Latest News July 2017

Parkside Link Road Consultation Announced

The Council have published details of a consultation for a proposed new link Road to support the proposed Parkside development (click here for Council web pages). The link road is required to support Parkside Phase 2 and 3. Parkside Phase 3 appears be a new term and one which the Council appear to be slightly uncomfortable with as they quickly changed the map below in one of their documents to label it as ‘RFI as specified in Local Plan’ shortly after publishing it on their web site. Unfortunately they forgot the map was used in other documents they posted, so guys the secret is out!

Route Options

Four options are detailed, with the ‘yellow’ route being the preferred route. Ask yourself this, how would it be realistically possible to build a rail freight terminal with a road layout like the one above? Where exactly would the rail tracks go? And here’s the other problem for the Council, it appears there is only enough capacity on the A49 for Phase 1. The key therefore to Pandora’s Box for Phase 2 & 3 appears to be the Link Road.

Road Funding

The Council don’t have enough money to build the road so have applied to the Liverpool Combined Authority for a grant from the Single Investment Fund (SIF). The LCA which adjudicates on SIF grants is made of representatives from each of the local authorities, so happy days, the people who submit an application also get to approve it!

PAG have made a number of Freedom of Informaton (FOI) requests to the LCA and the Council concerning grant applications. The LCA do not appear to publish information such as a list of who has applied for grants, how the approval process works, or when meetings will be held to approve grants, and these are significant amounts of money. The Council’s grant application for the link road is for approximately £27 million, with a total cost of around £41 million including a contribution of public funding (for full details see the SIF business case published on the Councils web site). Yes that public funding part folks sounds like more of your money going to the scheme. In 2011 the Council already spent £4.5 million of your money buying land at Parkside, and another £1.5 million to setup a new private company with Langtree Developments called the Joint Venture or ‘JV’. No money for Green Bin collections right?

Horrific Traffic Impacts to Newton High Street & Other Local Roads

The proposed Link Road connects directly to the A49. So what stops HGV and white van man heading up the High Street? Well nothing at all actually and in fact we can see that by looking at the impacts from the published traffic modelling data.

Without a Link Road the traffic on Newton High Street increases by 16.25% for Parkside Phase 1 only. With a link road the traffic increases by an extra 62.5% for Phase 1 only, and when Phase 3 is completed it increases to an extra 80%. The High Street is already an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) that is dangerously close to exceeding UK and EU health limits. Impacts on the A49 towards Winwick also appear to be significant. Why does the site need to connect to the A49 at all?

Traffic Volumes

When Phase 3 is completed, the Link Road traffic model assessment projects an extra 6173 vehicle movements/day. This is likely to be a conservative if not erroneous estimate given that the previous Prologis traffic assessment estimated an increase in 6900 HGV movements/day alone, never mind white van man and commutator traffic. The Prologis worse case model estimated an increase of 17,900 HGV movements/day.

Consultation Approach

Not heard about the new Link Road? That’s because even though thousands of people who use our local roads day in day out will be impacted by the Link Road, the Council only chose to write to a few people in the immediate vicinity of the proposed Road i.e. very few of us. Here is the actual consultation area:

That’s Newton in the top left corner, and Winwick below, both outside the consultation area. Sorry about you folks in Lowton and Golborne, you are not even on the map!

Consultation Period

The Link Road consultation process runs to the 15th September 2017, so you have plenty of time to comment. We would encourage you to make your views known by sending an email to the Council’s consultants parksidelinkroad@ramboll.com.

Link Road & Phase 1 Public Consultation Dates

Both Langtree and the Council have announced public consultation dates ahead of their Phase 1 plan submission allegedly to be submitted at the end of July if we believe the St Helens Star. Let’s hope that Langtree turn up this time. Last time they sent a few nice people from an outside agency who it appeared had barely had chance to read their own posters and could only answer a few questions. Please go along and let them know what you think.

Tuesday 11 July at Hope Academy, Newton-le-Willows, 4pm – 8pm
Thursday 13 July at Winwick Leisure Centre, 4pm – 8pm

Langtree Stopped from Felling Hundreds of Trees

Earlier in the year Langtree decided that they would start clearing the land of trees ahead of a planning application. Counter to certain propaganda regularly socialied by certain parties, the former colliery site is not just a hard standing area and has returned largely to its natural habit with a wide variety of mature trees. Unfortunately for Langtree a little dicky bird told the Forestry Commission who promptly put a stop to it.

What No Developer?

We can see from the documents submitted and the lack of funding to develop the link road, there is no large developer as per the previous scheme like Prologis on the scene yet. Langtree Joint Venture posted a loss of £0.367m in 2015-2016. The game plan it would appear is to get planning application approval and then tout for investment to actually build something. We also can assume that the people who will submit the application, namely Langtree Joint Venture, are also essentially the same people who will approve it i.e. the Council. Now that’s what you call democracy!

Future PAG Meeting

We will hold a general PAG meeting within the next few weeks. With new planning applications in the pipe line we will need your help and support to ensure we get the right outcome.