CPO process starts for Mersey Gateway project

Around 50 business premises along the route of the Mersey Gateway project, connecting Runcorn and Widnes, are being issued with Compulsory Purchase Orders over the next week.

The Mersey Gateway project will cost £431m to build and was given the backing of £86m from the Government's Department for Transport, following a review last October.

The Mersey Gateway project team, which has already reached advance agreements with a number of businesses along the route, is issuing the notices as the first step in the statutory process that will alert all the parties affected by the CPOs along the route.

Cllr Rob Polhill, leader of Halton Council, said: "These letters shouldn't come as a surprise to the people who receive them, and I would like to stress that there are no residential properties affected by this in any way."

Steve Nicholson, Mersey Gateway Project director, added: "We've already reached agreement with a number of businesses, and are still talking directly to other landowners and tenants along the route in the hope of reaching voluntary agreements. However, now that we have the planning approval it is important for us to start the CPO process so that the timetable for the project remains on track. The actual transfer of land to the council will be phased over the next two years."

A planning decision notice made by the Government on 20 December has triggered a number of statutory processes including the CPOs which will allow the project team to acquire the necessary land required for the construction of the project.

The compulsory acquisition of land is divided into three components, two CPOs, Queensway and Central Expressway, and an Order under the Transport and Work Act 1992 (TWA).

The council is serving notices on the parties affected by these Orders in two stages, as follows:

  • Those land/business owners under the CPOs will, this week, be served with the official notice regarding the compulsory purchase of their land interest. Notices relating to these orders will be published in local newspapers and put up on various sites around the borough on 13 January 2011
  • In the following week, those land/business owners under the TWA Order will be served with the official notice regarding the compulsory purchase of their land interest. Notices relating to this order will be published in local newspapers and put up on various sites around the borough on 20 January 2011

Any affected business or landowner who has any concerns or questions about the CPO process should contact Alan Scarisbrick at the Mersey Gateway Project Team on 0151 495 4095.

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I was so surprised to see this given backing from the government last year, but I must congratulate Halton Borough Council on getting the decision – it’ll be interesting watching the project develop

By Derek James

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