COUNCILLORS will be asked to endorse plans to press ahead with the £40 million Parkside Link Road project this week.

The scheme will see the construction of a new road from the former Parkside Colliery site in Newton-le-Willows to Winwick Lane, adjacent to Junction 22 of the M6 motorway, by-passing congestion at Winwick.

Crucially, the road will deliver improved access to the Parkside site, with both St Helens and Warrington councils believing this has the potential to unlock significant development opportunities.

In order to facilitate the construction of the link road, several areas of mainly agricultural land have been identified by the council for acquisition.

A report set to go before cabinet this week says the total scheme value, including land costs, is £39.8 million. This excludes initial scheme development costs.

The bulk of the funding will come from a £24 million grant awarded by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority from its Single Investment Fund (SIF) in October 2018.

St Helens Council will contribute £6.2 million from capital receipts, with a private sector contribution providing the balance.

The council is now confident the project will be delivered within the budget and will seek approval from cabinet to continue with the scheme through pre-construction and delivery.

Planning applications have been submitted to both St Helens Council and Warrington Borough Council and are due to be heard on December 3 and 4, 2019, respectively.

St Helens Star:

“The detailed design process has been largely concluded prior to the full submission of planning applications for the St Helens and Warrington planning authorities,” the report says.

“This has enabled the risk register for the project to advance significantly.

“The cost certainty of the project has now reached the stage where it can be confirmed it will fit within the overall budget approvals.”

The former Parkside Colliery site has long been viewed by council chiefs as one of the most significant employment sites in its estate.

According to the cabinet report, there has been “significant interest” from the private and public sector in bringing the site and neighbouring land forward for employment land.

Last October it was revealed the Parkside site was in the running to be the location of Spanish train manufacturer Talgo’s first UK base, potentially creating 1,000 jobs.

The Newton-le-Willows site was shortlisted but eventually lost out to Chesterfield.

Newton-le-Willows councillor Seve Gomez-Aspron said progressing the Parkside Link Road scheme was a “positive step forward”.St Helens Star: Newton-le-Willows councillor Seve Gomez-Aspron welcomes the Parkside Lin Road scheme Newton-le-Willows councillor Seve Gomez-Aspron welcomes the Parkside Lin Road scheme

The Labour councillor, who is also the chairman of the planning committee, said the move addresses concerns residents have voiced over potential increases in traffic from any new development.

Cllr Gomez-Aspron said: “Some of the most deprived areas in the country are in Newton-le-Willows and our borough, which have high unemployment rates.

“As local councillors, we have always been clear that bringing Parkside back into use to create employment is important.

“But we have fought hard that this shouldn’t be done at any cost and not to the detriment of Newton-le-Willows

“Residents have genuine concerns about traffic from the development, so it is positive to see the progress in securing the new link road that will keep traffic away from the A49 and Newton High Street whilst providing commuters with an easier way to work in the morning.

“This is a positive step forward to show how the Labour council are listening to residents to address their concerns and create much-needed jobs.

“I look forward to considering the finalised plans.”