Calls to throw out hub plans for the Wigan and St Helens border

Campaigners have called for a controversial development on the site of a former coal mine on Wigan borough’s border to be thrown out.
An aerial shot of the Parkside siteAn aerial shot of the Parkside site
An aerial shot of the Parkside site

Outline planning permission was granted for the first phase of the regeneration of the Parkside Collliery site at Newton-le-Willows, which lies on the Wigan and St Helens boundary, in December 2019.

It would see the land transformed into a major logistics hub.

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The £31.5m scheme, which would also sit partially in the green belt, would connect the A49 Winwick Road directly with the M6 at Junction 22 and would act as a bypass to divert traffic away from Newton-le-Willows, Winwick and Hermitage Green.

Parkside Colliery shortly before it shut in the early 1990sParkside Colliery shortly before it shut in the early 1990s
Parkside Colliery shortly before it shut in the early 1990s

Planning permission for the link road, which was brought by St Helens Council, was also approved.

Due to the size of the project, the applications were referred to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government.

Now Leigh MP James Grundy has called for the planning inspector to put forward that the proposal is dismissed amid concerns from residents.

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The main fears relate to the plan being on green belt land, the effect it will have on the road network, plus traffic and air quality. Almost 700 objections were submitted prior to outline planning permission’s being granted.

Warrington and Wigan councils also objected to the plans.

Speaking at the Parkside Planning Inquiry, Mr Grundy said: “People have contacted me to raise their concerns about the impact this will have upon roads within Leigh, its contribution to air pollution problems, and the damage it will cause to the environment.

“This is why I raised these concerns on the behalf of people at the inquiry and urged the planning inspector to recommend that this application be rejected.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the number of people and community groups who participated in this inquiry, to ensure our voice is heard.”

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Proposals to redevelop the Parkside site were originally submitted in January 2018 by Parkside Regeneration LLP, a joint venture between commercial developers Langtree and St Helens Council.

The site, which last saw coal mining in the early 1990s, is viewed as a major employment area for St Helens and the Liverpool City Region, so much so the combined authority approved £24m to part-fund the Parkside Link Road project in November 2019, which is seen as a key element to unlocking the potential of the site.