Controversial Haydock Point job park remains in balance


Artist's impression of Haydock Point
Artist’s impression of Haydock Point

Following the Secretary of State’s approval of logistics projects in the northwest, the government is now being asked to give the green light to other so-called developments that could unlock thousands of new jobs.

But the plan for Haydock Point was rejected by St Helens council after some councilors called it a “monstrosity” that would cause too much damage to the environment both because it would be built on a green belt and because of the additional heavy goods vehicles that would circulate. The area.

Supporters of the program say that while the coronavirus pandemic has significantly disrupted the UK economy, the approval of programs like this “presents an unmissable opportunity to unlock much-needed jobs and investment, supporting aspirations to boost prosperity and help level the North. “

Developments currently pending a decision include PLP’s Peel L&P and Haydock Point, the development of the Parkside Coal Mine and the expansion of Omega South. Together, these developments will create more than 5,000 jobs at a critical time as the North contemplates post-pandemic economic recovery.

The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the critical importance of the logistics sector, which has been a key component in ensuring the delivery of food, vital goods and medicine over the past year. Logistics contributes over £ 130 billion in gross value added, or over 10% of the UK’s non-financial business economy.

There is no doubt that logistics is a key growth area. Haydock Point’s request was first submitted to St Helens Council in 2017 and is expected to be determined along with its neighboring projects by Secretary of State for Housing Communities and Local Governments Robert Jenrick. Haydock Point would cover 1.8million square feet of employment space, which funders say works out to £ 159million each year for the economy every year.

When fully built, Haydock Point is expected to provide the region with 2,760 jobs as well as a £ 100,000 learning fund, coupled with a £ 1million investment in a dedicated bus service, connecting development to communities. and offering employment opportunities to local populations. .

The development would also include a private investment of £ 11.4million in improving the motorway network around junction 23 of the M6, thereby reducing wait times for businesses, visitors and residents.

Business groups have indicated their support for the developments, recognizing the enormous economic benefits such programs can bring.

Tracy Mawson, Managing Director of the St Helens Chamber, said: “As the leading industry body within St Helens, the Chamber has followed the investigation process for logistics applications called up in the North West and wishes express support for the developments. proposed for St Helens, which would bring significant investment and employment opportunities to the borough and the region as a whole.

“In St Helens, Haydock and the M6 ​​Corridor are well-established areas for logistics and industrial development, located on a key north-south national road and centrally located between Liverpool and Manchester, which benefit from continued investment in transport infrastructure. the region, including an enlarged port of Liverpool.

“As such, I urge the government to endorse Haydock Point and surrounding developments in order to provide investment and employment opportunities as the region’s economy seeks to recover from Covid.”

Echoing this, Damian Waters, Northwest Director of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), added: “The Haydock Point proposals are incredibly exciting and have the potential to have an extremely positive impact on the regional economy.

“UK businesses have suffered tremendously since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic and the North West was no exception.

“As we look to the future, I am happy to support proposals to put in place a ready-to-use program that will bring thousands of job opportunities and essential private sector funding to improve safety. and waiting times at junction 23 of the M6. “

Richard Knight, Director of Lands and Communities at Peel L&P, said: “Our proposals for Haydock Point would help address a chronic shortage of large-scale ready-to-cook sites in the region, which will add vital logistics capacity to the region. a period of sustained growth and investment in the Port of Liverpool and allow St Helens to capture well-paying jobs in the logistics sector.

“By working with our development partner PLP, we are ready to implement these plans to prevent St Helens from losing millions of pounds of investment and we hope the government will see our plans as an important opportunity to help revive the economy after the pandemic and fight unemployment.

But last November, St Helens Council rejected the plans. Despite the benefits, Haydock union adviser Anthony Burns, a cabinet member for public health, recreation, libraries and heritage, said he could not support the demand because the extensive damage to the landscape is too great .

Haydock’s Green Party adviser David van der Burg also urged the committee to reject the plans. He pointed to the antisocial behavior around Haydock Industrial Estate, claiming that the truck drivers left hundreds of bottles of urine and bags of excrement.

Coun van der Burg said that another “huge warehouse” in Haydock would inevitably result in thousands of additional heavy goods vehicles without adequate facilities, leading to more anti-social behavior.

Dennis McDonnell of Labor said the proposals should be changed to reduce the scale and be further away from the A580 racetrack and Haydock Park.

Councilor McDonnell said, “The app represents an over-development of the site.

“It’s monstrous, causing significant damage to the green belt. The application is certainly overkill.

Newton’s union adviser, Seve Gomez-Aspron, deputy council chief, praised the benefits of the program, but questioned whether it really was “the right site in the right place”.

Coun Gomez-Aspron said: “I accept that the jobs are great and the investment in infrastructure is great, and investing in a bus service to Earlestown and Newton-le-Willows and St Helens is exactly what I want. want to hear from this type of development. .

“But I can’t reconcile that with the size of this development and the impact it would have on the surrounding environment.”

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