Published March 23, 2021 at 9:14
AN EXTERNAL assessment of Rossendale Council’s Economic Development and Property Team concluded it delivers a strong return on investment.
For every £1 invested by the council, the report says the return is ‘considerable’, particularly regarding the successes of employability project Rossendale Works and the team’s ability to generate new employment and safeguard existing jobs.
Research consultancy ekosgen was tasked with evaluating the team’s progress against the priorities outlined in the Economic Development Strategy, which was adopted in 2018.
Five key areas were examined: establishing thriving town centres; establishing and investing in the Rossendale brand; creating a strong business base; developing visitor economy and ensuring residents and communities reached their full potential.
Despite the difficult last 12 months during the pandemic, the authority was found to have delivered on 22 actions in full and had made strong progress against a further 16.
They found a total of £7.6 million in external funding had been secured to progress town centre improvements, employment sites, visitor attractions and Rossendale Works.
The team assisted the relocation of Bacup business Orthoplastics to a purpose-built unit at Futures Park securing 174 jobs with a further 100 to be created in the future and helped another company purchase a site in Stubbins securing 160 jobs and creating 40 new jobs.
In a report, ekosgen outlined how Rossendale Works had supported more than 300 people and helped 80 back into full-time jobs.
More than 3,500 people had attended business events held to provide practical support, networking and share knowledge.
Of the businesses surveyed by the consultants, 70 per cent said that they strongly agreed Rossendale had improved its profile as a place to live, work, visit and invest.
Rossendale Council leader Councillor Alyson Barnes said: “Considering how tricky times have been for all businesses and authorities over the last year, our Economic Development and Property Team has continued to perform exceptionally well and achieved beyond all expectations.
“On the jobs front, those 80 people who have been helped back into employment have saved £1.1million per annum in unemployment benefits.
“As well as the £7.9 million of external funding brought into the Valley, the team has secured more than £5.5 million of private investment.
“I am delighted that the fantastic outcomes for Rossendale that have been achieved by our Economic Development and Property Team have been recognised in this report.”
The report concludes: “The achievements outlined in this report have been delivered by a small team which have made considerable progress in a short time. This momentum needs to be maintained to allow the strategy’s objectives to be achieved in full.”
Photo caption:Rossendale Council leader Councillor Alyson Barnes with former TV Dragon entrepreneur Piers Linney.
Photos Liz Henson Photography