One vast logistics park is approved and another rejected on Wigan's border
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.”
Councillor 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.”
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.
The news was hailed by Makerfield's MP.
Yvonne Fovargue said: “I welcome the decision to dismiss the appeal.
"I objected to this application on the grounds of its encroachment on the greenbelt, traffic congestion and air quality. It was a development too far and I am pleased that the Planning Inspector dismissed the appeal by Peel Investments.”
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