The council has signed off its masterplan for upgrading the Runcorn industrial estate, including creating an additional 1m sq ft of employment space and refurbishing existing units over the next five years.
The masterplan was drawn up to guide development and make Astmoor Industrial Estate more attractive to potential occupiers, following the construction of the Mersey Gateway Bridge connecting Runcorn with Widnes.
The Mersey Gateway Bridge, which opened in October 2017, passes over the estate on elevated piers, giving Astmoor the Astmoor estate greater prominence and accessibility.
Development sites totalling 17 acres have been identified in the masterplan and could be used to increase the park’s employment space and create up to 2,000 jobs.
A clutch of industrial units to the east of Astmoor, built as part of the development of Runcorn New Town more than 50 years ago, has also been earmarked for refurbishment, while an 80,000 sq ft plot to the west could be used for a residential development.
Under the proposals, improvements would be made to Astmoor Road, which runs through the industrial estate, creating an “attractive boulevard”, according to the masterplan. A start on site for the road improvements is expected next April.
A team of consultants appointed in 2018, including architect BDP, consultancy JLL, engineer Curtins and regeneration company Ekosgen, drew up the masterplan.
Cllr Ron Hignett, Halton Council’s executive board member for the physical environment, said: “In these difficult times, with so much uncertainty, it is even more important that the council maintains its ambitions around growth and prosperity…by developing modern, sustainable employment areas that can compete with other similar, large industrial estates within the Liverpool City Region.”
He added: “The transformation of Astmoor into a modern business park, together with its location adjacent to the Mersey Gateway, will be a catalyst for new investment and a driver for local economic prosperity, with the potential to support the creation of 2,000 new jobs and safeguarding many more.”