Spades have gone into the ground to officially mark the start of a key project backed by Lancashire County Council’s £12.8m Economic Recovery and Growth Fund.
And the Cabinet member for economic development and growth said it’s the first of many major regeneration schemes which will be starting soon around the county to boost Lancashire’s economic recovery from Covid-19.
Work has officially begun on Project Neptune – a new commercial food processing facility on Fleetwood Docks, which will create new jobs and growth in the town.
Along with Fleetwood, the fund is also backing plans to support a range of diverse economic activity across the county and support the regeneration of our towns and key sectors within Lancashire.
County Councillor Aidy Riggott, cabinet member for economic development and growth, who attended the official start of the work at Fleetwood, said: “We established the Lancashire Economic Recovery and Growth Fund to support schemes which can be quickly developed to secure local jobs and invest in future growth, and I’m very pleased that work is already getting underway on Project Neptune which will be so vital to Fleetwood’s economy.
“We’re working hard to agree support for many other important projects, in partnership with the private sector and our public sector colleagues to deliver an economic boost as our county’s economy recovers from the impact of the pandemic.”
The Lancashire Economic Recovery and Growth Fund includes projects to enhance the manufacturing and digital sectors including support for the advanced manufacturing & engineering sector, a young apprenticeship scheme targeted at Lancashire’s major industrial sector and a Lancashire Rural Recovery Fund focussed upon digital connectivity in rural economies.
Investment is being made in town centres as they look to fully re-open, including Rawtenstall and Barnoldswick, with further programmes in development including a Regeneration Programme Masterplan for Skelmersdale.
Funding is also helping to develop business cases as part of the national Restore Our Railways programme and support new rail infrastructure including the Burscough Curves and a new Midge Hall Railway Station.
Increasing and developing new employment capacity at the council’s business parks has featured strongly in the plans, with support provided to help to bring forward land as part of the Heysham Gateway, with other major employment site opportunities to come.
The £12.8 million Lancashire Economic Recovery and Growth Fund has been developed and led by the county council, to tackle specific urgent and immediate economic impacts of Covid-19 and stimulate economic growth in urban and rural areas. It will also help unlock longer-term strategic economic development and infrastructure projects integral to our “Redefining Lancashire” objectives by levering further investment from the private sector and other stakeholders including government.
The Project Neptune site in Fleetwood, currently owned by Associated British Ports (ABP), will be the new home for some of the current fish processing businesses in the port, allowing them to grow and become more productive. Led by Wyre Council, working in partnership with ABP, Project Neptune will create a 40,500 sq ft modern commercial food processing facility providing space for 11 businesses housed in two buildings.
This project aims to unlock future investment in Fleetwood, as well as safeguarding existing fish processing industry jobs and create up to 100 new ones.
Project Neptune has also been facilitated thanks to the UK Government’s Getting Building Fund, the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, capital investment from Wyre Council to purchase the facility.