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42


ZONES ENTERPRISE


AN ENTERPRISING APPROACH


Special report by Ged Henderson


Progress has been slow but the £20m building coming out of the ground in Samlesbury is a very visible sign the development of Lancashire’s Aerospace Enterprise Zone is gathering pace.


 Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC North West) is on target to be completed in the autumn.


Not only will it play a key role in the county’s economic future and its post-pandemic recovery, those behind the development of the zone believe it will act as a major catalyst for further inward investment on the site.


Samlesbury is one of four enterprise zone (EZ) sites that make up the wider Lancashire Advanced Manufacturing and Energy Cluster.


Blackpool Airport, Hillhouse in Wyre and Warton, which like Samlesbury sits next to a BAE Systems planemaking plant, make up the cluster.


 then Chancellor George Osborne. The collective aim of the Lancashire cluster was to help create more than 10,000 highly productive high value


jobs and “an economic and investor offer of 


A number of incentives were also announced to attract companies to EZs, including business rates relief and enhanced capital allowances.


There is no shortage


of interest and that is why this is a massively important site for us


The going has been slow at times. However, Stephen Young, Lancashire County Council’s executive director of growth, says the importance of the EZs is greater than ever, in terms of economic recovery from Covid-19 and the government’s levelling-up agenda.


He says: “The enterprise zones are a key part of the narrative with government and we remain committed to them.”


Stephen describes 2021 as a “huge year” for the project, with new infrastructure being developed on the Samlesbury site as well as the landmark AMRC building continuing to come out of the ground.


He adds: “Despite Covid, which has made it  project has continued at pace and is on track.”


In February, Electricity North West begin work on a £7.5m upgrade of its network in Samlesbury, to help power the 50-acre EZ site towards becoming a national centre of excellence for advanced engineering and manufacturing related companies.


The project includes the creation of a new 33,000-volt substation and laying more than 22km of underground cables connecting the site to the network, paving the way for further “strategic development”.


Stephen says: “It will really speed up what is going to happen on the site and we’re talking to a number of developers.”


He expects progress this year and adds: “There is no shortage of interest and that is why this is a massively important site for us.”


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