/ News / Lord Heseltine launches Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal

Lord Heseltine, adviser to the Prime Minister on economic growth, was among leading figures from the worlds of politics and business who gathered at County Hall in Preston on Tuesday 10 June to officially launch the Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal.

The event marked the beginning of work on the ground as part of the project – worth more than £430 million – to deliver economic growth, new jobs and homes over the next decade by delivering substantial new roads and other transport and infrastructure improvements.

Business leaders came to hear first-hand from central government and local partners about how the City Deal will help accelerate growth in Lancashire over the next ten years.

Agreed between Preston City Council, South Ribble Borough Council and Lancashire County Council, along with central government and the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), growth created by the City Deal will create more than 20,000 new jobs and more than 17,000 new homes. It will also boost the local economy by £1bn and attract £2.3bn in leveraged commercial investment.

Work started at the end of May on an £8 million scheme to cut congestion on the A582, a key route into Preston. This first phase of work will widen the road at its junction with Chain House Lane, to provide more lanes for traffic and make it easier for cyclists to use. Following this, work will start in June to upgrade the A582 north of Cop Lane to a dual carriageway with improvements to the junction with Leyland Road.

The project is part of plans to increase capacity on vital routes outlined in Lancashire County Council’s Highways and Transport Masterplan for the area, and is one of four major highway schemes to be delivered under the City Deal.

Edwin Booth, Chair of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, said: “We reached this landmark deal because central government had confidence in our economic potential and our ability to deliver major projects, so it is great to have justified that confidence by being the first of the second wave of City Deals to physically start work.

“By freeing Preston and the surrounding area from the shackles of the existing infrastructure we will enable the local economy to really take off and create the jobs and housing that we need. This is a very exciting time for the Lancashire economy as a whole.”

Lord Heseltine said: “It’s fantastic to see the rapid progress that has been made in Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire over the last six months. The City Deal has given the area the opportunity to unlock significant economic growth and leverage considerable commercial investment. The area can now build on the excellent progress of City Deal and pave the way for securing future growth through the Growth Deal process.”

County Councillor Jennifer Mein, Leader of Lancashire County Council, said: “The City Deal is a once in a generation opportunity that gives us the certainty to plan for the long term. It is very exciting to see work starting on the first of the major transport projects that form the backbone of the delivery plan and will provide the ideal conditions for Preston, and Lancashire as a whole, to reach their full economic potential.

“Taken alongside our existing work to create jobs and apprenticeships it will provide the ideal conditions for companies to invest and create employment.”

Councillor Peter Rankin, Leader of Preston City Council, said: “We know that developers and businesses want to invest in Preston and we also know that there is demand for houses from families and professionals but we have been held back because of the lack of infrastructure required to give developments the go ahead.

“City Deal will change all that and developments in North West Preston and East Preston are already moving forward.

“This is the biggest thing to happen to Preston in decades and will ensure that we establish long term sustainable growth which will deliver, jobs, housing and higher living standards for local people.”

Councillor Margaret Smith, Leader of South Ribble Borough Council, said: “We already knew South Ribble was going places, and had great ambitions for the future. Working with our friends and neighbours in this way makes us much greater than the sum of our parts, and the City Deal is a wonderful opportunity for us to accelerate our existing aspirations for the growth of our borough.

“We will be delighted to welcome new employers and residents, and crucially, we have a plan in place for doing so while maintaining South Ribble’s rural nature.”

Deborah McLaughlin, HCA Executive Director for the North West, said: “This is a very important deal that will accelerate housing construction, create new jobs and dramatically increase economic growth across Preston and the surrounding area. It gives the North West another economic hub, which will in turn help attract even more investment and jobs to the region. On behalf of the HCA, I congratulate our local partners for landing this City Deal and look forward to working with them to accelerate the supply of much-needed housing in the city.”

Read next Growth deal heralds new era for Lancashire economy