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Work starts on Bickershaw Colliery site
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The stalled Carbon Challenge site at Bickershaw Colliery near Wigan is moving again - major civil engineering work started at Bickershaw South, near Leigh, this week after the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) appointed Birse Civils to prepare the former colliery site for redevelopment. The NWDA has agreed a package of infrastructure works totalling almost £12 million, who have already completed the preparatory site clearance works.
Work starts on Bickershaw Colliery site

The site is owned by NWDA and the works are being funded by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) under its National Coalfields Programme which hopes to breathe new life into derelict coalfield communities across England. The first stage of the process involves the reclamation of derelict land within the site, diversion of the existing Plank Lane, provision of site road infrastructure, and construction of a 40 berth marina on the Leeds – Liverpool Canal.

Steven Broomhead, Chief Executive of the NWDA, said: “It is excellent to see the start of the engineering works at Bickershaw Colliery. This is a substantial site with the potential to transform this area of Leigh. It will generate employment opportunities associated with the construction, and within the final development. Working closely with other public partners, we are creating the conditions to enable the private sector to subsequently undertake major investment and deliver the vision we share for Bickershaw.”

The next stage of the project will involve the marketing of the remediated site to the private development industry, who will have the opportunity to construct up to 650 homes and 2,750 sq m of employment space at the 56-acre (18 hectares) site.

Over the last few years the NWDA has been undertaking land assembly, feasibility and design work to get the site ready for works to start.

Following the grant of planning permission for the mixed use development at Bickershaw earlier this year, the Homes and Communities Agency subsequently confirmed that all remaining funding could be released from a £19.14million pot to enable the site remediation and infrastructure works to begin.

Deborah McLaughlin, HCA’s Regional Director North West, said: “It is great news that the regeneration work at Bickershaw South is now accelerating with the support of our investment. Bickershaw remains a major development priority for the HCA and this additional funding of £19.14m clearly demonstrates our commitment to the area. We will continue to work closely with our delivery partners to make sure that these resources really do bring about transformational change.”

This site was announced as a Carbon Challenge site in November 2007 – a government initiative aimed at accelerating the building industry’s response to the 2016 target for all new housing to be zero carbon. To help achieve this, a 2MW wind turbine is proposed on the adjacent, Wigan Council-owned, Bickershaw North site, to provide energy for the development.

To keep the community informed, regular drop in mornings will be held on site where residents can view plans and ask questions directly of the site team. Information will also be posted in local public centres such as libraries or community centres. Drop in mornings will run throughout the project from late November after the site offices are constructed.

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