More than 1,000 jobs will be made available to residents in St Helens borough after planning permission was granted for two new warehouses in Bold as part of a three-phase development at Omega West.
With work underway on unit one which will be occupied by Merseyside-based firm, Home Bargains, following approval from Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Michael Gove – reserved matters applications have been given the green light by St Helens Borough Council’s planning committee for the erection of units two and three which between them, have the potential to create around 1,500 jobs – with end users confirmed for both sites.
Unit two – 308,905 sq.ft in size – will be located behind unit one, comprising of the main logistics warehouse, including a two-storey office for administration and welfare facilities, as well as a transport office in the yard to control vehicle and stock movements. Unit three – 505,409 sq ft in size – will be located to the southeast of unit 2.
As well as the vast job opportunities – coordinated by St Helens Borough Council’s flagship Ways to Work programme to support residents into employment or training – other significant benefits from the development include a 17 acre ‘green wedge’ planted to provide biodiversity mitigation and ecological enhancements, with developer contributions also going towards the improvement of Bold Forest Park, home to the iconic Dream sculpture.
Meanwhile, to help connect local communities with job opportunities, the council will be looking at a range of environmentally friendly travel options.
The council has secured a £900,000 investment to support the development of bus services from St Helens to the site. Services introduced across Warrington to Omega have proved very popular, and so the local authority will work with Merseytravel and Warrington Council to develop bus routes that are quick, convenient and have attractive fares. The council will also be examining options to provide a network of active travel routes to promote safe and direct cycling and walking routes to the site.
Welcoming the decision, Councillor Richard McCauley, St Helens Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Planning, said: “With so much happening now in the way of regeneration projects like Omega West, Parkside, Glass Futures and the transformation of our town centres to name a few, these are really exciting times for the borough.
“We promised sustainable inclusive growth with new jobs and that’s exactly what we’re delivering.”
Councillor Kate Groucutt, St Helens Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Economy, Business & Skills, added: “As a council, we are committed to ensuring that major schemes like Omega West benefit our borough in as many ways as possible.
“We will continue to engage with the site developer and the end users to maximise the social value and inclusive growth outcomes on the site – from offering jobs to residents, making sure workers can get to the site on foot, bike or by public transport – and investing back in our communities.
“This focus on social value helps ensure that money stays in the local economy and supports people development by providing skills which can help improve lives for the better.”
Work on units two and three is due to start later this year, with Home Bargains distribution centre expected to be operation by 2024.