City Deal given go-ahead at 11 Downing Street

Leader of South Ribble Council, Coun Margaret Smith
Leader of South Ribble Council, Coun Margaret Smith
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A ground-breaking City Deal which will create 15,000 new homes and 20,000 new jobs over the next 10 years in South Ribble and Preston has now been officially signed.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Greg Clark, Minister for Cities, signed Lancashire’s City Deal at Number 11 Downing Street last Thursday, along with the leader of Lancashire County Council, the Deputy leader of Preston City Council, the leader of South Ribble Borough Council and the chairman of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership.

The seal of approval has secured the deal its position as one of the most important economic centres outside of London, making Lancashire one of the fastest-growing areas in the country for the next decade.

The green light now paves the way for important link roads to be developed across the county, such as the South Ribble Western Distributor (SRWD) and the Penwortham Bypass.

An enhanced SRWD will double vehicle capacity between Preston city centre and the motorway network, at the point at which the M65, M6 and M61 connect.

This enhancement will enable full development of, and access to, the Cuerden Strategic Employment site and the adjacent Lancashire Business Park.

This scheme, costing £52.5m, will also unlock three housing schemes accommodating 2,700 new homes to the south of Penwortham and north west of Leyland.

Next, a new section of road will complete the Penwortham Bypass, complementing the SRWD capacity improvements and connecting the network to Ringway in Preston.

It is hoped the completed bypass will significantly improve access between local and motorway networks, reducing congestion in Preston city centre through by-passing of city centre routes.

It will also enable future housing opportunities beyond 2024, and help define the route of a new bridge crossing of the River Ribble.

Leader of South Ribble Council, Coun Margaret Smith, said: “South Ribble is a thriving borough at the heart of a prosperous central Lancashire, and this backing from the Government shows that it is independently recognised as one of the strongest local economies in the country.

“We are always looking for ways to make South Ribble an even better place to live and do business, and in principle the City Deal will allow us to bring forward lots of initiatives which were already in the pipeline.

“The deal represents a huge commitment for us, and it has real potential to bring to fruition some major community facilities for our residents alongside the larger infrastructure projects.”

Of the total investment, £130m will come from central government, £71m from Lancashire County Council, £34m from Preston Council, £33m from South Ribble Council and £70m will come from developers.

- For more on what the City Deal means for Leyland, see this week’s Leyland Guardian.