ST HELENS' political leaders have expressed disappointment after the borough was overlooked by Spanish train manufacturer Talgo for its UK site.

But they have expressed confidence that the application process will lay the foundation for fresh efforts to attract a developer to the borough's key development site.

Talgo announced yesterday that the final two sites under consideration for their UK facility will be Chesterfield and Longannet, Scotland.

Last month the company announced that six sites were on a shortlist, including Parkside in Newton-le-Willows. Thirty sites had originally been put forward by towns and cities across the UK for the development that could create up to 1,000 jobs.

In a joint statement the leader of the Council, Councillor Derek Long and St Helens North MP Conor McGinn said: “We are obviously very disappointed with the announcement.

"We began the process with Talgo in late 2016 and have worked very hard together to try and bring them to Newton-le Willows ever since.

"Being one of the final six of 30 across the UK shows how strong our bid was."

The Newton-le-Willows bid had strong support from the city region mayor Steve Rotheram and the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority.

Just weeks ago the authority gave £24m to the Parkside Link Road project which will connect the A49 in Newton-le-Willows directly with the M6 at Junction 22.

Mr McGinn and Cllr Long added: "Our current excellent jobs growth and the Talgo competition confirms that when international businesses are looking for a new site, our borough’s location, pro-active approach, and the quality of our labour force make us competitive with the best.

"The good work we've done will be a strong foundation for our next efforts to attract further manufacturing investment into St Helens borough.”