• National Grid’s James Bridge gas holder site is located in the Black Country Enterprise Zone and is the second largest EZ site within Darlaston locality
• First gas holder has been razed to the ground. All dismantling work to be completed by the end of 2015
• Removing the two gas holders is a key step in economic growth around M6 junction 9 and 10
Work by National Grid to dismantle two landmark gas holders near the M6 in Walsall is well underway. Once complete, the work will pave the way for the site’s redevelopment as part of the Black Country Enterprise Zone.
Walsall Council gave approval for the removal of the redundant gas holders in September 2014 and work at the 20-acre site on Darlaston Road started in April. Since then, National Grid’s team of contractors from Birmingham-based Coleman & Company, have removed water and debris from inside the unused structures in preparation for their dismantling.
Each gas holder, some 12m high and 70m wide, is constructed of five walled layers of metal. The first gas holder, nearest Darlaston Road, has been completely razed to the ground. Contractors have dismantled more than 90 per cent of the structure with only the base plate left to remove. Work to dismantle the second holder, which is visible from the M6, will begin within the next few weeks.
Councillor Adrian Andrew, deputy leader for Walsall Council said: "Demolishing the gas holders is an important step to bring this redundant land back into use. The site has the potential to create hundreds of jobs for local people.
"It’s just one element of our massive programme of regeneration in the borough, which is being supported by the delivery of the £26m highways improvement scheme for Darlaston and Pleck and the future £64.5m M6 Junction 10 improvements.”
Tom Westley, Black Country LEP Board lead for the Enterprise Zone, added: "Economic growth and job creation is our number one priority and sites like James Bridge are at the forefront of this effort. Removing the gas holders means another site within our Enterprise Zone will be ready for development, it is vital that this really desirable site is made available, as soon as possible, to satisfy current demand.”
Katherine Scargill, land regeneration manager at National Grid, concluded: "Once the gas holders are removed, the site will be available for redevelopment as part of the Black Country Enterprise Zone. We are proud to be in a position to support the Zone as it aims to deliver regeneration and create new jobs in the area.”
The Black Country Enterprise Zone creates sustainable private sector-led, economic growth designed to regenerate the area. It is anticipated that the redevelopment of the EZ sites in Darlaston could ultimately lead to the creation of some 2,000 jobs and 125,000sqm of new floor space. Figures from the Office of National Statistics confirm the Black Country leads the table for growth in the Midlands – revealing the economy grew by 4.5 per cent in 2013, well above the national average of 3.3 per cent.
Anyone with queries can contact National Grid’s community relations team on 0800 073 1047, available between 7am - 7pm Monday to Friday, and 7am - 1pm on Saturday.
Caption: Dismantling is progressing well at James Bridge.