A NEW blueprint for the future of Morecambe casts doubt over whether plans to build flats next to the Midland Hotel will actually happen.
Lancaster City Council’s new 10-year plan to improve the town says a leisure attraction and “good views out to sea” should take priority on the central promenade area ahead of new houses or
The new planning policy appears to be at odds with a developer’s vision for the seafront site east of the Midland. Urban Splash wants to build 385 luxury flats and 17 beach houses in high-rise blocks, 602 car parking spaces, cafes, shops and one major leisure attraction surrounded by new pedestrian areas.
But the policy, part of the new draft Morecambe Area Action Plan (MAAP), will not come into force until late 2013.
In the meantime the council is waiting for two statutory consultees to reply before its planning committee can say yes or no to Urban Splash’s plans.
If permission is granted, work could start in autumn 2014, finishing in autumn 2022.
The MAAP will dictate council planning policy until 2023/4.
It will be revealed at a series of public exhibitions in the local area starting next Monday (October 29),
It says: “The joint ambition of both the council and Urban Splash has been for a high quality mixed
development (in that area).
“It is increasingly apparent that in the economic conditions that now prevail such a development may not prove deliverable.
“It is questionable at best whether within the plan period residential development would be deliverable here and unlikely that this could finance significant improvements to the wider public places.”
The plan says any houses or flats on that site should be “visitor focussed” or help support the Midland Hotel.
In September, Urban Splash reaffirmed its commitment to regenerating Morecambe, despite posting pre-tax losses of £9.3m and debts of £234.4m in its most recent accounts. It was in talks to restructure its loan repayments to the bank.
In July, Morecambe Town Council refused to back the development after a public survey revealed 69% were against the plans.
Once the public has had its say, the final MAAP will be put together and published in summer 2013 before going to the Secretary of State for final approval.
We will have more information on the Morecambe Area Action Plan in next week’s Visitor.
The list of public consultation dates are:
Monday 29 - Heysham Library (2pm - 7pm)
Tuesday 30 - Morecambe Library (2pm - 7pm)
Wednesday 31 - Bolton-le-Sands Village Hall (2pm – 6.30pm)
Friday 2 - Morecambe Town Hall (10am - 3pm)
Saturday 3 - Lancaster Market Square (10am - 3pm)
Tuesday 6 - St Paul’s Parish Hall, Scotforth, Lancaster (2pm - 7pm)
Wednesday 7 - Morecambe Town Hall (10am - 3pm)
Thursday 8 - Silverdale Gaskell Memorial Hall (2pm - 7pm)
Friday 9 - Middleton Village Hall (2pm - 7pm)
Monday 12 - Carnforth Railway Station (2pm - 7pm)
Tuesday 13 - Morecambe Town Hall (10am - 3pm)
Wednesday 14 - Lancaster Market Square (10am - 3pm)
Friday 16 - University of Cumbria (Alexandra Gallery) (2pm - 7pm)
Wednesday 21 – Platform, Morecambe (2pm - 7pm)
Thursday 22 - Lancaster University (Bailrigg Conference Centre) (2pm - 7pm)
Monday 26 - Hornby Institute (2pm - 7pm)
Tuesday 27 - Morecambe Library (2pm - 7pm)
Wednesday 28 - Caton Victoria Institute (2pm - 6.30pm)
Friday 30 - Galgate Village Hall (2pm - 7pm)
Tuesday 4 - Marsh Community Centre, Lancaster (2pm - 7pm)
Thursday 6 – The Centre, Halton, (3.15pm - 6.15pm)
The draft documents which comprise the Lancaster District Local Plan will also be available to view at Lancaster and Morecambe Town Halls and local libraries from the start of the consultation.