East Lancs MP welcomes news of six investments zones for region

Andrew Stephenson, MP for Pendle, at the House of Commons
Andrew Stephenson, MP for Pendle, at the House of Commons

An East Lancs MP has welcomed news for six new ‘investment zones’ in the region.

Andrew Stephenson MP has welcomed the news and urged local leaders to work with the Conservative Government to secure opportunities for local residents and businesses.

The Pendle MP has said that the North West could benefit from six new Investment Zones, announced in the Conservative Government’s Growth Plan, to benefit from streamlined planning rules and time limited tax cuts to boost growth in areas that need it most.

Under the initiative, each Investment Zone will offer generous, targeted and time-limited tax cuts for businesses, backing them to increase productivity and create new jobs.

The Government say this could encourage investment in new shopping centres, restaurants, apartments and offices, helping regenerate local high streets and communities across the whole region.

However critics have said trimmed down planning rules may make it easier for developers to build on greenfield sites and give locals less of a say in changes to their towns and villages.

Mr Stephenson said: “Too often development and investment is prevented or delayed by lengthy planning processes – this is wrong and needs to be overcome if we are serious about economic growth.

“That is why I welcome that the North West has been selected as the home of six of the 38 new Investment Zones and becoming a hub for growth, as the Government slashes red tape and incentivises investment to increase productivity and create jobs in our local community.

“By investing in the infrastructure our country needs and reducing the cost of doing business, we are creating jobs and opportunities across the North West, and laying the foundations for a strong, competitive, economy.”

Investment Zones will also benefit from liberalised planning rules to release more land for housing and commercial development, and reforms to increase the speed of delivering development.

Time-consuming negotiations between councils and developers for each project over affordable housing will be scrapped.

This will be replaced with a set percentage of affordable homes, while making sure communities get the infrastructure they want and need.

Investment Zones will only be established with support from local leaders, with the Conservative Government working in partnership with local authorities to deliver benefits for local residents, as well as devolved Administrations and councils in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.