St Helens Council is to determine its position on the 1.8m sq ft industrial scheme next week, ahead of an inquiry by the secretary of state at which the proposal will be considered alongside three similar applications called in this year.
Developer Peel L&P submitted a planning application for the £165m Haydock Point Employment Park in March 2017, however, St Helens Council has not made a decision on whether to approve the proposals in the three years since.
As a result, Peel L&P, which is working with industrial developer PLP on the scheme, lodged an appeal calling for the application to be decided by the secretary of state Robert Jenrick alongside a handful of similar schemes called in by the Government in May.
Peel L&P had lobbied for its plans for Haydock Point to be considered according to the same process as the other schemes “to prevent the proposals from being ignored”, it said. The Haydock Point inquiry has now been set for February 2021.
St Helens’ planning committee is scheduled to meet on 24 November to decide the council’s position on the planning application, which will then be presented at the public inquiry, Peel L&P said this week. The local authority’s planning officer has advised that a recommendation for approval would have been given.
The other schemes called in by the secretary of state earlier this year are:
- Langtree’s 1m sq ft redevelopment of Parkside Colliery in St Helens
- Tritax Symmetry’s 1.44m sq ft warehouse scheme Symmetry Park in Wigan
- Harworth Group’s 1 million sq ft Wingates scheme in Bolton
Liberty Properties Developments and Eddie Stobart’s plans for a £75m national distribution centre on land north of Barleycastle Lane in Warrington were also called in in May, but Jenrick refused the 630,000 sq ft proposal on the grounds of harm it would cause to the Green Belt.
As the Haydock Point application is to be decided through an inquiry, St Helens Council must now inform the Secretary of State how it would have ruled should the application been determined locally.
Richard Knight, director of land and communities at Peel L&P, said: “During a time of economic uncertainty, our proposals for Haydock Point presents an opportunity to deliver a substantial economic boost to St Helens and support a wide range of jobs for local people.”
Once complete, Haydock Point could provide up to 2,500 jobs and generate up to £159m for the economy annually, according to Peel L&P.