Cuerden development could bring 4,500 jobs to the area
A major development of the Cuerden strategic site at the start of the M65 could create thousands of new jobs and bring furniture giant IKEA to Lancashire.
The development could also attract other well-known national retailers, major employers, restaurants, offices and housing, along with cycling and walking routes and new green spaces, subject to planning permission.
Lancashire County Council and its development partners Eric Wright Group and Brookhouse Group are running a public consultation on the plans, starting with public exhibitions next week, in advance of a planning application being submitted.
The development is one of the Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal's major projects and has the potential to generate significant economic and employment benefits for the area, including:
• Creation of more than 4,500 new jobs at the site.
• 80,000 sq m of new industrial space, comprising of a range of separate units with ancillary offices.
• A further circa 26,000 sq m of new office and business space, including a range of individual units.
• Enabling retail development, including a new IKEA and up to five large format units for national retailers.
• Mixed use development to include a 120-bedroom hotel with leisure/gym facilities, car showrooms, family pub and restaurants.
• Up to 210 new homes.
• Green infrastructure and landscaping for people walking, living on and visiting the site.
• Significant highways improvements on the local road network, along with new public transport provision.
• New pedestrian, cycling and jogging paths throughout the site, linking to other places such as Cuerden Valley Park.
Speaking about the project, Jennifer Mein, Leader of Lancashire County Council, said: "This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to deliver a development that will bring economic and employment benefits for the whole of the county. Situated at the start of the M65 and minutes from the M6 and the M61, the site could not be better placed.
"This development is a key part of the Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal and shows just how it will bring jobs and prosperity to the area. I'd urge local people to have their say on this ambitious project through the public consultation."
Jeremy Hartley from Eric Wright Group, said: "Cuerden has long been seen as one of the best development opportunity sites in the North West, and as a local company we are delighted to be working alongside the county council, as their Regeneration Partner, to bring this site forward.
"The site requires a major investment into infrastructure in order to make it available for development. Higher value uses, such as retail, are therefore needed in the early stages to deliver that infrastructure development which, in turn, will enable us to unlock the longer term opportunities for employment and regeneration across the site. IKEA’s choice of this site for a potential new store is clearly a boost to the proposals. We are also working to bring a small number of other well-known national brands to the development."
Public exhibition events are being held next week, as follows:
- Thursday 17 November – South Ribble Borough Council offices, Banqueting Suite, Leyland – 2pm-8pm
- Friday18 November– St Catherine’s Hospice, Garden Room, Cuerden – 2pm-8pm
- Saturday 19 November – The Harris, Rotunda Area, Preston – 10am-4pm
Further information will be available from Thursday 17 November on the consultation website www.thisiscuerden.co.uk People with questions regarding the development can contact the development team on 0800 089 0362 or by emailing email@example.com
Councillor Peter Mullineaux, Leader of South Ribble Borough Council, said: "This could be a very exciting development, which has the potential to bring significant economic opportunities to South Ribble. Cuerden fits very well with our drive to provide the conditions for businesses to thrive, offering the space for existing businesses to grow as well as being an attractive offer for new ventures. The new walking routes, cycle paths and parks will improve access to green space for residents, employees and visitors. This is a great example of how the City Deal is creating a better South Ribble for everyone. I would urge our residents to engage in the consultation process and offer their views on the development."
Lambert Smith Hampton (LSH) are acting for Lancashire County Council and Eric Wright Group to secure retailers for the development.
Stephen Proudley, director at Lambert Smith Hampton which is advising Lancashire County Council and Eric Wright Group, commented: “Following IKEA’s decision to locate its proposed third store in the North West region at the Cuerden strategic development site, we anticipate significant interest in the rest of the scheme. There are a number of best-in-class retailers with long-standing requirements for flagship stores seeking locations in the Lancashire region to add to and complement their existing store portfolios. We also expect interest from a number of operators and brands that are new to Lancashire.”
Councillor Peter Rankin, Leader of Preston City Council, said: “We would welcome the multi-million pounds worth of investment in new businesses and thousands of new jobs. This would create much needed job opportunities for the people of Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire. The interest shown by an iconic and global company like IKEA is a real sign that the City Deal is working and we are an attractive place for investment.
“There may be some concerns about the impact of retail provision on Preston City Centre and we will ensure, through the planning process, that this will be carefully considered and all the evidence thoroughly reviewed. There is major investment flowing into Preston City Centre with the Markets Quarter, Guild Hall, the Bus Station and the Harris – so we will need to ensure that any development at Cuerden complements Preston City Centre as a place to live, work, visit and shop.”
The City Deal will help to create more than 20,000 new private sector jobs and see over 17,000 new homes built across Preston and South Ribble, as well as new school places, open green spaces and new health provision to cater for the growing population.
The 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 the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA).
Keep updated on the improvement work taking place across the area by following @LancsCityDeal on Twitter.