Go-ahead for Parkside Colliery regeneration plans
The Secretary of State has approved the regeneration of Parkside Colliery, unlocking huge investment.
Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Leveling Up, Housing and Communities, made the announcement this afternoon.
The development, which will provide 1,330 new jobs when fully complete as a major logistics hub, would add more than £80m a year to the St Helens economy and provide £2.2m a year in business rates to support local services. It includes a £38m link road to the M6.
The then Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick, called in the scheme for a public inquiry in May last year.
Parkside Regeneration is a joint venture between developers Langtree and St Helens Council formed to redevelop the coal mine that closed in 1993.
John Downes, chairman of Parkside Regeneration, said: “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.”
He added: “This is very personal to me. I started my career at Parkside as a 16-year-old and it brings that journey full circle.
“At its peak the colliery employed more than two thousand people and to be able to replace that lost work is hugely satisfying.
“The economy is changing rapidly as we adjust to a post-pandemic world and the site will provide options for logistics and manufacturing employers that will bring well paid technical work to the whole of St Helens borough.
“The potential to capitalise on and support Liverpool Freeport’s growth is particularly noteworthy.”
He said: “Everyone in the borough will benefit from this investment. Not just because they’ll possibly know young people accessing apprenticeships and training opportunities, or relatives finding work at Parkside, but because the site will generate millions of pounds a year in rateable income for investment in social care and other vital public services. This is a ‘win’ for the whole borough.”
Parkside Regeneration board member and leader of St Helens Borough, Cllr David Baines, said: “I am delighted that the Secretary of State has given his backing to Parkside.
“It is a site of local, regional and national significance, and with the opportunity to be a key part of the Freeport plans for Liverpool City Region it has the potential to be of international significance too.
“St Helens Borough Council is fully committed to doing everything we can to help attract investment and new job opportunities to the borough, and Parkside is the perfect example of this.
“For communities in Newton-le-Willows in need of jobs and investment this is especially good news. We’ve fought for this for a long time, and now the right decision has at last been made I’m looking forward to seeing work begin on site as quickly as possible.”
Ged Massie, managing director at Liverpool’s Keppie Massie which has advised on the project, said: “The proposed development of Parkside offers enormous social and economic benefits for the people of St Helens and the wider region, so today’s decision is great news.
“It offers a genuine platform from which to grow skills and youth employment in the town by creating thousands of well paid, skilled jobs in both the development phase and longer term in the delivery of a major logistics hub.
“The creation of the new Parkside Link Road also provides an opportunity to reduce traffic congestion in neighbouring communities and provide a vital link to the national transport network and the expanding Freeport at Liverpool, which, in turn, will drive further investment and prosperity for St Helens.”
However, Peel L&P’s bid to develop a £165m logistics scheme at Haydock Point was not as fortunate as Parkside.
The Secretary of State today ruled against the development, agreeing with St Helens Council’s original refusal on the grounds it would cause too much harm to the green belt.
Plans were originally submitted in 2017, claiming the scheme could create 2,500 jobs, and Peel L&P submitted an appeal to the Secretary of State in July 2020 on the grounds the council had not given a decision.
The council then ruled against the proposal in November 2020, and the Secretary of State concurred, today, based on the harm it would do to the landscape.