Liverpool City Region Freeport officially open for business

Published: 11 January 2023

The Liverpool City Region Freeport is officially open for business after Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Michael Gove approved its full business case.

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Responding to the news, Richard Mawdsley, Director of Development for Peel L&P’s Wirral Waters, commented: “Being part of the Liverpool City Region Freeport, we can continue the regeneration of Wirral Waters, attracting inward investment, creating new jobs and enabling innovation. Wirral Waters is a nationally significant regeneration site that will support modern methods of construction and advanced manufacturing, and, through the creation of the £23m Maritime Knowledge Hub, will be a global centre dedicated to the decarbonisation of the maritime and logistics sectors.”

Steven Underwood, Chief Executive of The Peel Group and Peel L&P added: “This is great news for the Liverpool City Region, and we’re pleased that several of our key investments – Liverpool John Lennon Airport, Port Salford, Wirral Waters and the Manchester Ship Canal – are part of this globally significant Freeport to accelerate levelling up through regeneration, inward investment and job creation.”

The Wirral Waters development is one of the largest and most sustainable mixed-use regeneration projects in the UK. Under the LCR Freeport designation, the Mea Park and Northside neighbourhood areas of Wirral Waters are part of the Wirral Waters Tax Site with a focus on supply chains, modern methods of construction, manufacturing, logistics and innovation. This aligns with the Wirral Waters masterplan, with the Four Bridges and Northbank neighbourhoods continuing to be developed out for sustainable waterside residential, educational, commercial and leisure uses.

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.”

John Lucy, Director of the Liverpool City Region Freeport, said: “This is a very significant moment for the Liverpool City Region’s economy as, after a huge amount of hard work, the Freeport is now up and running.  We can now get on with the real business of creating prosperity for the people of the city region.  I’m sure that the Freeport will be transformational and I can’t wait to see it start delivering real benefits.”

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