The Land Trust and Tritax Symmetry set out vision for former colliery site

2nd July 2020

The Land Trust has entered into an agreement with specialist logistics developer Tritax Symmetry to bring forward a new employment site and Country Park on land at the former Cronton Colliery in Knowsley, Merseyside.

The proposals for Symmetry Park, a one million sq ft employment site, will create hundreds of jobs for the region while the 65 acres of Country Park will be a stunning wildlife haven for the local community to enjoy. The project team includes Gerald Eve as planning consultants and UMC as architects for the scheme. Michael Lee Architects will work in partnership with the Land Trust on the design of the new Country Park.

The Country Park will rejuvenate the site of the former Cronton Colliery to provide exemplary publicly accessible open space and community facilities. A network of paths derived from the coal seams below the site will wind their way through a biodiverse habitat of wetlands, grasslands and woodlands. A new sustainable transport route will follow the abandoned mineral railway line, facilitating safe access for all and connecting the towns and villages to the north and south of the M62. The Country Park will contain 11 acres of broadleaf woodland, eight acres of wetland habitat to be enjoyed and explored, and five kilometres of paths to use for walking, cycling or running.

The Land Trust has entered into an agreement to transfer an area of their land to Tritax Symmetry, which will form part of the employment site adjoining the associated Country Park. Planning applications for the respective masterplans will be submitted to Knowsley Borough Council this summer, once a period of public consultation has taken place.

Located east of Junction 6 of the M62, the sites form part of the Halsnead Garden Village Sustainable Urban Extension (HSUE) which represents part of the wider vision for the Halsnead Garden Village.

As well as creating up to 750 jobs during the construction phase, once operational the employment site will generate in the region of £43m of net additional GVA per annum and approximately 840 jobs within the Liverpool City Region. In Knowsley alone that represents £33m in GVA and 650 jobs, meeting the needs of the labour market and the demand for jobs in the Knowsley and wider region, thereby having a significant regenerative impact.

Euan Hall, Chief Executive at the Land Trust said:

“The agreement we have made with Tritax Symmetry offers a rare opportunity to bring both jobs and green spaces to our local communities. We are fully committed to the long-term sustainable management of open space for community benefit and this partnership will help us to unlock funding and be a superb resource which will be of huge value to the local community and the local wildlife.”

Speaking about the project, Matt Claxton, planning director at Tritax Symmetry, commented:

“The plans are a key component of Halsnead Sustainable Urban Extension (HSUE) which forms part of the wider vision for the Halsnead Garden Village.

“The employment development will attract multi-million-pound investment in the logistics sector, creating highly-skilled and well-paid jobs as well as giving opportunities to 45 new trainees or apprenticeships during construction. We look forward to launching a public consultation later this month, prior to submitting a planning application this Summer.”

Cllr Tony Brennan, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economic Development, said:

“This is an incredibly exciting development which will create lots of employment opportunities for our residents and rejuvenate the local area. This will form a key part of the wider Halsnead Garden Village project and we are delighted to have the Land Trust on board to manage the green spaces around Halsnead as well as working with them to develop the Country Park, which will deliver a wide range of benefits to the local community.”

Councillor Pat Hackett, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Portfolio Holder for Inclusive Economy and Third Sector, said:

“Halsnead Garden Village is one of our city region’s most significant development sites and will provide a major boost to the local economy, as well as creating hundreds of jobs. That’s why we agreed to invest £12m to enable the development of the site and I’m delighted that this agreement brings the project another step closer to fruition.”

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