After several months of negotiations, a ‘City Deal’ has been agreed to take forward four new road schemes, enabling more than 17,000 new homes to be built and freeing up land for new development.
The deal was signed by deputy prime minister Nick Clegg, local government minister Greg Clark and representatives of Preston City Council, South Ribble Borough Council and Lancashire County Council.
It is the first of the second wave of City Deals to get the go ahead from government.
The four road schemes are:
- the £109.5m Preston Western Distributor linking the A583/A584 to the motorway network via a new junction on the M55 (enabling 4,000 new homes and improving access to the Warton Enterprise Zone)
- the £52.5m South Ribble Western Distributor to double vehicle capacity between Preston city centre and the motorway network where the M65, M6 and M61 connect (enabling 2,700 new homes and development of two employment sites)
- the £23.9m Broughton bypass, relieving congestion on the A6 northeast of Preston (enabling 1,400 new homes and development of sites in East Preston)
- the £17.5m Penwortham Bypass (improving access between local and motorway networks).
Of the 17,400 new homes now being planned for the Preston area, 1,200 are expected to be completed by 2015 with a further 1,200 under construction at that time.
The establishment of an Infrastructure Delivery Programme and Investment Fund worth a combined total of £450m is expected to leverage a further £2.3bn of commercial investment in housing and employment sites.
Lancashire County Council leader Jennifer Mein said: "It is superb news for Lancashire we have successfully reached agreement on the Preston and Lancashire City Deal.
"This is a once in a generation opportunity that will enable Preston, and indeed Lancashire as a whole, to reach its full economic potential.
"The City Deal gives us the certainty to plan for the future. It is on a vast scale and forms the basis for major investment in transport and housing. It complements our existing work to create jobs and apprenticeships and will provide the ideal conditions for companies to invest and create employment."