Green lighted proposals for a 1,493,832 sq ft high bay regional distribution centre in Widnes have sparked a furious battle of words between local councillors in Crewe.
Halton Council gave the go ahead for an ambitious £65 million rail connected scheme at the Widnes International Freight Terminal at West Bank Dock Estate in November but now local Conservatives in Crewe are furious with the Labour and Independent run council for letting the opportunity escape to a rival town.
Councillor Brian Silvester said: “In this new Widnes development, trains will go right inside massive warehouses. This is precisely the type of development that the 360 acres of employment land was allocated for at the Basford sidings, next to the West Coast Main Line. Crewe has a much more favourable position in the rail network and I am flabbergasted that Widnes has been allowed to steal a march on us.
“The Labour and independent councillors who run the council have sat idly by and allowed another Cheshire Council to run rings around them. Unfortunately large job losses are on the cards at Crewe Works and the major investment and 1000 jobs being created at Widnes would have been very welcome at Crewe.”
Councillor Graham Fenton, Conservative economic spokesman added: “Rail related employment development was the reason the employment land was allocated at Basford. Instead all we are going to get are enormous warehouses served by thousands of huge lorries, which local residents will have to endure day and night. It would have been much more environmentally friendly if a new road/rail interchange had been developed at Basford as intended.”
Nearly 1,730 jobs would be up for grabs at the proposed 100 acre development, over six times as many as there are now. Developer Westlink Group submitted the proposals in November. GVA Grimley is advising.