Lancashire to purchase Cuerden site

Lancashire County Council has confirmed discussions with the Homes & Community Agency to purchase a site in Cuerden, South Ribble.

The site is located at the end of the M65 motorway, close to the M6 and M61 motorways.
The development opportunity also has close access to Burnley, Lancaster, Blackpool, and Skelmersdale, as well as being located near to Leyland, Chorley and Preston.

The decision was taken by Geoff Driver, leader of the county council, and Michael Green, cabinet member for economic development, environment and planning.

If a sale is agreed, Lancashire County Council said it will work towards bringing forward investment in the site.

The county council added it would be the single largest development it has undertaken for 20 years.

Driver said: "This is a landmark strategic scheme with the potential to provide a foundation for economic growth in the short term and for future generations.

"We're always seeking to improve Lancashire's appeal to businesses and providing the right infrastructure is a vital part of that work.

"Companies with the potential for high growth and that provide sustainable new jobs will help us to develop a thriving economy here in the county."

Green added: "This has been allocated as development land for some time and I'm hopeful that we can agree something with the HCA that will bring jobs and money into Lancashire.

"The aim is to attract private and public investment onto the site to create a location for high quality employment, with high standards of design and flexibility to respond positively to changing markets."

Edwin Booth, chair of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, added: "This is exactly the kind of scheme the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership is looking to take forward. We will look to explore how the commercial expertise within the LEP can support the county council and its partners in developing this project."

Cllr Cliff Hughes, cabinet member for strategic planning and housing at South Ribble Council, said: "We have attempted to attract development in the past, but the site needs considerable investment. Now there are interested parties in a position to deliver and this superb site could finally achieve its potential.

"We want to see the Cuerden development as more than just an industrial estate offering employment locally. We want something bigger than that and are looking at how it can become a hub to the whole North West."

The county council said the first phase would be around 550,000 sq ft and a range of uses are being explored for the site and could include offices, general industrial use, storage, distribution facilities and other retail uses.

The project has already been the subject of market analysis reports, masterplans and development frameworks commissioned by the HCA, South Ribble Council, North West Development Agency and Lancashire County Council.

The HCA and the county council will now work towards agreeing terms to complete the transfer. This could be completed by late September.

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