One vast logistics park is approved and another rejected
Plans for two huge commerical developments in and around St Helens have received very different verdicts.
Secretary of State for Leveling Up, Housing and Communities, Michael Gove, has approved the regeneration of Parkside Colliery at Newton-le-Willows, unlocking huge investment.
But a major logistics park just off the M6 called Haydock Park, which backers said, would have created 2,550 jobs, has been turned down.
It is three decades since Parkside stopped producing coal, one of the last mines in the North West to close.
Since then the site has been the subject of numerous plans for redevelopment which have come to nothing.
However now, a new project providing 1,330 new jobs when fully complete as a major logistics hub, has been predicted to add more than £80m a year to the local economy and provide £2.2m a year in business rates to support local services.
The scheme was "called in" for an inquiry in May 2020 by the then communities secretary Robert Jenrick.
Parkside Regeneration is a joint venture between developer Langtree and St Helens Council.
John Downes, chairman of Parkside Regeneration, told Business Desk: “It’s been a long road, but we got there.
“I’m delighted that the Secretary of State saw as clearly as we did Parkside’s potential for transformational change and the contribution it will make to re-balancing the borough’s economy.
“Work starts today on what we need to do to get spades in the ground. There’ll be lots going on behind the scenes that people won’t see, but we’ve already pushed the ‘go’ button.”
Coun Seve Gomez-Aspron, Deputy Leader of St Helens Council and Newton-le-Willows ward member, added: “Parkside has been a derelict colliery site since the pit was closed and 2,000 local workers lost their jobs in the early 1990s. It is fantastic news that the Government have respected local democracy and allowed the site to be brought back in to use to create employment opportunities for local residents.
“This also comes with over £800,000 of funding through s106 to improve local parks and green areas, schemes to get locals into the new jobs, new bus and cycle routes to the site and acres of new public parkland.
“We have always said that development must come with adequate infrastructure, and the new Parkside Link Road addresses that concern with a direct link to the M6.
“This is great news for Newton-le-Willows and job creation in the area, providing much needed jobs, investment and infrastructure.”
Conor McGinn, MP for St Helens North, said: “This is welcome news which means we can get on with the ambitious plans to create jobs and bring investment through Parkside.
“Thirty years after the colliery closed, it is long overdue that we will finally see the site being brought back in to use. I will continue to work with Labour council colleagues and the Metro Mayor to drive forward the huge economic development opportunities this project can bring to St Helens and the wider Liverpool City and North West regions.
“I will also continue to press for the development to be supported by new infrastructure including a link road, alongside protections for the environment and investment in community facilities in Newton-le-Willows.”
Coun Richard McCauley, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Planning, added: “We can never underestimate the importance of bringing new jobs to our borough, these developments will afford some of our residents the opportunity to make a better life for themselves and their families. I’m delighted that this site will once again be a place that provides job opportunities for our residents after having provided so many families with a steady income in its former life as a colliery.”
But, just up the road, the plan for Haydock Point was rejected by St Helens Council after some councillors branded it a “monstrosity” which would cause too much damage to the environment both because it would be built on green belt and because of the extra HGVs that would be driving around the area.
That decision has now been upheld by Mr Gove.
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