Glassworks restoration put on hold

A PROPOSAL to restore a popular heritage site in Nailsea has been put on hold due to funding cuts.

A PROPOSAL to restore a popular heritage site in Nailsea has been put on hold due to funding cuts.

Nailsea Town Council has been working with English Heritage to draw up plans to turn the derelict Glassworks into a park and heritage site for visitors.

Councillors want to turn the area into a public space and carry out work to reveal some of the archaeology on the former glassworks site.

The work would costs hundreds of thousands of pounds and the council was hoping English Heritage would foot 80 per cent of the cost.

However, due to Government cutbacks the council is worried the funding body will not be able to provide the cash needed to complete the project.

Speaking at Nailsea Town Council meeting on Wednesday, clerk Ian Morrell said: “Given the funding position of English Heritage we’d be taking on an enormous financial risk if we went ahead with the project because with all grant funding it’s down to the client to put the money up front and then be reimbursed.

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“I say that with a lot of disappointment, but from a practical point of view I couldn’t recommend the risk the council could face until the future of English Heritage is certain.”

The Glassworks has been in a poor condition for many years and the town council is desperate to restore it and make it accessible for residents and visitors alike, with information boards to explain the history of the site.

Mr Morrell added: “We are going to have to defer the project, but it remains a very high priority for the town council.

“We could apply for other grants but we want to work on this project with English Heritage because when we get down to doing the work there are bound to be things we find that aren’t expected.

“If we are working with English Heritage they will be able to tell us what we can and can’t do and they will also be sharing the financial risk of the decisions made.

“We expect there to be a major funding review in October and that might make the funding position a bit clearer.”

In the meantime the council wants to establish a maintenance programme with joint owners North Somerset Council to keep the site in good repair.

Mr Morrell said: “The town council is not happy with the level of maintenance that’s being done on the site.

“At the moment it’s completely adhoc and only gets done if we complain. We want to have an agreed plan of cutting the wild grass and flowers.”

Nailsea councillors agreed to ask North Somerset Council for proper maintenance of the site.