GREEN Party chiefs have welcomed the news that the government is to take a closer look at controversial plans to re-develop the site of the former Parkside Colliery at Newton-le-Willows.
The Secretary of State for Local Government will review planning applications approved by both Warrington and St Helens councils, including St Helens Council’s decision last year to approve what was effectively its own application.
Cllr David O’Keefe, of St Helens Green Party, said: “Local residents and action groups are to be congratulated for persuading the government to subject these reckless plans to proper scrutiny.
“The so-called ‘regeneration’ of Parkside would see 230 acres, much of it designated Green Belt, disappear beneath a cloak of concrete on the pretext of job creation. But these employment predictions cannot be trusted – just ask the people of Haydock, where monstrous warehouses have brought nothing like the numbers of jobs promised but all of the predicted traffic, noise, pollution and environmental degradation.
“Labour councillors have ignored both the council’s own Green Belt policies and government guidance, and taken as read inadequate traffic and air quality assessments that ought to be there to protect people’s quality of life. In effect they marked their own home work and guess what? They passed!
“The last Labour government promised to reform local authority funding so that councils like St Helens would get a fair deal, and not have to destroy the environment and ruin people’s lives to raise revenue. They failed to deliver, the system has become even more unfair under the Tories, and now the communities of Newton, Lowton and Winwick are expected to pay the price. We can’t let that happen.”
St Helens Green Party says it accepts the need for some development at the former colliery site, but believes that this should be carefully contained to protect residents and enhance the countryside.
Warrington and Halton Green Party members are supporting their St Helens colleagues.