Plans submitted to bring 1,650 logistics jobs to Wigan in £73m scheme

View of the proposed speculative buildings

Plans were submitted today by db symmetry to Wigan Council for a strategic logistics scheme on J25 of the M6.

Symmetry Park Wigan could deliver 1.44 million sq ft of logistics employment space (Use Class B8) and up to 1,650 high quality jobs.

If consented, Symmetry Park Wigan would represent a construction investment of £73m into Wigan and add £3m-a-year in business rates payments towards Wigan Council’s income.

In April this year Wigan Council’s employment land position statement identified the site as suitable for logistics, given its access to the M6, which is the most important route for road freight in the UK.

The council has identified that it does not have sufficient land outside of the green belt to meet its employment land needs.

The proposals include high quality logistics buildings, alongside extensive landscaping and planting. There will be a substantial green buffer between the development and the nearest housing in Winstanley.

Andrew Dickman, managing director of db symmetry, said: “The council has identified that Wigan needs to do more to attract and retain businesses in the borough, and particularly those that need larger, modern premises.

“The employment land position statement shows an immediate need for high-quality sites with access to the M6 and has identified Symmetry Park Wigan as a suitable site.

“When fully operational, Symmetry Park Wigan could deliver 1,650 high quality jobs in the logistics sector from entry-level operatives to supply chain managers, with automation in the sector requiring increasingly skilled technicians.

“We’re working closely with local employment and training providers to ensure that people across Wigan can access these opportunities and build a career in the logistics sector.”

He added: “We’ve consulted with the local community in preparing a detailed and robust planning application.

“As a result of the consultation we’ve decided to move our boundary further away from people living in Winstanley, leaving a substantial green landscaped buffer to the north of the site.

“We’ve also looked carefully at the potential traffic impacts of the development and how these will be managed. The site is in an excellent location for logistics with direct access to the M6, meaning vehicles can avoid residential areas.”

Phil Eckersley, Wigan president of the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, said: “Logistics is an increasingly important sector for the North West and for Wigan.

“This development will deliver much needed high-quality jobs that won’t just benefit the local area – people from across Wigan will be able to access the training and employment opportunities provided.

“Investment in modern employment sites will help ensure Wigan remains competitive and benefits from the economic success of the region.

“The M6 is the most important route for road freight in the UK. Developing this site will enable Wigan to take advantage of its strategic location and increase its share of the jobs market.”

The site, which is within the green belt, was formerly used as an open-cast coal mine and was a colliery site until the early 1980s.

The emerging Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (GMSF) has identified the site for release from the green belt, as part of a proposed mixed-use site allocation.

The application follows a period of consultation which saw two public drop-in events held in May.

Wigan Council is likely to make a decision on the application before the end of the year.

Subject to planning approval, db symmetry propose to develop the first two units speculatively, starting construction in 2019, with the entire scheme programmed for completion by 2026.