Cutacre plans to create 6,500 jobs
Developers Harworth Estates plan to create four million sq ft of distribution and manufacturing space at the former Cutacre open cast mine site near Over Hulton — as well as developing a large country park.
The region’s business leaders estimate it could bring up to £65 million to the local economy every year.
But local councillors have called for the park to be developed before the industrial site to “mitigate the harm that will be done by the loss of green space”.
German supermarket giant Aldi has already agreed to move its North West headquarters and distribution centre to the site.
But now the outline application also sets out plans for the 225 hectare Cutacre Country Park, as well as the potential for further storage, distribution and industrial buildings on the site as well as the potential for shops, businesses and hotels.
The application for the Logistics North site, located close to junction four of the M61, should be decided before the end of the year and, if successful, work will begin in spring 2014.
The aim is to create a “major employment centre” and with Aldi already signed up, Harworth is hoping to attract other major companies to the area.
Owen Michaelson, chief executive of Harworth Estates, said: “This is a great opportunity to help the North West’s economy grow.
“Once completed, our Logistics North site is likely to provide several thousand jobs. There has been a lot of interest already and we are determined to create a first-class industrial and logistics centre.
“This development can make a really positive difference to the area and we’re determined to make this happen.”
And business leaders believe the development will be a massive boost to Bolton and Greater Manchester as a whole.
Christian Spence, head of business intelligence at Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, said: “This development is good news for Bolton and Greater Manchester in general. When the site is fully occupied it could contribute an estimated £65 million to the economy each year.
“Distribution is becoming an increasingly important sector in Greater Manchester, as it spreads beyond its traditional home in Trafford Park to sites such as Kingsway in Rochdale.
“Also manufacturers often report that they are constrained by their premises, so it’s good to see new space being provided for expanding manufacturers.”
Permission was granted for opencast mining at the site in 2001 and more than a million tonnes of coal was extracted between 2006 and 2011, when it closed.
The application has drawn criticism from Hulton councillors, who claim the job figures have been revised down ever since the controversial plans were first announced.
Cutacre has been the subject of years of debate and residents fought a long-running battle to have the site made into a country park once open-cast mining ended.
More than 3,500 people voiced their opposition to the development and a petition was submitted to Downing Street.
Hulton Cllr Andy Morgan said: “Originally the idea was to create 14,000 jobs and that was the justification for building on green land, we said that number of jobs would never be created — and we have been proven right.
“We have lost the original fight and now as ward councillors we will try to get the best outcome for our residents — so firstly we need to ensure that the restoration of the park happens before any developments take place — that was promised 15 years ago.”
“We are also looking for improvements for local infrastructure, roads, traffic control and to encourage Aldi customers to use motorways and we will try to do this through the planning process.
“None of us in Hulton ever wanted this.”
Fellow Hulton Cllr Alan Walsh added: “We will try to get some balance to benefit the local community and I look forward to hearing the input of local people.”
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