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Parkside must deliver on permanent jobs promise
8:00am Friday 17th January 2014 in News
PLANS to redevelop a former colliery into a major rail freight terminal are back on track.
For more than ten years, Parkside near Winwick has been mooted for development but plans have failed to get the backing required and have later collapsed.
But St Helens Council has recently joined together with property, investment and development company Langtree to acquire the freehold and plan to start work on a development strategy to secure the long term economic benefit of the site.
Warrington Borough Council leader Terry O’Neill said there has been a lot of opposition locally to a freight terminal development being built on Parkside over the years.
Clr O’Neill plans to meet with the leader of St Helens Council, Barrie Grunewald, to discuss the issue and other cross boundary developments.
Clr Grunewald said: “When I became leader of the council I stated that I was firmly committed to delivering Parkside and believed that I would have failed if there was no movement on this site within 18 months.
“Parkside offers the potential to create thousands of new jobs. This is a prime development site in the north west and offers a unique destination sitting alongside the M6 and the West Coast mainline.
“It is hoped to reinstate the rail link with the mainline to create an inter-modal freight centre.”
Winwick Parish Council has long opposed any construction, which would be larger than the footprint of the old colliery.
It is unknown whether the parish council will continue to oppose the development.
Winwick parish councillor John Gordon said: “During the previous laps of this course, the matter became a political circus with the creation of thousands of local jobs being waved as an incentive to locals to support the scheme.
“This fell down because most of the jobs were in the construction and therefore short lived and importing labour with contractors presumably from all over the country.
“Workers in the finished warehouses were likely to have been relocated to the new site, therefore creating little net gain in permanent jobs.”
A timescale has yet to be announced but it is believed that a planning application could be submitted as early as this year.
Clr Grunewald added: “Parkside will become one of the largest projects in Britain and it is one of the most significant in terms of regeneration in the north west.
“The council has received many inquiries regarding development opportunities in recent years but the former owners have not taken the site forward.
“The council worked closely with Langtree on the development of the Saints stadium and I am optimistic that this new partnership will bring new jobs to the site.”
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