Blackburn with Darwen s1

Plan for Prosperity 2014

Blackburn with Darwen

A Plan for Prosperity

2014- 2020


Executive Summary 3

Chapter 1 Introduction and Borough Profile 5

Map: Strategic Development 9

Chapter 2 Infrastructure and Housing 10

Chapter 3 Investment 16

Chapter 4 Innovation and Expertise 19

Chapter 5 Employability 20

Chapter 6 Quality of Life 24

Chapter 7 Image and Marketing 28

Chapter 8 Funding 29

Chapter 9 Governance and Delivery 31

APPENDIX A: Action Plans 34

APPENDIX B: Information Sources 53

Executive Summary

This Plan for Prosperity sets out how Blackburn with Darwen’s (BwD) Local Strategic Partnership Board (LSP) intends to secure greater prospects for the Borough over the next six years. It brings together the policies and economic strategies for growth into one place. It helps us to reflect upon the achievements and activities which are already underway, at the same time as maintaining momentum for continued progress and aligning our priorities with new national and European funds.

In March 2014, the LSP held a summit on the emergingplan. The session was attended by leading figures from the private, public and third sectors andoutlined recent research into the borough’s economy and the emerging priorities aroundinfrastructure, investment, innovation, employability and quality of life. The event was an opportunity for businesses to influence and shape the strategy which will help to align the Borough with wider Lancashire activity. Central to this was consideration of existing barriers to growth and how we can overcome these, the main opportunities for growth and what can be done collectively to promote a positive image of the borough – all of which are listed in the Action plans.

A number of key areas are highlighted in the document, which are fundamental to the success of the Borough and form individual chapter headings which reflect the Lancashire LEP priorities and BwD LSP themes:

Infrastructure and Housing
Quality of Life
Image and Marketing
Governance and Delivery

Each chapter sets out the topic profile and identifies the relevant issues and opportunities. Action Plans for each chapter are included in Appendix A.

What do we mean by “Prosperity” and why is it a good thing?

“Prosperity” / For businesses / Becoming more competitive with less risk
For individuals / Better life prospects
For the public sector / Achieving greater efficiency and reducing dependence on services
For the voluntary sector / Opportunity to achieve goals and give something back

This Plan creates a framework for strengthened focus and partnerships across all sectors.

Throughout the document, strategic documents are signposted where additional detail and evidence can be found. A comprehensive list of these information sources is also included at Appendix B.

The overarching aim of the document is to provide an effective tool to focus on the projects, activities and interventions which will secure the prosperity of the Borough to 2020. At the same time we are about to embark on the implementation of the County-wide Strategic Economic Plan and delivery of the European Strategic Investment Fund (ESiF) which will provide funding and powers to achieve many of the goals of this plan.

Chapter 1

Introduction and Borough Profile

Borough Profile

Blackburn with Darwen is situated in Pennine Lancashire and covers 137 square kilometers and in 2012 had a population of 147,700.

The borough is surrounded by beautiful countryside and is a key geographical and cultural gateway to Pennine Lancashire. It is located between the high land on the Metropolitan boroughs of Bolton and Bury in the South and Mellor ridge to the north. The West Pennine Moors form a natural barrier to Chorley and to the east a barrier to Rossendale. The borough is characterised by relatively compact urban areas set within countryside. Within the main urban areas both Town Centres are surrounded by large areas of high density terraced housing. Both towns have significant areas of “suburban” development, comprising a mix of larger older properties and more recent development. The borough has significant rural fringes containing a number of attractive Pennine villages. The landscape in the rural area has been shaped by farming – sheep on the uplands and dairy cattle on the low-lying areas – and small-scale mining and quarrying.

The borough’s population is young, diverse and is growing. Data from the 2011 census shows that the workday population of the borough (151,566) is almost 3% higher than the usual resident population (147,700). The authority has a bias towards a much younger population than is the norm, and therefore has fewer people of pensionable age than is the average for England and Wales.

