RIGHT royal plans which will lead to the creation of scores of jobs in greater Garstang have been lodged with Wyre Council.
Royal landowner the Duchy of Lancaster wants to convert and revamp the former North Planks Farm, Bilsborrow, into a Rural Business Centre.
If, as look likely, the plans are approved, the disused farm, which has its own courtyard, will become a rural powerhouse, generating up to about 80 jobs.
The Duchy wants to convert some of the old buildings as well as build new ones to create business bases for companies which are outgrowing their current premises, as well as for growing on ‘baby’ businesses at nearby incubator business base at Myerscough College to move into.
The move has been welcomed by Brock ward councillor and Wyre cabinet member Coun Pete Murphy.
He said: “The application will give new ventures the chance to flourish in an environment that gives them some security.
“In the current economic situation the Duchy should be applauded for their investment in this scheme that will hopefully bring jobs to our area and give budding entrepreneurs an opportunity to flourish.”
A report submitted to Wyre Council with the application explains the difficulties experienced by some businesses at Myerscough College’s incubator centre due to lack of space for expansion.
The new centre will be managed jointly by the Duchy and Myerscough College. In a statement the Duchy said: “This proposal will make significant and tangible contributions to the community and local economy.”
North Planks is part of the Duchy’s Myerscough estate. It is the only estate to have been continually owned by the Duchy since the 13th century.
About four years ago Wyre Council gave the Duchy the okay for the site to become the base for the Royal Lancashire Agricultural Society’s annual show. Bad weather in 2008 and 2009 meant a show was never held there, and the RLAS quit the site in 2009 in an undignified spat with its landlord.
Since then the Duchy has been looking at other ways of raising revenue from its local landholding.
Last year permission was given for a £6m luxury holiday lodge park on Duchy owned land at South Planks Farm. Work on that is expected to begin soon.
The Duchy says it wants to build on the presence of both the college and the nearby holiday lodge project, and would be interested to hear from local firms.
The new Rural Business Centre will be reached by the same road as the holiday park. The Duchy’s application business centre bid is similar, but slightly smaller, to a plan lodged, and later withdrawn, about a year ago.
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