Plans to turn old colliery site into logistics hub submitted
Parkside Regeneration, the joint venture between St Helens Borough Council and developer Langtree tasked with transforming the derelict former Parkside colliery in Newton-le-Willows, has confirmed submission of its reserved matters planning application for the first phase of development.
The move is the next significant step in the planning process before work can commence on site. This new application focuses on the detail of the scheme not covered by the outline consent that was granted in November 2021 following a public inquiry and relates to 1million square feet of logistics space.
“The scale of the project and our desire to deliver a best-in-class development across the board means this has necessarily been a lengthy process,” said Langtree Group Chief Executive John Downes, who is also Chair of the Parkside Regeneration Board.
“It’s been worth the hard work because what we are proposing far exceeds anything I’ve seen in the logistics arena. Every detail, from energy efficiency and supply, to landscaping, site layout and lighting has been carefully thought-through so that potential occupiers can be satisfied that they are bringing their brand to a suitable home,” said Mr Downes.
He cites a shift in market behaviour as being behind upgrades to the building designs, which he believes will be particularly beneficial to local jobseekers.
“Major occupiers are increasingly putting head-office functions in key distribution hubs, and we recognise the importance of the office areas as places for people, and the relevance of building design to facilitate health, wellbeing, and productivity. We have therefore reflected this by upgrading our office specifications within each building, as well as the façade treatments that go with them. It will mean a wider range of jobs available for local people, with higher salaries and different career paths, too.”
Commenting on the submission, Councillor David Baines, Leader of St Helens Borough Council said: “I am confident that residents will be pleased with the project details that we are bringing forward. Parkside will be a high-quality development that will enhance the area, provide a positive setting for businesses to locate to and ensure environmental net gain. And being part of the Liverpool City Region Freeport will bring additional benefits for businesses right across the borough and beyond, creating prosperity and tangible benefits for our residents in the form of good quality jobs and the increased opportunities that a growing economy brings. The Council and Langtree are committed to providing a development that has the highest possible environmental credentials. Should the application be approved, we can look forward to progressing into the delivery phase and engaging as much of our local supply chain as possible to help with the construction and fit-out of the units.”
Parkside Regeneration has pledged to ‘set the benchmark’ for maximising the social value of its investment. Councillor Kate Groucutt, Cabinet Member for economy, business and skills, says the scale of the project offers an opportunity for ‘real, meaningful impact.’
“Developments of this scale are quite rare and, by identifying every point at which we can engage with local people, community groups, schools and businesses, we can extend the impact of the investment, and in multiple ways. There’s a team focused on this and they’ll remain so for the life of the project.”
The final building and landscape designs, along with a range of other detailed issues such as junction designs, drainage systems and lighting, will be ruled upon by St Helens Borough Council’s planning committee. If approved, work will then commence on securing a contractor to deliver the first phase of the project, which will include two speculatively built units of 367,700 square feet and 198,100 square feet. Details of a third unit are also being submitted as part of the reserved matters application comprising a further 227,400 square feet. Overall, the first phase development at Parkside is expected to generate more than 1,300 new jobs.
The reserved matters application is now awaiting validation by St Helens Borough Council, after which it will be available on its planning portal for the public to view and submit comments. The application is expected to be presented to St Helens Borough Council’s Planning Committee in September, with tender notices being issued to main contractors towards the end of the year if granted.
In a separate move, Parkside Regeneration also confirmed that it will be submitting a separate planning application to allow the necessary consent to move surplus material in land earmarked for Phase Two of the scheme into the Phase One area in the coming weeks. The move, if granted, will help minimise the amount off-site imported material needed to deliver the extensive landscape designs and site levels across Phase 1. “It’s a ‘quick win’ that means we utilise surplus material from the site and realise far fewer truck movements on local roads,” explained John Downes.