Comments : Langtree & Council team up for the development at Parkside
After a long battle against critics, Langtree Developments have finally secured the freehold for the former Colliery at Parkside in St Helens. Their plans are to develop this site into a strategic rail freight interchange with the additional support of St Helens council.
The Parkside Colliery was built in 1960 and open until 1992 when it was eventually demolished in 1994. The site stood derelict for many years until proposed plans were drawn up in 2010 for the site but from this point onwards there have been no further progress. The Colliery was originally built on Greenbelt land therefore any further proposals for this site have faced fierce criticism.
It was finally decided between St Helens Council leaders that the economic benefit of the Parkside Rail Freight being constructed would be of great benefit to the community and the surrounding area due to the creation of numerous jobs and many other opportunities.
This project is being supported by the council leader Barrie Grunewald who had the following comments;
“Parkside offers the potential to create thousands of new jobs. This is a prime development site in the north west and offers a unique destination sitting alongside the M6 and the West Coast mainline.”
However, as mentioned previously, the project would be built upon a possible several hundred acres of Greenbelt land which could have a detrimental impact on the landscape, wildlife, and neighbouring communities. They may suffer from various disadvantages such as poor air quality, lack of open spaces and noise pollution. It is feared that the new rail fright interchange will also cause more congestion on the roads of the nearby towns and villages however, a spokesman for Langtree Developments stated that they will be including a new road from the M6 for HGV and other vehicles directly to the site in their proposal. This will prevent any additional traffic travelling on existing roads which has been a major fear of the surrounding community.
In actual fact, according to Langtree Developments, the building of the rail freight interchange would decrease the amount of trips HGV’s make on the UK’s roads by 500,000 every year converting them into roughly 36 trains coming in and out of Parkside every day.
As well as the above there are many other positive aspects of the development such as a raised perimeter (natural barrier) which will be inserted along the new road from the M6 which will successfully shield the adjacent community from any external view or access to the site. The development will produce many additional features such as a countryside park made accessible to the public and this park may have extensive, supplementary benefits towards the ecological and nature conservation interests.
Regarding the drainage and water use, the systems will be put in place to maximise the re-use of rainwater as well as producing new habitats for wild flowers such as flora and fauna. The remaining methane gas which is currently trapped under the former mining voids of the colliery will be collected and stored to generate electricity to power the Parkside Development Site.
Upon the site there are various listed buildings dotted around, two of which are in a poor, decrepit and deteriorating condition. Consequently, it has been suggested that the two dilapidated buildings could well be relocated and re-built elsewhere within the site to make them more accessible to the public alongside new information centres for the people that may visit Parkside.
As stated above only two of the listed buildings may possibly be altered and re located however, all the remaining listed buildings will be kept as normal and opened up, allowing the greater public to access them.
Alongside many other developments, Parkside may become one of the largest projects in Britain and a planning application could be submitted as early as this year!
Are you for for against this major development project in St. Helens?
Nicole Cran, Pali Ltd
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