Almost ten years to the day after signing a development agreement to deliver Omega, a 575-acre development straddling the M62, developer Miller could be about to deliver the first building – a 200,000 sq ft prelet warehouse on the north side.
Miller has submitted a reserved matters planning application in the past few days. The application is not yet live on the Warrington council website.
The name of the occupier that will take the warehouse has not been confirmed but food supplier Brake Brothers has been strongly linked with Omega North, totalling 80 acres, in recent months.
Miller and Royal Bank of Scotland were selected by English Partnerships as preferred developers of the former airfield in July 2001 and signed a development agreement in June 2002. A planning application was submitted in 2003 and permission granted in 2007. The recession and mounting cost of infrastructure needed to open up the site – despite completion of a £25m motorway junction – have stalled the scheme for the past five years.
The much larger south side was originally due to be a large office park but the government's town-centre-first policy of the past decade rendered Omega against policy and out-of-date.
Discussions about the future of Omega South among Miller, RBS, Warrington council and the Homes & Communities Agency, successor to English Partnerships, have explored the feasibility of a university or a hospital or even a prison but have so far come to nothing.
Omega Warrington has submitted a planning application for a 200,000 sq ft warehouse on an 18-acre plot, along with a new road and services costing £7m.
Omega Warrington is a joint venture between Miller Developments and KUC Properties, a subsidiary of RBS, in partnership with the HCA and supported by Warrington council.
Andrew Sutherland, joint managing director of Miller Developments, said: "Following an extremely challenging period for the property market as a whole, this planning submission marks a great leap forward for Omega North. With the associated infrastructure the deal will bring and outline planning consent already in place for 1.6m sq ft of industrial and warehousing space, Omega North is ready to capitalise on the supply shortage in the North West for large distribution units."
Cllr Terry O'Neill, leader of Warrington Borough Council, added: "We have always maintained that the Omega site offers an almost unrivalled opportunity in the North West to create a commercial location of national significance. The council has worked closely with Miller and other partners throughout this process to ensure this development is realised and hundreds of local jobs are created. The benefits of this scheme however will extend far beyond the boundaries Warrington and Cheshire."
Pending a positive planning outcome, practical completion for the building and associated infrastructure is programmed for August 2013.
The project team includes Chetwoods Architects, GVA as planning consultant and joint letting agent with Jones Lang LaSalle.