COUNCIL leader Cllr Russ Bowden has defended jobs on offer at Omega following concerns they are low-paid with ‘terrible working conditions’.

The issue arose during the leader’s forum at Great Sankey Neighbourhood Hub on Tuesday, which gave residents the chance to press the Labour councillor.

The Omega site is situated on both sides of the M62 on part of the former Burtonwood airbase.

The business site is home to firms including Amazon, Royal Mail and Plastic Omnium, while planning permission is in place for 1,100 homes on Omega South.

But during the forum, Cllr Bowden (LAB – Birchwood) was told many jobs across Omega are ‘low-paid’ warehouse jobs with ‘terrible working conditions’.

However, the politician responded to the concerns.

“I think, perhaps, sometimes it is not represented totally fairly in terms of the quality of jobs there,” he said.

“I think what you may think of as traditional warehousing jobs might be at that low end, in terms of income.

“But I think if you look at Plastic Omnium, for example, it is not just traditional logistics jobs – it is a bit more sophisticated than that.”

He also told residents the original vision for Omega has changed significantly, partly due to a change in market conditions.

Furthermore, Cllr Bowden was pressed on the need for infrastructure – including health facilities – alongside new housing developments.

“We talk a lot about infrastructure,” he said.

“The council is not in control of putting a GP practice into a particular location.

“If you look at how long it took in Chapelford, you basically had to drag the NHS to recognise the need and authorise a GP practice in a particular area.”

Cllr Bowden added school places is a matter the council does have ‘in its gift’ but admits the authority ‘needs to do more’ to make sure infrastructure comes forward as soon as possible.