A consultant with links to north-west freeport zones, property, road and economic projects, is to lead a new board for an East Lancashire town.

Board members will decide how up to £20 million of government funds will be spent across 10 years in Rawtenstall.

Iain Taylor,  a management consultant whose experience covers the Liverpool City Region Freeport, will chair the town board.

Other new board members will including business people, community groups and Rossendale and Darwen MP Sir Jake Berry.

The board is part of the national Long-Term Plans for Towns project which Communities Secretary Michael Gove has described as ‘new-style politics’. The board must submit a plan by the autumn.

Mr Taylor, of Crawshawbooth-based IMT Consulting, will work with Rossendale Council to create a board covering Rawtenstall and its immediate surroundings, after the town was selected by the government for the initiative this spring.

The town board will have community leaders, business owners, not-for profit social enterprise representatives, councillors, officers, the MP and a police representative.

Mr Taylor also has links to the Whitaker Museum and Rossendale Leisure Trust and Port Salford regionally. He advises on property developments, economic partnerships and environmental projects.

He said: “The town’s board has the capability, responsibility and resources to set an exciting and ambitious plan and develop a fantastic programme of investments over the long term to help make Rawtenstall – and Rossendale – an even better place to live, work and visit.

“Rawtenstall enjoys a privileged position relative to Manchester and we need to maximise this with improved transport connections but also show that Rossendale is a viable location to develop a business and to attract entrepreneurs.”

Borough leader Cllr Alyson Barnes added: “Our town board will drive the priorities for investment, take responsibilities for making change, and steer the long-term vision for the Rawtenstall and the surrounding area hand-in-hand with local people.”

Mr Taylor encouraged people to get involved. He said: “I hope early in the planning phase we can open-up to understand what views are so that the plan is anchored in the values, ideas and ambitions of local people.”

Other towns including Nelson, Burnley, Darwen and Accrington are establishing similar boards.

Previously, Mr Taylor worked on the Liverpool City Region Life Science Investment Zone, working on £160m of new investment in the health and life science economy, and Liverpool City Region Freeport.

He has also helped prepare the Atlantic Gateway concept, which champions the M60 and M56 motorway corridors for economic growth, and promotes work between public sector organisations on big initiatives.