Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Council, Centros Statement on Canal Corridor

Following the announcement that the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government has announced that he has refused planning permission for a major new retail development in Lancaster (see earlier news story), Lancaster City Council has issued the following statement, which indicates Centros will continue to present its development plans for the Canal Corridor:

"The refusal... is primarily based on concerns about the evidence for removing some of the buildings on the site, and the amount of retail floor space in the early years of the scheme.

"Much of the council’s rationale for the scheme and its fit with strategic planning policies for Lancaster, the approach to traffic and highways matters, and its overall sustainability was accepted.

"The decision to refuse permission for the Canal Corridor North development by Centros follows a public inquiry earlier this year."

Coun Keith Budden, chairman of Lancaster City Council’s planning committee, said: “We are grateful for the careful consideration the inspector has taken over his very detailed report.

“While it is disappointing that planning permission for the scheme has been refused, the report and the Secretary of State’s decision give the council a clear position on the type of development which will be acceptable on the site in the future. The decision totally vindicates the council’s decision to appear at the inquiry and make the case for a positive steer about the development from the Secretary of State.

“All the parties who presented evidence to the inquiry accept that the canal corridor site is run down and in urgent need of regeneration.

“If we don’t, then we run the risk of falling behind other towns and cities in the north west.

“We will be studying the inspector’s report very carefully and will use its recommendations to work with the developer, Centros, and all other interested parties to bring forward a revised scheme to regenerate this run down and dilapidated site as a priority in the new year.”

A spokesperson for Centros commented: “Whilst the minister’s decision is a disappointment, it clearly provides a very positive framework for the redevelopment of this site.

“We will now consider the Secretary of State’s decision and the inspector’s report in detail and work with Lancaster City Council to devise a strategy to realise the successful regeneration of this important site in the heart of the city centre.”


Anonymous said...

I really wish the council would get it into their heads that the scheme isn't welcomed by the people they are representing. Yes, it might increase employment - but that's about it. Lancaster competes against the lake district and Preston. We don't need to expand. We don't have the road capacity to expand. People come to Lancaster to work, and then they spend their money. There is no sense making the place less attractive by gridlocking the city even more.

John Freeman said...

The Council conducted research into retail needs back in 2006. Those findings indicated that contrary to what Centros would have people believe, we do not need new shops. This research seems to have been consistently ignored.

(That said, some landlords and property owners could do their bit by shaping up some of their shops - the state of some is dreadful, as anyone looking for retail premises will tell you. And as for companies like Mitchells who are leaving buildings like the Tramway, for example, to apparently rot... don't get me started!)

The survey, commissioned in part to examine requirements for new shopping development in Lancaster, Morecambe and Carnforth suggested that at present there was not the amount of expected "leakage" of shoppers to out of area shopping centres such as Blackpool, Preston and Manchester but warned that as these develop, the area may lose custom. But it also advised that any "edge of town" development - in terms of the survey's definitions, this would include the proposed Canal Corridor - should be carefully considered, and how it might affect existing shopping centres.

News story and link to the report in full here: http://www.virtual-lancaster.net/news/news_archive/2006/archive_03_06_i.html#supermarkets