Cuerden is going to happen

Heather McManus at LBV82 NetworkingRetail giant IKEA may have pulled out of central Lancashire’s key Cuerden development – but it will go ahead, according to Heather McManus, chief executive of South Ribble Council.

The aim of the £36m Cuerden strategic site plan is to create around 4,500 new jobs in a variety of sectors including office, retail, manufacturing, logistics, catering and hospitality.

Swedish furniture retailer IKEA had planned to take a unit on the 65 hectare site in Cuerden - the largest employment site within the City Deal Programme - but pulled out as anchor tenant of the Lancashire County Council led project in May.

Speaking at the launch of the latest edition of Lancashire Business View, Heather McManus said that despite that setback there was keen interest in the site. “Cuerden will be developed,” she said.

She added: “What I know is that businesses want to invest in central Lancashire, they want to come to Cuerden.”

The gathering at the Hallmark Hotel in Leyland also heard from Melissa Conlon, commercial director of the planned new Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) on the enterprise zone in Samlesbury – described as a “game changer” for the county.

Heather McManus said: “The AMRC is huge for use and it is huge for Lancashire. It is not just about high end jobs but the supply chain that runs right across Lancashire.”

Paul Hegarty from Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust spoke about the collaborative approach being taken in central Lancashire around the City Deal and wellbeing issues.

And Jeremy Lefton director of South Ribble-based commercial property developer Roundhouse Properties, praised the growing strength of the SME sector in the area.

The launch event, which was sponsored by South Ribble Council, also heard from Philip McIvor, founder of Farmhouse Biscuits.

The 81-year-old told how his £14m turnover business, which today employs 200 people in Nelson, was created out of adversity as he and his wife Dorothy struggled to keep their farm afloat in the harsh winter of 1962.

And he gave some advice to today’s would-be entrepreneurs, saying: “If you have got an idea for it, don’t give up.

“Even if it doesn’t work keep on trying, you will make it work eventually. There will be lots of ups and downs, but just keep going.”

A full interview with Philip McIvor and an in-depth look at Cuerden and the economy of South Ribble feature in the latest issue of Lancashire Business View, which is out now.

Look through the photos from the LBV82 networking event below. LBV82 Magazine Launch & Networking

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