Thousands of jobs could be created with the development of a multi-million pound technology park in Hyndburn.
The borough council has granted outline planning permission to create a ‘knowledge park’ on land between the Whitebirk roundabout and Blackburn Road in Knuzden.
The 90-acre site has been earmarked as a key strategic employment area and is now being marketed to potential businesses and developers. It could provide another massive jobs boost for the borough and comes after a recent announcement that 300 new BT call centre jobs will be created at the Globe Centre in Accrington.
A further 200 engineering jobs will also be created through a state-of-the-art training facility at Electricity North West’s Whitebirk depot.
Council leader Miles Parkinson said they hope to replicate the success of the Altham business and industrial park in attracting ‘high quality’ businesses and jobs into the borough.
He said: "We want technology led businesses on there and not just putting warehouses and sheds up. The fundamental thing that we need is high quality jobs and try to attract these firms to the area. You look at the success of Altham which has created high end jobs and world leading products with companies like Simon Jersey and Callender.
"Those are the sorts of businesses and jobs we need, offering good income levels that can then be fed back into the local economy."
The application was originally submitted to the council back in 2003 but has since been delayed over planning condition concerns.
The outline permission now granted by the council includes scope for research and development buildings as well as a ‘neighbourhood centre’ made up of retail shops, restaurants, a creche and a fitness centre.
There is also the potential for building five apartments with associated car parking, cycleways, public transport facilities and landscaping.
Property advisers Matthews and Goodman, who are marketing the site, described the area as the ‘largest future employment site in Lancashire’. David Newman, of Matthews and Goodman, said: "We have been approached with proposals and we are in dialogue with a number of parties including local companies."
He added: "It has been earmarked as a strategic employment site. That is what the local authority would like to see."
The application, made by international real estate firm Capita Symons, is subject to a section 106 agreement being completed within the next three months.