Glasshoughton in Castleford, West Yorkshire was once home to a thriving Colliery and Coke Works with the majority of its close-knit community being economically and socially dependent on these industries. In 1978, the Coke Works ceased operation and the Colliery was later closed in 1986. The buildings were demolished and the 336-acre site stood derelict for almost 10 years.
The historic uses left a legacy of environmental problems including instability and contaminated land compounded by pollution of the ground and surface water, with dereliction visible over a wide area. The loss of these industries also had a huge impact on the local community and many subsequent regeneration proposals by other developers failed to come to fruition.
The site is divided into two areas by the Leeds-Goole rail line. The northern side was the site of the former colliery and coke works buildings. A variety of contaminants were identified to exist on this part of the site, particularly in hotspots where the former Coke Works had stood. Further problems were buried tanks, extensive foundations and abandoned vertical and horizontal shafts. The southern side of the site was dominated by large black un-vegetated spoil heaps, rising some 30m above ground level and containing tailings lagoons.
In 1991, the site was designated a 'Special Policy Area' by Wakefield Metropolitan District Council (WMDC) and this was adopted in the 1994 Unitary Development Plan. It was recognised that a comprehensive scheme for reclamation, restoration and development would be necessary for Glasshoughton with an aim to fully reclaim the site and bring the land back into beneficial use.
Waystone's preliminary proposals to regenerate the site were submitted to British Coal in 1994, who after extensive consultation with WMDC and English Partnerships, appointed Waystone Limited as English Partnerships development partner.
The proposals involved the integrated design of all the elements of the project including cleaning-up reclamation, stabilisation and infrastructure, ensuring the delivery of productive land. Waystone's proposals, which were endorsed by British Coal, English Partnerships and WMDC offered a total engineering and environmental solution for the complete reclamation and redevelopment of the whole of the 136 hectares of the site.
The surrounding local area was carefully appraised during the formulation of the reclamation strategy and the master plan was developed to ensure a sympathetic interface with the existing built environment.
The master plan was formulated in such a way as to allow for the phased reclamation and development of the site. This long-term approach was not only necessary but also desirable in terms of ensuring the deliverability of the various components of the scheme. The project has been able to adapt to changes in circumstances, needs and trends providing a high quality, successful and sustainable scheme.
To date over 300 acres has been reclaimed and 130 acres developed with various uses. In all some 3,500 jobs have been created.