When I became leader of the council last year I stated that I was firmly committed to delivering new jobs at the former Parkside colliery site in Newton-le-Willows - and that I believed I would have failed if nothing had happened there within 18 months.
So I’m absolutely delighted to beat that deadline with plenty of time to spare.
Because Parkside is now set to become one of the biggest regeneration projects in the country – and the site of a vital new inter modal freight centre.
A lot of people have worked hard to make this happen, not least our new joint venture company partners Langtree, who we’re delighted to be working with again.
Parkside is one of the most important assets we have in the borough - offering the potential to create literally thousands of new jobs. It’s a real prime site for the North West - sitting alongside the M6 and the West Coast mainline.
Our aim is to reinstate a rail link with the mainline and create an inter modal freight centre that’s sure to be of real interest to many private sector companies.
Nothing will happen overnight of course, but we have already acquired the freehold and will now begin work on a development strategy. We could even see a planning application submitted as early as this year, so we can get on with creating new jobs as quickly as possible.
Over the years there have been many enquiries about the Parkside but the former owners have, for a variety of reasons, not taken things forward. Now though we have a tremendous opportunity to finally realise the site’s enormous potential.
The Parkside Colliery closed down in 1993. At its peak the pit employed around 2,000 people – and there’s no reason to believe that we couldn’t see similar numbers coming back to work on the famous site.
g Here’s a chance for local music and dance groups to step into the spotlight!
Eight slots are up for grabs between April and December as part of our brilliant St Helens Live 2014 – which raised the profile of the community organisations who took part last year.
The programme aims to enrich the town’s cultural diversity through live music, dance and theatre performances.
Last year’s event saw some great performances by local groups including Haydock Male Voice Choir, the St Helens Gilbert and Sullivan Society and St Helens Youth Brass Band.
We’re keen to promote local talent at every opportunity – and St Helens Live is the ideal showcase. So we want to hear from anyone who thinks they can fit the bill.
To apply for a place at St Helens Live 2014, contact the council’s events assistant John Herriott on 01744 671746 or email email@example.com.