Thursday, February 25, 2016

Finding out about Lancashire Hotspots

A special business event held yesterday (Tuesday 23 February) discussed the skills, investment and collaboration opportunities that the Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal is bringing to the area.

Hotspots -banner

Photo shows (left to right) Jim Carter, chair of the City Deal; Anna Doran from Virgin Trains; Dr John Lonsdale from UCLan; Paul Kelly, owner of Tilemaster Adhesives; Stephen Gregson from Moore & Smalley; Julie Thornhill from the Waitrose Distribution Centre; and Richard Slater from Lancashire Business View.

Taking place at Bartle Hall, the Hotspots event was arranged by Lancashire Business View - and sponsored by City Deal and the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership. 

More than 100 people attended the event, where business leaders took part in a Question Time-style panel. 

Guest panellists at the event included Jim Carter, deputy chairman of the Eric Wright Group and chair of the City Deal; Anna Doran, general manager of the Anglo-Scottish route for Virgin Trains; Stephen Gregson, corporate finance director for Moore And Smalley; Paul Kelly, owner of Tilemaster Adhesives; Julie Thornhill, general manager of the Waitrose Distribution Centre; and Dr John Lonsdale, director of innovation and enterprise at UCLan. 

Jim Carter explained: "This was the first in a series of events that we're holding to bring business leaders together to explain more about City Deal and the opportunities it will bring. We're really pleased to see the high-level of interest in City Deal and our plans, which are already changing the area for the better. 

"The City Deal developments are once-in-a-lifetime changes that will transform the economy of the area over the next 10 years, providing exciting new opportunities for business, as well as bringing thousands of new jobs and homes. 

"Lancashire is becoming one of the fastest growing and commercially dynamic locations in the UK and we want people to make the most of this exciting opportunity. It’s about community infrastructure and improving the quality of people’s lives and how best we can achieve that. It’s about the whole of the economic region and business can’t afford not to be involved. 

"I passionately believe that we have to engage and that is what this event has been about." 

Anna Doran from Virgin Trains, said: “We’ve got to see Preston as the gateway to the whole of Lancashire and its businesses. The more we can speak with one voice, it will make it easier for others to say Lancashire is a really easy place to do business.” 

Dr John Lonsdale from UCLan said: “The area has a strong base of skilled people and a great educational infrastructure as well, making it a natural place for business in general to locate to. 

“People and businesses across the city should be able to see the halo effect from the City Deal investments, as more people come in to the area, living and spending locally and boosting the workforce.” 

The £434m City Deal will deliver major road and transport infrastructure improvements, to bring economic growth to the area over the next decade. This includes creating more than 20,000 new jobs and the building of over 17,000 new homes. 

It has been agreed between the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and Preston City Council, South Ribble Borough Council and Lancashire County Council, along with central government and the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA).

City Deal will enable the development of nearly one million square metres of commercial floor space, creating employment sites across the region and 20,000 new private sector jobs. The regeneration will also bring schools, open spaces, and health facilities to create thriving places.

For more information or to see the plans you can visit www.lancashirelep.co.uk/city-deal, email citydealbusiness@lancashirelep.co.uk or call 0300 123 6780.

Find out more about the work taking place by following @LancsCityDeal on twitter.

Lancashire Business View's photos from the event