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City Deal "will create the jobs and housing that we need"

We reached this landmark deal because central government had confidence in our economic potential and our ability to deliver major projects, so it is great to have justified that confidence by being the first of the second wave of City Deals to physically start work.

By freeing Preston and the surrounding area from the shackles of the existing infrastructure we will enable the local economy to really take off and create the jobs and housing that we need.

This is a very exciting time for the Lancashire economy my as a whole."

– Edwin Booth, Chair of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership

We know that developers and businesses want to invest in Preston and we also know that there is demand for houses from families and professionals but we have been held back because of the lack of infrastructure required to give developments the go ahead.

City Deal will change all that and developments in North West Preston and East Preston are already moving forward.

This is the biggest thing to happen to Preston in decades and will ensure that we establish long term sustainable growth which will deliver, jobs, housing and higher living standards for local people.”

– Councillor Peter Rankin, Leader of Preston City Council

We already knew South Ribble was going places, and had great ambitions for the future.

Working with our friends and neighbours in this way makes us much greater than the sum of our parts, and the City Deal is a wonderful opportunity for us to accelerate our existing aspirations for the growth of our borough.

We will be delighted to welcome new employers and residents, and crucially, we have a plan in place for doing so while maintaining South Ribble’s rural nature.”

– Councillor Margaret Smith, Leader of South Ribble Borough Council

Multi-million growth plan for Lancashire aims to deliver 20,000 new jobs

Preston city centre. Credit: Preston City Council

A £430m scheme to deliver economic growth, new jobs and homes in Lancashire was launched today.

The City Deal is a decade-long plan to create more than 20,000 new jobs and more than 17,000 new homes.

It aims to boost the local economy by £1bn and attract £2.3bn in commercial investment.

Road improvements are at the heart of the City Deal scheme. Credit: Preston City Council

Work has already started on an £8m scheme to cut congestion on the A582, a key route into Preston.

This first phase will widen the road at its junction with Chain House Lane, to provide more lanes for traffic and make it easier for cyclists to use.

Later this month sees an upgrade for the A582 north of Cop Lane to a dual carriageway with improvements to the junction with Leyland Road.

Gulls v fighter jets - High court appeal against bird cull on Lancashire coast

Gulls accused of endangering Fighter jets Credit: PA

The RSPB wants the High Court to stop the cull of thousands of seabirds on the Lancashire coast.

It says killing 552 pairs of lesser black-backed gulls would set a dangerous precedent.

BAE systems fears the birds could be sucked into the engines of jets taking off from Warton.

Fighter jet Credit: PA

David Forsdick QC, for the RSPB, said the cull threatened to undermine European Directives for birds and habitats and the gulls were in "substantial decline."

The Ribble Estuary is a site of special scientific interest covering 35 square miles, supporting gulls, redshank and common tern

Bae Systems at Warton Credit: PA

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) argues the cull is legal. A spokesman said the gulls impact on air safety and "human life is more important than wildlife".

BAE said they "present a risk of bird strike to aircraft " and "BAE Systems has sought to reduce this risk."

Ribble Valley MP 'delighted' to be back in Tory fold

Nigel Evans says he is "delighted" to have had the Conservative Whip restored.

Mr Evans said: "I am delighted to have the Conservative Whip again.

"This represents a full stop after the events of the past 11 months."

Nigel Evans has been welcomed back into the Conservative party Credit: PA Images

His place as a deputy speaker was taken by Tory colleague Eleanor Laing in a election after he stepped down.

Mr Evans, who faces a £130,000 legal bill despite being acquitted of all charges against him, intends to campaign to reform the law so people who are wrongly accused are not left with crippling debts.

He is also asking the Commons Home Affairs Committee to look again at whether the law which allows people charged with sex offences to be named while their accusers remain anonymous should be changed.

The director of public prosecutions, Alison Saunders, has defended the decision to prosecute Mr Evans after his trial heard that three of his seven alleged victims did not consider an offence had been committed against them.

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Evans: MP tells court he didn't rape anyone

Nigel Evans MP Credit: ITV Granada

Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans today entered the witness box and told a jury he had not raped or sexually assaulted anyone.

Evans, 56, is alleged to have sexually assaulted seven young men on various dates between 2002 and last year by using his "powerful" political influence to take advantage of them, often while drunk.

In his trial at Preston Crown Court he denies one rape, two indecent assaults, five sexual assaults and one attempted sexual assault.

His barrister Peter Wright QC asked him: "Have you sexually assaulted anyone in terms of the allegations set out here, Mr Evans?"

The MP replied: "No, Mr Wright."

Mr Wright then asked: "Have you raped anyone?"

Evans repeated: "No, Mr Wright."

Tribute to motorcyclist killed in Ribble Valley

Craig Foster. Credit: Lancashire Police

The wife of a motorcyclist who was killed in an accident in the Ribble Valley has paid tribute to him.

Craig Foster from Accrington was travelling along Blackburn Road towards Clayton le Moors when a JCB travelling in the opposite direction turned into the path of the Kawasaki motorcycle.

Craig’s wife Mel said:

Craig lived an interesting and fun filled life with love and laughter and touched many hearts along the way, a popular guy with a huge personality.

It is a truly tragic loss of a loving husband and father to our two wonderful children Cory and Lola.'

Police are appealing for witnesses to the accident or anyone who saw the motorcycle or JCB before the accident around 4.30pm yesterday afternoon.

Lancashire pub is named best in the UK.

Swan with Two Necks, Pendleton Credit: ITV Granada

The Swan with Two Necks in Pendleton, Lancashire, has beaten competition from over 57,000 pubs across the UK to be crowned National Pub of the Year by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA).

Pubs are judged by CAMRA on a number of criteria including level of service and value for money.

CAMRA spokesman Julian Hough said "This is a massive achievement. The Swan with Two Necks really is the best of the best, having beaten rival pubs at every step."

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