Future looks to be bright for Red Rose County

BIG SMILES: Official start on the construction of the Broughton Bypass.  Pictured are Peter Rankin, Jennifer Mein and Edwin Booth
BIG SMILES: Official start on the construction of the Broughton Bypass. Pictured are Peter Rankin, Jennifer Mein and Edwin Booth

2017 is hoped to be a bumper year for Lancashire, as major plans take shape across the county.

Work will be taking place on regeneration schemes, hotel developments and road projects, with leaders confident the future is bright. Sarah Carter looks at the county’s reasons to be cheerful as we head into 2017.

Prestons old Post Office will host the Best of Britannia North in May

Prestons old Post Office will host the Best of Britannia North in May

With millions of pounds of development, major projects set for completion and a bumper events calendar, 2017 is looking bright for Lancashire.

Regeneration schemes are taking place across the county, with boosts for the economy and infrastructure as well as for families and communities.

Despite major budget cuts to authorities and challenges ahead, leaders are looking to the future and celebrating the exciting plans for the next 12 months.

“Lancashire’s future is looking bright, with so many landmark initiatives that are either being delivered or in planning”, said Babs Murphy, chief executive of the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce.

A view of the new civic square looking towards the Town Hall

A view of the new civic square looking towards the Town Hall

South ribble

• The world’s first Truck Trail is being launched in Leyland, and will be on show from April.

• Work could start on the Cuerden development, at the start of the M65, which would bring 4,500 jobs to the area. Subject to planning consent, it could begin as early as the summer, and would include bringing IKEA to Lancashire.

• Community events include the Live! festivals in Penwortham (May) and Longton (July), as well as the Leyland Festival in June and Penwortham Open Gardens in July.

How a cinema could look on Market Walk, Chorley

How a cinema could look on Market Walk, Chorley

• Worden Park in Leyland is to have two brand new toilet blocks and the extra overflow carpark will be opened to the public in the New Year.

• The historic Conservatory and Vine House, which once served Worden Hall, will be refurbished.

• A £250,000 investment in Withy Grove Park, Bamber Bridge, will include re-landscaping and area of the park, new footpaths, new bins, benches, signs and the creation of a central hub featuring sculpture.

• 2017 will see the completion of the £3.35m regeneration of the centre of Bamber Bridge, with an official unveiling at the start of the year.

Proposal of how Market Walk, in Chorley town centre, could look

Proposal of how Market Walk, in Chorley town centre, could look

• A planning application for the Penwortham Bypass is due to be submitted, with A582 improvements to continue.

Leader of South Ribble Council, Coun Peter Mullineaux said: “There’s plenty to look forward to in South Ribble in 2017.

“The start of the year will see the completion of some wonderful projects we’ve been working on in our parks, in our towns and villages and with our local businesses.

“2017 will see some exciting steps forward in our economic development. Through the Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal we are investing in the future, making sure we put the right plans in place now to support our residents in the future.

“We’ll also continue delivering multi-million pound upgrades of our towns and village centres. They are the very heart of our communities and we are determined to get it right so they will serve our residents for generations to come. The future looks bright for South Ribble.”

Chorley

• The town centre is set to undergo a £17 million transformation over the next few years starting with the extension to Market Walk shopping centre which will see a cinema, high street retailers and restaurants.

• The £4.8m Youth Zone will provide a range of sports, media, and arts in a safe and inspiring place plus it will offer young people enterprise training, mentoring and apprenticeships.

• A £9 million scheme to provide apartments for older people is due to start in 2017.

• Free parking will be extended from April 1, meaning there will be one hour free parking on all short-stay car park excluding the Flat Iron, and three hours free parking on all long-stay ones, in addition to schemes already in place.

• The town’s award-winning events programme will return, including the Chorley Flower Show, with other “surprises” also hinted at.

• A new advanced digital office park creating 54,000sq ft of state-of-the-art office space providing high value jobs for hundreds of people is to be built at Euxton Lane

• A planning application is due to be submitted for development at Botany Bay.

Speaking about the Market Walk redevelopment Coun Alistair Bradley, leader of Chorley Council, said: “This is a really exciting time for Chorley because the proposals would see some of the biggest changes in a generation and set up our town centre to thrive over the coming years.

