Pennine Lancs beefs up for major projects

Up to 15 posts will be created at the new Pennine Lancashire Development Company, which came into being last week after morphing out of Elevate East Lancashire.

Max Steinberg, chief executive of PLDC, who also ran Elevate for its six years, said the wider remit of the new agency required a much larger organisation.

Elevate focused on housing market renewal initiative delivery and enterprise work but will now take on major commercial property schemes as well.

Staff numbers will rise from 27 under Elevate to 70 in PLDC, though most of the newcomers will be seconded from Blackburn with Darwen Council and the other six local authorities covered by the new company.

The multi area agreement for Pennine Lancashire identifies 35 major project areas, including Clitheroe market, Rawtenstall town centre, Whitebirk industrial estate, Blackburn Knowledge Zone, Burnley Bridge Business Park, Burnley Education and Enterprise Zone and Adrenalin Gateway, Rossendale.

Steinberg said: "The new posts haven't been filled yet. We plan to advertise shortly for project managers and team members. We want to take projects forward quickly."

Adverts for an experienced chairman to oversee the organisation on a part-time basis have been running for the past two weeks and the deadline for applications closes today. David Taylor, the senior regeneration consultant and former boss of English Partnerships and Amec Developments, is understood to have ruled himself out of the running after six years as Elevate chairman. Taylor could not be reached when called today.

Steinberg said developers and contractors would be invited to deliver schemes with the incentive that public funds could be used to 'de-risk the projects to make them attractive'.

The North West Development Agency last month approved a £20m-a-year spending plan with PLDC for the next ten years.

PLDC is based in the old Elevate office in Accrington, as well as council offices in Blackburn. A new office in the east of the patch is being considered.

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