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32


INTERVIEW THE BIG


IN ASSOCIATION WITH:


By Ged Henderson


A DEVELOPING RELATIONSHIP


Karen Hirst is extolling the virtues and value of partnerships and the vital role she believes they will play in forging Lancashire’s post- Covid future.


 bringing the public and private sectors together with impressive results.


Karen, 52, is managing director of Maple Grove Developments. Part of the Lancashire-headquartered Eric Wright Group, it continues to work closely with its public sector partners to deliver real change across the red rose county.


 application for the £21m Pioneer Place scheme in Burnley town centre.


The partnership with Burnley Council will deliver 120 new jobs, provide work for 180 during construction and add £1.35m GVA to the local economy.


The developer is hard at work with Blackburn with Darwen Council to form a joint venture that will acquire the former Thwaites brewery site and look at a range of redevelopment options.


Maple Grove is also Lancashire County Council’s developer partner in the delivery of the key strategic 40-hectare Lancashire Central site at Cuerden, near Bamber Bridge.


These are just some of the ventures set to play a role in the county’s recovery and they highlight the breadth of development projects Karen and her tight-knit team are involved in, not just in Lancashire but across the UK.


Looking beyond the current pandemic, Karen urges the public sector to be innovative in their approach to recovery and in their efforts to secure  government’s new ‘levelling-up’ fund.


Warming to the theme she adds: “Lancashire has got a whole host of positives which we all know about and don’t get shouted about enough.


Growing up on farms, I


didn’t want a job where I was in the office every day, I like to make things happen


“The challenges are going to be Lancashire’s towns and cities. That’s going to be the case around the country.


“We’re all going to have to rethink towns, what they are about and why we go there.”


She goes on: “Coronavirus has accelerated some things and slowed others down. We’re going to have to look at how things are different and the changes that are here to stay.”


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