New jobs, investment and transport planned as Council launches ambitious new strategy

Published December 12, 2018 at 12:05

Ambitious new plans to boost Rossendale’s economy have been unveiled as Rossendale Council announces its new economic development strategy.

The strategy is designed to create new jobs, bring in investment, improve transport links, deliver big projects and develop the borough’s town centres.

What the strategy means for Rossendale:

  • Private sector investment in Rossendale’s town centres, from employment sites and residential development worth £550m
  • Over £200m public sector investment in rail and road infrastructure
  • Creation of 1600 new jobs, with more than 800 new jobs in growth sectors
  • Achieving greater prosperity for all by raising income levels
  • Increasing the business rate base on undeveloped and under-utilised sites

The new strategy is the culmination of hard work across the borough and beyond to bring about sustainable economic growth, generate opportunities for investment and create new jobs locally.

The vision for the strategy includes, by 2033, improved two-way connectivity with Greater Manchester and firmly establishing the Invest in Rossendale brand within the business community in Rossendale – this includes offering support to businesses through its business relationship programme, help with property enquiries, an NNDR relief policy and networking opportunities.

Council Leader, Cllr Alyson Barnes, said:

This is a 15 year vision with a three year action plan and it’s all about having our strategic ambitions worked out. We are ambitious and we want to develop the economy but it has to be sustainable growth. We need to continue to lobby for resources to make much needed improvements to our infrastructure and balance the need for economic growth with the needs of our residents. We have a unique heritage and history in the borough and we will always pay heed to that.

Key to the creation of the strategy has been Cllr Barnes leading on the formation of a team of Council officers tasked specifically with using the Local Authority’s powers to grow the economy and bring new investment into the borough.

That team is led by Director of Economic Development, Cath Burns, and is made up of the Council’s economic development, planning and property services teams all working together to plan and deliver specific projects.

Cath said:

The vision for my team, and of the Council as a whole, is an ambitious, business friendly council that actively welcomes and values sustainable growth and investment.  This is not only about supporting the creation of new businesses and the expansion of our existing businesses, but attracting businesses from outside the area to locate here. The borough is well placed strategically in the sub-region bordered by Manchester and West Yorkshire, and benefits from good communications from the M66 and A56. Bringing forward new employment sites for growth businesses will bring better paid jobs to the area.

Rossendale is also the only borough in Lancashire without a rail link.  The provision of a new rail link between Rawtenstall and Greater Manchester will support both business and residential investment, as well as improving access for both employment and visitors.

Local residents are also key to the vision in the strategy – with the goal being to provide improved life chances and achieve greater economic success through the provision of enhanced employment, skills and educational opportunities.

Many key projects referenced in the strategy are already underway with more planned; the borough’s town centres are key with a desire for Rawtenstall, Bacup and Haslingden to be known across the region for their unique offers and be strong destinations for shoppers and visitors.  

Following recent successes at Spinning Point and New Hall Hey which have attracted £14m investment and created over 175 jobs.

Cllr Barnes added:

The refurbishment of the town hall is a tangible sign of progress of the Spinning Point project and we have unveiled our preferred option for phase two of the development, including a spa, hotel, a number of apartments and further provision of independent shops and national chains.

Bacup is also being transformed thanks to the £2m Townscape Heritage Initiative funding, and this strategy will put in place a new vision for Bacup, by working with our local residents to take advantage of our best preserved cotton town and its links to the South Pennines. The strategy will also define our longer term aspirations for Haslingden.

We also very much want to build on the Adrenaline Valley brand and the cultural offer and, to that end, we’re continuing to work with Ski Rossendale in terms of the money that they’ve been allocated from Sport England to improve facilities.

So with the economic development strategy now out there, these are exciting times for the borough.

Cllr Barnes said:

What residents can expect is better access to jobs and better access to well-paid jobs.  An increased noise about Rossendale as a place to invest, greater opportunities now and for the next generation; growth and opportunities to improve skills. I think what they’ll see is Rossendale as a place to invest, extra businesses moving in and a general buzz amongst all the towns here.

For more information contact: Cath Burns, Director of Economic Development, tel: (01706) 252429

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