A MAJOR £30m plan to build a vast leisure complex in Speke looks set for approval – despite strong opposition. John Siddle of the Daily Ghost writes,
New Mersey Leisure, featuring three hotels, a multiplex cinema, bars and restaurants, would be built on 14-acres of a 49-acre brownfield site near the New Mersey Retail Park, in Speke.
Developers Benmore Group anticipate the project would create 325 permanent jobs and pump £5.5m per year into the local economy.
But the scheme, listed for approval at Liverpool council’s planning committee on Tuesday, has met with concern from car manufacturer Ford and major developer Peel.
Ford sub-leases land on the proposed site from ANSA Logistics to store up to 4,000 vehicles transported there by the adjacent freight rail network.
In a letter of objection backed by the union Unite, Ford said the jobs of 188 workers linked to the site could be jeopardised if the scheme is progressed.
Through solicitors Cushman and Wakefield, the firm told the council: “Ford has categorically established that there is no other suitable affordable rail-connected site that is able to support the current operation locally.
Closure of this site as a distribution centre for Ford would result in a move away from the North West for this operations and the loss to the area of skilled employment as a result.”
Benmore, which owns the freehold to the land, claims it would create a “substantial area of land” for car storage at the former Tea Factory, off Speke Hall Road.
An eight-page letter, submitted by Peel, claimed that the proposals would not aid regional growth.
The Port of Liverpool owner feared the “diminished ability” to make best use of the “rare rail freight connection” and insisted there was no legitimate demand for three hotels.
Its objection states: “The New Mersey proposals represent economic development but not sustainable economic growth. On the contrary, they will frustrate the realisation of expanded rail-freight use in the city, which should have negative regional-wide implications.”
A spokesman for Benmore said that access to the rail network “would not be affected”.
Benmore, also behind plans to redevelop the former Pioneer Buildings in Dale Street into a 120-bed hotel and car park, hopes to win full planning permission to build a seven-screen cinema, 18 leisure units and a 78-bed hotel.
It also wants outline planning permission for 78-bed and 120-bed hotels. If permission is granted, the park could open by the end of next year.
So despite Peel Holdings plan to close down the docks and carbunculate it with.............thousands of appartments that no-one will buy and they then complain about an overs supply of hotels, you couldnt make this up.
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