At the district level, the figures reveal that in the youngest age group (0-14 years), as a proportion of the total population, Blackburn with Darwen had at least one-in-five of its residents (21.7%) in this category, this compares to 18% in the region and nationally. Non-white ethnic groups have a much younger age profile with a high proportion of children. In contrast, 1 in 7 (13.5%) of the population are aged 65 or over compared to 17% in the region and nationally. Two thirds of the population (63.4%) is of working age, this is similar to the regional (64%) and national averages (64.2%).

The number of households in Blackburn with Darwen (with at least 1 resident) grew from 53,407 to 57,400 between 2001 and 2011, a 7.5% increase. This compares to an increase of 7.0% in the North West and 7.9% nationally.

Local Economic Profile

Our strategy for economic growth needs to consider the wider context within which our local economy operates. Blackburn with Darwen is a member of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP), which was established in April 2011 to drive economic growth and job creation. The LEP covers the whole of Lancashire, including the unitary local authorities of Blackburn with Darwen and Blackpool. It seeks to create up to 50,000 jobs over the next 10 years and to draw investment into Lancashire.

One of the key priorities for the LEP has been the establishment of the Lancashire Enterprise Zone (EZ), located within the neighbouring boroughs of Ribble Valley and South Ribble. Focusing on the advanced engineering and manufacturing sector, the EZ aims to boost industrial activity and is expected to generate up to 6,000 high value jobs, many of which are likely to be taken up by people living in Blackburn with Darwen.

In addition to the EZ, the LEP is central to the delivery of more specific projects within Blackburn with Darwen such as connectivity improvements to the Clitheroe / Blackburn / Manchester rail route and Junction 5 improvements on the M65, and funding support for the Cathedral Quarter development.

Blackburn with Darwen is also an important player within the Pennine Lancashire sub-region, which includes five other local authorities; Burnley, Hyndburn, Pendle, Rossendale and Lancashire County Council. This group of local authorities, which share economic markets and travel-to-work areas, work together to pool resources and expertise with the aim of delivering projects across the sub-region to achieve and encourage investment in the area.

Overall Economic Performance

Productivity is fundamental to competitiveness and a good indication of an area’s overall economic health.

Gross Value Added (GVA) and Gross Disposable Household Income (GDHI) are indicators of economic prosperity that allow comparisons of local, regional and national performance to be made and to examine progress over time.

Gross Value Added (GVA) is a measure of productivity in an area and shows how much an area contributes to the UK economy. Gross Value Added (GVA) data highlights that the borough contributes less to the UK economy per head of population, than the UK average.

Blackburn with Darwen produced £2.2bn GVA in 2013, comprising 1.7% of North West production. It grew by 3.3% over the year, higher than the regional (2.2%) and national (1.6%) averages. Average growth in GVA for the ten years to 2012 in Blackburn with Darwen (3.4%) was similar to the North West (3.5%) but lower than the national (UK) average (3.7%). In 1997, 38.1% of GVA in Blackburn with Darwen was generated from manufacturing, with 20.2% from the public sector; by 2012, the public sector (26.9%) contributed more to GVA than manufacturing (20.6%), GVA from business services and finance increased from 5% in 1996 to 7.7% in 2012 and for distribution; transport, accommodation and food from 16.3% to 20.7%.

Indexed GVA per head highlights that for 2012, the boroughs GVA index is 70.9, which is 29.1 index points below the UK index of 100, this compares to 61.4 for Blackpool and 78.9 for Lancashire’s 12 authorities.

Gross Disposable Household Income is the amount of money that households have available for spending or savings after taxes, social contributions, pensions and housing interest payments have been taken into account.

In absolute terms Blackburn with Darwen had a total GDHI in 2011 amounting to £1.647 billion, this represents a 0.2% of the national and 1.6% of the regional total. Within the region, Blackburn with Darwen’s total GDHI was the lowest of the 14 NUTS[1] level 3 authorities.

GDHI per head of the population shows that for Blackburn with Darwen, average GDHI per head of population in 2011 was £11,722, a fifth lower than the regional average and a quarter lower than the UK average. It grew by 5.9% between 2010 and 2011 and a modest 2.2% between 2010 and 2011.

