The chair of the Liverpool City Region Freeport has visited Parkside to see work getting underway to unlock the “huge potential” that Freeport status for the site will bring.

Thomas O’Brien was joined by the leader of St Helens Borough Council, Cllr David Baines and and St Helens North MP Conor McGinn alongside others from the council’s joint venture partnership with Langtree and key stakeholders.

The group saw works progressing on phase one of the site and the Parkside Link Road, which will open up further development opportunities at the former colliery in Newton-le-Willows.

Parkside is seen as a key part of the Liverpool City Region’s Freeport plan as the largest of three ‘tax sites’ in the region.

The freeport status for Parkside also builds on the borough’s advanced manufacturing capability, logistics and emerging location for research and innovation.

Cllr David Baines said: “Parkside is one of the most significant opportunities for growth and investment in the whole north west, and arguably in the entire country. It is key to the Liverpool City Region Freeport and we are determined to make sure that our borough and wider region gain every possible benefit from its potential.”

Parkside Regeneration chairman John Downes added: “Growth at the Port of Liverpool has been on a long, steady upward curve for many years and Freeport designation will give it further momentum. Parkside provides the room for port users to exploit the advantages of freeport status whilst providing a major economic boost to St Helens and the wider city region.”

Thomas O’Brien, chair, Liverpool City Region Freeport, said: “The Liverpool City Region Freeport is a key part of the national program to improve the UK’s competitiveness. Our Freeport has truly global ambitions, and Parkside at St Helens is a world-class asset to attract growing firms from far and wide. It’s exciting to see first-hand that work is already underway.”

Conor McGinn, St Helens North MP, added: “A fully regenerated, dynamic Parkside has massive potential to drive inward investment, good jobs, skills and economic growth across St Helens Borough and the wider region. Being at the beating heart of the Liverpool City Region Freeport is absolutely integral to that.”