Lancashire’s pioneering City Deal has reached the third anniversary of its launch and authority bosses say the 10-year “real deal” scheme is hitting key targets.
The ambitious masterplan – worth an estimated £434m – has already delivered more than half of its 20,000 jobs target and vast new housing developments are becoming a common sight across the city region.
Meanwhile, over the next three years, more than £145m is expected to be poured into projects to improve infrastructure, including a host of major new roads, across Lancashire, South Ribble and Preston.
Throughout this week the Lancashire Post will provide an update on each aspect of the overarching plans; roads, jobs, housing along with the added community benefits produced through City Deal.
Jim Carter, chairman of City Deal and Lancashire Enterprise Partnership board member, said: “Three years in and we’re already seeing big changes across the area, for people who live and work here.
“We’ve set an ambitious target for ourselves and key parts are already being delivered.
It’s important that we make the most of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
“We want to help people to travel around the area for work, and create the homes where people and their families can live.
“We’re also growing the Lancashire economy, boosting local business and supporting the construction sector.”
Described as a “once in a lifetime opportunity”, which has seen public and private sectors working side-by-side, City Deal was signed in 2013 with work starting on the 10-year plan a year later.
Planned to help create more than 20,000 private sector jobs and see more than 17,000 new homes over the next decade, bosses say 11,489 jobs and 2,614 homes have been created in the last three years. In addition to the infrastructure investment in the next three years, it is also estimated that 112,000 sq metres of commercial floor space will be created along with 4,000 new homes.
Mr Carter added: “Along with thousands of new homes and jobs, City Deal also aims to create enhance the education provision, and create new green spaces and new health provision to cater for the growing population.
“It’s important that we make the most of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
Top support for future investment and job opportunities
Coun Peter Mullineaux, leader of South Ribble Council, said: “Investing in the future is really important for South Ribble Council, and this means making sure we put the right plans in place now to support our residents in the future.
“We’re working hard on putting the building blocks in place - upgrading our roads and thinking about the type of education and medical provision we’ll need in the future.
“But we’re also delivering multi-million pound upgrades of our towns and village centres. They are the very heart of our communities and we are determined to get it right so they will serve our residents for generations to come.
“Imagining a bright future for South Ribble is also about inspiring our young people and creating a workforce that has the skills to fit the jobs created through exciting projects like City Deal.
“That deal alone will attract a £1bn boost to the economy in Central Lancashire while bringing forward 30 years of growth in a decade.
“This means thousands of new jobs, new homes and a wealth of opportunities for our residents.”
Coun Robert Boswell, deputy leader of Preston City Council, said: “City Deal is the real deal - enabling the growth of the local economy by over £1bn over the next few years.
“The central Lancashire area has enjoyed amongst the best rates of new job creation in the UK over the last decade.
The City Deal is based on the premise that there is great potential for this rate of growth to continue, but only if the core infrastructure is transformed to provide the extra capacity further significant growth would require.
“This reflects the area’s excellent location, skilled workforce, strengths in training and education, and quality of life.
“There is a huge programme of work already being delivered.
“Some of the work includes improvements to Preston, including in the city centre and at New Hall Lane, along with the priority of affordable housing.
“Preston has always had the potential, but now it is proving itself and becoming a major engine of economic growth.
“A bigger, more confident, more prosperous Preston with new jobs, new homes, new roads and new opportunities will all now emerge before the next Preston Guild in 2032. This truly is a wonderful initiative for Preston.”
County Coun Geoff Driver CBE, leader of Lancashire County Council, said: “There’s a strong momentum across Preston and South Ribble, making it an exciting time for this area.
“We”re bringing new jobs to the area and supporting economic growth in Lancashire.
“The changes that are taking place as part of City Deal extend further afield, and have wider benefits for the county overall.
“With much more still to come, this puts us in an excellent position for the future and it’s adding up to an interesting time for Central Lancashire, which will enable Lancashire to make a significant contribution to the economic growth potential of the Northern Powerhouse.”