Is Brierfield Mills revival plan safe?
Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson had called for an urgent meeting with Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne to discuss the progress of the project to redevelop the former Smith and Nephew site in Parliament on Tuesday.
He said the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership – a creative collaboration of leaders from business, universities and local councils who direct economic growth and drive job creation – had “inexplicably failed to bid for any funding as part of the second round of the growth deal”.
But, 24 hours later, the LEP announced it had agreed an espansion to its “growth deal” with the Government which would see an extra £17.2m. invested in Lancashire between 2016 and 2021.
This involves six projects, one of which is Brierfield Mills.
Speaking on Wednesday, LEP chairman Edwin Booth said: “We are building a hugely significant economic programme, which will deliver new investment, employment and housing growth opportunities in Lancashire.
“Today’s expansion to our Growth Deal announcement represents a further vote of confidence in the work of the LEP and its local partners”.
And Tim Webber MBE, chairman and managing director of Barnfield Construction, said: “I am pleased to see the hard work of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership and local partners like ourselves has been recognised by the Government.
“We are committed to working with the LEP to deliver projects that will improve our local communities while continuing to make Lancashire a great place to work and invest in”.
Mr Stephenson had written a strongly-worded letter to Mr Booth over the matter and said the whole project could have been put at risk without its support.