Cllr Seve Gomez-Aspron (inset) has welcomed the Freeport plans
Cllr Seve Gomez-Aspron (inset) has welcomed the Freeport plans
St Helens Borough Council has given its backing to a bid that will put the borough at the forefront of a Liverpool City Region Freeport.

The Government is creating Freeports across the country to establish a national hub for global trade and investment, promote regeneration and job creation and sustain innovation.

The Liverpool City Region bid earmarks Parkside in Newton-le-Willows as the largest of three ‘tax sites’ in the region, this will represent a major opportunity to attract a range of investment and support new job creation at the site. It will strengthen the role that the borough plays in the region’s position as an attractive location for global trade, inward investment and innovation.

The freeport bid builds on the borough’s advanced manufacturing capability and will help bring a range of high-quality jobs in areas such as design and engineering to Newton-le-Willows and the wider area.

The Freeport will also maximise future opportunities in hydrogen, and clean power, ensuring that our borough’s net zero ambitions can be achieved. The aim is that Parkside will become a global beacon for investment in renewable technologies, providing sustainable jobs for future generations.

Newton-le-Willows Labour Councillor Seve Gomez-Aspron, Deputy Leader of St Helens Borough Council, has warmly welcomed the news. He said: “Parkside is a nationally significant site, on two motorways and two key rail routes. We have always pushed for a mixed economy on the site, along with the infrastructure to make it work.

We’ve secured the brand new link road to the M6 at Junction 22, and this Freeport bid goes a long way to securing a mixed economy of manufacturing, logistics and rail freight. As Labour Councillors, we’ve worked hard to get this to work based on feedback from the public.

Newton-le-Willows needs jobs, growth and investment to fund our local town centre through people spending disposable income.

The Freeport bid is now with the Government to decide, and I hope that they decide to bring manufacturing on a large scale back to Newton-le-Willows. I promise to fight to make that happen.”

As part of the submission the Leader of St Helens Borough Council has written to Government to give the council’s backing to the programme.

Labour Councillor David Baines, Leader of St Helens Borough Council, said: “I’m delighted that Parkside is at the heart of the Liverpool City Region’s Freeport bid. It is clear evidence of the quality and outstanding potential of the site. It’s the perfect location for advanced manufacturing, logistics and food services, and presents an amazing opportunity to create links to the port of Liverpool and the rest of the country.

After Covid it is vital that as a council we do all we can to support and encourage growth, and Tax and Custom site status can only help to support the development at Parkside. We are confident Freeport status can also accelerate delivery on the site.

We’re working closely with City Region partners on this and other opportunities and will continue to do all we can to bring growth, jobs and prosperity to our borough.”

The bid was submitted on Friday 5 February to the Treasury and the successful Freeport bids going through to the next stage will be announced in March.

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