THE private sector is showing a “continued willingness” to invest in the borough despite the uncertainty of Brexit, the deputy leader of St Helens Council has claimed.

While it has not been officially confirmed, online retail giant Amazon has been linked to the M6 Major scheme at Florida Farm North for some time.

Last week property firm Tritax Big Box REIT announced a deal worth £68.7 million to pre-let a “logistics facility” to a “financially robust world leading retailer” at the Haydock site.

The developer, Bericote Properties, say the warehouse will deliver 1,000 new jobs, while a second unit at the site will deliver 1,500.

And on Tuesday, it was revealed the Parkside site in Newton-le-Willows is in the running to be Spanish train manufacturer Talgo’s first UK base, potentially creating 1,000 jobs.

Cllr Andy Bowden, cabinet member for balanced development, housing and economic opportunity, said the developments show major companies are not being deterred from investing in St Helens despite the uncertainties around Brexit.

“There are always challenges in attracting investment anywhere,” he said.

“Brexit brings a different dimension to that and its own challenges and worries.

“However, we can only operate within the environment we are in.

“Companies such as Talgo know that Brexit is on the horizon and yet they are willing to seriously consider investing in places like St Helens.

“Those companies that are looking to invest in other parts of the borough, looking to develop at Florida Farm for example, know Brexit is coming yet are still willing to invest considerable amounts of money in those sites.

“Yes, there are challenges but despite those challenges what we’re seeing from the market and the private sector is a continued willingness to invest in our borough.”

Cllr Bowden, deputy leader of the council, said it is “difficult” to assess the potential impact of Brexit on St Helens, largely due to the current uncertainty around negotiations with the EU.

The Labour councillor revealed he has instructed officers to compile a series of Brexit impact assessments looking at the impacts of a no deal scenario, should a deal not be reached with Brussels.

Cllr Bowden said the future of the borough and the lives of those within it is dependent on the creation of employment opportunities. The Parr councillor said the council is playing an “active role” in encouraging employers to consider St Helens as a good location.

He said the council, through its ambassador programme, involves the private sector to highlight the benefit of businesses locating in St Helens.

Cllr Bowden said: “What we also need to do is ensure that if those economic opportunities come to fruition those that live here can take advantage of them.

“We have to create, in effect a pipeline, work with developers, work with companies to create those economic opportunities and those business to locate here and at the same time encourage them to work with us to fill the job vacancies and employment opportunities that they then create.”