We’ve great plans for Leyland next year

Leyland Transport Festival

Leyland Transport Festival

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One of Leyland’s most influential businessmen has spoken about his plans for the town next year.

Martin Ainscough owns Leyland Business Park and Farington Business Park, as well as recently replacing Nigel McGurk as the chairman of the Leyland Forward Board, which aims to regenerate the town centre.

He made his fortune from the sale of the family-run Ainscough Crane Hire business in 2007 for £255m, but has used his wealth to invest in Leyland.

The next meeting of the Leyland Forward Board is in January, and Mr Ainscough said they had a number of matters to discuss.

He said: “We’ve got several projects we’re looking at with the view of benefiting Leyland.

“We’re encouraging improvements to Hough Lane and Worden Park, and lots of other initiatives.

“Leyland Board has put a lot of emphasis on Hough Lane. We are now looking at potential improvements to Worden Park.

“It’s possibly an under-utilised facility that needs some investment to maximise its capacity.

“We are still at the infancy stage. These things don’t happen overnight.

“The Leyland Transport Festival came out of Leyland Forward Board.

“There are other things in the pipeline but I can’t say too much because they’re confidential.”

He said it was hoped that significant investment would be unlocked to create extra jobs.

Mr Ainscough has planning permission to build 470 homes on the former Leyland Bus site, and said he hoped for some movement in 2012.

“Sadly the market is very difficult,” he said. “There’s been no further movement on that, but we are working on bringing that scheme forward, so hopefully we can see some activity on that site in terms of housebuilding.”

He said that downturn in the economy had hit him because people were struggling to get mortgages, which was reducing demand for the new homes.

“People probably see the site and think nothing is happening,” he said. “That’s not the case.

Mr Ainscough said another of his interests, Leyland Business Park, was performing well.

“We have good occupancy rates at the business park, and we have been successful in bringing in some major tenants in recent years.

“We have very little space at the moment, and we’re continuing to look at opportunities.”