Bickershaw South was formally known as Bickershaw Colliery and is located on the Wigan Coalfield. The first shaft at Bickershaw was dug in 1830 by Turner and Ackers. A tramway connected the pit to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal which was used for transporting coal. In 1872 work started on two new shafts, located at Plank Lane beside the canal. In 1877 two further shafts were sunk with the fifth and final shaft completed before World War One.
In 1973, National Coal Board super-pit development was started. Completed in 1976 at a cost of £3 million, it linked Bickershaw underground with the neighbouring Parsonage and Golborne collieries. The project required the installation of 7 miles (11 km) of conveyor belt underground to consolidate coal extraction to the surface at Bickershaw. The total underground colliery workforce at this point was 550 men.
Production at the colliery began to decline through the 1980’s and was finally closed on 13 March 1992.
Remediation & Redevelopment
Managed by English Partnerships (Now renamed the Homes and Communities Agency), the derelict site became part of the National Coalfields Programme in 1996 which was a Government initiative to remediate a number of former colliery sites across the country. In 2005, a discussion was opened with the community on redeveloping the site as a mixed use development to create new jobs, homes, leisure facilities and open space. In 2007 Outline Planning Permission was granted for residential development of up to 650 dwellings and 2,750 square metres of floor space for commercial or community uses.
In October 2009 Birse Civils was awarded the contract to remediate the site and prepare the site for redevelopment. In 2012 the Outline Planning Permission for a residential led mixed-use development was renewed.
Taylor Wimpey's Involvement
Photograph of our community consultation event in Lowton
In November 2012 Taylor Wimpey was formally selected by the Homes and Communities Agency and Wigan Council as the preferred development partner to develop the site. Since then Taylor Wimpey have undertaken further community consultation and obtained a Reserved Matters Planning Application for 471 residential dwellings, 6934 sq.ft of office space, a community centre and cafe as well as setting aside land for future planning applications for a family pub/restaurant and a local convenience retail store.
About the Homes and Communities Agency
The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) is the single, national housing and Regeneration delivery agency for England and the Regulator of Social Housing Providers. The vision is to:
- Create opportunity for people to live in homes they can afford in places they want to live, by enabling local authorities and communities to deliver the ambition they have for their own areas; and
- Focus on governance, financial viability and value for money as the basis for robust economic regulation that maintains lender confidence and protects the taxpayer.
Bickershaw South is part of the HCA’s national coalfields programme which is a Regeneration programme introduced to assist former coalfield communities across England by addressing the environmental legacy of the mining industry and to create new employment, homes, leisure facilities and quality open space.
The nearby town centre has benefited from regeneration initiatives in recent years, including widespread pedestrian areas, a new outside market and a town centre management initiative. It is intended that this development opportunity will play a key part in raising awareness of the momentum of change in the area and will set new standards in sustainability to the local area.
Several factors that are imperative to the development of Bickershaw South include:
- Affordable housing
- Employment and training provision
- Community engagement
- Creativity and healthy living
- Compliance with the minimum level 4 of the Code for Sustainable Homes
- Building for life ‘silver award’
- Lifetime home compliance
In 2009 the HCA was given the green light for the multi-million pound transformation of the site securing £19.14million of funding to enable major regeneration work to start. In a short space of time the engineering and remediation works commenced on site with the successful appointment of Birse Civils Ltd on a 24 month programme of works.
September 2011 saw the final completion of the infrastructure works on time and in budget. Shortly after, the procurement of a developer started with advertising the site through the OJEU process.
The main factors established as part of the procurement process centred on the 18 hectare remediated site with the requirement to bring back the land to create up to 650 homes, a 40 berth canal boat marina and a minimum of 2,750 meters squared of employment space, which is to include high quality food and drink venues.
While HCA led the procurement process the 40 berth Marina basin had received some recognition itself after being formally named to commemorate the diamond jubilee year and being opened by HRH the Duke of Gloucester with members of Wigan Council and HCA.
The site also saw recognition with an award for ‘CEEQUAL Excellent’ for the recently completed works undertaken by Birse Civils Ltd on behalf of the HCA.
In March 2013, the successful developer signed the agreement that emphasises a Commitment to deliver the mixed use scheme within 8 years, taking key factors in to the design of the scheme including:
- Deliver high quality design combined with high environmental performance
- Deliver innovative housing which achieves at least code level 4 of the code for sustainable homes and consideration towards achieving building for life silver award and Lifetime home compliance
- Deliver BREEAM and CEEQUAL accreditation for commercial and community buildings and civil engineering works
- Deliver high quality vocational training and apprenticeships accessible to the local population
In continuing with positive news for the scheme in 2013 a further award was received by HCA for ‘flood risk design’ on the site.
The HCA welcomes Taylor Wimpey to Bickershaw South with enthusiasm and confidence in the knowledge that the development will progress with a professional and high quality approach that brings exciting plans for the scheme encapsulating the vision of HCA and Wigan Council in delivering Bickershaw South development.
The HCA know that Taylor Wimpey are keen to deliver a project which meets the needs and aspirations of local people, creating much needed affordable homes, leisure facilities and more. Not only will it impact on tourism, but it will create jobs for local people, improve the look of the area and bring disused land back to life.
For more information visit: www.homesandcommunities.co.uk or follow us on Twitter.