Lancashire County Council and its development partner Maple Grove Developments (part of the Eric Wright Group), are preparing development proposals for Lancashire Central (also previously known as the Cuerden Strategic Employment Site) at Cuerden.
The latest proposals will support the development of high-quality employment opportunities with the potential to create circa 2,000 jobs.
They replace the existing permission (granted in 2017) to deliver a new and updated vision for this key strategic employment site.
Lancashire Central provides a once in a generation opportunity to deliver significant economic and employment benefits for the people of Lancashire.
The site has been earmarked as a major new employment site for many years and there is now an opportunity to bring it forward supported by the provision of other commercial uses, including retail, hotel and leisure facilities which will support the wider employment function of the area.
The area within the red line is subject to this planning application.
We'd like to know what the local community thinks of the plans, before a planning application is submitted for the proposals.
Planning permission was granted in 2017 for proposals which were anchored by IKEA and other national retailers. However, the anchor store operator pulled out of the scheme in 2018.
The revised planning strategy for the site is for a more ’employment-focused’ mix of uses given the change in the retail market and the rise of good quality employment opportunities in sectors such as warehousing, logistics and distribution, for which this site is well-suited to accommodate given proximity to the M65, M6 and M61 motorway networks.
The proposals will deliver a vibrant high-quality development, totalling up to 160, 000 sq. m of floorspace with a strong employment focus, including:
Around 2,000 new jobs in a variety of sectors including a wide range of higher skilled, higher salaried positions
Significant new local employment space for offices, research and development, industrial, storage and distribution uses
Commercial uses such as retail (foodstore, car showroom), food and drink outlets (including family dining), gym/crèche, health centre/pharmacy and leisure facilities to support uses that will generate employment
Up to 116 new homes set in a natural landscape and next to existing houses
Significant landscaping and the creation of areas of ecological habitat across the site and new attractive walking and cycle routes connecting to existing routes and public rights of way.
Illustrative Development Framework (detailed design assessed via Reserved Matters applications)
The development will be phased with a proportion of employment space and some commercial use and residential likely to start first, as well as the green infrastructure corridor, sustainable drainage and both on and off-site highways infrastructure.
Indicative phasing plan
Highways & Infrastructure
Sustainable Infrastructure improvements
The site is easily accessible and like the previous scheme, we propose a number of infrastructure improvements, including:
New accesses and associated road infrastructure improvements
New pedestrian/cycle crossings and public transport improvements
Significant investment in infrastructure, including green and blue spaces, including ponds, swales, open drainage features and planting, highways, pedestrian/cycle routes and public transport improvements, responding to the wellbeing agenda.
Significant landscaping and tree planting and the creation of areas of ecological habitat across the site.
Green and blue spaces, including ponds, swales, open drainage features and planting, responding to the wellbeing agenda.
New attractive walking and cycle routes connecting to existing routes and public rights of way.
Indicative green infrastructure plan
Social & Economic benefits
These proposals represent a multi-million pound investment and are essential to Lancashire’s emerging long-term strategy, ‘Lancashire 2050’, and will also support the county’s post Covid-19 recovery
New employment space with direct access to the motorway network will encourage new business to the area and allow existing businesses room to grow. Other commercial uses, such as retail and leisure facilities will also support the wider employment development
The creation of circa 2,000 new local jobs in a wide range of positions, in addition to hundreds of new construction related jobs created per year during development
Increased expenditure providing a significant boost to the local economy. Once fully occupied, the development could generate £89 million of GVA (Gross Added Value) per year
Significant investment in infrastructure, including green and blue spaces and planting, highways, pedestrian/cycle routes and public transport improvements, responding to the wellbeing agenda
New homes in Central Lancashire
Higher skilled jobs with competitive salaries, boosting employment growth and creating a quality place to work, live and visit, making a real difference to the lives and wellbeing for people in Lancashire
A design which will include a number of sustainability initiatives which offer an effective response to climate change .
We intend to submit a planning application to the local planning authority Lancashire County Council in the coming weeks.
Outline planning permission will be sought for all elements, except access points and a proportion of core green infrastructure, which will be in detail.
Detailed development proposals for each plot will then follow through a series of separate applications for ‘reserved matters’.
Why is Lancashire County Council the planning authority for this site?
The application site is on land which the county council owns, which means that the county council must act as the planning authority under Regulation 3 and 4 of the Town and Country Planning General Regulations 1992.
The planning application will still go through the same process of assessment by officers, who will undertake all formal consultations and will consider all aspects of the development, including design, transport and access, environmental impact, noise, lighting etc.
It will be subject to thorough assessment by officers who will make a recommendation to planning committee members, who in turn will make the final decision.
Should planning permission be granted and there are no delays in the planning or development process, work could begin on the initial infrastructure works later in the year.
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