On 10th January 2023, the Freeport was declared officially open for business after Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Michael Gove approved its full business case.

The Liverpool City Region Freeport is a designated area covering 45km, located in Birkenhead, St Helens and Widnes, where a range of economic incentives will be available, covering customs, business rates, planning, regeneration, innovation, trade and investment support, and employment opportunities. 

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% 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/pharmaceutical, and maritime, the Liverpool City Region Freeport will support and attract new manufacturing, logistics and low carbon energy industries. The Freeport status offers attractive incentives to new occupiers including; five years business rate relief, three years employers national insurance relief, structures and buildings allowances, enhanced capital allowances and stamp duty land tax relief. These attractive incentives will create increased employment opportunities and regeneration for the local area, benefitting South Liverpool’s employment zone, with over three million people living within a 45 minutes’ drive. 

Additionally, Logicor’s Liberty Park Widnes has achieved planning consent for two schemes at the development site to provide either one large c. 360,000 sq ft industrial / warehouse unit, or two smaller units of c. 210,000 sq ft and 150,000 sq ft. All options will offer two storey offices, ample power supply, EV charging, HGV and car parking and built to the highest standard targeting EPC A rating. The new high specification warehouse space will be available to occupy in Q1 2024.

Tom Blakely, Director, Asset Management at Logicor, says: “Achieving Freeport status at Widnes brings great benefits to future occupiers of the site, including tax reliefs on importing and new employee wages, while encouraging investment and job creation into the local area. We are excited to work with Stoford as our Development Manager on this scheme and to be part of the wider local initiatives to bring investment and employment growth to the area.”

Liberty Park Widnes is strategically located at the junction of Speke Boulevard (A562) and Knowsley Expressway (A5300), providing direct access to the national motorway network via Junction 6 of the M62 and Junction 1 of the M57. Liverpool Airport can also be accessed in just 14 minutes’ drive time and Liverpool Port is located within 12 miles of the site.

Angus Huntley, Director at Stoford, comments: “This project is an exciting opportunity to bring forward new, high-quality logistics buildings in a strategically important location. 

“Liberty Park Widnes has the potential to bring jobs and inward investment to an area that continues to rapidly develop. This is one of the only fully serviced sites of its size in the South Liverpool area, which benefits from excellent transport links and a willing workforce on the doorstep to fulfil any employment requirements. Stoford has a proven track record of delivering high-quality accommodation that is attractive to major manufacturing and logistics companies and we are pleased to be working with Logicor to bring these exciting plans to fruition.”

DTRE and Avison Young are retained as letting agents and Stoford is appointed as Development Manager. 

Commenting on the granting of Freeport status, Tony O’Brien, Chair of the Liverpool City Region Freeport said: “It is fantastic news that the Liverpool City Region Freeport is now open for business.  We’ve been working extremely hard throughout the development stage to ensure that we could hit the ground running when we reached this stage and I’m sure the Freeport will now deliver tremendous benefits to the city region’s economy, creating thousands of high-quality jobs and boosting growth and prosperity.”

For more information, please visit www.libertyparkwidnes.co.uk