A vision to create a multi-million-pound warehouse development at a key site in the Liverpool City Region, which will bring substantial investment and jobs, has taken an important step closer to becoming reality.
Halton Borough Council Leader Councillor Rob Polhill and Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership Chair Robert Hough were invited to see for themselves the progress being made on preparing the 24-acre site at Ditton Park, Widnes, for development.
Extensive remediation of the brownfield site has been ongoing for several weeks and is expected to complete this summer. Construction of the first industrial unit is due to begin before the end of the year.
Landowner Ainscough Strategic Land and commercial property developer Stoford gained outline planning permission from Halton Borough Council for proposals to create three industrial and warehouse units at the site near junction six of the M62.
The three units, totaling 452,500 sq ft of warehouse and logistics space, will be built at an allocated employment site within the Council’s rail freight distribution park, 3MG. It will be the largest current commercial development underway within Merseyside.
3MG provides rail connected distribution centres and an on-site intermodal rail freight terminal. It is destined to be one of the UK’s largest inter-modal logistics parks and offers unrivalled access to the UK’s deep-sea ports. It will create up to 5,000 new jobs, and is in the process of reclaiming up to 120 acres of contaminated land.
It is part of the Liverpool City Region ‘SuperPort’ scheme which provides the industry with a low cost, low carbon solution for moving goods to and from Northern UK, especially to the Atlantic Gateway area, the largest, most densely populated region of the UK outside London (during the journey).
The SuperPort Action Plan identifies 3MG as being at the heart of SuperPort and states that: ‘Expanding the existing 3MG terminal will generate an additional £190m of GVA per annum by 2020.’
Ainscough Land director Rachael Ainscough said: “We were delighted to welcome Robert Hough and Councillor Rob Polhill to the site so that they could see first-hand how much progress has been made. Remediation and site preparation work, undertaken by Ainscough, has been extensive on what has been a challenging site but we are almost there now and work should be complete by late summer. We are working closely with the Environment Agency to ensure the remediation is undertaken to the highest standard to ensure the site is ready for development to begin by Q4 2016.”
Stoford joint managing director Dan Gallagher said: “Ainscough Strategic Land has done a tremendous job in preparing the site for development. This 24.4-acre site is in an excellent location near to the Jaguar Land Rover plant at Halewood. We are looking forward to getting on site later this year to start the construction of the industrial and warehouse units which we believe will appeal strongly to companies operating in various sectors, including suppliers working alongside JLR.”
Cllr Rob Polhill welcomed the progress made at the site. He said: “The council is delighted by the investment Ainscough Strategic Land and Stoford have made in Halton and by their commitment to the project. Their plans for the site are an important addition to 3MG and Halton as a whole, providing high quality buildings and the potential to generate hundreds of jobs.”
Robert Hough, Chair of Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said: “Developments such as this are central to our Superport strategy and will help the City Region secure its position as an innovative, global multimodal logistics hub, that will ultimately create opportunities for investors, developers, occupiers and others active in the global industrial and logistics property market.”
The proposed accommodation includes units of 196,500 sq ft including 9,500 sq ft of offices, 174,250 sq ft including two-storey offices of 8,600 sq ft, and 85,800 sq ft including offices of 5,960 sq ft.