£3m Growing Places loan for Omega North

Simon Donohue

Cheshire & Warrington LEP has allocated £3m from its Growing Places Fund towards a £10.6m infrastructure project at Omega North, part of the 575-acre Omega Warrington development.

The project will provide an access road, service connections and landscaping for building plots, unlocking three further plots at Omega North for development.

Omega says the loan will help to secure occupier interest and unlock the first 500 of the predicted 1,500 jobs on this 80-acre part of the Omega site.

It will be provided at an interest rate of 1.12%, generating a forecast return to the Growing Places Fund of £3.018m. It represents 28.3% of the overall cost of the infrastructure project.

Consent was granted for a 700,000 sq ft regional logistics centre for the Travis Perkins Group at Omega North in July. Brakes and Hermes also have logistics hubs under construction on Omega North.

Andrew Sutherland from Miller Developments, on behalf of Omega Warrington, said: "Unlike other large schemes in the North West, to date Omega has been mostly funded by the private sector through Omega Warrington, a joint venture between Miller Development and RBS, now KUC Properties, its ventures division.

"When completed, the scheme could generate investment in excess of £600m. However, we have always taken a strategic approach to funding with a strong focus on risk profile, phasing and timing of development receipts.

"In these economic conditions, a scheme of this size and complexity needs a private, public sector partnership to succeed.

"As the market has taken off over the past six months, we have worked with the Cheshire & Warrington LEP, supported by the Homes & Communities Agency and Warrington Borough Council, to agree a funding package through the Growing Places Fund that can help us deliver the infrastructure essential to secure and respond to occupier interest."

Christine Gaskell, chair of the Cheshire & Warrington LEP said: "This positive news really is testament to the strength of the partnership created in Warrington between the Borough Council, the LEP, the HCA and Omega Warrington."

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Still no word on the promised improvements to the M62 between junctions 7 and 11. The view out of the windows on the Omega site will be one very long and constant traffic jam. Two lanes between Liverpool and Manchester at Croft simply cannot be expected to cope.

By Julian