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Retail park scheme replaces steelworks

A DERELICT steelworks is to be brought back to life as a retail park, creating up to 300 jobs.

A DERELICT steelworks is to be brought back to life as a retail park, creating up to 300 jobs.

Planners have approved a 108,000 sq ft development on the site of the former HH Robertson steelworks.

The Cromwell Road site in Ellesmere Port holds memories of a bitter shutdown when 150 men lost their jobs following its takeover by British Steel, now known as Corus, in 1997.

Developer St Modwen now plans to demolish all trace of the works and build a shopping park with units ranging from 8,000 sq ft upwards.

The company is confident of attracting investment from major names in the DIY and electrical industries.

Jeremy Boyd, development surveyor for St Modwen, said: "Now that we have planning permission we can go into the market place and start to get names above doors.

"The council are keen the development does not compete with the town centre so we are concentrating on retailers of bulky goods.

"Interest is encouraging and we are optimistic we can bring in some leading retail names.

"There is potential to create up to 250 retail jobs which, combined with the jobs associated with the construction process, takes the total to about300."

St Modwen hopes to clear the site and begin construction within the next six months. The park is expected to open next year.

There will be 480 car parking spaces and a section of the site will remain undeveloped for possible future leisure or retail use. It is an amazing turnaround for the site which became a symbol of industrial unrest after the collapse of HH Robertson.

British Steel paid £7.5m for the assets and order book but caused concern by refusing to meet previous redundancy and pension commitments.

Coun Fred Venables, leader of Ellesmere Port and Neston Council, said: "The Cromwell Road site is a sad reminder of the fate of one of the town's earliest industries and the last remnant of our iron industry.

"It closed in such a shabby way that the site is more than just an eyesore, it is depressing.

"It will be wonderful to see something good and positive for Ellesmere Port rise from the ashes. This retail park is very welcome and the council is fully behind it.

"The news of 300 jobs is the icing on the cake. The town has created several thousand jobs in recent years and our unemployment rate is far lower than the regional and national average."..SUPL:


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
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