City Deal launches with aim of creating 20,000 new jobs

Lord Heseltine has launched the Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal, which aims to spark £1bn of economic growth in the area over the next decade.

Lord HeseltineThe deal, given the green light by the government and worked out between Preston City Council, South Ribble Borough Council and Lancashire County Council over the last 12 months, should give the area more control of transport and skills budgets, and the ability to set up infrastructure funds to attract public sector investment.

The headline aims of the project include the creation of more than 20,000 new jobs, more than 17,000 new homes, and the establishment of an investment fund worth £450m which is expected to attract £2.3bn in leveraged commercial investment.

There are also four transport schemes, including a £110m plan to improve access to Warton Enterprise Zone, which will open up land for housing development and improve links to employment sites.

Edwin Booth, chairman of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, said: “We reached this landmark deal because central government had confidence in our economic potential and our ability to deliver major projects, so it is great to have justified that confidence by being the first of the second wave of City Deals to physically start work.

"By freeing Preston and the surrounding area from the shackles of the existing infrastructure we will enable the local economy to really take off and create the jobs and housing that we need.”

Lord Heseltine added: “It’s fantastic to see the rapid progress that has been made in Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire over the last six months. The City Deal has given the area the opportunity to unlock significant economic growth and leverage considerable commercial investment. “The area can now build on the excellent progress of City Deal and pave the way for securing future growth through the Growth Deal process.”