THE coalition governments plan to replace regional development agencies with local enterprise partnerships (LEP), was set back in Lancashire this week.
A number of Lancashire Councils submitted separate bids to set up LEP’s in their prospective townships but all the proposals were rejected by the government.
Ministers approved bids for Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) in other regions of the North West, but Lancashire, which raised eyebrows by submitting three separate tenders instead of a unified plan, was not on the list released by the Department of Business.
The department has sent feedback to unsuccessful LEPs and says it will welcome revised proposals. Ministers had reportedly wanted a single partnership to encompass Lancashire, but local authorities from Blackburn with Darwen, Burnley, Preston, Ribble Valley, Hyndburn, Rossendale, Pendle, Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre all rejected the single body.
The North West Development Agency was a big supporter of Recycling Lives and had been Making big things happen’ in the North West since 1999.
To date the agency has created or safeguarded 222,000 jobs, created 23,000 new businesses, reclaimed 4,700 ha of Brownfield land and levered £3.2 billion private sector investment.
It has been instrumental in driving forward the growth of Daresbury Science & Innovation Campus, reversing the decline in areas like Ancoats and Blackpool, and turning transformational projects such as MediaCityUK and the University of Cumbria into a reality.
Closer to home the NWDA has played a key role in the success of Recycling Lives and its plans to develop the company for national expansion.
Recycling Lives Founder and Chairman Steven Jackson said: “Recycling Lives was a keen supporter of the NWDA and any LEP will have big shoes to fill.
“Over the next five years Recycling Lives intends to open 50 new centres across the country, offering people down on their luck the opportunity to make their lives better; through accommodation, education, training and work experience. Recycling Lives hopes it will receive the same level of support from any new Local Enterprise Partnership and we urge Lancashire to stand together united.”
Leader of Lancashire County Council, County Councillor Geoff Driver said: “Naturally we are disappointed that LEP status hasn’t been approved.
“It’s important we now focus on making sure Lancashire does not lose out as a result.
“I’ve already started contacting my local authority leader colleagues throughout the county to get together quickly to ensure Lancashire plays its full part in improving the economic prosperity of the North West.”