The Northern Gateway is a strategic future development site within North East Wales which is being driven forward by a partnership of The Welsh Development Agency (WDA), Corus, Defence Estates, DARA, Flintshire County Council, the Welsh Assembly Government and the RAF.

The Northern Gateway site comprises a total of 235 hectares (ha) of land which lies either side of the A550 trunk road at Deeside in Flintshire. To the east of the A550 lies RAF Sealand 'East Camp', a developed land use of military buildings, presently occupied by the RAF and DARA (Defence Aviation Repair Agency), which extends over some 32 ha. To the west of the A550 is the larger landholding (203 ha), which comprises RAF Sealand 'South Camp' and the Corus 'Garden City' site. The former is a mix of military buildings, hangers and a grass glider field. Much of the Corus 'Garden City' site is undeveloped, although it is crossed by a number of roads and has an office complex in its western most extremity. The Corus land is surplus to the company's operational requirements at their adjacent Shotton works and the RAF are shortly to vacate RAF Sealand. Consequently, this major parcel of land is available for future development/re-development.

The site has recently been confirmed as a strategic opportunity within the Sub-Regional Study for North East Wales - West Cheshire, a study commissioned by 9 local authorities/Assemblies/Agencies active within the Sub-Region. This identified the need to bring forward a major development site close to the Welsh/English border that was capable of supporting a range of uses including principally employment and business related development. Such a proposal is also consistent with The Wales Spatial Plan and the WDA's Property Strategy.

The site has a number of key assets as well as its strategic location. Most significantly, local planning policy supports its future development. However, there are notable constraints associated with parts of the site that have prevented development from coming forward at this time. These include issues of potential flooding, ground conditions, transportation and access.

In order to seek to overcome these and other issues, the County Council, WDA, Corus, Defence Estates and DARA in conjunction with the Welsh Assembly Government have jointly appointed a consultancy team, led by AXIS (planning and design consultants), to undertake a comprehensive development study. This work will aim to:

  • identify and assess the site constraints;
  • confirm market demand and strategic development opportunities
  • develop design proposals for a landmark, mixed use development, which is worthy of the site's strategic location, but respects the identified constraints;
  • provide a framework to guide the long term development of the site.

The study will explore the potential for new employment, residential, leisure and possibly small scale retail uses. However, any proposals will be underpinned by the objective of creating a sustainable development which:

  • optimises the use of natural resources;
  • conserves the local environment;
  • creates economic and social value;
  • promotes the use of modes of transport other than the private car;
  • is integrated into the surrounding communities.

The Northern Gateway is one of the largest and most exciting development opportunities in North East Wales/North West England. It offers the potential to accommodate economic growth in a manner which is both sustainable yet attractive to the market place. Consequently, it has broad support from a range of public and private sector organisations ranging from the Welsh Assembly Government to local property agencies.

This web site has initially been created to announce the launch of the Northern Gateway Study. Over the remainder of 2005 it will be updated to outline the results of the consultant's work and to seek the views of any interested parties on the proposals, as they emerge.