Lancaster Canal Corridor: '˜It's taken 12 years to get nowhere'

Lancaster City Council has agreed to terminate its agreement with developers British Land over the Canal Corridor North project.

Thursday, 12th April 2018, 10:44 am
Updated Thursday, 12th April 2018, 10:46 am
An artist's impression of the Canal Quarter, as seen from Moor Lane

The council said it will now work closely with the public, businesses and organisations to develop ambitious new plans for the site in Lancaster, which has been subject to more than a decade of controversial proposals and abandoned ideas.

One business owner who had been operating from premises on the site since 1948 said she felt nothing but “disgust with the whole set up”.

But Lancaster City Council has now said that under the new proposals, work could start as early as next year, two years earlier than previously thought.

On Wednesday, April 11, councillors met to discuss the latest developments for the site, which is being rebranded as the Canal Quarter.

The meeting followed recent discussions with British Land about the redevelopment of the site, and proposals for the city council itself to take forward plans for a multi-use development of the 16-acre site, bounded by Moor Lane, St Leonard’s Gate and Lancaster Canal.

As there are no viable options for the current Canal Corridor North scheme which can be recommended for support, the current development agreement with British Land will be terminated.

Councillors have agreed that the council will now develop new plans for the site.

Businesses and organisations still operating within the site area have expressed frustration and anger over the lack of progress at the site over the last 12 years.

Ms A Macari, of Macari Ice Cream Manufacturers, who have been operating from land in St Leonard’s Gate since 1948, said, the business has suffered since original developers Centros Miller first offered them a deal in 2007.

She said: “Centros started to deal with us in 2007.

“They offered us a reasonable settlement, and said they would re-house us in another factory.

“Since then our drivers went self employed, my brother passed away, his two sons decided to go on their own. I am too old to carry on.

“It does seem a shame that a well known established business had to close.

“My family worked very hard to build these businesses up, very long and hard days.

“All I feel now is disgust with the whole set-up. It has taken 12 years to get nowhere.”

The council has now said that key to developing the proposals will be drawing up a detailed plan to engage the public and ensure future proposals benefit from wide public participation.

Susan Parsonage, Lancaster City Council’s chief executive, said: “This decision allows the council to move forward and develop new proposals for the regeneration of the Canal Quarter site.

“Key to the decision made by councillors was the need to fully engage with the public, businesses and our partners to develop a scheme that reflects the views of the community.”

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The council has provided an extensive Q&A, HERE.