Thursday, 22 January 2015

Golden Arches on their way for Lune McAqueduct?

Site of proposed McDonald's

Planning permission has been granted for a McDonald's drive-thru takeaway and two-storey restaurant with parking on Caton Road adjacent to the A6 Canal Aqueduct and just east of the grade 1 listed Lune Aqueduct.

Green councillors Tim Hamilton-Cox and Andrew Kay weren't lovin' it and they called in the decision as Lancaster City Council officers were intending to approve construction under delegated powers. Instead the decision was approved by councillors at the planning committee on 5th January.

You can view the planning application here.

Councillor Andrew Kay explained, "Most residents on the Lune Valley Estate just along the road have objected to the development; as has the Canal and River Trust (previously British waterways) because of the impact on the setting of the nationally-significant aqueduct."

The tree-fronted site is opposite the golf course on a green field allocated for employment purposes under the adopted  Lancaster District Local Plan and the Draft  Preferred Options Land Allocations DPD. According to the officers' report, the Local Plan allocation is flexible on that stretch as  "it is recognised that a precedent has already been set in relation to leisure type uses being established in employment areas along Caton Road".

The Canal & River Trust have worked hard alongside teams of volunteers for years restoring and maintaining the Canal and its bridges to a high standard. Their objection was that the new structure would impinge on views of the approach to the Lune Aqueduct from the Bulk Road Aqueduct. They pointed out that the structure is Grade 1 listed and therefore one of an exceptional group of nationally important heritage buildings.

The business is expected to bring 65 Mcjobs with it.

Sites in other locations were considered unsuitable because the level of passing traffic was not considered high enough for the enterprise to be viable. The applicants suggested that 70-90% of its customers would be passing along the road anyway so would not add much to congestion, although they also believed that it would appeal to employees at the neighbouring Lansil industrial estate. who (unless they spend their lunchtimes walking in car exhaust for their burgers and fries) will have to drive along Caton Road.

Caton Road is to be widened slightly on its northern side. This will dovetail neatly with the M6 link construction work higher up and, eventually, enable provision of a right turning lane and a new pedestrian island to for pedestrians to cross.

There will also be a cycle / pedestrian link to the nearby cyclepath under the Lune Aqueduct.

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