Latest News February 2021

Parkside Inquiry Closes

The Parkside Inquiry closed on Friday 29th January 2021 with closing statements from all parties.

The Inquiry covered four weeks over two applications, Parkside Phase one and Parkside Link Road. During the inquiry our volunteers faced no less than 3 QCs and a battery of consultants two funded by the Council and the other funded by a developer sponsored by the Council. In addition, Warrington Council joined in and challenged most of the issues put forward by the team.

PAG raised serious concerns with the proposed developments including traffic on local roads, air quality, noise, harm to landscape, biodiversity, and historic assets and impacts to climate change.

The applicant’s consultants confirmed that traffic modelling showed that most routes to the North are at or near capacity even before development, in particular Lane Head at Lowton and Golborne roundabout. In spite of this they suggested that Parkside and Golborne Dale road would be the main relief route for Lane Head for development traffic needing to use the A580. Their traffic assessment also showed that traffic from the development would cause increases in traffic on Newton High Street by 30% by 2024 and 45% by 2034 even with the new Link Road. The High Street, Southworth Road and Lane Head are already air quality management areas (AQMA). We requested access to the air quality modelling data but were refused by the Council.

The group highlighted the recent coroner’s report into the death of Ella Kissi-Debrah, a nine year old that died from acute respiratory failure in air quality exceedances not dissimilar to points around Parkside.

We also heard about last minute HGV weight restrictions planned by Warrington Council for Culcheth, Croft and Winwick. St Helens Council also made a last-minute proposal to impose HGV weight limits on the A49 end of the Link Road.  In our view these were all clearly knee-jerk responses in realisation that that the developments use of the local road system is going to cause real issues for the community. Experience of recent weight limit restrictions on Winwick Road have shown weight limits have limited effects if not enforced. The police have inadequate resources to enforce. In addition, HGV weight restrictions do nothing to limit smaller vehicles typically used by distribution businesses.

The Secretary of State is due to receive the Inspector’s report by the end of March with a decision expected in the summer.

The committee sincerely wish to thank all the people who donated funds to support the inquiry, the amazing consultants that supported us, and the fantastic team that made in all happen.

The PAG Closing Statement can be found here.

Haydock Point Inquiry Opens on Tuesday 9th February 2021 9:30am

The Haydock Point Inquiry opens on 9th February 2021 commencing with statements from interested parties.

The Haydock Point applicant is Peel Holdings. Peel submitted their application in 2017 but the Council only brought it before planning committee on the 24th November 2020. The St Helens Council Planning Officer recommended approval but the planning committee refused permission on grounds of landscape harm (see https://www.sthelensstar.co.uk/news/18897177.council-reject-monstrous-haydock-point-plans-ahead-public-inquiry/). This decision appears somewhat hypocritical by the Council given they previously approved development at Parkside East which has equivalent if not better landscape value and visual amenity.

The description of the application is an Outline Planning application with all matters other than access reserved for the development of the site for up to 167,225 square metres of B8/B2 (up to 20% B2 floor space), ancillary office and associated site facilities floor space, car parking, landscaping, site profiling, transport, drainage and utilities infrastructure.

The location of the proposed development is at J23 M6 targeting land between Haydock Race Course and the A580 East Lancs. The applicant proposes to close the A49 at J23 north bound to Ashton and re-route traffic onto the A580. This is allegedly to alleviate congestion issues at J23.

A number of warehouse B8 developments in the North West will be considered as part of the overall larger inquiry including Haydock Point, Parkside Phase 1, Parkside Link Road, and applications at Wigan M6 J26 and Bolton.

If you wish to speak at the inquiry contact Chris.banks@planninginspectorate.gov.uk.

The Haydock Point inquiry schedule can be found here.

Parkside Inquiry Documents

St Helens Council are hosting all the documents for the inquiry on a new web site which is now partially complete and can be found here https://www.sthelens.gov.uk/parksidedocuments. The ‘Core Documents Library’ as it is termed includes documents from all parties, including our own. Look out for documents with ‘Proof’ in the title. These are documents that will be presented by witnesses. Other documents like ‘Topic Statement’ effectively form written evidence.  

Inquiry Video

We have produced a video for the inquiry. The video takes a look at the proposed developments in our area. On the video people in the community explain what they think the impacts will be for them. If you think Parkside is a largely an old industrial site, you may be surprised when you see this!

Parkside Inquiry Video

PAG Committee 18/01/2021.