Preston is located in the North West of England, forming the third point of a triangle between Liverpool and Manchester. It has a population of 140,000 within its city boundaries and is part of the wider Primary Urban Area of Preston, Chorley and South Ribble with a population of 365,000. It is also the main economic hub and significant employer for wider Lancashire and is an emerging regional services centre and a significant transport hub for both the road network and rail.

There is a strong culture of entrepreneurialism currently existing in Preston – there are 70.2 business start ups per 10,000 working age population. University and colleges cater for around 50,000 local students in total. 

Preston’s City Deal was agreed in September 2013 and will release funds to deliver vital infrastructure (mainly roads, but also a new train station at Cottam) which will enable significant commercial and housing development, create 20,000 new jobs and £1 bn growth in Gross Added Value (GVA) over the next ten years.

This will build further on the advantage of Preston’s location and good accessibility driving further economic growth and building on the strengths of advanced manufacturing, aerospace and nuclear within the Preston/South Ribble area.

Preston is already benefitting from a multi-million pound project to enhance entrance ways, junctions and roads in the city centre making Preston a more attractive place to invest and do business. Other prime development areas are attracting interest including a £1m investment into the Georgian Winckley Square professional district.

Improved transport infrastructure through the City Deal, electrification of the rail line between Manchester and Blackpool, and improved rail infrastructure (HS2) are all opportunities for developing connectivity between Preston PUA and the rest of Lancashire.

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