Spades will break ground this week marking a landmark step for a major Preston city region development plan.
Construction work on the Cuerden Strategic Site in South Ribble is set to start later this year and is hoped to deliver thousands of jobs and the area’s first IKEA store.
Engineers will be on site throughout this week conducting preparatory works such as archaeology assessments along with tree protection and felling.
Coun Peter Mullineaux, leader of South Ribble Council, said: “It’s fantastic to see work finally starting at Cuerden.
“Realising the full potential of this important site in our borough has long been an ambition of ours, and watching it now become a reality thanks to City Deal investment, is incredibly exciting.
“Cuerden will be a huge boost for the people of South Ribble, and it’s important to remember that any short-term disruption during construction will be offset by huge benefits for our residents.
These include thousands of new jobs and opportunities, a new IKEA store, and a multi-million pound cash injection into the local economy, which will benefit residents of South Ribble for generations to come.”
Planning permission for the site close to the M65 was granted last year.
County Coun Michael Green, cabinet member for economic development, environment and planning, said: “The development will deliver significant economic benefits, including 4,500 new jobs. It’s an exciting time as work begins to prepare the site for this major development.
"As part of this development, there will be significant new landscaping and tree planting to replace those which need to be removed to enable the construction to take place. This initial work follows extensive ecological and environmental assessment and is required to prepare the site for construction.
"Cuerden has been earmarked as a major new employment site for many years, but the lack of infrastructure to service the site has held back development. The Cuerden development will provide the necessary investment to make this a reality."
Cuerden is the largest employment site within the ambitious Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal Programme, and is central to the delivery of 20,000 new jobs and 17,000 new homes over the lifetime of the programme.