Children at Swindon gas works

Past meets present

Gas site to fuel future regeneration

A former gasworks site that once provided energy to an entire town is undergoing a dramatic makeover.

Gas has been created at Swindon’s Gypsy Lane works since the 1860s when so-called ‘Town gas’ made from coal was manufactured there by the New Swindon Gas Company.

The site remained part of the Wiltshire town’s landscape until the 1970s when advances in technology meant gas holders were no longer needed to store the gas after manufacturing there ended in 1968.

After the removal of the first ‘holder’ the others were taken down by local gas emergency and pipeline service Wales & West Utilities in 2012.

The site is now likely to see a new lease of life as a commercial centre after a year-long clean up by National Grid’s Property arm and contractor Hydrock. During the project, local schoolchildren from the Grange Junior School were visited by the project team who explained how solids become gas, and Victorian safety procedures.

Children hear about gas holder

 

Gas holder

One of the last gas holders removed in 2012

It is hoped the Gipsy Lane site regeneration, which involved the removal and treatment of 11,500 cubic metres of soil, will now prove to be a major boost to the local economy.

The treated soil was reused at the site to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill and the number of vehicles coming to and from the site.

Samantha Rendell, Land Regeneration Manager for National Grid Property said: “The gas industry and this site played an important part in Swindon’s past – we‘re now keen to see the Gipsy Lane site play a part in the town’s future.”

National Grid is now looking for suitable development partners over the next year, with planning application for redevelopment likely to follow.