A joint venture between developer Langtree and St Helens Council has been given permission by the government to build a 230-acre industrial estate in Newton-le-Willows and a £38m link road connecting the scheme to the M6.
Parkside Regeneration had pleaded with Whitehall to allow the 1m sq ft Green Belt scheme to go ahead after it was called in along with three others in the region last year.
Now, the Planning Inspectorate has ruled in favour of the joint venture, citing regeneration benefits and the lack of an alternative site as key benefits of the scheme.
“Overall, the Secretary of State considers that the economic and other benefits of the proposal are collectively sufficient to clearly outweigh the harm to the Green Belt and such that very special circumstances exist to justify permitting the development.”
St Helens Council approved the outline planning application for Parkside Colliery, submitted last December, but the decision was recommended for sign-off by the Secretary of State because of its scale and was subsequently called in.
Parkside Colliery forms part of a wider proposal for works across the Parkside area, which also crosses into Warrington.
The logistics park and the link road are the first phases of a larger scheme of 505 acres around Junction 22 of the M6 to the east and west of the site.
The decision to approve the development will unlock hundreds of millions of pounds of new investment in the borough of St Helens and lead to the creation of several thousand new jobs, according to John Downes, chairman of Parkside Regeneration.
“It’s been a long road, but we got there,” Downes said.
“I’m delighted that the Secretary of State saw as clearly as we did Parkside’s potential for transformational change and the contribution it will make to re-balancing the borough’s economy.”
Parkside Colliery was designed by Fletcher Rae Architects, with planning consultancy from Spawforths.
The development will cost around £78m to build and could contribute £80m a year to the local economy. Some 930 jobs could be created.
“I am delighted that the Secretary of State has given his backing to Parkside,” said Cllr David Baines, leader of St Helens Council,
“It is a site of local, regional and national significance, and with the opportunity to be a key part of the Freeport plans for Liverpool City Region it has the potential to be of international significance too.”
Of the other schemes called in last year, Tritax Symmetry’s 1.4m sq ft Symmetry Park in Wigan, and Harworth Group’s 1m sq ft West of Wingates in Bolton were approved in June.
Liberty Properties Developments and Eddie Stobart’s plan for a £75m national distribution centre in Warrington, was refused.
In addition, Peel L&P and PLP submitted their 1.8m sq ft Haydock Point project to the Secretary of State around the same time as Wingates and Symmetry Park. The secretary of state has today recommended that appeal be dismissed.