Planning Excellence Award For Old Glasshouse

Dudley Council’s planning and regeneration team are raising a glass for their work on The Old Glasshouse development in Dudley Town Centre.

The team recently won the regional award at the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) West Midlands Regional Awards for Excellence for their work on bringing an historic derelict building, the town’s former Victorian fire station, back into use as a modern bar and restaurant. The award recognises best practice to successfully deliver a complex heritage based economic regeneration project.

The site, which is of archaeological significance, was once occupied by Dudley Flint Glass works and constructed around 1770, the remains of which could still be seen in the building’s foundations. The works were demolished in the late 19th century, in order to build Dudley’s first fire station and stables which were in use until 1939 after which the site was used for commercial use before being abandoned in the 1990s.

In order to develop the site which is in the Dudley Town Centre Conservation Area, planners had to work closely with Historic England and the Heritage Lottery Fund to negotiate terms of development and adopt an approach which would allow sensitive restoration of the building while ensuring it had a sustainable future.

The team managed to bring a tenant and business on-board in the very early stages of development, working with current business owner Shakeel Zafar to ensure that the final product, a high-end bar and restaurant ‘The Old Glassworks’  made the most of the building’s features and location without compromising the site’s historic importance.

The project has reinstated a number of key architectural features, lost through previous alterations, including the original fire station frontage, the rebuilding of a former hose drying tower, the reinstatement of windows and doors within bricked up openings, the repair and reinstatement of the stables roof, the reinstatement of gates across the driveway between the buildings and the adjacent Elizabeth House and the revealing of the glass works foundations through a transparent viewing panel in the floor.

The judges commended the combined approach adopted by the project team which overcame a number of challenges to successfully deliver the project.  and commended the sensitive blend of the historic fabric with the new interiors.  The RPTI also intends use the building for an event later in the year and will be profiling it in the professional planning press. Councillor Khurshid Ahmed, cabinet member for planning and economic development, said:

“I’m really happy that this project which brought an important heritage site back into business use took has been recognised by the RTPI.

“The project took a great deal of planning, negotiation and creative problem solving to transform a derelict building into the stylish and thriving restaurant it is today. This is yet another example of the ambition and vision of Dudley Council and our business partners to bring new life and new jobs to the area.”

Shakeel Zafar, operator of The Old Glasshouse Restaurant and Bar, added:

We were given the opportunity to work alongside Dudley Council to ensure that the regeneration work was fit for purpose as a modern bar and eatery as well as being sympathetic to the character and history of the building.

“We are proud to have played a role in the regeneration of a very important town centre building and are overwhelmed at the local response and goodwill received since The Old Glasshouse first opened its doors.”


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