Ask Lancaster City Council to halt the British Land-led proposal for the Canal Corridor

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We call on Lancaster City Council to halt the British Land-led proposal for the Canal Corridor North in favour of a phased community-led development.

Lancaster City Council is working with the development firm British Land, and Lancaster University, to finalise proposals for the regeneration of the Canal Corridor North area of Lancaster. The City Council is close to signing an agreement with the developers.

Public engagement activity has been minimal and the Council has provided extremely limited information to the public on the current proposals.

The current proposals:

- involve the city turning over the land it owns to the developers who will build upon the land and then lease the facilities back to the council. The leases will be long term, without break clauses and with upward-only rent reviews. The developers are guaranteed a return whilst the city bears the enormous financial risk.
- include an underground car park and an extensive arts hub. There is limited evidence to suggest that they are needed in the proposed form or will provide adequate financial returns.
- include significant retail floor space, at a time when high street retail is in decline and much of the city centre retail space is unoccupied.

We believe that the current proposals are developer-led and do not focus upon the needs of the district: the city faces an affordable housing crisis and there is a significant need for flexible start-up business space.

As the council owns approximately half of the overall site, it is possible to produce a council-led phased development that will meet the needs of the district. A phased development will minimise risk.

A council-led development could allow the council to retain ownership of the land and so receive the financial returns, helping to build and retain wealth within the district.

We urge the City Council to:

- step back from the current process and engage in a full public consultation exercise so that the residents of the District can contribute ideas to shape alternative proposals.
- not to sign any agreements that will tie the Council into a legal commitment to the developers and the current proposals.

 



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