University of Cumbria development plans for Lancaster campus back on city council agenda

Controversial plans for major redevelopment at the University of Cumbria's Lancaster campus are back on the agenda for the city council's planning meeting next week.

Wednesday, 24th March 2021, 12:30 pm

The University of Cumbria is looking to redevelop part of its Bowerham campus, and part of the scheme will go before city councillors once again at Monday's planning committee meeting.

Council officers have recommended that councillors approve the plans for two areas:

*Demolition of buildings and erection of a new four-storey extra care residential building overlooking Coulston Road, and the conversion of Barbon Hall and Hornby Hall into affordable residential apartments.

How the proposed 10 storey William Thompson Tower might look, pictured from Bowerham Road looking up Havelock Street. Photo from Scalia Planning/Lancaster City Council

*Redevelopment of tennis courts by creating new retaining walls on the slopes and building up the existing ground levels to form a new access road leading from the turning circle of nearby Anderson Close to a new two-storey supported living facility comprising 13 one-bedroom flats.

A third application - demolition of the existing 10 storey tower and other buildings and erection of an eight, nine and 10 storey building with a bigger footprint including residential student accommodation in cluster flat arrangements - has not been listed for Monday's meeting.

The plans were put on hold earlier this month over concerns raised about drainage on the site.

However, despite councillors deferring the applications to allow the applicant Scalia Planning time to submit further information, including verified photomontages of the new student accommodation block and the extra-care residential building, no photos of the extra-care facility have been supplied ahead of Monday's meeting.

Residents have marked out how close the new extra-care facility will be developed to their homes.

A council spokesman said: "For the extra-care application the applicant was asked to clarify the accuracy of the images which they have done to our satisfaction (the retained campus buildings provide a reference to assess the height of the proposed building against)."

The applicant has submitted verified views of the proposed student accommodation tower, and the council is now consulting with neighbours. The earliest committee which can consider this application is April 26.

As we reported last month, concerned residents living near the Bowerham site said that despite nearly 70 objections to some of the plans, they have "simply been ignored".

Their objections relate largely to the plan to demolish the tennis courts adjacent to the all-weather games area on the campus and build a two-storey supported living facility, and cover matters relating to both national and local planning guidelines and policies including distance from neighbouring properties, privacy, access and transport issues.

How the proposed 10 storey William Thompson Tower might look, pictured from the top of Golgotha Road. Photo from Scalia Planning/Lancaster City Council

Richard Kenworthy said on behalf of Anderson Close resident: "The amenity of Anderson Close residents will be significantly impacted by these proposals in terms of traffic, noise and quiet enjoyment."

Clougha Avenue resident Michael Parkinson said: "The plans seemingly do not sufficiently meet national and local planning policies. It will have a significant negative impact on the amenity of residents, community and wildlife in the local area."

And a Coulston Road resident, who wished to remain anonymous, said the development will increase traffic, the building style/design is not in keeping with neighbouring houses, and the planned building is overbearing and not suitable in scale for the site.

"There has so far been no dialogue with neighbours as to an acceptable solution. We request that rather than approving this building, the committee insists on a meaningful, collaborative dialogue with neighbours," the resident added.

Residents are objecting to the university's development plans close to their homes.

Residents now also fear that without verified views of the proposed extra-care facility, councillors will not be able to give an informed opinion on how it would look from neighbouring Coulston Road, Bowerham Road and Golgotha Road.