Work is starting on the first phase of a revolutionary scheme to breathe new life into a former pottery works with a state-of-the-art demonstration learning facility.
The former Enson Works, in Longton, is set to be completely transformed as a Centre of Refurbishment Excellence (CoRE) creating a unique set of refurbishment training and demonstration buildings in the heart of Longton.
The CoRE project, which will create a skills and learning facility, visitor hub and will be part of a unique group of “living” demonstration buildings on the 6,000 sqm site, is designed to help work towards the Government’s pledge to create an 80 per cent reduction in UK carbon emissions by 2050.
With funding from the Department of Children, Schools and Families (DCSF), the first phase of this unique development is set to start as contractor Shaylor Group begins work on the skills and learning facility.
One of the Sunday Times Top 100 companies the construction group will be building the education building which is designed to support students by providing modern learning facilities for courses in sustainable development.
“This is a unique and exciting project for Stoke-on-Trent. It means as a city we will be an exemplar location for modern and existing methods of refurbishment. The site will bring business leaders and construction professionals from across the country to Stoke-on-Trent to showcase innovative eco-friendly methods and materials being used. This is even more important for the city as it undergoes a multi-million pound regeneration plan enabling residents to be given the opportunity to train and learn new and existing skills in methods of construction ““ skills which will be sought after in the coming years.”
The 1,500 sqm skills and learning facility, to be built on the site of the former West Range near Chelson Street, is due to be completed in time to open for the first wave of students by the end of the year. This building, which is being built in a bid to achieve the environmental rating of BREEAM Excellent, will help to educate construction workers and students in exemplar methods of refurbishment ““ skills which will be sought after as the Government aims to refurbish 20,000 homes a year in the West Midlands over the coming years.
Complementing features to the skills and learning facility will then be developed in separate stages including a BREEAM standard demonstration facility which will build and refurbish 1,000 sqm of space on the former Enson Works over two floors and incorporate three historic bottle kilns within the design. The facility will showcase first class eco-friendly refurbishment methods, plus manufactured products and materials new to market.
Following the completion of the demonstration facility the next phase is expected to create a 250 sqm visitor hub which will have office space for CoRE staff. It is envisaged that this will act as the gateway to the project located next to the former American public house which will be rebuilt to provide a canvas for exemplar showcase products.
The project is a collaboration between Stoke-on-Trent City Council, Stoke College and Building Research Establishment (BRE). It is designed to help train and develop methods of bringing historic and high carbon rated buildings up to new carbon friendly standards. Students and contractors will not only be able to train and learn new skills at the site but new methods and materials will be on show in “Ëœliving’ demonstration buildings.
It is envisaged through the work of the CoRE project 700 people a year will enhance their skills and as a result of business activities once the project is up and running approximately 400 jobs a year will be created in the region.
Funding has been secured from the city council and DCSF with further funding being sought from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) for the next phases.