THE leader of Warrington Borough Council is calling on neighbouring St Helens Council to look carefully at any plans to develop the old Parkside Colliery site at Newton-le-Willows.
Cllr Terry O’Neill said: “We have concerns about how this development will negatively affect areas of our borough if the work on the infrastructure is not done first. It’s absolutely vital that the new link road should be in place before any of the developments are approved.
“The A49 and the connecting junctions around Winwick will suffer from extra traffic and Winwick Village may be used as a rat-run if this work isn’t done.
“We also want to make it clear that we strongly object to any Strategic Rail Freight Interchange on the Parkside site because of the huge volume of traffic this would create on our road network.”
Opposition has been growing over the last few years to proposals to re-develop the Parkside site as a freight terminal.
A residents’ group, the Parkside Action Group, has mounted a vigorous campaign against the proposals, put forward by developers Langtree, in conjunction with St Helens Council.
Warrington North MP Helen Jones has voiced strong opposition to the scheme.
Last year, she said: “Such a proposal would be bad for Warrington. Any development of the site could cause significant traffic problems in Winwick and people should make sure they register their views.”
Burtonwood and Winwick councillor Cathy Mitchell also spoke out against the proposals.
She said: “If the proposals go through lots of green belt around Parkside and Winwick will be lost.”
She also feared serious traffic problems in the Winwick area
Developers claim the scheme, which has been subject to numerous failed attempts over the past decade, could create thousands of new jobs providing a boost to the surrounding area.
A spokesperson for St Helens Council said: “We have carefully considered the views of the public and other stakeholders including adjacent authorities and are committed to bringing forward a new £40m link road to connect Newton-le-Willows more directly with the M6 at Junction 22. The scheme would have considerable local benefit as well as relieving congestion in both Warrington and possibly areas of Wigan as well as improving access to and from the Parkside site.
“We are at an advanced stage in developing the Parkside Link Road scheme following public consultation in 2017 and we anticipate that plans for the Link Road will be formally submitted into Planning in the first two weeks of March.”