Another measure of how well a locality is performing is The UK Competitiveness Index. This was first developed in 2000 and is now an established method of gauging changes in competitiveness regionally and in Local Authority Districts. UKCI is a well established and robust indicator for competitiveness which provides a relative measure with UK =100. Blackburn with Darwen’s CI score for 2013 was 85.1.

Blackburn with Darwen has fallen 3 places in the rankings between 2010 and 2013, the competitiveness index score however has only decreased by 1.5PPts during this time and has remained fairly stable since 2005.

The Unique Strengths of Blackburn with Darwen

The Blackburn with Darwen Development Market Study (2012) included a comprehensive analysis of the social, economic and physical characteristics of the Borough, with an aim to provide a focus for interventions that will deliver the most benefits and will provide confidence and clarity to external parties over what is happening in the Borough. The study highlighted the Borough’s economic and residential strengths, as illustrated below.

Economic Strengths / Residential Strengths
Town centre retail offer improving / Attractive western neighbourhood
Cathedral Quarter development / Well located for Central Lancashire
Rail connectivity / Value for money property
M65 connectivity / Growing student market
Entrepreneurial culture / Investment in health and education
Industrial strength / Easy access to countryside
Latent demand for small-medium sized industrial units
Affordable labour
Growing education sector
Native business loyalty
Blackburn Rovers providing positive brand

The study also identified key opportunities for growth:

Economic Opportunities / Residential Opportunities
Improve M65 connections / Promote the safe market town image
Former Market Hall site potential for further retail development / Potential student accommodation demand rising to meet College growth
Improved connections – Pennine Reach / Potential for affordable housing requirements to be applied flexibly
Strengthen education offer / Discount compared to Ribble Valley
Relevant difference - play to strengths rather than competing with other towns / Preston growth may stimulate Blackburn
residential market
Delivery of Whitebirk Strategic Employment Site through a collaborative approach / Use of former paper mill sites for residential development in attractive settings
Adopt flexible planning framework policies which allow developers to adapt and respond to prevailing market conditions / Asian community seeking residential expansion
Property market to tap into entrepreneurs / Build to rent model growing in relevance
Improving retail offer / Developers exploring innovative shared equity measures

Strategic Development in Blackburn with Darwen

Core Strategy Key Diagram Adoption

Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council Core Strategy (2011)
Chapter 2

Infrastructure and Housing

This Plan for Prosperity supports a series of key objectives which are identified within the Blackburn with Darwen Core Strategy. Central to these objectives is the provision of employment sites, an effective transport system, housing growth and successful school provision.

In order to work towards these strategic objectives, the necessary physical, social and environmental infrastructure must be identified and delivered. Detailed infrastructure needs are set out in the Council’s Infrastructure Delivery Plan[2].

Creating prosperity in the Borough requires investment in strategic infrastructure and improvements to connectivity. Key requirements are shown on the diagram below.

In addition to the Borough’s Infrastructure Delivery Plan, a local highways study has been undertaken which considers Transport Implications on the Local Highway Network (Dec 2013) and the East Lancashire Highways and Transport Masterplan (Jan 2014) has been adopted. The Borough’s Local Transport Plan (LTP3) sets out transport priorities until 2021.

Rail Connectivity

Rail patronage (recorded journeys to/from local rail stations) has increased by a third between 2006/07 and 20011/12 with 1.8 million passenger journeys recorded at the six local stations in 2012. The Council hopes to support this trend, via three key priorities:

·  Enhancements in rail infrastructure to improve the capacity and frequency of rail services between Blackburn and the Manchester City Region, which will assist in sharing in the Borough’s economic growth including attracting higher wage earners to live in the Borough.

·  Improvements to the East Lancashire rail service which links the Borough with Preston/Blackpool in the west and Accrington/Burnley/Colne in the east due to the quality of the rolling stock and signalling issues.

·  Improved passenger waiting facilities at a number of smaller stations in the Borough.


The role of the M65 is as a key inter–urban route whose principal function is to link the main population and employment centres of Preston, Blackburn, Burnley and Colne with routes of strategic national and regional importance as well as destinations in other regions. Providing the Borough with a direct link to the regional and national motorway network south of Preston (M6 and M61), and its efficient functioning is vital to the Borough’s economic growth ambitions.