Omega is a £1billion, 575 acres mixed use development opportunity which is being delivered over the next 25 years. The site is a brownfield site ( one that was previously built upon land), comprising part of the former USAF/RAF Burtonwood Airbase.
The holding company is Omega Warrington Ltd, being a joint venture partnership between Miller Developments and The Royal Bank of Scotland, together with landowners, the Homes and Communities Agency (formerly English Partnerships). The partnership was created in 2001.
The site is divided into a north and south sector.
Omega North extends to 129 acres and Omega South extends to 446 acres. The division between north and south is the M62 with north being the Burtonwood side of the motorway and south being Westbrook.
The site is planned for mixed use and therefore is likely to include office complexes, distribution centres, technology centres, manufacturing facilities and housing.
Planning permission has been granted by Warrington Borough Council for the first two phases of mixed offices and distribution along with associated infrastructure on Omega North.
One of the first occupiers is Brakes, the grocery and fresh food suppliers. A 200,000 sq ft distribution warehouse with associated infrastructure costing £7million is now operational. This includes access road and services.
The second developments on Omega North is a £17m distribution depot for Hermes, the consumer parcel delivery specialist. Hermes is building a 153,500 sq ft cross-dock warehouse which includes 16,000 sq ft of office space on an 18 acre plot.
The Travis Perkins Group is the UK’s largest supplier to the building and construction market.
The Warrington Council Core Strategy now includes plans to develop 1100 homes on the Omega site. This is likely to be on Omega South which is yet to be developed. This site has high capacity for further potential development over forthcoming years.
Omega is a site on brown belt land is within the framework of sustainable development. The 1100 homes, however, are likely to add to the already severe traffic in the Westbrook area. If these homes are to be built, Our Local Voice (OLV) welcomes Warrington’s decision to build these houses on brown field land and not green belt on this occasion.
We also welcome the opportunity to bring knowledge-based and manufacturing industries to the region because not only does this bring a new range of jobs it facilitates the multiplier effect in supplier demand which further increases the yield of jobs regionally.
The site also serves as an enabler for a distribution site in the region.
Although Omega is designated as a Warrington initiative this is only by way of artificial local authority boundaries. Geographically it is based in the northwest part of Warrington so the site is closer to Burtonwood, Earlestown, Newton Le Willows and St Helens than it is to the centre of Warrington.
Conversely, although the land is designated as brownfield, wildlife will not recognise this human classification. The land is not a high value biodiversity habitat but there will still be a significant loss and with it the opportunity for roaming and migration. Therefore, although this site is to be welcomed for commercial development, a significant part of our biodiversity heritage will disappear and there will be regional biodiversity impacts to the rest of the local green landscape because of the resulting loss of this supporting habitat.
The freight and supporting traffic will also add to the demands on the existing motorway infrastructure with associated congestion and air pollution implications.