Lancashire has been welcomed into the Northern Powerhouse “family” with a £70m golden greeting.
Prime Minister Theresa May announced the cash boost today on a visit to the region, finally dispelling fears that the Red Rose county could be trampled underfoot by the big cities in the scramble for devolution investment across the North.
The £69.8m, which on top of previous funding could help generate up to 11,000 local jobs, create 3,900 homes and attract £1.2bn in extra investment over the next five years, comes only weeks after Lancashire officially became a Northern Powerhouse partner.
Welcoming the news, Edwin Booth, chairman of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said the county had now demonstrated to the Government “our ambition, appetite and capacity to become a key economic force within the Northern Powerhouse.”
At least six major projects will get a share of the £70m pledged to Lancashire. And most parts of the county will benefit in some way, according to the LEP which secured the funding.
At her first regional cabinet meeting in Manchester, the Prime Minister announced a total of £556m investment in the North, with Lancashire’s allocation one of the largest.
Amongst the major Red Rose projects to benefit will be the NW Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre at the Lancashire Aerospace Enterprise Zone at Samlesbury near Preston.
The South Lancaster Housing Growth Initiative, to build a garden village linked to the expanison of the city’s university, is also on the list.
Blackpool is to get a 21st century conference centre and hotel at the Winter Gardens to re-establish the resort as a leading national conference destination.
Other schemes winning funding include key transport infrastructure improvements for Blackburn and Darwen on the M65 motorway, the extension of the Lomeshaye Industrial Estate at Nelson and a North West Burnley “growth corridor” to unlock new housing and employment opportunities in Padiham.
“The Government has challenged all regions to be bold and ambitious with regards to bids for funding,” said Edwin Booth, chairman of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership. “But it has also demanded that delivery is managed in a rigorous, accountable and impactful manner.
“Lancashire has proved with previous large scale funding projects, such as the City Deal and earlier Growth Deals, that it has the ability to effectively utilise public money to leverage significant private sector investment.
“We have also demonstrated to government our ambition, appetite and capacity to become a key economic force within the Northern Powerhouse, driving sustainable and transformational growth throughout Lancashire which is aligned to both the LEP’s long term strategic priorities and the government’s vision of a resurgent, productive and prosperous North.”