MP Mark Hendrick has hailed the newly signed Preston and Lancashire City Deal as “the biggest thing to happen to Preston since it gained city status”.
Lancashire’s MPs were in attendance at Number 11 Downing Street on Thursday to see the signing of the agreement, which will invest hundreds of millions of pounds into infrastructure in Preston and South Ribble.
It aims to create more than 20,000 new jobs – including 5,000 in the Lancashire Enterprise Zone, 17,420 new homes and deliver nearly £1bn in economic growth over 10 years.
The Preston Labour MP said: “It’s a tremendous day for Preston and Central Lancashire in general.
“Preston is perfectly located with roads and rail, north, south, east and west, an ideal place for businesses to invest, and we’re seeing that with more than 20 companies coming forward and saying they want to be part of the new Lancashire Enterprise Zone.
“The potential for new roads, new infrastructure generally, 20,000 new houses, and tens of thousands of new jobs is there.
“For example the Broughton Bypass has been talked about for many decades - whether or not it was developed was contingent around new housing in Whittingham. The fact it’s likely this new housing will go ahead means it makes a great deal of sense not only to feed this new housing but also take the pressure off Broughton Roundabout, which causes many hours of misery for motorists.”
Ben Wallace, the Conservative Preston North and Wyre MP, said the deal showed the Government was “putting its money where its mouth is.”
He said: “I think the Government is keen to empower Preston and Lancashire to build on its great success in aerospace and other industries.
“The history of Preston is it’s reinvented and reinvested over the last 100 years, and that’s why it’s been more successful than other historical mill towns.
“The key is now to attract inward investment. We had a meeting this morning with Edwin Booth and the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership about finding new businesses to come into that, either from abroad or elsewhere in the UK.”
Other Lancashire MPs also welcomed the news and the impact it will have on their constituencies.
Lorraine Fullbrook of South Ribble said: “This will bring outside investment into South Ribble, it will give us better infrastructure and people who live in South Ribble know we need better infrastructure for people to go to work and socialise.
“It will bring jobs and housing and help us build a centre of excellence with the enterprise zone.
“The Penwortham Bypass is badly needed and the development site at Cuerden is a key site.”
Mark Menzies, Conservative MP for Fylde, welcomed plans for a new train station at Cottam and a road link from the M55 to BAE at Warton.
He said: “This is about the Government and private sector working hand in hand to do the right thing for the people of Lancashire and ensure we’ve got jobs for the next generation.
“Hopefully this will see better transport links for people in the Preston travel to work area and having that station in Cottam will make it much easier for people to access public transport and connect to the rail network.”
Ribble Valley’s Conservative MP Nigel Evans added: “It’s great to see the local authorities and the Government working together with business, and so anyone who thinks that the North West is being ignored is completely wrong.
“The fruition of all this cooperation will result in thousands of new jobs and greater prosperity for our region.”