Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Transformational £250m Lancashire Growth Deal Celebrates One Year Anniversary

LEP reports that all major schemes are on track for completion by 2021

Twelve months on from The Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP) officially signing up to central government’s Lancashire Growth Deal – a £250m development fund designed to transform the county – and all major projects are on track.

The initial £234m Growth Deal Fund, one of the biggest ever negotiated with government, was first announced in July 2014 before being increased by a further £17m last January.

The funds were granted to kick-start over 30 major initiatives across the county linked to economic growth, infrastructure, jobs, skills and regeneration. In the process it will help to create 8,000 new jobs, 3,000 new homes and will further generate £280m of new public and private investment.

According to the LEP’s latest Growth Deal update around 20 of the projects are already live, or imminent, with the rest to commence shortly.

Major infrastructure developments underway, or already completed, include the Blackburn - Bolton Rail Corridor, Broughton Bypass near Preston which is a key part of the LEP’s City Deal initiative, Centenary Way Viaduct improvements in Burnley and the Hyndburn Burnley Pendle Growth Corridor.

Major skills and innovation facilities, linked to LEP sector priorities, are also being delivered through the Growth Deal, including UCLan’s flagship Engineering and Innovation Centre, Blackpool and Fylde College’s Marine Engineering Centre at Fleetwood, Runshaw College’s Science and Engineering Centre, Nelson and Colne College’s Advanced Engineering and Manufacturing Innovation Centre; and Myerscough College’s Food & Farming Innovation & Technology Centre near Preston.

The Growth Deal also features a major package of works in Blackpool including the Lancashire Energy HQ at Blackpool & The Fylde College, an extension to Blackpool tramway, a new heritage visitor attraction at the Winter Gardens and the development of Blackpool town centre ‘Green Corridors’.

Other parts of Lancashire are also set to benefit from new Growth Deal initiatives commencing in 2016, including a Health Innovation Centre at Lancaster University, the redevelopment of Brierfield Mill in Pendle, the development of Burnley Vision Park to establish an advanced engineering, manufacturing and digital industries hub and Rawtenstall Development Zone.

Commenting on the progress, Edwin Booth, Chair of the LEP said: “The diverse mix of schemes being delivered through this £250m transformational programme of activities reflects that our Growth Deal priorities are fully aligned to those in the LEP’s Strategic Economic Plan for Lancashire, and complement the work being undertaken through the £434m City Deal for Preston and South Ribble.

“Both these deals also reflect our ambition and determination to make sure Lancashire plays a full part in the economic renaissance of the North, and that all our major investments are fully integrated to ensure they benefit the whole of the county.”

Graham Cowley, Chair of the LEP’s Growth Deal Management Board, added: “When we officially signed up to the Growth Deal a year ago the sheer scale and volume of projects being green lighted demonstrated a new approach in Lancashire to driving forward economic growth.

“We have ensured that the Growth Deal remains focussed in its delivery and that the people of Lancashire are able to see positive, tangible results on the ground as a result of the investment being made by both the public and private sector.

“The fact that we are progressing so many schemes simultaneously and quickly across the county, including those being delivered through the City Deal, means that in just a few short years it will become clear just how transformational these two major LEP initiatives have been for Lancashire in terms of creating transport links, jobs, homes, skills and economic prosperity.”