ST Helens Council has hit back after being accused of trying to ‘piggyback’ off investment made by Warrington Borough Council (WBC).

A planning application proposing the extension of the Omega site with a warehouse on green belt land in Bold was recently submitted to St Helens Council.

The plans were put forward by applicants Omega St Helens Ltd and TJ Morris.

It would see the development of a new site for Home Bargains, with a further outline application for additional warehouses at a later date.

But independent Warrington borough councillor Dan Price, who serves Great Sankey North and Whittle Hall, has raised concerns.

In a tweet to WBC leader Cllr Russ Bowden and St Helens Council leader Cllr David Baines, Cllr Price asked the pair: “What are your thoughts on plans to build huge warehouses on the south side of Omega, inside St Helens authority, but accessed exclusively from Warrington and using the roads that WBC taxpayers funded?”

Cllr Price, a former cabinet member, acknowledged there will be construction work, but says ‘everyone knows’ there won’t be real long-term jobs and that it’s just a transfer of low-pay warehousing jobs of which ‘we aren’t short of’ in Warrington.

He added: “This is just opportunism from St Helens to piggyback off the capital investment that WBC made. This certainly isn’t how you treat your neighbours.”

However, the comments have sparked a response from senior St Helens councillor Richard McCauley, cabinet member for regeneration and housing.

He said securing growth and employment opportunities is one of the authority’s main priorities and jobs at the site can bring a diverse range of skills which support employment growth in the borough.

“To accuse St Helens of ‘piggybacking’ on a development just because the land in question – which we are not the owner of – borders onto a neighbouring town is unfair and untrue,” he added.

“With funding from central Government massively reduced, the council is looking to benefit from its prime location on the motorway network in order to attract growth and secure jobs for residents, the money from which can then be reinvested in the local economy.

“The borough already has a strong track record in manufacturing and logistics, with a number of major leading operators having based themselves here for some time now.”

WBC said it will be doing it all it can to ensure highways-related issues are addressed, if the application is approved.