Home News Parkside named as key regional ‘Freeport’ site
An aerial view of the Parkside site in Newton-le-Willows, which is under construction now

Parkside named as key regional ‘Freeport’ site

by Gemma Melling

Parkside in Newton-le-Willows has been named as one of the key sites in the new Liverpool City Region Freeport, which is now open for business following Government approval.

Once fully operational, it is estimated that the freeport could create more than 14,000 new highly skilled jobs, deliver £800m of investment and generate an additional £850m of GVA for the Liverpool City Region’s economy.

Parkside becoming part of this peoject is expected to help further unlock the potential of this site, bringing a wealth of additional benefits for businesses setting up there, and creating local jobs.

Local leaders have chosen to pursue businesses and industries that align with the values and priorities of the Liverpol City Region Combined Authority. These include innovation in advanced manufacturing, pharmaceuticals and green energy – with a particular focus on the region’s target to be net zero carbon by 2040 at the latest.

By grouping high-productivity and innovative businesses close together, the freeport can play a role in the region’s work to tackle the underlying weaknesses in the local job market such as productivity, pay and job security.

Councillor David Baines, Leader of St Helens Borough Council and Liverpool City Region (LCR) Freeport Board Member, said: “We have seen with the example of SSO International how the LCR Freeport has huge potential for businesses across our region and beyond, creating prosperity and tangible benefits for our residents in the form of good quality jobs and the increased opportunities a growing economy brings.  We now have a pipeline of 50 companies across the region interested in following SSO International’s example, and with Parkside here in St Helens Borough we are working to bring as many of these benefits as possible right here to our doorstep.”

Responding to the news, Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region said: “Throughout the process, I’ve been clear that I will only use our freeport as a force for good, to help build an economy that works for everyone in our region. I want to attract investors into our area who believe in, and support, our local ambitions – those who will help us to protect workers’ rights and uphold standards, and who want to work with us to deliver regeneration and funding in the areas that need it most.

“The establishment of the Liverpool City Region Freeport has the potential to help our drive to attract international investment, create more well-paid, highly-skilled jobs for local people and build on our existing strengths and promote our international competitiveness. It is estimated that the freeport will add £850m to the local economy and contribute towards our plans to boost research and development and target green technologies to help us reach net zero by 2040 at the latest.

“But, for us, it means much more than that. I want to ensure that there is purpose behind this status that fuels greater social mobility, innovation, and inclusion for our whole region – including the integration of our Fair Employment Charter.

“Today, those plans have taken another step forward. I will be pressing for it to be up and running as soon as possible so local people and communities can begin to feel the benefits.”

What is the freeport, and what are the benefits?

The freeport is a designated area covering 45km, where a range of economic incentives will be available, covering customs, business rates, planning, regeneration, innovation and trade and investment support. Local councils will be able to retain 100% of business rates growth generated by the freeport tax sites – located in Wirral, St Helens Borough and Halton.

Last month, SSO International in Haydock, St Helens, became the freeport’s first Customs Site Operator (CSO). A freeport customs site operator provides a secure, enclosed customs zone where some normal customs rules do not apply.  Every freeport needs at least one approved CSO to be operational.

Centred on a mix of infrastructure including the deep-water container terminal at the Port of Liverpool – the UK’s biggest western facing port, which already handles 45 per cent of trade from the US – it is the key coastal access point to the UK’s largest concentration of manufacturing.

Targeting key sectors including automotive, biomanufacturing/pharmaceuticals and maritime, the freeport will support and attract new advanced manufacturing, logistics and low carbon energy industries.

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