Plans submitted for 1m sq ft employment park in Lancashire

Plans have been submitted to Hyndburn Borough Council for a one million sq ft employment park at Whitebirk in Lancashire.

WhitebirkDeveloper Praxis has put forward a proposal for a large mixed-use scheme incorporating industrial and distribution units, plus around 35,000 sq ft of hotel, food and leisure space.

Subject to planning permission, the development, known as Frontier Park, would transform an 85-acre site adjacent to Junction 6 of the M65 comprising largely agricultural land into a significant new economic hub in the heart of Lancashire.

The development is expected to include over 1m sq ft (95,000 sq m) of manufacturing or logistics floor space and create approximately 2,000 jobs.

The plans had been presented to local communities and stakeholders at a public consultation ahead of the submission of the formal planning application.

Frontier Park is a key component of Lancashire’s Strategic Economic Plan, which aims to realise the enormous economic potential of this part of the UK.

In total, the Economic Plan identifies the potential for East Lancashire to generate almost 10,000 jobs and over £500m for the local economy through key employment sites such as Frontier Park.

The only building currently occupying the site is the former Redcap Farm on the northern side of Blackburn Road, which has become derelict.

Gabriel McLaughlin, director and head of asset management at Praxis, said: “This development has the potential to transform the site into a vibrant economic centre, attracting inward investment, bringing visitors to the area and, most importantly, creating jobs for local people both during and after construction.

“As you would expect with a scheme of this magnitude, we have engaged in thorough consultation with the local council as well as officers from Lancashire County Council and the neighbouring borough of Blackburn & Darwen.

“We have also remained in close dialogue with local communities throughout the process, and are confident that this proposed scheme will bring real and long-lasting benefits to local residents, generating new employment opportunities and boosting the wider economy.”

Principal access to Frontier Park would be via its northern boundary from the Whitebirk roundabout. The site is encircled by the A679 Blackburn Road to the south, the Abbott Clough valley to the west, and the M65 to the east.

Secondary access would also be created by connecting the road running through Frontier Park to the southern end of Blackburn Road. This route is intended for use by local residents, buses, park employees, cyclists and pedestrians. Should the scheme receive planning permission, earthworks are scheduled to start in December 2015 and expected to last nine months. The initial phase of construction would begin in 2016 with the first building occupied by the end of 2017. Subject to demand, the entire development is expected to be completed within five years.