain an area of land adjacent to the site for manufacturing, however areas of the site are currently undergoing demolition as part of works to surrender an IPPC permit.

In the early 1850’s parts of the site were mined for coal, with both shallow and deep coal seams worked to depths of around 150m. The coal workings were accessed via shafts of which 25 are thought to fall along or within the boundary of the site.

The production of glass in the early 1900s required the use of a polishing sand, which originally may have been obtained from the natural deposits in the northern part of the site and then latterly supplied by train from off-site sources. Once used, the sand, comprising a mixture of glass dust and fine sand was placed in banks towards the northern and eastern part of the site. These are known informally as ‘Burgy’.

The Solution

Initially DBR undertook a detailed review of historical environmental data for the site (provide by Pilkingtons) and prepared a conceptual site model and outline strategy to enable pre-application discussions with both the EHO and EA.

Through close regulatory liaison and design team co-ordination  DBR co-ordinated further coal mining, geotechnical and environmental investigations to produce an integrated enabling & remedial strategy to deliver the proposed development platform.

DBR supported the planning team in providing an environmental engineering led master plan and proposed site levels.  All works have been set to mitigate the requirement for any off-site disposal and enable 100% re-use of site won materials

Successful approval was gained form the EA and EHO in late 2020 and DBR continue to co-ordinate with the planning team to consider on-going environmental management requirements and development abnormal allowances for viability purposes.


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The DB Remediation team has delivered invaluable design and co-ordination of both remediation and engineering requirements whilst ensuring strong local regulatory support for delivery of this complex brownfield scheme.
Gary Goodman, Director at BXB Cowley Hill

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