Initial work taking place from this week will include archaeology assessments, tree protection and felling work, and a trial borehole for a ground source heat pump.
The University of Salford’s Archaeological Department will be carrying out investigative digs across approximately 15 trenches, each up to 40m long. These excavations will take around two weeks.
A trial borehole will be drilled towards the east of the site, to establish if the site is a suitable location for a ground source heat pump – a renewable energy supply that circulates water through buried pipes to extract heat from the ground. The testing equipment will remain in the ground for around a week, before it is removed and the land will be fully restored.
As part of the site preparation, some trees will be protected and some will be removed from the plantation at the eastern area of the site, where the first phase of development will take place. This is planned to start in early February, with temporary vehicle access to the site from the A49 during this work.
The application to develop the Cuerden Strategic Site in South Ribble was made by Lancashire County Council and Maple Grove Developments, part of the Eric Wright Group, in association with the Brookhouse Group.
Planning permission was granted by South Ribble Borough Council’s planning committee in September 2017.
County Councillor Michael Green, Cabinet member for economic development, environment and planning, said: “The development of the Cuerden Strategic site will deliver significant economic benefits, including creating over 4,500 new jobs. It’s an exciting time as work begins to prepare the site for this major new development.
“As part of this development, there will be significant new landscaping and tree planting to replace those which need to be removed to enable the construction to take place. This initial work follows extensive ecological and environmental assessment and is required to prepare the site for construction.
“Cuerden has been earmarked as a major new employment site for many years, but the lack of infrastructure to service the site has held back development. The Cuerden development will provide the necessary investment to make this a reality.”
Cuerden is the largest employment site within the ambitious Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal Programme, and is central to the delivery of 20,000 new jobs and 17,000 new homes over the lifetime of the programme.
Councillor Peter Mullineaux, Leader of South Ribble Borough Council, said: “It’s fantastic to see work finally starting at Cuerden. Realising the full potential of this important site in our borough has long been an ambition of ours, and watching it now become a reality thanks to City Deal investment, is incredibly exciting.
“Cuerden will be a huge boost for the people of South Ribble, and it’s important to remember that any short-term disruption during construction will be offset by huge benefits for our residents. These include thousands of new jobs and opportunities, a new IKEA store, and a multi-million pound cash injection into the local economy, which will benefit residents of South Ribble for generations to come.”
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