Cowley Hill Works currently comprises 104 acres of redundant and underused land which has been used for activities such as landfill and railway sidings. It is considered that this land can be regenerated and brought back into productive use. It is to this end that these proposals are being brought forward and why St Helens Borough Council has allocated this land for residential development in its emerging Local Development Plan. BXB Cowley Hill Ltd is working closely with the Council in the promotion of the site and will continue to do so as the plans progress.
The St Helens Borough has been identified to need at least 9,234 new dwellings (an average of 486 new dwellings per year) before 2035 in order to meet local housing requirements. Allowing for expected completions before 2020, this translates to a minimum of 7,245 new dwellings within the Plan period between 1st April 2020 and 31st March 2035.
This site would go a significant way towards helping to deliver the new homes required within the Plan period; 10% of the new homes required can be delivered at this location, thereby reducing the need to develop on local Green Belt land.
Due to its sustainable location, the site is already well serviced by a range of existing facilities that are well within walking distance. Services that are accessible via foot include St Helens Central Station, St Helens Bus and Coach Station, St Helens College, several schools and nurseries, a number of medical centres and a range of shops, restaurants and bars.
There are also several existing bus services that already service the site between the Town Centre and other areas such as Tesco Extra and the Totally Wicked Stadium.
As the site is within walking distance of St Helens Town Centre, an increase in the number of residents living within close proximity to existing shops and services is expected to boost the high street. For example, it would take residents just 11 minutes to walk from the site to Baldwin Street via College Street.
Additional spending could help both existing and new businesses creating a vibrant town centre and generating more jobs. Furthermore, local businesses are expected to benefit from First Occupation Expenditure. This is when new residents spend money on services to make a house ‘feel like a home’. Initial estimates suggest that the development would generate a spend of approximately £15m for local services per annum.
The build out of new homes on site would take several years to be completed and there will be significant opportunities for local employment and supplier contracts during this time. The housebuilding industry is a major part of the UK economy, generating approximately £38bn a year. With a site of this size, it is to be expected that approximately 250 jobs will be created throughout the lifetime of the project and that the GVA generated by the development would reach £6.5m per annum.
The delivery of new homes will increase the number of residents paying Council Tax. Intinal research estimates that following the completion of the site, new homes at Cowley Hill Works would generate an addition £1.5m per annum in Council Tax receipts. These receipts can be used by St Helens Council on a variety of services to the benefit of both new and existing residents.