Wykeland controls one half, St John's Cambridge the other. Credit: via Meehan Media

Sign-off for Goole freeport tax site

Government approval has been given for close to 500 acres of development land across two plots separated by the M62 to be allowed the special classification.

The proposed footprint for the Goole tax site was submitted for approval in August 2023, as one of three Humber Freeport tax sites, alongside Hull East and the Able Humber Port at Immingham.

Now the site has been officially designated, following review and approval by the Treasury and HM Revenue & Customs. Freeports are a flagship policy of Rishi Sunak, pursued initially in his time as Chancellor, and now as Prime Minister.

The designation means businesses investing within the tax site can benefit from a series of advantages, ranging from business rate and stamp duty land tax relief, to National Insurance support designed to reduce employment costs.

Humber Freeport chair Simon Bird said: “Designation of the Goole tax site is another major positive step forwards for Humber Freeport and our mission to drive economic growth, generate thousands of skilled jobs, support innovation and promote cross-sector collaboration.

“We strongly believe our freeport proposition in the Humber is a compelling and unique one, with huge opportunities in decarbonisation, advanced manufacturing, chemicals and port-related operations.

“We’re offering investors the opportunity to benefit from the Humber’s status as a global gateway, with easy access to mainland Europe and beyond via the UK’s busiest ports complex.

“We’ve got the space to grow, the people, the skills and the world-class companies already here to support investors, making the Humber the perfect place to do business.”

Developer Wykeland Group holds the long-term development rights to the 211-acre northern part of the Goole tax site.

Wykeland has exchanged on a deal with Finnish tissue paper manufacturer Metsä Tissue for a production complex st the site, which could ultimately reach 3m sq ft of development.

The facility is proposed to be built in several phases over the next few years.

Dominic Gibbons, managing director of Hull-based Wykeland, said: “Confirmation of freeport tax status for the Goole site is excellent news for Goole and the wider Humber.

“The freeport tax site benefits added to the attractiveness of the proposition for Metsä Tissue.

“They also underline the appeal of the wider Goole site, paving the way for further large-scale development delivering economic growth, new jobs and wide-ranging community benefits.”

The southern part of the Goole tax site is owned by St John’s College, Cambridge, which has appointed HBD, part of Henry Boot, as development partner.

Goole’s inward investment story has gathered pace in recent times, with  Siemens Mobility being the star draw, committing £200m to a rail manufacturing facility, adjacent to the tax site.

The southern part of the Goole tax site presents an opportunity to create an integrated supply chain alongside the Siemens Mobility rail centre of excellence and the neighbouring Guardian Glass factory, the site’s promoters believe.

Other companies that have announced plans to invest on Humber Freeport sites include rare earth exploration company Pensana and green hydrogen specialist Meld Energy, both at Saltend Chemicals Park within the Hull East tax site.

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