Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Northern Powerhouse Minister Backs We Are Lancashire Investment Drive

Northern Powerhouse Minister Backs We Are Lancashire Investment Drive

The Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry has praised Lancashire’s unified ‘We Are Lancashire – the Place for Growth’ investment campaign and the key role the county can play in driving the northern economy.

He made the comments whilst visiting the Lancashire stand at the MIPIM UK property expo at London’s Olympia this week, where over 20 Lancashire private and public sector partners had joined together to promote the county as a thriving investment destination.

Mr Berry, who is also MP for Rossendale and Darwen, said:

“Here at MIPIM I’ve been talking about the huge contribution that Lancashire can make to the Northern Powerhouse, and about the huge amount of international investment we can bring into the North of England. As a proud Lancastrian, and a proud Lancashire MP, I’m delighted that our great county is represented here at MIPIM. We are putting the wonderful things we have to offer in Lancashire into the shop window, for international investors to come and buy.”

The two-day MIPIM event, which is  the largest of its kind in the UK, attracted 3000 delegates from 45 countries including investors, developers, local authorities, agents, occupiers, architects, planners and government agencies.

In addition to having a very visible presence in the exhibition area, the We Are Lancashire delegation, led by the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and managed by Marketing Lancashire, hosted a series of special business showcase events and presentations.

These focussed on a range of developments and initiatives across the county which offer massive investment opportunities, and are set to generate thousands of jobs, driving significant economic growth.  

One of the showcase events concentrated on the city of Lancaster, which is currently enjoying a boom in infrastructure, property and business investment. The panel, which included Lancaster University’s Director of Facilities Mark Swindlehurst, Susan Parsonage, Chief Executive of Lancaster City Council, Alistair Eagles, Chief Executive of Seatrucks Ltd, and Jonathan Bull-Diamond, Senior Director from GVA Investment Partnerships, was chaired by Place North West’s editor Paul Unger.

The panel discussed how Lancaster University, the city council, and many private sector partners were all working together to unlock the city’s growth potential and to deliver a range of new projects. These included Canal Corridor North, the emerging Bay Gateway development, and a new 3,500 home Garden Village set to be created south of the city, one of the first of its kind in the UK.

The Lancaster panel also highlighted how the University’s Health Innovation Campus (HIC), a £41m development, which has been supported by the LEP’s Growth Deal Fund, will spearhead advances in technologies and products to improve health and healthcare globally. 

Commenting on the opportunities offered by Lancaster, Susan Parsonage, Chief Executive Lancaster City Council, said: “We have a diverse offer with a beautiful city, a great cultural offer and huge economic opportunities. Collaboration is the key to changing outcomes, and a council must be a catalyst for growth. We are helping to create something amazing in Lancaster in partnership with the private sector and with Lancaster University.”

Mark Swindlehurst Director of Facilities, Lancaster University, said: “We have been busy raising our academic standards and we are now ranked sixth in the UK. We are engaging with both the council and businesses about how we further invest in the city, and we have developed fantastically strong partnerships.

“We’re also about to start Phase 1 of our Health Innovation Campus, which will ultimately be part of  a £150m investment. We’re looking at boosting student numbers by 4,000 which would mean up to an extra 1,000 staff, and we are focussed on improving the city’s offer to students, parents, staff and visitors.”

Alistair Eagles, Chief Executive Seatrucks Ltd, said: “Being based in Lancaster, there is a real buzz and energy, it feels like we’re at a tipping point where great things are happening and we are now starting to shout about it.

“For example, Seatrucks invested £300m a few years ago in a fleet specifically built for the port of Heysham, so when the Heysham Gateway was opened recently, it felt like a great collective effort had come good.”

Jonathan Bull-Diamond, Senior Director GVA Investment Partnerships, said: “Private sector investment goes where the local partners have a will to make things happen and that’s what is attracting the likes of British Land to Lancaster.

“They are engaged with the City Council to invest in the large retail opportunity in Lancaster, not only because the figures stack up, but because of the strength of the local partner’s support and collaboration.”

Also under the spotlight was the mixed-use Cuerden development in South Ribble part of the City Deal which was recently granted planning permission.

The development, led by Lancashire County Council, the Eric Wright Group and Brookhouse Group, is a 65-hectare strategic site which will bring around £241 million per year to the central Lancashire economy, creating thousands of permanent jobs in addition to hundreds of jobs during construction.

Once complete it will provide around 200,000 sq m of new employment space,offices and logistics, a new IKEA, five additional large format retail units,six restaurant units, new cycle and footways, new homes, a new hotel, and other leisure and hospitality outlets.

Cuerden featured extensively in a second business showcase panel event which looked at the impact and opportunities offered by the £450m Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal.

Hosted by Downtown In Business’ Chief Executive Frank McKenna, panellists included Karen Hirst, Director of Eric Wright Group, David Taylor Chair of the University of Central Lancashire and Deputy Chair of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, Jim Carter, Chair of Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal, and Lorraine Norris Chief Executive Preston City Council.

Karen Hirst, from the Eric Wright Group, said: “Eric Wright Group, working closely with local authority partners and the LEP, continues to help drive Lancashire’s economic growth through ambitious schemes such as Cuerden and the wider City Deal programme of which Cuerden is a key part. The City Deal has enabled the Cuerden scheme to become a reality and all partners are now focussed on achieving real progress.”

Lancashire’s MIPIM UK delegation was led by David Taylor, Chair of UCLan and Vice Chair of the Lancashire LEP. David, who also headed Lancashire’s first presence at MIPIM International in Cannes earlier this year, said:

“Our collaborative and pragmatic message about how the private and public sector are working together in Lancashire to deliver developments of quality and scale resonated well with investors, developers and policy-makers at MIPIM UK. 

“We are increasingly being known as a region where we collaborate and make things happen and where investments such as the City Deal and Growth Deal produce tangible benefits and positive outcomes for our economy. 

“The Northern Powerhouse Minister also recognised how, by coming together under one unified banner we have the opportunity to showcase Lancashire’s incredible assets.

 “From Lancaster’s rapidly growing, high quality business, property, education and lifestyle offer through to the 1,000s of jobs set to be created through developments such as Cuerden in South Ribble as part of the City Deal; the county continues to generate an unrivalled mix of development land, Enterprise Zones, great connectivity, a highly skilled and motivated workforce, and an outstanding quality of life in the heart of the North.”   

In addition to opportunities set to be generated through a thriving Lancaster and the £450m City Deal, the We Are Lancashire delegation promoted a wide range of other Lancashire assets.

These included the emerging masterplan for Blackpool’s Airport and Hillhouse Technology Enterprise Zones, which were the focus of a presentation by representatives of Mott MacDonald, while housing and development opportunities in Pennine Lancashire were also discussed at a special session.

Additional key schemes highlighted included the Engineering and Innovation Centre development at the University of Central Lancashire, Blackpool and the Fylde College’s Energy HQ, Preston’s £50m Market Quarter scheme, Burnley’s Vision Park, and the £32m Northlight project at Brierfield Mill.

The We Are Lancashire MIPIMUK delegation’s Premium partners were the Eric Wright Group, Lancaster University and Lancaster City Council. Other partners included Lancashire County Council, Preston City Council, South Ribble Borough Council, Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre councils and Blackburn, Burnley, West Lancashire and Chorley Councils.

Representatives from Cushman and Wakefield, Seatrucks Ltd, GVA Grimley,  Colliers International, NPL Estates and Mott MacDonald were also in attendance over the two-day event.