A £100m scheme to transform a former coal mine in Liverpool city region into a 1m sq ft logistics hub could lead to up to 3,000 new jobs. Tony McDonough reports
Pre-construction work has started on the £100m Parkside scheme in Newton-le-Willows which could eventually lead to the creation of 3,000 new jobs.
Teams of engineers, project managers, architects and landscape designers are already working on the project with building work set to begin in early 2023. Secretary of State for Levelling Up Michael Gove gave the green light to the scheme in November 2021.
Phase one of Parkside, to build 1m sq ft of logistics space, will see 450 people employed on its construction. This first phase will create space that could lead to up to 1,300 new jobs.
However, LBN understands developer Parkside Regeneration has ambitions to build a a second phase, larger than the 1m sq ft first phase, subject to approval, which could lead to a total of 3,000 new jobs. This would be more than the 2,000 people employed in the original colliery.
Parkside Regeneration is a joint venture between developer Langtree and St Helens Council. Chairman John Downes said: “There’s a lot to do finalising elements of the design and it’s highly satisfying to see so many teams at work on this.”
To mark the scheme’s beginning a number of local councillors and members of Parkside Regeneration visited the site to see how the approved masterplan will translate “on the ground”.
Work has already started constructing the new Parkside Link Road, which will connect the site to J22 of the M6 motorway, taking goods traffic away from nearby roads such as the A49 and improving the local environment.
It is estimated phase one alone will generate £80m a year in new economic output and more than £2m in business rates. The scheme also comes with planning conditions and £675,000 of funding through a section 106 agreement to provide woodland and tree planting, green infrastructure and habitat improvements.
It will also fund schemes to get local people into the new jobs, new bus and cycle routes to the site and acres of new public parkland. Cllr Richard McCauley, St Helens Council’s cabinet member for regeneration and planning, said: “Parkside has been in the pipeline for a number of years now, so it’s great to be here on site.
“Not only is this project bringing a derelict piece of land back into use, but its economic benefits will also put our borough back on the map and create new jobs and employment opportunities for local residents.”
Mr Downes says the target is to open a first phase of speculative development by the end of June 2024 and adds that the scheme’s property agents are already discussing the site’s benefits with potential occupiers.
He added: “We will be building speculatively because we know that there are occupier requirements in the market. We want to be able to generate employment back on this site as soon as possible now that we have been given the green light.”
Parkside Colliery was operated by British Coal. It was opened in 1957 and closed in 1993 and was the last deep coal mine operating in what was known as the Lancashire Coalfield. Anne Scargill, the then wife of former National Union of Mineworkers president, Arthur Scargill, led a four-day occupy protest against the closure.