Lancashire has submitted a bold bid to central government for a new investment zone which has the potential to generate tens of thousands of jobs adding billions of pounds to the value of the economy.
The proposal, put forward by Lancashire County Council alongside the county’s district councils and other partners, outlines ambitious plans for a zone that would span Lancashire using a series of interlinked ‘enterprise corridors’ and employment clusters.
Investment zones are a new government initiative which aims to attract investment and unlock development and economic activity. Lancashire was included in a shortlist of 38 areas where the government is considering establishing the zones.
The proposed and ambitious Lancashire Investment Zone would sit at the heart of an emerging pan-Lancashire Growth Plan – Lancashire 2050 – which also includes Blackburn with Darwen and Blackpool councils. The sites and clusters are located within ‘corridors of enterprise’ that reflect Lancashire’s wider economic development programmes, key sector activities and major infrastructure priorities, with each strategic site designed to bring development forward.
The proposals have been developed with input and support from stakeholders from across the county and have been designed to complement and align with bids by Blackburn with Darwen and Blackpool councils. The Lancashire Investment Zone proposed area would have three interlinked strategic areas:
Sector specialisms will also align with wider regional and national clusters such as nuclear, cyber technology and advanced engineering and manufacturing.
According to the government, the zones would seek to have planning flexibility to assist with their development and tax relief for businesses who relocate there.
Lancashire has plans for major development and infrastructure projects with an estimated value of more than £20 billion. Lancashire County Council is at an advanced stage of its programme development for further strategic investment opportunities with a wide range of national and regional partners.
Some of these are reflected in the recent £320m Levelling Up Fund bids across the county to deliver a diverse range of priorities and attract further investment. This includes the county council setting aside a dedicated £5 million Levelling Up Investment Fund in support of district partners and wider council ambitions.
Lancashire has four enterprise zone locations including at Samlesbury. Under the county council’s leadership, Lancashire is rapidly developing as a high-quality base and home to world-class businesses in cutting-edge innovation, cyber technology and advanced manufacturing.