Invest Central Lancashire - let's do business

Central Lancashire sits at the heart of the £23bn Lancashire economy. One of the largest outside London, it supports more than 620,000 jobs in 45,000 businesses.  It has always been a great place to live, work and do business but with the City Deal investment, this area is being transformed to a new level.

Central Lancashire is an important economic area at the heart of the county’s growing confidence, with a joined-up private and public sector and ready-to-start investment and development opportunities.

Read our Invest Central Lancashire prospectus to find out more about game-changing investment and development opportunities across the City Deal area.

A great place to live

The area is renowned for good schools, fine houses and countryside and a good quality of life, while Preston city centre boasts fine heritage buildings and the charming Winckley Square. The city is Lancashire's main shopping destination, enjoying two shopping centres, bustling markets and a wide-range of high-quality food and drink outlets. With the coast, the lake district or the Yorkshire Dales under an hour away, this is an excellent location for the perfect quality of life.

It is important that we have the right quality of place when we are trying to attract the right type of employee to our company and City Deal will only help improve the area. Employees are not just looking for what is inside the gates at BAE systems, but what is on the doorstep for them and their families too.

David Holmes, Manufacturing Operations Director, BAE Systems

Fantastic connectivity

The area boasts a strategic value added location at the centre of the UK providing great access to both Scotland, Wales, the north and south of England– Preston was after all the site of Britain’s first motorway.  On the main north-south transport corridor, it is close to Manchester and Liverpool and with good connections to the rest of the UK and global markets via the M6, M61, M65, the coast and airports. As the regional hub, Preston railway station is a major regional asset and on the future HS2 route. Both London and Edinburgh are under 2.5 hours away on the West Coast main line.

The City Deal will strengthen these assets and improve connectivity, reduce congestion and increase movement. Investment will relieve congestion and open up key sites for housing and employment.

Proven track record

Businesses thriving here in sectors from aerospace and advanced manufacturing to agri-food and professional services, include world-class companies such as BAE Systems, Leyland Trucks, high-class supermarket Booth’s, Dr Oetker’s pizzas and Amazon.

Central Lancashire’s main office market is located in Preston with a critical mass of financial and professional firms such as KPMG and Moore & Smalley LLP. The South Ribble area boasts two business parks only five minutes from the motorway junction.  More than 10,000 new posts were created in South Ribble alone between 2006 and 2014 which is as many as Manchester and Liverpool combined.  Central Lancashire is certainly going places and it's your chance to be a part of it.

The investment that City Deal is helping to bring will change the face of central Lancashire for years to come.  There is a wealth of businesses located in the areas and we want them to benefit from the growth as well as attracting new businesses too.

Jim Carter, Lancashire Enterprise Partnership board member

Booths and BAE Systems find central Lancashire great place to be located.

Key developments

A new £100m commercial investment fund will enhance the business and lifestyle offer in the city and the regeneration of the area is already underway with improvements to the main shopping street already making a huge visible different to the city centre. A major new development is also planned including the Cuerden Strategic Investment Site which is made up of 65 hectares of land at the end of the M65 in South Ribble, and the potential to create thousands of jobs through a mix of commercial, industrial and leisure units - take a look at the masterplan (6Mb PDF).

While only a few miles from Preston, the Samlesbury and Warton sites of the Lancashire Enterprise Zone are prime investment locations, forecast to grow the county’s economy by £300m over the next decade.

A BAE Systems training academy and Wincanton logistics hub will open in autumn 2016 and new access roads at the Enterprise Zone in Salmesbury will soon be built.

Take a look at our interactive map which highlights the areas where employment opportunities exist.

Education and skills

Preston is home to the highly-rated University of Central Lancashire (UCLan). UCLan is creating a world-class educational environment with a £200m campus masterplan, blending new facilities with the creation of public, green spaces. The university is also a leader in graduate business start-ups, but then the city has always been a good place to do business – Preston was granted Merchant Guild status in 1179. As well as a first class university, the area is home to nationally acclaimed sixth form colleges Cardinal Newman College and Runshaw College.

As well as the home grown educational talent, the City Deal is implementing its Skills and Employment Action Plan which is aligned to a £30m skills improvement programme  being directed into key sectors of the Lancashire workforce to ensure we have the skills to match the jobs and growth.

The investment plans for the new and improved infrastructure are supported by an understanding of the need to continue to invest in community assets such as parks, schools and health provision to ensure sustainable communities.  

How we can help

Among the business support available is the expert advice of Boost Business Lancashire, which has provided advice and support to over 2,800 local businesses, helping to create 1,224 jobs and over £10m of new economic activity.


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