Thousands of jobs are set to be created at a new multimillion pound business and recreation park, it has been revealed.
Developers have proposed plans to create up to 2,000 jobs at a 98,000m2 development in Whitebirk, near Knuzden, adjacent to junction 6 of the M65 motorway.
Commercial property developers Praxis are hoping to create ‘the largest future employment site in Lancashire’ at Whitebirk by building a variety of facilities, including an industrial and warehouse development, offices, a hotel and food and leisure amenities.
The news comes as business bosses claimed that Accrington’s manufacturing industry is booming.
A planning application is expected to be submitted before July.
Gabriel McLaughlin, director and head of asset management at Praxis, said: “Against the backdrop of a tough economic environment, we are developing plans for a mixed employment development site that will act as a major boost to the local economy with the creation of up to 2,000 jobs of significant benefit to the local community.
“We are keen to ensure that the local community has the opportunity to comment on the scheme to help develop something we’re all proud of and that fulfils our objectives of attracting inward investment and creating a range of jobs for the area.”
Hyndburn MP Graham Jones said that the announcement was a ‘fantastic’ boost for the borough.
He said: “When I got elected as MP and when Miles Parkinson became leader of the council we changed the council’s priorities to focus on employment and skills.
“This development took a lot of hard work to secure and a lot to facilitate it, it is great that we can now see progress being made.”
Mr Jones said that he did not believe the mixed use development would be a threat to the prosperity of the town centre.
He said: “People have had less disposable income. That is why the town has been suffering, this development is creating jobs which can lift the local economy.”
Conservative group leader Peter Britcliffe also welcomed the move.
He said: “It is a fabulous new development creating 2,000 jobs and improving prosperity in the area.
“With a direct train link to Manchester coming soon and various investments in the town, things are really starting to come together.”
Mike Damms, president of East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, agreed that the development was a sign of changing fortunes for the town.
He said: “This will have a major boost for the town, there is the job creation in addition to the knock on effect it will have on the supply chain. It will bring money into the local economy.”
Mr Damms added: “The chamber have met the developers and we have found them highly credible and very thoughtful about what will be a good long development for the area.”
Praxis’ proposals will be presented at a drop-in public exhibition on Tuesday, February 24 between 12pm and 8pm at the Red Lion Public House, Whitebirk Road, Blackburn.
The exhibition will provide residents with the opportunity to have their say on the proposals, and put forward any questions to the project team.