Partner announced for Lancashire Central development near Preston expected to create thousands of jobs

The Lancashire Central site, formerly known as Cuerden
The Lancashire Central site, formerly known as Cuerden

Maple Grove Developments has been announced as the commercial development partner for the Lancashire Central project.

The Lancashire County Council-led development is expected create thousands of jobs on a 65-hectare site at Cuerden, near Bamber Bridge.

This is a key site for the Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal, providing the biggest single location for job creation in the City Deal area.

Under previous plans, Ikea had been earmarked as the flagship store for the site, formerly known as Cuerden.

But the Swedish retail giant backed out in 2018 - and now the project is heading in a totally different direction.

The Lancashire Central development is planned to include office and business space, logistics and manufacturing commercial space, mixed use areas and housing.

Based in Bamber Bridge, Maple Grove Developments is part of Eric Wright Group.

Staff will now bring their expertise to the plans for the site, before detailed plans are submitted later this year.

County Coun Geoff Driver, Leader of the County Council, said: "By working in partnership with Maple Grove on this major development, they will bring their extensive knowledge and expertise to help us to bring thousands of jobs to Lancashire through this very exciting project."

Karen Hirst, Managing Director at Maple Grove Developments said: "As a Lancashire developer we are hugely committed to making Lancashire Central a success.

"Having worked closely with the Council on this scheme previously, we feel privileged to have been selected again and look forward to making an immediate start on bringing forward this site to create employment opportunities for the local area.”

City Deal is an agreement between the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, Preston City Council, South Ribble Borough Council and Lancashire County Council, along with central government and Homes England.

Councillor Bill Evans, Cabinet Member for Planning, Regeneration and City Deal at South Ribble Borough Council, said: “We are pleased that there is now movement to help bring this important site forward, following the withdrawal of Ikea.

"It is an important part of continuing the economic growth for Central Lancashire.

"We look forward to receiving the planning application for the scheme, which will be thoroughly assessed by South Ribble before being determined by the Planning Committee.”

The City Deal will help to create more than 20,000 new private sector jobs and see over 17,000 new homes built across the area, along with new school places, open green spaces and new health provision to cater for the growing population.