Enterprise Zone gets £12m investment

The Lancashire Enterprise Partnership has been handed £12.4m from a government fund set up to help accelerate work on Enterprise Zones.

[caption id="attachment_24949" align="f-align-medium-right f-align-center" width="240"]Edwin Booth Edwin Booth[/caption]

The bid, which has been approved subject to due diligence, will fund work to improve the infrastructure of the Lancashire Enterprise Zone site at Samlesbury, including improved access from the A59. The Lancashire bid was one of just nine in the country to get the go-ahead.

Lancashire's Enterprise Zone is based on the two BAE Systems sites at Samlesbury and Warton and is expected to create thousands of new jobs by attracting companies in the advanced engineering and manufacturing sector.

Edwin Booth, chairman of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, said: "I welcome this new funding which will certainly help us to accelerate our plans. We're already making strong progress in preparing for businesses to set up in our Enterprise Zone and this is further evidence of government confidence in what we are doing.”

County Councillor Jennifer Mein, leader of Lancashire County Council, said: “We are committed to creating the right conditions for economic growth in Lancashire and the Enterprise Zone will play a major role in that. Ensuring that we have the right infrastructure in place on both of the sites is a vital factor in attracting businesses so this is a further step towards seeing businesses up and running in the Enterprise Zone, creating jobs and prosperity for the people of Lancashire.”

Cliff Robson, industrial capability director, BAE Systems, said: "This is excellent news and testament to the robust plans put in place for the Enterprise Zone. BAE Systems will continue! to work with the LEP in doing all we can to make the Enterprise Zone a success."

Lancashire's Enterprise Zone will build on the county's strengths, focusing solely on the advanced engineering and manufacturing sector. It is expected to create up to 6,000 high-value, high-skilled jobs over its lifetime, with a further 5,000 to 7,000 high-value, high-skilled jobs generated in the wider advanced engineering and manufacturing supply chain. It will become one of Europe's largest and most important advanced engineering complexes.

In spite of being one of the last Enterprise Zones to be approved, Lancashire's is now one of the most advanced in the country, with significant interest from businesses, a master plan in place, and approval for local development orders.

There are currently 20 companies considering the Enterprise Zone as a location for their business, having signed non-disclosure agreements to enable detailed talks to take place about their specific requirements. A number of these companies are new to t! he UK and operate in high-value, high-skilled advanced engineering and manufacturing sub-sectors.

Work on developing the Samlesbury site is due to begin later this year, with companies beginning to move in during 2015. This fund is part of the Local Infrastructure Fund announced in the Government's Autumn Statement, which provides £474m to support upfront infrastructure investment and other site preparation works that will support economic growth, jobs and homes.