Developers prepare to submit transport plan

An artists impression of how the Parkside development will look once completed. The first phase planning application will be submitted on July 31
An artists impression of how the Parkside development will look once completed. The first phase planning application will be submitted on July 31

A plan to transform an old coal mine into a transport hub - potentially creating thousands of job - is set to take a step closer to becoming a reality.

The developers behind the Parkside scheme will submit a planning application for the first phase of the site’s development next month.

Such is the proposed site’s size, it straddles three local authority boundaries - Wigan, Warrington and St Helens.

Bosses believe once the venture is up and running, it will create up to 1,400 new jobs.

The regeneration project is a joint venture between developers Langtree and St Helens Council.

“We have consulted extensively on our proposals and received some very constructive feedback,” said John Downes, group managing director of Langtree.

“Where practical we’ve incorporated a number of suggestions in to our proposals and intend to share them with the public before we submit our plans.”

The plans cover the project’s proposed first stage, which would incorporate up to 93,000 square metres of new employment space, providing up to 1,200 new jobs for local people, according figures produced by Langtree. They also estimate the project, which is based in Newton, could generate £40m a year in economic activity.

No date has yet been set for the planning application to be heard, although it is expected to be ruled upon before the end of the year. Included with the submission will be a range of independent reports addressing issues such as road capacity, environmental impact and the development’s economic contribution.

The project has drawn criticism from some quarters, with opponents raising concerns about congestion on local roads and possible effects on air quality.

Mark Lewis, co-chairman of the Parkside Action Group, said: “We do not share the council’s vision of this area becoming a logistics hub. The area is already overflowing with traffic and we feel if the development went ahead this would make the problem much worse.

“There have been issues around the area before in regards to air quality and more than 5,000 objections in three separate consultations concerning the green belt.

There will now be two meeting where members of the public can view the plans prior to their submission. The events will be at Hope Academy, Newton-le-Willows, between 4pm and 8pm on July 11, and Winwick Leisure Centre, Winwick (4pm to 8pm) on Thursday, July 13.