“The work will ensure we have a different offer to complement the many independent traders and markets, which make our town what it is, and by increasing footfall everyone in the town centre should benefit.”

University of Central Lancashire:

• The Inauguration of Ranvir Singh as the University’s new Chancellor and Professor Mike Thomas as the Vice-Chancellor in January

• The completion of the £8.15 million social spaces by Autumn.

• Construction of the £30 million Engineering Innovation Centre will be well underway.

• The planning and preparatory work for the new student centre and civic square will be well advanced.

• The award-winning Lancashire Science Festival will be bigger and better when it returns between 29 June and 1 July.

Babs Murphy, chief executive of the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce said: “Lancashire’s future is looking bright, with so many landmark initiatives that are either being delivered or in planning. There has been no shortage of ideas in the area and now the county has a clear vision and strong leadership to push boundaries even further. Lancashire has considerable advantages, a quality environment, world class higher and further education institutions and excellent transport links by road and rail. These strengths have been harnessed in tandem with visionary policies and investment in infrastructure which are now paying off. In recent times Lancashire has seen a growth in new high value businesses to replace declining ones, the development of skills and productivity of the workforce and the promotion of the importance of Lancashire as a place to do business, and as a place of leisure, shopping, cultural and educational excellence.”

Preston

• Work is due to start on the new Indoor Market in 2017.

• Signature Living is set to start work converting the former post office building into a boutique hotel.

• Wednesday evenings throughout February and March will see the Harris host eight different bands at Harris Live.

• A summer programme of events will be held on the Flag Market.

• Work on the Broughton Bypass is due to be completed in August.

Leader of Preston Council, Coun Peter Rankin, said: “There’s definitely a lot happening in 2017.

“Preston is enjoying a surge of investment and regeneration, a lot of it thanks to the Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal.

“Projects such as the new Indoor Market and boutique hotel from Signature Living, plus new bars and restaurants and the investment into Preston Guild Hall enhances our offer to residents and visitors alike.

“A packed events calendar sees the traditional Easter egg rolling follow a new programme of live music at the Harris, plus lots of other activities throughout the year.”

County Coun Jennifer Mein, leader of Lancashire County Council, said there was an “extremely challenging financial position”, but said: “Together with our partners on the Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal, we’ll continue to work on plans for major road schemes, which will improve the connections between homes, work, education and leisure opportunities.

“Construction will continue in 2017 on the Broughton Bypass, which will open later in the year. This is a landmark moment and will bring long-awaited relief to the village.

“We’re also working on the Penwortham Bypass and continued improvements along the A582 – a major route through South Ribble.

“Close to the M65 at Cuerden, the plans are coming together for a new mixed-use development, whic has already attracted IKEA.

“Working with our partners, we’re hopeful that other major employers will want to be on the site.

“One of our biggest projects during next year will be the continuing redevelopment of Preston Bus Station.

“This is one of the city’s most well-known buildings and our plans include an improved concourse, a new public space and a new youth zone for our young people.

“Coupled with continuing improvements at the Guild Hall, the Markets Quarter, plans for the former Park Hotel and other developments around the city centre, 2017 looks like it will be a very interesting year to come for the city as a whole.”

Wyre

• Completion of new sea defences at Rossall in November

• Hillhouse International Enterprise Zone in Thornton Cleveleys

• Investment expected in 2017 in the Hillhouse International Enterprise Zone in Thornton Cleveleys

• Garstang Walking Festival in May 2017, allowing visitors to celebrate springtime around Garstang, rural Wyre, Forest of Bowland and the Fylde Plain.

• Great Eccleston Show in July.

Coun Peter Gibson, leader of Wyre Council, said: “The New Year always presents an opportunity to look again where we can improve on the previous year and 2017 will be no different.

“Our aim will be to build on what we achieved in 2016. All local authorities are under financial pressure but we in Wyre may be had a slightly different approach than some councils in that we have an invest to save approach.”

He said the council pledged to maximise the return from assets and said: “Our vision is to be a collaborative Council that works together with local communities and partners to make a difference and improve the lives of those who live in Wyre, work in Wyre or visit Wyre. My promise to residents is that in 2017 I will do all I can to protect frontline services just as I have done in 2016.”