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Regen body seeks new funding after RDA cuts

Board members at Preston Vision are attempting to secure alternative funding in a bid to maintain the regeneration body following cuts, it has been revealed.

The agency will lose all its funding by the end of the financial year as a result of the North West Regional Development Agency’s (NWDA) budget cuts.

Preston Vision is one of 30 agencies across the region which will be affected by the moves.

The NWDA has also axed plans to fund more than 100 projects in a bid to slash £52 million of its annual budget.

The cost-cutting measures will see the NWDA stop its £425,000 funding to Preston Vision for its annual budget, which has enabled the agency to work on projects such as the Tithebarn shopping centre.

Agency board members are now searching for alternative sources of funding from March. They are in talks with Lancashire County Council, Preston City Council and the University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN).

Chair Malcolm McVicar, also the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Central Lancashire, said: “Preston Vision is the link between the public and private sector. Without the organisation, it is difficult to see how programmes such as the creation of the central business district - a home to grade A office space designed to attract scores of new companies - will still happen. That sort of development is absolutely essential to the future of this great city and its residents.”

He added: “Preston has in recent years been in the top 10 nationwide cities for private sector job creation, with 17,100 jobs created in the 10 years up to 2008. However, if the city is to continue to fulfil its potential, the initiatives currently being co-ordinated by Preston Vision are absolutely essential.”