Parkside Link Road and Phase 1 Planning Applications Passed
We are sorry to say that both the Link Road and Phase 1 applications were passed by St Helens Council on 17/12/2019. We made some excellent presentations at the planning committee but the councillors were not persuaded by our arguments. 30 minutes were allowed for all objectors to present. 8 objectors came forward allowing 3 minutes 45 seconds for each objector to make their case. As each pair of objectors completed their presentations the Council’s planning officer gave their view of the evidence presented. Following the objectors, the supporters were allowed to present. Parkside Regeneration LLP and St Helens Council came forward as supporters for Phase 1 and Link Road respectively. They were allowed the same amount of time 30 minutes, but as there were only two of them, they were able to speak for much longer than the objectors. Given the thousands of pages of information in the planning applications the process and time allowed could hardly have been viewed as fair. Cllr Gomez-Aspron who chaired the meeting and Cllr Banks representing Newton and Earlestown both voted ‘for’ the applications.
At Warrington on 18/12/2019 only the Link Road was considered as Warrington had previously refused the Phase 1 application. 4 objectors were allowed to speak for 3 minutes each. 2 supporters came forward, St Helens Council and Cllr Cathy Mitchell, Burtonwood and Winwick Ward. Cllr Mitchel made the point that as St Helens Council had approved Phase 1, they should assume that Phase 1 would come forward, and therefore the Link Road would be required to alleviate traffic through Winwick. In our view this argument is flawed, because the Link Road connects with all local roads around the site including the A49 and Parkside Road which has a direct route through Hermitage Green & Winwick. We heard all sorts of nonsense over the last two days about weight limits, signage, and roundabout junction layouts that may persuade HGVs to go the right way, but of course none of that is likely to work for light good vehicles typically used by logistics operators. PAG highlighted that the Link Road may only offer a short term traffic gain for Winwick as once development at Parkside picked up pace the traffic situation would quickly deteriorate with associated air quality impacts.
We now have to hope that the secretary of state will call in the applications and take the applications to public inquiry. If that happens we will have a better chance to present our case and expose what we believe are flaws in the traffic and air quality assessments, as well as loss of Green Belt, and damage to heritage like the registered battlefield. You still have time to request that the applications are called in (please see below). The case for call in will be considered by the planning inspectorate early in the new year.
The PAG committee wish to pass on our sincere thanks to everyone who has supported us and best wishes for the New Year.
We Urgently Need Your Help to Request the Applications are Called-In
We believe that both applications need to come before a Public Inquiry. The applicant for both applications is St Helens Council (Parkside Regeneration LLP for Phase 1 who the Council are a partner with). They are also the determining authority, increasing the risk of bias in the decision-making process. Additionally, given the scale of the proposed developments the traffic and air quality impacts are potentially huge to our community. The site adjoins the local boroughs of Warrington and Wigan. Warrington have already objected to Phase 1, and Wigan are objecting because of traffic concerns.
We need you to request a call-in (request for public inquiry) before the 1st January 2020. The planning inspectorate will not consider call-in requests after a planning application has been approved. In our view this will be the only chance to get a fair hearing on the proposals, so please act now. Please also lobby your local MP and councillors to make call-in requests too. We have prepared a template letter for you to use below.
Please download it and amend as needed. Adding your own comments is helpful and explaining how the development could impact the wider area around the site would make the case stronger, for example local roads and air quality in your area. This is probably the last chance we have so please act now.
PAG Committee 19/12/2019.