United front puts Fylde enterprise zones in international shop window

The We Are Lancashire stand at the MIPIM Conference London
The We Are Lancashire stand at the MIPIM Conference London

A united front to show that Lancashire is open for business has been hailed a success at a major international conference.

The We Are Lancashire campaign has also been seen as a significant step towards the red rose county becoming a force in the Northern Powerhouse as a combined authority.

Business and community leaders met influential Government ministers and hundreds of delegates, drawn from across the property and investment world at MIPIM UK a three-day conference at Olympia in London.

It was led by the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, the county council and nine local councils, plus Marketing Lancashire and businesses the Eric Wright Group, Colliers and Carillion PLC.

Greg Hands, Minister of State in the Department for International Trade, Andrew Jones, Under Secretary of State for Transport and Andrew Percy, Minister for the Northern Powerhouse, all attended.

We are Lancashire also hosted a panel event, chaired by chief executive at Downtown in Business, Frank McKenna.

An audience of 50 heard from panellists including Karen Hirst, director, Maple Grove Developments, Guy Gilfillan, director, Colliers International and Martin Kelly director of economic development at Lancashire County Council on the opportunities in Lancashire including its key role within the Northern Powerhouse agenda and the enterprise zones including those at Warton, Blackpool Airport and Hillhouse Thornton.

Edwin Booth, chairman of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, said: “To see the whole of Lancashire pull together, and make a passionate and confident economic case for the county to government ministers and international investors alike, was a real first.

“The response to the We Are Lancashire proposition, including the new Advanced Manufacturing and Energy cluster, was also extremely positive and we definitely made a big impression.

“However we know that we are fiercely competing with other UK regions for the many of the same investment opportunities, so the next stage is to use the momentum from our successful MIPIM debut to convert investor interest into genuine prospects.”

Lancashire Enterprise Partnership board member and chairman of UCLan, David Taylor said: “The Lancashire partners have recently started to work together, and in my experience it’s only by working together that you begin to get to know each other and manage the political and geographical differences.”