Parkside Colliery CGI 2
The former colliery site has lain vacant and derelict since 1992

Parkside Colliery among plans called in by Secretary of State

Sarah Townsend

Four significant logistics schemes have been called in by Government, including developer Langtree and St Helens Council’s proposed regeneration of the 230-acre former colliery site in Newton-le-Willows.

The first phase of the scheme led by Parkside Regeneration, a joint venture between Langtree and the local authority, proposes a 1m sq ft industrial and logistics park on the site, which has lain derelict since 1992 when the colliery closed.

St Helens Council approved the outline planning application submitted last December, but the decision was recommended for sign-off by the Secretary of State because of its scale, and has now been called in.

The application forms part of a wider proposal for works across the Parkside area, which also crosses into Warrington. The logistics park, and a £38m link road that would cut across 93 acres of Warrington’s Green Belt and connect the colliery site to the motorway, are the first phases of a larger scheme of 505 acres, around the junction to the east and west of the site.

In a joint statement, St Helens Council leader David Baines and John Downes, chairman of Parkside Regeneration and group chief executive of Langtree, said: “While disappointing that the scheme has been called in, reviews of this type are not uncommon in the planning process and the joint venture will now work diligently to provide the information needed by the inquiry team.”

The statement added: “The plans are firmly in line with the council’s emerging local plan and demonstrate a very clear and compelling economic case. Even with our cautious economic forecasts we are predicting 1,330 end-user jobs in this first phase of the redevelopment of the parkside site as well as 457 construction jobs. This is a derelict colliery that once employed two thousand people.

“In addition, the development of strong manufacturing and logistics sectors are a stated priority for St Helens Council and current circumstances have demonstrated the importance of these industries more widely to our society.”

The secretary of state has also called in Liberty Properties Developments and Eddie Stobart’s plans for a £75m national distribution centre on land known land north of Barleycastle Lane in Warrington, Tritax Symmetry’s 1.4m sq ft Symmetry Park in Wigan, and Harworth Group’s West of Wingates, a proposed 1m sq ft industrial scheme near Wingates Industrial Estate in Bolton.



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Would love to know what the Tories’ political angle is here. In the case of Parkside, it’s a derelict former coal mine in an area that still needs jobs. Then there’s the wider piece of needing to get the economy roaring out of the traps once lockdown is fully lifted.

With both those very real needs in mind, just what is the agenda here?

By Sceptical

This really underscores the need for regional strategic approaches. The same ones that were abolished in 2011! May be they should re-emerge within City Region areas? Not a helpful move for the economy given logistics will be one of the few sectors that may make progress.

By Nick

It looks as though the “Northern Powerhouse” is in danger of having its lights turned out. Given the scale of potential employment and inward investment captured by these four schemes (and the serious deficiencies of PINS even before Covid19), what benefit is supposed to flow from this call-in and conjoined super-Inquiry? Smacks of needless political intervention.

By McBain

That’s terrible news. The site has been identified for years, it was even allocated in Regional Planning Guidance. What a waste of the Council/Langtree’s time and money at a time when we need to encourage investment.

By Edge

Why is the Leader of St Helens Council saying “he’s disappointed the scheme has been called in”? – that’s exactly what was recommended when his own Planning Committee gave outline approval in Dec!

By MancLad

This is the wrong type of development for this site. The very last thing we need in an area surrounded by warehouses is yet more warehouses adjacent to an historic town, to create yet more pollution and congestion. I hope the Secretary of State throws out the plans, but I won’t hold my breath.

By Hazel Davies

It’s a difficult situation for a council to find itself in, knowing it has a duty to refer schemes to the government. Especially when that council is in the Liverpool region.

What should have received a cursory glance and sign off will eventually be ok’d, but not before much time has passed and momentum lost. It’s no skin off the nose of civil servants any politicians in London, who get to keep themselves employed while claiming they’re providing valuable scrutiny.

If only they did.

By Mike

St Helens is predominantly reliant on logistic type jobs of which there are more than enough. This sector is land hungry but gives little in return in terms of employment – developers promise the earth 2,500 jobs for Florida Farm actually only delivering 270. Of late there have been several contentious, speculative applications all on green belt land, which do not accord with council’s own current local plan and their brownfield first policy. These 4 applications are all relatively close to each other and will each impact and impinge on the local road network, plus there is the green belt issues. The call-ins are welcome as of late there has been an attitude of building whatever and where ever developer rather than plan led. With the Parkside application it is smacks of St Helens being judge and jury. What is really needed particularly in St Helens but in other areas too is jobs with good training/career opportunities.

By Dori

St Helens Is seen by many as Merseyside’s weak link.

By Anonymous

Very average leadership in the borough…

Can only seem to attract warehouse-and-distribution types of businesses.

By North by North-West

Building on green belt land should be decided at a national level not at local level.

By Anon