THE prospective developers of Lancaster city centre who were previously based in an off-shore tax haven have been taken over by a British company.
Sovereign Land has acquired the major shareholding in Centros, which had been controversially owned by Delancey Real Estate Partners Ltd, located in the British Virgin Islands.
Billy Pye, from the It’s Our City group who have campaigned against the planned £100m ‘Canal Corridor’ development, recently criticised Lancaster City Council for partnering with a company registered in a legal tax avoidance location.
Councillor Janice Hanson, deputy leader of the city council, said at a recent council meeting: ”Offshore companies regularly featured in many major developments and projects across the country and were therefore not an issue of general concern.”
At the same meeting, the council approved a revised development agreement with Centros, paving the way for the possible retail-led development of the St Leonardgate and Moor Lane area of Lancaster.
Councillor Eileen Blamire, leader of Lancaster City Council, said: “The Canal Corridor North site is key for the renaissance of Lancaster and the wider district.
“It is in urgent need of regeneration and if we don’t develop the area we risk falling behind other towns and cities in the north west.”
The plan is currently only at the draft stage and no formal planning application has been submitted. Public consultation is likely to begin next year. David Lewis, director of Centros, said the firm hoped to complete the scheme by 2017.