Preston Western Distributor and Cuerden scheme update given in new Lancashire County Council economic plans

Posted on - 29th March, 2021 - 8:00am | Author - | Posted in - Business, Central Lancashire Development Plan, Fylde News, Politics, Preston Council, Preston News, Redevelopment, South Ribble News
The Lea viaduct going into place for the Preston Western Distributor Pic: LCC
The Lea viaduct going into place for the Preston Western Distributor Pic: LCC

New schemes are planned for Lancashire after a statement released from the county council predicts ‘brighter times are ahead’ for the county.


The multiple proposals involving investments into both public and private sector businesses promise ‘thousands of new jobs, skills and economic growth’ for the North-West.

Construction is continuing on the Preston Western Distributor road scheme, which is due to open in 2023. Creating a new junction on the M55 and new access on the western parts of the city, and enabling the delivery of a Cottam Parkway railway station. It is part of a major scheme for the Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal.

The council say the road scheme will improve access in and around the wider Preston area by improving journey times to key employment sites and the city centre.

One of the several major schemes in Lancashire benefitting from further investment is the Samlesbury Enterprise Zone, located next to BAE Systems, a site that is estimated to deliver over 2,000 jobs and up to 1.5m square feet of development space.

Read more: Watch how Friargate and Ringway in Preston city centre to look after £14.7m revamp

Elsewhere in Lancashire the Eden Project North is a proposed new major attraction in Morecambe. With Lancashire County Council suggesting this project will attract around one million visitors a year and directly employ more than 400 people. In addition to money spent at Eden itself, visitors could spend an estimated £200m per year in the region, supporting an additional 1,500 jobs.

Read more: The Harris regeneration works set to be completed in 2024 as the team receive £4.5m lottery funding

County Councillor Michael Green said: “Lancashire has the second largest economy in the north west, and there’s still a lot of potential here. We’re working hard with our various partners to unlock this growth, bring major developments to fruition and importantly create jobs for local people.”

Mr Green also recognised the brutal affect of the pandemic on businesses in the area as he said: “Lots of businesses in the county have had a tough time due to the impact of Covid, but we’re now seeing brighter times ahead. As more places start to be able to re-open, we’ll start to see our economy improve.”

What’s happening with the Cuerden site?

Preparatory work is continuing to develop a mixed-use site known as Lancashire Central next to the M65 motorway, near Bamber Bridge at Cuerden, working with developer partner Maple Grove Developments – part of the Eric Wright Group.

It is said to be one of the largest mixed-use employment sites in the North West and could deliver thousands of jobs and provide industrial and logistics accommodation for new and existing businesses.

Another aerial view of the Cuerden site
Aerial view of the Cuerden site

IKEA were previously set to be the flagship store for the Cuerden scheme but pulled out sending the county council back to the drawing board.

With plenty of significant schemes being developed the council believe there will be opportunities for Lancashire companies to be part of vital supply chains and construction activity. More importantly enhancing employment in the county.

The statement provided by the council points out progress on the construction of the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre North West, which will anchor the Research & Development ‘zone’ on the site.

The £20m AMRC North West, led by the University of Sheffield and supported by the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, will provide world-class business support to position Lancashire as a leader in sustainable economic growth and will act as a catalyst for further inward investment.

The new facility will help to accelerate manufacturing growth, supporting the supply chains in the region to drive up productivity sustaining manufacturing in the North West.

Read more: Grimsargh Wetlands Trust receive £10,000 grant enabling the next phase of development plans to go ahead

Alongside this, Electricity North West Limited has invested several million pounds to improve the infrastructure for the network including a new primary substation which will support and unlock the development of this site.

Councillor Green added: “Infrastructure Planning across Lancashire as a whole is a key ingredient to assist with economic growth. There are a range of other important pieces of work being progressed to help better plan for the future and to assist in Lancashire’s growth and prosperity “.

Read more: Highways work on UCLan’s Masterplan is supporting small and medium sized businesses across Preston.

Proposals are being put together by the council to address existing transport constraints and unlock development opportunities in the north of the county. As the the council say it is their objective to re-position the county and help to drive communities back to economic health.

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