Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick has now ‘called in’ the scheme, which could create almost 2,000 jobs in a new logistics hub at the former Merseyside coal mine. Tony McDonough reports
Developers behind a £100m plan to transform the former Parkside Colliery into a logistics hub say they are “disappointed” the scheme will now be subject to a public inquiry.
Property company Langtree and St Helens Council have formed a joint venture to regenerate the former coal mine which closed in 1993. They claim the project could create almost 2,000 jobs and generate £80m annually for the local economy.
Known as Parkside Regeneration, the joint venture secured outline planning permission for the first phase of the scheme in December 2019. It is estimated that once the project is completed it would also yield St Helens Council £2m in extra business rates.
However, Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick has now ‘called in’ the scheme, meaning it will have to be subject to a full public inquiry before it gets the final go-ahead. Parkside regeneration chairman John Downes has now issued a joint statement with St Helens Council leader, David Baines.
It said: “While disappointing that the scheme has been called in, reviews of this type are not uncommon in the planning process and the Parkside Regeneration joint venture will now work diligently to provide the information needed by the inquiry team.
“The plans for phase 1 of the redevelopment of Parkside and for the Parkside Link Road 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.
“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 statement added: “We’re ready to invest more than £100m in a local supply chain which will generate more than £80m a year in new economic output. Once the scheme is complete it will generate more than £2m a year in new rates income for the council to invest in vital public services.
“Our focus now will be on ensuring that the Secretary of State has everything required to review our case thoroughly during the inquiry and we will then await the decision keenly.”