WORK has started on a new IKEA store near Chorley and Leyland.

The 160-acre site is the largest single location being delivered through the City Deal and it will provide 80,000 sq ft of industrial space, 26,000 sq ft of office space, 4,500 permanent new jobs, 2,900 jobs during construction and up to 210 homes, with IKEA already committed as an anchor tenant.

As well as bringing new retail and leisure to the area, the development will see major investment into the local highway infrastructure and will provide new green infrastructure and landscaping, new footpath and cycle routes which will link the site to existing amenities, including Cuerden Valley Park.

Karen Hirst, managing director at Maple Grove Developments, said: “There has been really strong interest in the phase one retail site from a wide range of occupiers and we are in discussion with numerous parties.

“We look forward to being able to make more announcements on which other retail occupiers will be coming to the first phase of Lancashire Central in the very near future.”

Ben Scandrett, Group Surveyor at Brookhouse Group said: “This 160-acre site is largest single location being delivered through the Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal and is capable of providing up to 4,500 jobs.

"The retail element is just the first phase of the site, funding the infrastructure needed to open up the remainder of the site.

"It is a strategic employment site for Lancashire, and as such we aim to ensure that we maximise the employment opportunities right across the site.”

Tim Farlam, IKEA Real Estate Manager said: “At IKEA, we want to be more accessible, bringing our unique home furniture expertise and product range closer to more customers.

"We are very excited the planning application has been approved for the Lancashire Central development at Cuerden.

"We are currently working with Lancashire County Council, who as site owners will be providing the infrastructure for the larger site and therefore it is too soon to say when we will start on site and likewise when we will open.”