Preston looks poised to benefit from a big economic boost as the government gave the green light to its City Deal plan.Advertisement
The bid for the City Deal could lead to the creation of 23,000 new jobs, 15,000 new homes and £1 billion in economic growth in the next 10 years.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg announced the city and 19 others will be competing for the funds.
Councillor Peter Rankin, Leader of Preston City Council, who blogged for Blog Preston late last year at the start of the bid, said: “This is very encouraging news for Preston. When finally agreed by government, City Deal would represent a huge boost for the Preston area and a massive vote of confidence for our local economy. Preston has a proven track record to thrive and deliver major economic growth.
“We just need the shackles to be unleashed to provide the infrastructure and freedoms that will enable more businesses to grow and flourish here.
“The council will give its full backing and commitment to working closely with Lancashire County Council and all partners to achieve this.”
The bid has received substantial backing from big local businesses, and the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership said it is vital to boosting the local econony.
Edwin Booth, chairman of Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, said: “I’m delighted that the bid has received the green light and particularly pleased with the feedback the proposal has had from government.
“The indications are that this is one of the most advanced of the 20 bids put forward for consideration, which suggests Lancashire could be among the first to capitalise on the benefits of the City Deal.
“The priority now must be to work with government to sign the deal as soon as possible and begin to turn what is an extremely significant proposal into a reality for residents and businesses across Lancashire.”
The City Deal will be the bedrock of some major new road building schemes and widening of existing key routes to and from the motorways surrounding the city.
Funds will also be available to help develop the city centre.
County Councillor Geoff Driver, Leader of Lancashire County Council, said: “It is superb news for Lancashire that the government has decided to support the bid.
“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.”
What do you think about the announcement? What would you like to see the money put towards? Let us know in the comments below