Of St Helens' major development areas, Haydock and Lea Green, to the east and south of the borough, have attracted most interest recently. Both Haydock, home of one of the UK's most-visited racecourses and Lea Green, close to the iconic 20-metre high Dream sculpture, offer companies space to expand with the advantage of motorway links and local expertise in the distribution and logistics sector.
Morley Estates is developing Boston Park in Haydock, close to Junction 23 of the M6 Motorway and, situated directly next to the East Lancs Road A580, benefits from being roughly equal distance from both Manchester and Liverpool.
Gareth Middleton, development director at Morley, said: "At Boston Park we have outline planning consent for 180,000 sq ft of space, either industrial, high-tech or warehousing and distribution. We've built approximately 92,000 sq ft in two units, which have already been let. We are also in the process of securing European Regional Development Fund grant assistance towards three further buildings and potentially have tenants for those."
Morley Estates is also developing Empress Park, a 6.5-acre site with planning consent for collegiate-style offices, a crèche, gym and three retail facilities.
Morley's combined investment in Boston Park and Empress Park is about £30m, including grant assistance. In terms of employment opportunities, the Empress site alone will create opportunities for 1,500 people, a significant addition to the local economy.
At Lea Green, Langtree, based in Newton-le-Willows in St Helens, has made a significant investment in the 31-acre Mere Grange business park. Mere Grange phase one contains 10 office units in a landscaped environment, close to the amenities of the town centre and Ravenhead retail park.
The business park offers a fantastic location on the A570 St Helens Linkway, close to the Junction 7 of the M62, with excellent links to Liverpool and Manchester City centres via the comprehensive motorway network. Companies such as Lloyds Business Communications and Miller Construction UK have already secured Mere Grange as their location of choice and view St Helens benefiting from low costs, a catchment of 7m residents, clients and customers and a highly cost-effective, business-friendly environment.
Frank Joyce, North West area director of Miller Construction, said: "The decision to relocate from Manchester to St Helens was made easier by both Mere Grange's excellent location, which allows access to the North West motorway links, the high quality of the offices and surrounding landscaping. Mere Grange quite simply ticks all the boxes for our business."
John Quirk, St Helens business location service manager, said: "Haydock and Lea Green offer key development sites with great potential. The commercial property market in St Helens as a whole has increased dramatically with a real variety of office and industrial space to meet the growing demand from businesses and investors."