Resident’s anger over Parkside leaflets

A photo of part of the Parkside site taken by Newton-le-Willows resident Andrew Bryce
A photo of part of the Parkside site taken by Newton-le-Willows resident Andrew Bryce

An unhappy resident has hit out at politicians for sending out what he claims is a misleading leaflet about re-developing a large industrial site.

Andrew Bryce, from Newton-le-Willows, claims the flyer contains photographs which only show a small area of the Parkside site and does not reflect what the former colliery is really like.

Mr Bryce says that, far from the barren landscape of concrete depicted on the photograph, much of Parkside has returned to nature and is a popular venue for local dog walkers.

He is now calling for St Helens Council to drop plans for heavy industry on the former mining site and instead turn the area into something which will bring jobs and investment while retaining green land and showcasing its history.

Mr Bryce said: “The main photo on the flyer shows the electrical substation and a section of derelict car park. This photo, along with those on the council’s website, are the worst possible photos that could have been taken.

“With a similar attitude, I could take photos of San Tropez and make it look a right dump! The actual colliery footprint is only a small cigar-shaped section in the middle of the surrounding green belt.

“This is not Parkside at all, nature has taken the land back. I don’t like that this flyer is presenting a misleading impression.”

St Helens Council has been consulting on the future of the site which was previously earmarked for a freight rail hub, although the local authority and its partners say they are still considering options for the area.

Mr Bryce says he believes some of the industrial options being looked at are now longer appropriate for Newton-le-Willows as the area is now a commuter town rather than one home to large businesses.

He also wants more of the open land retained and says he is worried about issues such as increased traffic and pollution.

He said: “It certainly was an industrial town in the past but since the closure of the Vulcan and other industry off Earle Street it has lost all of it.

“Let’s build on the footprint but why do we need to cover the last bit of green belt land before Cheshire in warehousing or heavy industry?

“Warehouses are also largely automated so it will not create many local jobs. There will probably only be four or people there on each shift and they will be built by specialists who are already employed, trained and experienced and will travel from all over the country.

“I’m not objecting to something being built but I would think a hotel with reception facilities, golf driving range, putting greens or other outside sports and facilities would create new jobs for ground staff, wardens, kitchen staff, cleaners and so on.

“With a little bit of thought, a sensible and sympathetic use could be found which would create jobs that could actually be taken up by people currently unemployed or leaving education.”

A spokesman for St Helens Council said: “All aspects of this proposed development will be considered once a formal planning application is received by the council.”