Yesterday’s momentous announcements that both Parkside and Omega West projects can proceed is a huge opportunity for residents and the whole borough, says Labour Cllr Richard McCauley, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Planning.
Regeneration of the former Parkside colliery site in Newton-le-Willows has been talked about for almost 30 years and has faced many hurdles, but the hard work of our Labour council and councillors – working in partnership with Langtree, our MP Conor McGinn, and the Liverpool City Region Region – has paid off.
The first phase of development will see 93,000 square metres of new employment space built on the site, which will bring a range of jobs offering a variety of skills.
The announcement also saw approval of the Parkside Link Road, which will be pivotal in unlocking the site’s full potential for future development and help to support the local environment.
Parkside is also a major part of the City Region’s bid for Freeport status and the potential opportunities on the site are extremely significant.
Both schemes will also be compliant with the Unite Construction Charter thanks to the efforts of Cllr McCauley and our Labour council.
Councillor Richard McCauley, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Planning, says: “We can never underestimate the importance of bringing new jobs to our borough, and these developments will afford some of our residents the opportunity to make a better life for themselves and their families.
It’s been years of hard work and I want to thank all those who have played apart in making this happen. I’m delighted that all the effort has paid off and that this site will once again be a place that provides job opportunities for our residents after having provided so many families with a steady income in its former life as a colliery.”
The Omega West project will also see millions of pounds of investment in the borough and a known end-user committed to providing job opportunities for some of our most deprived communities.
The application by Home Bargains for significant jobs and investment at a new distribution centre will create an estimated 1200 construction jobs in the development of the site, and more than 1000 new jobs – many high skill, high pay – when fully operational.
In addition to also providing £1.8m for Bold Forest Park and creating a new public nature conservation and woodland area adjacent to the site, Home Bargains are committed to a local employment scheme and are also contributing £750,000 towards a bus service from St Helens to Omega to help enable local residents to access jobs there. This is vital.
The latest data shows that child poverty in our borough is rising: almost a third of children in St Helens are now growing up in poverty.
As the amazing work done during lockdowns by the local community including people such as Craig Hunt and everyone at Clock Face Rec has shown, there is a huge demand and an urgent need for support in this part of St Helens. We’re aware of some opposition to this scheme from opposition parties but we believe it’s irresponsible for any politician or political group to talk so dismissively and arrogantly about our effort to create new job opportunities on the one hand and yet acknowledge the poverty in their area on the other, without offering any alternative plan to tackle it.
Cllr McCauley says: “I’m delighted that the benefits of this project have been recognised. At the planning inquiry I spoke about the fact that TJ Morris, the group behind Home Bargains, had said they would support communities like Bold and Thatto Heath which are close to this site and focus their recruitment for those who are out of work in those areas.
This project will bring in vital jobs that will make a lasting positive impact to so many of our residents’ lives.
For a decade Labour have fought to tackle poverty and the causes of hardship both locally and nationally, and throughout the pandemic our Labour Council has worked closely with local charities, community groups and residents to help get through this difficult time. We launched #StHelensTogether and that cooperative ethos is here to stay.
We’re serious about delivering regeneration, jobs, homes and hope for our borough, and the decisions to approve Parkside and Omega West are vindication of our hard work and determination.”