Transport for Lancashire outlines £100m plans

Transport for Lancashire has announced a package of road and rail improvements worth more than £100m across six projects.

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

The newly-formed local transport body will bring together public and private sector investment to build the infrastructure needed to help businesses create jobs, and allow people to access them.

Three transport authorities, Lancashire County Council, Blackpool Council and Blackburn with Darwen Council, have joined forces with the private sector led Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to create Transport for Lancashire (TfL) to develop, approve and fund major transport schemes with a multi-million budget to be devolved by the Department for Transport (DfT) from 2015/16.

Transport for Lancashire is a committee of the LEP at which the leaders of each council meet with the LEP chairman and vice-chairman to ensure future transport schemes support economic development.

TfL outlined six schemes to be delivered by 2024/25 based on forecast funding allocations from the DfT, developer contributions, and the recently signed Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal which will see millions unlocked to develop housing, create new jobs and improve transport infrastructure.

The plans include, in Lancashire, £58m towards the estimated £90m total construction cost of a new road linking the M55 near Bartle with the A583 near Clifton to support development of new housing in North West Preston and improve links to the Enterprise Zone site at Warton. This scheme forms part of the City Deal.

In addition, TfL will put £15.1m towards the estimated £23.7m total construction cost of delivering the A6 Broughton Bypass, and £2.8m towards the estimated £3.2m total cost of vital maintenance to the Centenary Way viaduct which carries the principal A682 road through the centre of Burnley.

The money will also include £16.4m towards the estimated £18.2m total cost of improving access to the national rail network from Blackpool, Fleetwood and Cleveleys, by extending the new tramway from the Promenade at North Pier to Blackpool North railway station.

In Blackburn with Darwen, £12.4m will go towards the estimated £13.8m total cost of a scheme to improve the standard and frequency of trains operating between Blackburn and Manchester by doubling parts of the track between Bolton and Blackburn, and £1.8m towards the estimated £2m total cost of a scheme to cut congestion and support the Haslingden Road, Walker Park, Roman Road and Shadsworth industrial estates.

Five further schemes will form a development pool, which will be brought forward should circumstances change or further funding opportunities emerge.

Edwin Booth, chairman of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, said: "The improvements to transport infrastructure we've agreed today are critical to ensure our plans to create jobs and foster economic growth become a reality.

"Preston has enormous potential as a focal point for economic growth, but this bid is on a vast scale and it is not just the city itself but the whole of Lancashire that stands to benefit. It also complements our existing programmes for job creation and apprenticeships.

"The City Deal will form the basis for large scale investment in transport and housing, and provide the ideal conditions for companies to invest and create employment.

"As a committee of the LEP, Transport for Lancashire will allow the private and public sectors to speak with one voice to ensure we get the best possible deal."

County councillor Jennifer Mein, leader of Lancashire County Council and chair of Transport for Lancashire, said: "There is huge potential for economic growth in Lancashire, particularly in the areas of the county which the priority schemes we've announced today will help to unlock.

"Better transport will allow the jobs which are created to be accessed by people across the whole county, and the wider economic benefits will be felt by everyone. We'll now be working hard to ensure the business case to support the funding and delivery of these schemes is as strong as it can be. "As a county council, we are also working hard on producing transport master plans for the whole of Lancashire, which will make sure we have the right infrastructure to support growth."