Activity has commenced to unlock the first phase of development at Parkside in Newton-le-Willows, described as a ‘game-changer’ for the local and regional economy.

Teams of engineers, project managers, architects and landscape designers are amongst a host of professionals now working to bring the 1 million square foot first phase of Parkside to life. When completed, phase one of the scheme will generate more than 450 jobs through construction, with creation of a further 1,300 posts projected amongst end-users.

“There’s a lot to do finalising elements of the design and it’s highly satisfying to see so many teams at work on this. We aim to be on site delivering the first phase of development early in 2023,” said John Downes, chairman of Parkside Regeneration.

To mark the scheme’s commencement a number of local councillors and members of Parkside Regeneration LLP, a joint venture between developer Langtree and St Helens Borough Council, visited the site to see how the approved masterplan will translate ‘on the ground.’ Work has already started constructing the new Parkside Link Road, which will connect the site to J22 of the M6 motorway, taking goods traffic away from nearby roads such as the A49 and improving the local environment.

“Parkside has been in the pipeline for a number of years now, so it’s great to be here on site to see how this scheme will develop,” said Councillor Richard McCauley, St Helens Borough Council’s cabinet member for regeneration and planning.

“Not only is this project bringing a derelict piece of land back into use, but its economic benefits will also put our borough back on the map and create new jobs and employment opportunities for local residents. The scheme also comes with planning conditions and £675,000 of funding through a section 106 agreement to provide woodland and tree planting, green infrastructure, habitat improvements together with schemes to get local people into the new jobs, new bus and cycle routes to the site and acres of new public parkland.

“With so much happening now in the way of regeneration projects, these are really exciting times for the borough. We promised sustainable inclusive growth with new jobs and that’s exactly what we’re delivering.”

John Downes says the target is to open a first phase of speculative development by the end of June 2024 and adds that the scheme’s property agents are already discussing the site’s benefits with potential occupiers.

“We will be building speculatively because we know that there are occupier requirements in the market. We want to be able to generate employment back on this site as soon as possible now that we have been given the green light. For me, Parkside has always been about jobs and regeneration and will be a game-changer for the local economy.”

The development is expected to add more than £80m a year to the economy of St Helens borough, with steps underway to maximise its impact. Programmes addressing local recruitment, supply chain engagement, training and apprenticeship opportunities for local people are all being put in place.

“Yes, Parkside will create a lot of jobs, but we are totally committed to maximising its positive impact directly on the local area. That will be the real mark of its success,” said Mr Downes.

St Helens Borough Council has appointed contractor Balfour Beatty to build the new Parkside Link Road, which is designed to carry traffic generated by the site’s occupiers efficiently to the national road network and away from local highways. The road is seen as a key element to unlocking the full potential of the site, with the council securing a contribution of £24 million from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority’s Strategic Investment Fund (SIF) to deliver the scheme.

Cllr Andy Bowden, the council’s cabinet member for environment and transport said:

“The Parkside Link Road is one of the biggest infrastructure projects our borough and the region has seen in many years and will provide a huge boost to the local economy, while reducing the environmental impact on our local road networks and communities.

“The road will allow us to unlock the huge potential of the wider site which has lay derelict for too long – bringing much needed jobs and capitalising on the potential for rail freight and therefore encouraging sustainable industry.

“As the work progresses and when all the landscaping and new tree-planting is completed, the bio-diversity net-gain will be of substantial benefit. The Parkside development will allow the public to enjoy new woodland trails, exercise areas and pathways around the site. Significant investment is being made into the planting of new trees and the creation of ponds to enable a much richer habitat for wildlife and bio-diversity than that currently offered by the site.”