Pennine Lancashire restructures to ‘unlock development’

Regenerate Pennine Lancashire said it is continuing to work with local authorities and landowners to help bring forward key development sites in east Lancashire.

Steve Hoyle, managing director of Regenerate Pennine Lancashire, said: "Regenerate has gone from a broad based regeneration company to a solely confined economic company to improve the economy of east Lancashire.

"There are 25 staff working across three delivery teams covering enterprises, innovation, and investment and development.

"We are using £350,000 obtained from the North West Development Agency to provide support, advice and training for business start-ups in east Lancashire. We received a grant from the European Regional Development Fund of £1.8m to help our Lancashire Innovation Network service, which we match with our own funding, and that operates across the whole of Lancashire. There is sufficient funding up until 2013.

"We are working on half a dozen projects in relation to land and property including New Hall Hey in Rawtenstall, Ribble Valley, Burnley Bridge, and Whitebirk at Junction 6 of the M65 motorway.

"We will be working closely with the local authorities and partners to help unlock the key development sites. There are various issues from financial ones down to planning and landowners working with local authorities."

Last month, the government approved a local enterprise partnership for Lancashire which had the backing of Lancashire, Blackpool, Blackburn with Darwen and Burnley councils.

Hoyle said a meeting is due to take place on Thursday to establish the new LEP board and he added "several sites linking the whole of the county" will be put to the board in June at its next meeting as potential bids for the Government's remaining enterprise zones.

Hoyle continued: "The LEP will act as the overarching body for the county and there will be three delivery structures sitting below the Lancashire enterprise partnership for Pennine Lancashire, Blackpool and Fylde and the centre. Each will have different strategies and we are a sub area delivery mechanism for Pennine Lancashire."

Regenerate Pennine Lancashire evolved out of Elevate East Lancashire in November 2009 to deliver major developments using Housing Market Renewal Initiative and Local Economic Growth Initiative funding on behalf of seven local authorities. Funding for the Local Economic Growth Initiative ended in March this year and in 2010 the Government also decided to remove funding for the Housing Market Renewal programme, stating it will be rolled into a £1.4bn Regional Growth Fund.

Local enterprise partnerships are being introduced by the government as a replacement to Labour's regional development agencies, which will close in March 2012.

The Government wanted Lancashire to be able to bid for enterprise zones and its Regional Growth Fund, after rejecting three initial bids last October for separate LEPs for parts of Lancashire.

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