Logistics developer Tritax Symmetry has agreed with The Land Trust to bring forward the a project to create a logistics hub and country park at the former Merseyside colliery. Tony McDonough reports
A former coal mine in Merseyside could be transformed into a 1m sq ft logistics hub and a new country park under plans unveiled today.
Logistics developer Tritax Symmetry has secured an agreement with The Land Trust to bring forward the project at the former Cronton Colliery in Knowsley. It estimates could see the creation of up to 900 permanent jobs and annual GVA contribution of £46m.
Cronton Colliery opened in 1916 and at its height employed more than 900 people and annually produced more than 350,000 tonnes of coal. Eight men were killed in 1917 during an explosion at the seam. It closed in 1984.
Located east of Junction 6 of the M6, the sites form part of the Halsnead Garden Village Sustainable Urban Extension (HSUE) which represents part of the wider vision for the Halsnead Garden Village.
Liverpool City Region Combined Authority will invest £12m into the development. Tritax will now embark on a public consultation and expects to submit a planning application to Knowsley Councul later in the summer. If approved the scheme will employ 830 people during construction, including 50 apprentices.
The project team includes Gerald Eve as planning consultants and UMC as architects for the employment scheme. Michael Lee Architects will work in partnership with the Land Trust on the design of the new country park.
Matt Claxton, planning director at Tritax Symmetry, said: “The employment development will attract multi-million-pound investment in the logistics sector, creating highly-skilled and well-paid jobs as well as giving opportunities to 50 new trainees or apprenticeships during construction.”
A network of paths derived from the coal seams below the site will wind their way through a biodiverse habitat of wetlands, grasslands and woodlands. A new sustainable transport route will follow the abandoned mineral railway line, connecting the towns and villages to the north and south of the M62.
The country park will contain 11 acres of broadleaf woodland, eight acres of wetland habitat to be enjoyed and explored, and five kilometres of paths to use for walking, cycling or running.
Euan Hall, chief executive at the Land Trust, added: “The agreement we have made with Tritax Symmetry offers a rare opportunity to bring both jobs and green spaces to our local communities.
“We are fully committed to the long-term sustainable management of open space for community benefit and this partnership will help us to unlock funding and be a superb resource which will be of huge value to the local community and the local wildlife.”