Economic boost for South Ribble

Adoption of a landmark plan has been heralded as a huge boost for the economic growth of South Ribble.

Members of South Ribble Borough Council agreed to adopt a Local Plan for the area, which sets out a strong vision to enhance the borough as a place to live and do business over the next decade. Following extensive consultations and legal processes, the plan was officially agreed at Wednesday’s full council meeting.

The Local Plan will guide future housing developments, business and commercial locations, transport infrastructure and education facilities, which will lead to significant investment in community facilities and urban centres. Its adoption further strengthens the Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal, with many of the projects identified within it underpinned by the plan.

It will help to bring many of the council’s existing ambitions to fruition, such as the creation of a huge new park. The swathe of green land which will be brought together to form the new Central Parks is protected in the plan, which will also drive further enhancements to existing open spaces and award-winning parks. The plan will also protect many other areas of land from development.

Studies published last year revealed that South Ribble already has the best job creation rates in the North West, with as many jobs created in the borough as Manchester and Liverpool combined over an eight-year period. The Local Plan features significant employment areas, such as the Cuerden Strategic Investment Site, which will create 2,500 jobs, and the government-backed Enterprise Zone at BAE in Samlesbury.

Councillor Cliff Hughes, South Ribble Borough Council’s cabinet member with responsibility for strategic planning, said: “I’m absolutely delighted that we have adopted a strong planning framework for South Ribble, which will give the council the power to manage the economic growth of our borough in a co-ordinated way, while enhancing its green and rural nature.

“South Ribble Borough Council is in a leading role in managing the growth of the borough, along with our communities, neighbours and partners. Having such a strong and balanced plan in place will help us to achieve our existing ambitions for South Ribble, in addition to the projects planned as part of the City Deal.

“Producing this plan has been a very long journey, and I’d like to thank everyone who helped to shape it. They include all the residents, businesses and community groups who gave us their ideas and feedback along the way. I’d also like to thank my fellow councillors, our planning experts and partner organisations for their patience, expertise and support. The adoption of the Local Plan now puts us in a formidable position to turn our aspirations into actions.

“South Ribble is in a superb location with accessibility and space to grow. The skilled workforce in the area is expanding, with development on the horizon which will not only create jobs, but drive significant improvements in the hearts of our towns and villages.

“We know that works can be inconvenient for people sometimes. We’re committed to ensuring that infrastructure is in place first, with work going on as I speak to unlock the potential of South Ribble. Once this is in place, any short-term disruption will be far outweighed by the benefits of quicker travel times, new jobs, new public facilities and amenities. It’s a very exciting time for our borough and for Lancashire as a whole.”

Seema Kennedy our local MP expressed delight at the news “I am very pleased to hear about the development of a local plan by South Ribble Borough Council. They have once again proved themselves to be an effective organisation offering strong leadership with an advanced vision for the future of the area. I particularly welcome the plans to improve the infrastructure and to open a new park. I would like to commend the council on their hard work putting this plan together and I look forward to seeing it progress.”