Multi-million pound plans to regenerate a former industrial site are finally expected to move forward with plans for 134 new homes.
Developers Pochin have requested a screening opinion from Flintshire Council ahead of submitting detailed proposals for housing on the former Corus steelworks’ site in Garden City.
It forms part of the crucial Northern Gateway site, where outline planning permission was granted for housing, a hotel and technology park on land off Welsh Road back in 2014.
It has been claimed that the overall scheme will breathe new life into the Deeside area by bringing hundreds of millions of pounds of investment and creating thousands of jobs.
Sealand councillor Christine Jones said she hoped it would signal the end to years of uncertainty over when work on the site will begin.
She said: “The Northern Gateway has been planned for about 25 years.
“We’ve been waiting a long time for this to come and it’s nice that they are actually making a start.
“For the last 10 years they’ve ummed and ahhed about things like who’s paying for the road so in the end the Welsh Government intervened to pay for it, that was the kickstart that they needed.”
In 2016 work was carried out to build a single carriageway access road to unlock the site for development after £3.1m was awarded by the Welsh Government.
Ministers also allocated £2.2m which saw flood defence work completed along the banks of the nearby River Dee.
Cllr Jones welcomed the news that developers were preparing to put proposals forward and said she was keen to see the iconic Grade II-listed clock tower brought back to life as part of the development.
However, she added that she would reserve judgement until seeing if the plans also included affordable housing.
She said: I’m glad that there’s going to be an actual spade in the ground, but I want to see what the access road looks like onto the site and to make sure the houses that are being provided are adequate for what’s needed in the local area.
“Basically, we need affordable homes. We don’t need big four or five bedroom houses, we need decent two or three bedroom ones that are going to suit families.
“I want to see the clock tower developed to bring it back to its former glory.
“Maybe that’s a hotel, maybe a conference centre, but something on that site that’s going to enhance it and bring that lovely building back into use.”
Pochin bought the 200 acres of land at the Shotton Point site for £5m in June 2010.
The clock tower was designed for John Summers and Sons, who founded Shotton Steelworks.
Planning consultants Spawforths, who are acting on behalf of the company, said the housing plans would lead to further investment in the site.
They said: “The site forms part of the Deeside Enterprise Zone and Growth Zone, which aims to be an engine for growth for the North Wales economy and is of national, regional and local importance.
“The delivery of a first phase of residential development on the site will now act as a springboard for further investment and the delivery of the remaining infrastructure and subsequent phases of residential and employment development.”
They added that it would provide a ‘catalyst for economic growth’ and bring much-needed housing to address a shortfall in the area.
The screening letter also sets out flood risk, drainage, landscaping and ecology measures, but claims that an environmental impact assessment would not be needed.
The plans do not include the former RAF Sealand camp, which also forms part of the Northern Gateway and is owned by developers Praxis Real Estate Management.
Proposals for that site include 1,100 new homes and three million sq ft of industrial and manufacturing space.
By Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter.