Developer in move to secure inclusion on public inquiry hearing
Property developer Peel L&P has announced plans to advance its planning application for a major employment park and infrastructure investment at Haydock Point.
It is seeking to have its current application for the scheme, which it said could create 2,500 jobs, heard at a public inquiry alongside other schemes, while also resubmitting a second application for the proposals to St Helens Council.
The company, working with logistics developer PLP, submitted a planning application for the new manufacturing and logistics development in 2017.
Following feedback from highways authorities, an additional £10m plan for significant improvement works to junction 23 of the M6 has been proposed as part of the development.
The multimillion-pound investment into the highway network would complement the delivery of the new employment scheme by reducing waiting times and improving safety for local businesses and residents at the junction. It would also help facilitate a future wider improvement to the junction which St Helens Council and Highways England are seeking to bring forward.
The application has not yet been determined by St Helens Borough Council.
Following the Secretary of State’s unexpected decision in May to ‘call in’ other logistics and distribution employment schemes in Wigan, Bolton and St Helens, Peel L&P said it needs to ensure that the decision on Haydock Point should now be taken alongside those schemes.
It will, therefore, appeal its Haydock Point plans on the grounds of non-determination and seek to have the appeal heard at the same conjoined inquiry with the neighbouring logistics schemes so that all can be considered together by the same inspector.
Peel L&P said it remains committed to working with St Helens Council for a local decision, if possible.
Against this background, a duplicate planning application will, therefore, be submitted shortly.
The proposals for Haydock Point Employment Park will be worth £159m each year to the economy annually, said Peel L&P, in addition to the £10m-plus investment for improving the highway network around junction 23 of the M6.
Once fully built, the development is expected to deliver in the region of 2,500 full time equivalent (FTE) jobs, a wide range of training and apprenticeship opportunities and £3.5m Business Rates per annum, of which £1.75m would be retained in St Helens under current retention levels.
Richard Knight, director of land and communities at Peel L&P, said: “Our proposals for new manufacturing and logistics at Haydock Point and associated highway improvement works on the network around junction 23 will facilitate a major economic development that will support a wide range of jobs for local people and help secure supply chains for essential goods throughout St Helens and the wider region.
“However, at a time of economic uncertainty, we need to be accelerating the delivery of these jobs and multimillion-pound investment.
“The decision to call in several logistic schemes has meant we have had to reconsider our options and, following legal advice, we have concluded that there is no alternative but to appeal for non-determination and resubmit a fresh application.
“Our absolute preference would be for our proposals to be determined locally by St Helens Council, as we strongly believe that this is the best way to ensure that the scheme for Haydock Point meets the employment aspirations of local people and delivers maximum benefits to St Helens.
“As such, we’ll continue to engage with officers and hope the plans can be considered locally in due course.”
Neil Dickinson, chief investment officer of PLP, said: “We are seeing unprecedented levels of demand in the region from occupiers who are keen to secure new employment facilities.
“Despite the changing planning circumstances, PLP remain committed to bring forward the Haydock Point development as soon as possible.
“The first phase is likely to be speculatively developed to enable us to respond quickly to these occupier requirements.”