Planning permission has been granted for the development of a multi-million-pound employment site which is expected to create more than 5,000 jobs and add an annual £390m to the local economy.
Lancashire County Council and its development partner Maple Grove Developments say the 1.6 million sq ft Lancashire Central site, at Cuerden, has the potential to create approximately 2,400 job opportunities during the construction phases and up to 5,600 full time jobs once in operation.
The outline planning permission for the mixed-use development sets out the principle for developing the site, as well as more detailed plans for road access into the site and key environmental measures as part of the plans.
It is anticipated that the increased expenditure in the region once the development is complete will provide an estimated boost to the local economy of up to £390m per year.
Lancashire Central will provide high quality employment uses including industrial, manufacturing, logistics, research and development space. The scheme will also include amenity uses such as food and drink outlets, gym, hotel, crèche, a health centre and other developments.
The planning application was approved by the county council's Development Control Committee at its meeting on Wednesday.
Planning has also been granted for up to 116 new homes, which will help tackle the shortage of housing available in the area, as well as providing significant landscaping and the creation of ecological habitats. The plans will also see major improvements to surrounding roads and pedestrian/cycle routes.
County councillor Aidy Riggott, cabinet member for economic development and growth, said: "These are exciting proposals for this key strategic employment site in the heart of the county and we're pleased that we gained planning approval. The site is regionally significant, vital to the place-shaping agenda and will deliver major economic outcomes for Lancashire.
"Higher skilled jobs with competitive salaries will boost employment growth and create a quality place to work, live and visit, making a real difference to the lives and wellbeing of people in Lancashire."
James Scott, development director at Lancashire-based Maple Grove, commented: “This announcement is fantastic news for the future of Lancashire and its economy. Working in partnership with Lancashire County Council, we have created a viable, highly sustainable and much-needed scheme which will benefit the area and create significant investment and employment for years to come.
"With planning now secured, we will move forwards with the first phases of infrastructure and highway works, both opening up the site for occupiers from an access and services perspective, while also providing a significant first phase of sustainable infrastructure work, setting the tone for the scheme’s enviable green credentials. We genuinely cannot wait to get going and are currently looking at a start on site next year."
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