/ News / City Deal Partners Unveil New ‘Invest Central Lancashire’ Proposition At Major Investment Conference

Collaboration between private and public sector partners key to unlocking ‘phenomenal’ economic potential Cuerden Site Officially Renamed As ‘Lancashire Central’

More than 160 developers, investors, property professionals and policy makers drawn from across the North gathered together on March 1st for a special inward investment conference focussing on the huge investment potential offered by Preston, South Ribble and the wider central Lancashire region.

Entitled Invest in Central Lancashire, the event was organised by the City Deal Partnership which includes Lancashire County Council, Preston City Council, South Ribble Council, Homes England and the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

The half-day session was run in partnership with leading property news and investment website Place North West. It was chaired by Place North West’s editor Jessica Middleton-Pugh and was hosted at Preston North End’s football ground.

The Invest in Central Lancashire conference covered a wide range of topics and highlighted some of the significant investment opportunities and projects coming forward in and around Preston and South Ribble.

These included the 160-acre mixed-used Cuerden site, officially renamed at the event as ‘Lancashire Central’, which is set to create 4,500 new jobs and generate over £240m for the local economy every year.

The £200m masterplan for the University of Central Lancashire, the regeneration of the Harris Quarter district of Preston city centre, and the economic opportunities offered by the Samlesbury Enterprise Zone site were also discussed.

Other major issues debated by senior executives, drawn from both the private and public sector via a series of panel discussions, included the benefits of central Lancashire’s new transport links, the need for more residential and premium office space in the region, and the importance of developing a vibrant night-time economy for Preston.

Another subject focussed on was the key role South Ribble has to play in creating an offer which appeals to families and older people which would complement Preston’s urban, student and city-living appeal.

The need to engage with young people to help retain local talent, the role of culture in driving economic growth, and barriers to unlocking more commercial land were also covered.

Running through every discussion and presentation was the theme of strong and constructive partnerships.

Senior representatives from every local authority involved in the City Deal programme– including Lancashire County Council leader Geoff Driver CBE, Preston City Council chief executive Lorraine Norris and South Ribble Council’s chief executive Heather McManus – all highlighted that the City Deal was underpinned by a commitment by all parties, regardless of political persuasion, to work together for the good of Lancashire.

This collaborative approach to delivering the City Deal proposition was reinforced by speakers from the private sector.

These included Karen Hirst, managing director of Maple Grove Developments, Tom Roberts, senior transport planner for Mott MacDonald, and John Chesworth, executive chairman of Harrison Drury.

Other panellists taking part in the event were Lawrence Kenwright, chairman of Signature Living; Charles Quick, professor of public art practice at University of Central Lancashire; Caroline Baker, director of Cushman and Wakefield; Stephen Proudley, head of retail for Lambert Smith Hampton; Jon Thorne, partner for B8 Real Estate and Ben Scandrett, surveyor for Brookhouse Group.

The conference was also used a platform to launch the City Deal partnership’s new inward investment brand Invest Central Lancashire, and each delegate was given a detailed 42-page Invest Central Lancashire prospectus which captured all of the City Deal region’s strengths, unique selling points and investment opportunities.

Further, the Invest Central Lancashire proposition and new prospectus are set to be key elements in Lancashire’s forthcoming trade mission to the MIPIM international property and investment expo in Cannes later this month.

Jim Carter, chairman of the City Deal and an LEP board director said: “This was fabulous event as it gave everyone involved in delivering this transformational £434m programme an opportunity to update local businesses and partners on the amazing progress we’ve made in just three years.

“But more importantly, this conference gave the City Deal partnership a platform to directly engage with developers, investors and employers and highlight the ambition and appetite for growth which we all share for central Lancashire.

“With developments like Lancashire Central now coming forward, the potential is truly phenomenal. In addition, we were able to use this event to highlight that a booming, high performing central Lancashire corridor will bring significant benefits to the whole of the county, as well as the wider North West region.”

View the Invest Central Lancashire prospectus.

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