NWDA adds Peel’s £50bn ocean gateway to RS2010 priorities

Peel Holdings has won a partial victory in its campaign to have the £50bn Atlantic Gateway vision for the River Mersey and Manchester Ship Canal area backed by the planning system.

The draft regional strategy published this week identifies the "international potential of the Liverpool-Manchester corridor through the Atlantic Gateway concept."

The 82-page publication stops short of mentioning Peel by name or the special planning dispensation Peel would ideally like, similar to a development corporation of the 1980s and '90s.

RS2010 will set planning guidance for the region for the next few years and public spending targets for transport, housing, employment, business competitiveness and low carbon. It will replace the Regional Economic Strategy, the Regional Spatial Strategy and the Regional Housing Strategy.

The six 'key spatial themes' contained in the draft are:

  • "the world-class cities of Liverpool and Manchester, as the economic cores of substantial city regions, and the international potential of the Liverpool-Manchester corridor through the Atlantic Gateway concept
  • "Preston's role as a driver of regional growth
  • "Crewe, Chester, Warrington, Lancaster and Carlisle's role as key sub-regional hubs (and in the case of Chester and Carlisle, the substantial links with Wales and Scotland respectively)
  • "the role of the Lake District and other outstanding natural and built assets in contributing to the region's image and profile
  • "those parts of the Pennine Lancashire, Barrow, and West Cumbria as well as areas within the Manchester and Liverpool city regions, which face substantial social and economic regeneration challenges; and
  • "physical and digital connectivity between Manchester and Liverpool city regions; North Cheshire and the city regions of Liverpool and Manchester; Pennine Lancashire and Preston and the Manchester city region; Preston and the city regions of Liverpool and Manchester; and rural areas and regional, sub-regional centres and local centres."

Atlantic Gateway was launched as a concept by Peel in 2008. It crosses several local authority boundaries and includes 12 large projects: Liverpool and Wirral Waters, Royal Seaforth Post-Panamax Container Terminal, Liverpool International Business Park (Speke Garston), Liverpool John Lennon Airport, Port Salford, Salford Forest Park, Media City UK, Ellesmere Quays and Runcorn Waterfront, Port Wirral and Port Warrington, Trafford Quays, Trafford Wharfside and Salford Quays.

Peel has enjoyed significant victories for its plans in the past year, overturning Cheshire West & Chester Council's objections to Ince Park, a waste-fuelled incinerator between Stanlow and Runcorn, after a public inquiry. Peel also won consent from Salford City Council for Port Salford, a multi-modal freight terminal, after seven years of planning.

Written by the NWDA and 4NW, formerly the North West Regional Assembly, this week's publication is the first of two parts to the document. A more detailed paper with specific policy action points will be published for consultation in the summer.

Consultation events will be held in February to canvas responses from business and community members to the draft of part one. Event details have yet to be released.

Robert Hough, chairman of the NWDA and a non-executive director of Peel, said: "The development of RS2010 offers a unique opportunity to bring economic, environmental and social priorities together into a single vision for the region's development over the next 20 years. The start of consultation on draft 1 is a significant milestone in the development of this crucial strategy and, as the first region to reach this stage, demonstrates the Northwest once again leading the way."

Cllr Sir Richard Leese, chairman of 4NW and leader of Manchester City Council, added: "We have a strong tradition of working in partnership in the Northwest and we are confident that the new strategy will build on this to play a pivotal role in driving investment and development in the region. Our objective must be excellent quality of life for all – and that to do this we must become more prosperous, more equitable and a lot less carbon dependent so that by 2030 the Northwest is a better place to live, learn, work, visit and invest."

  • To download a copy of the draft RS2010 click here

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So it’s official, Preston is no longer worth including same bracket as Liverpool and Manchester as the third city region for growth etc, as I think it was in RES.

By Mush

Visible and distinct clarity should be in place between the Public and Private Sector partnerships. Without that line, these sort of visionary and excellent initiatives raise justifiable suspicions about who reaps the benefits and whether the motivation behind seeing them happen is wholly honest. Peel has consistently used its influence solely for its own ends. It wouldn’t even slap some paint on it’s Liverpool airport for the ‘City of Culture’ initiatives even though it profited greatly from it. It has shifted its goalposts regarding Granada TV’s move to Salford’s Media City, which was also substantially propped up by NWDA (taxpayers money) and in effect ended that possibilty. As a taxpayer I would be much keener on this initiative were Peel not the instigators and certain directors of organisations involved were not also non exec directors of others. It doesnt seem like the basis for transparent business, no matter how great an idea it is.

By Brian Carr