Two local MPs have vowed to oppose plans to put a huge logistics hub at a motorway junction, fearing it will cause traffic chaos in the borough.
Leigh MP Andy Burnham and his parliamentary colleague for Makerfield constituency Yvonne Fovargue both say they have enormous concerns about Peel Logistics and Peel Land and Property’s Haydock Point proposal.
Developers want to put a £161m logistics hub on land between the East Lancs Road and Haydock Racecourse near junction 23 of the M6 but Mr Burnham and Ms Fovargue say roads in Ashton, Golborne and Lowton will not be able to cope with this.
The latest plan, which the public can view at an event on Wednesday afternoon, is the latest in a series of controversial development proposals for the area which includes the Florida Farm North industrial buildings, the transformation of the Parkside colliery and the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (GMSF) ideas for building near the M6 in Winstanley and Orrell.
Mr Burnham, who is also the Labour candidate to become Greater Manchester’s elected mayor, said: “Yvonne and I are working together which is quite a significant move.
“Life is already pretty untenable for people living in these parts. I drive through that junction every day to drop my kids off and the M6 is at a standstill, the roads around it don’t move and Ashton town centre is gridlocked in both directions.
We are not even entering into the pros and cons of this. As far as we can see it is a non-starterAndy Burnham MP
“We are not even entering into the pros and cons of this. As far as we can see it is a non-starter. We just can’t absorb the traffic from this.
“Any one of the major proposals for this on its own would have a significant impact but this is right on the junction. It will be very detrimental and we have taken a very clear position on it.”
Ms Fovargue said: “I am deeply concerned about this proposed development given its proximity to the Ashton and Golborne areas.
“It appears to me that we face a perfect storm of development with the nearby Florida Farm development and the GMSF proposals to develop greenbelt land at Junction 25 and 26 of the M6.
“The reality of this for residents in these areas is gridlock on our already overburdened road infrastructure, increasing air and noise pollution and the destruction of greenbelt.”
Peel’s outline application, which will eventually be determined by St Helens Council, will cover around 1.8m square feet of business space, primarily for logistics. It is expected to be submitted in the new year.
Developers say the plan will create 2,500 full-time jobs and builds on one of St Helens Council’s allocated employment sites in its local plan.
Neil Dickinson, chief operating officer at Peel Logistics said, “The location and quality of Haydock Point make this a game-changing opportunity.
“There is huge demand and a major shortage of suitable sites for logistics. We have no doubt that once planning is in place this site can be delivered to an exceptional quality within a short space of time.”
The public consultation is at Haydock Racecourse on Wednesday December 7 between 3pm and 8pm. Developers will also hold a private event for MPs and councillors to see the plans earlier in the day.
A public consultation is also under way before the application is submitted.