PLANS to completely redevelop a former coalmine into a major housing, leisure and business development are on track.
Previously derelict land at Bickershaw Colliery has been decontaminated, new roads have been built and extensive infrastructure works put in place.
Planning permission has been granted for a development of up to 650 homes at the site which will be built around the marina, alongside up to 2,750 sqm of business space.
The improvement works, carried out by Birse Civils, met high environmental standards with all excavated materials being reused on site rather than contributing to landfill.
Wildlife will also benefit from a drainage system which will help improve and protect existing wetland habitats for water voles, great crested newts and nesting birds.
An £11m investment from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) means that the 18-hectare site can now be marketed to private developers.
Andy Burnham, MP for Leigh, celebrated the completion with a tour of the site, joined by representatives from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), the North West Regional Development Agency (NWDA), Wigan Council, Scott Wilson and Birse. They watched as narrow boats from local clubs became the first to use the spectacular new marina.
Deborah McLaughlin, executive director North West at the HCA, said: “This is a major milestone for what is a key development for Leigh. The new marina is a stunning feature that will be a major attraction for people looking to live or work here.
“We will be working closely with our partners to find the right developer to ensure that Bickershaw South fulfils its potential.”
Mark Farrah, managing director at Birse Civils North, said, “This has been a great scheme for Birse Civils to deliver, it has had interesting engineering challenges and created a lot of local employment.
“An environmentally friendly approach was adopted during construction, the finished product is of excellent quality and has been delivered ahead of time.
“These impressive results can only be achieved by working closely with all project partners.”