Central Lancashire showcased at major property event

More than 120 developers, investors and property professionals drawn from across the North West gathered together for an inward investment event focusing on the commercial opportunities and investment potential offered by Preston, South Ribble and the Central Lancashire region.

Lancs investment conference panel 3Entitled “We Are Lancashire – The Place For Growth”, the event was organised by the City Deal Partnership (which includes Lancashire County Council, Preston City Council, South Ribble Council and the Homes & Communities Agency) as well as Marketing Lancashire and the Lancashire LEP,  and was hosted at the Preston headquarters of accountants RSM.

Senior representatives of these organisations were joined at the event by private sector partners and prominent local business leaders who took part in a series of Q&A panels and discussions about what the City Deal programme means for Preston, South Ribble and the wider Lancashire economy.

The half-day conference covered a broad range of topics from the strengths of the local economy and what it is like doing business in the area, to the proactive planning and development support property companies and investors can benefit from when they invest in Central Lancashire.

At the heart of the discussions was the impact and opportunities offered by the £434m City Deal programme. The City Deal is a key initiative of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership’s strategic plan to create 50,000 new jobs over the next 10 years across the county.

Key themes which emerged throughout the sessions included how all of the Lancashire local authorities, both county and district, involved in City Deal were working closely together to ensure private investment can flourish. This included their pragmatic, joined-up approach to the planning process, and the substantial public sector support on offer to help private sector schemes get started, and completed, with a minimum of barriers.

Another important debate centred around the need to create a diverse mix of housing, and have different types of tenure, throughout Central Lancashire. This was to ensure families, young people, the elderly, students and recent graduates could all get access to affordable and desirable accommodation which suited their needs.

Jim Carter, chairman of the City Deal and LEP board director said: “This event was a great example of how Lancashire is directly engaging with investors and taking our story to the marketplace. We know many of the developers and agents present won’t have heard such a level of detail about what’s happening in and around Central Lancashire, and this conference gave us a platform to showcase how through initiatives like the City Deal, Preston and South Ribble offers an unrivalled investment opportunity.

[caption id="attachment_86671" align="f-align-medium-left f-align-center" width="300"]Mike Horner, Muse Developments Mike Horner, Muse Developments[/caption]

“The fact we had the LEP, local business leaders and senior representatives from both district and county councils all talking in positive terms about how Lancashire is pro-development, pro-growth and is united in its ambition to unlock more private sector investment to drive the economy is a testament to how far the county has come. This is also why central government is so supportive of our aspirations to be at the heart of the Northern Powerhouse.

“We now need to capitalise on the buzz created by this conference, and other events like it, and we will be following up with all the delegates to see how we can convert their interest and enthusiasm about Central Lancashire as an investment destination into potential deals.” Panellist Mike Horner, regional director of specialist urban property developers Muse Developments who are involved with the cinema element of the Harris Quarter project, said: “Events like this conference, where major private sector players were on the same page as council leaders and local authority chief executives, demonstrates how initiatives like the City Deal and Growth Deal have helped galvanise a new era of collaboration, commercially and politically, in the county and we are greatly looking forward to working with Lancashire partners to help drive its resurgence as a major regional economy.”