A new fund will support the development of Parkside and will focus on reinvestment in the borough.
The Parkside Freeport Investment Fund has been approved by St Helens Borough Council’s Cabinet which will focus on a number of different areas including how the business rates will be used to support the project going forward and using capital funding set aside for the project in reserves to help get the site ready for the first phase to be completed.
Parkside is a key part of the Liverpool City Region Freeport project and is one of three tax sites and as part of the agreement with Central Government on becoming a Freeport site the project must have an investment fund. As part of Freeport status the council will be able to keep all business rates from the site, which must be ringfenced for specific revenue and capital projects.
Future targets for investment initially include investment in infrastructure projects including providing power for industries taking up plots on the Parkside West site, additional highway improvements to compliment the work already happening on site with the Parkside Link Road to divert traffic towards the M6 and away from surrounding A road and additional lorry parking and works to enable a rail freight interchange to open up development on Parkside East.
Councillor Martin Bond, Cabinet Member for Corporate Services, said: “The Parkside Freeport Investment fund is a critical part of the development of Parkside and is one that is necessary to help it reach its full potential. The Freeport status of Parkside unlocks so much more potential and the reinvestment of the business rates received on this site, which will be 100 per cent in the case of Parkside, will enable us to support wider regeneration, growing the jobs market for residents and supporting the local supply chain opportunities that a venture such as this will bring. All future spending decisions will be brought back to council for approval to make sure that the fund is being used in an appropriate way.
Councillor Richard McCauley, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Planning, added: “Following on from the formal acceptance of Freeport status this Parkside Freeport Investment Fund is a way for us to show our commitment to this development which will have a huge positive impact for not just our borough but the region as a whole. The fund will help to further enhance the work we have already been doing with our city region partners to build the infrastructure that will support growth and protect the communities surrounding the site with investment in highways to reduce the impact on local roads.”
The Parkside Freeport Investment Fund will launch in 2024.