£13m kick-start fund

Edwin Booth, chairman of the Local Enterprise Partnership in Lancashire
Edwin Booth, chairman of the Local Enterprise Partnership in Lancashire
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Lancashire has bagged £13m of Government cash to kick-start building projects across the county.

The county’s Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has confirmed it will receive the money from the new Growing Places Fund, set up to cover up-front capital costs to get projects off the ground.

The Lancashire LEP, a body made up of business bosses and public sector leaders, has told the Government how it intends to spend the cash.

Lancashire LEP chairman Edwin Booth said the money would allow it to get major investment projects off the ground.

He said: “The Growing Places Fund will help us to invest in projects that will deliver quick results in driving economic growth and creating jobs across the county.

“Since the fund was announced in November we have been working hard to identify potential projects and we will make a final decision at our board meeting in February.

“It is particularly exciting when considered alongside recent announcements such as the Enterprise Zone, successful Regional Growth Fund bids and other funds made available by our partners.

“Taken together, they mean that the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership is developing the necessary muscle to stimulate the whole Lancashire economy, encouraging growth and creating jobs for local people.”

The fund is a £500m cash pot aimed at helping areas pay for immediate infrastructure and site constraints, unlocking development and enabling the delivery of new jobs and housing.

Across the North West, £65m has been handed out to LEPs including £25.3m to Greater Manchester, £13.2m to Liverpool, £8.9m to Cheshire and Warrington and £4.5m to Cumbria.

Last week, the Evening Post revealed that the LEP had targeted investing in a number of areas which were in the running to be selected as its Enterprise Zone last year.

Sites off the M65 motorway in east Lancashire, the former ICI works near Fleetwood, and Heysham docks, near Morecambe, and a £400,000 plot of land at Cuerden, near Bamber Bridge, bought by Lancashire County Council in August are among those being looked at.

The Lancashire LEP selected the BAE Systems’ factory sites at Warton and Samlesbury, near Preston, as its Enterprise Zone and was given status in October.

Housing minister Grant Shapps said: “The Growing Places Fund will unlock further sites for development, creating new jobs in those areas.

“I look forward to seeing how this significant investment will change the shape of communities across the country.”