What obstacles to growth continue to challenge the area and what changes could help Lancashire reach its potential?

Brock Carmichael has been a contributor to North West Business Insider’s ‘Talking Property’ section for over 18 months now. We are asked for our opinions every month on a range of topics. This was August’s. 

Chris Bolland, Managing Partner

“Lancashire’s strengths are in R&D, advanced manufacturing, aerospace, energy, health and agriculture with employment rates ahead of the North West. However, productivity is an area for concern and the polycentric and diverse nature of the area means connectivity and infrastructure are issues with a high dependency on roads.

Lancashire is well positioned to benefit from Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things, and its participation in the ‘Made Smarter’ Pilot in the North West mean that it can capitalise on productivity improvements associated with this and the adoption of new technology. The new University of Central Lancashire’s £35m Engineering Innovation Centre is now complete and will help increase spin outs from UCLan.

On housing, Chorley has exceeded its local plan housing targets but the rest of the county has to catch up. Persimmon Homes has plans for 168 new homes at Spring Meadows in Darwen and Penwortham’s Lane Scheme for 2,000 homes from Taylor Wimpey will help.”

Michael Cosser, Partner

“New indicative proposals for the 65 hectare Cuerden site based on logistics, industrial, business and mixed commercial use with some housing look promising. It could result in more than £250m of public and private sector investment, around £200m in annual Gross Value Added (GVA) and the creation of over 3,000 jobs.

Investment in the visitor economy will add to Blackpool’s considerable attractions. If approved Morecambe’s Eden Project North could open by 2023 with the potential to attract 760,000 visitors a year to the town. Wyre Dock Development has leisure-led plans for Fleetwood also. These projects will help drive regeneration on the coast.

City-centre living in Preston can be enhanced and potential investment around Preston railway station ahead of the arrival of HS2 will encourage this. The Preston Western Distributor will also help, with a further 5,000 homes planned.

Hopefully plans for Lancaster Canal Quarter can be finalised soon; with retail, hotel, education and commercial offerings.

Lancashire Enterprise Partnership’s new chair Steve Fogg, has some challenges ahead and strengths to build on.”