Council renovation project reaps rewards

The row of businesses on Dalton Square following the transformation.
The row of businesses on Dalton Square following the transformation.

Businesses in the Lancaster district are looking brighter after taking part in a council scheme.

Under the initiative Lancaster City Council encourages businesses owners in the appearance of their properties.

Over the last two years it has been encouraging the owners of both businesses and homes in the centre of Lancaster and Morecambe to carry out maintenance and repair work to help make the area more appealing to visitors.

In return for taking part in the scheme the council has offered professional maintenance advice.

Of 120 properties issued with works schedules and asked to undertake works, 30 have so far been transformed.

Coun Janice Hanson, cabinet member for economic regeneration and planning, said: “The council is using planning powers pro-actively to encourage residents to take pride in the district.

“By making our town centres more aesthetically pleasing it will encourage economic growth and supports the Morecambe Area Action Plan and Lancaster Square Routes initiatives.

“Keeping buildings in a good state of repair can also save owners money, and, as much of our town centres are also designated as conservation areas this can help to safeguard some of our historic buildings too.”

Although the council encourages business owners and residents to take responsibility for their properties voluntarily, it does have the ability to take enforcement action if the condition and appearance of their properties is considered to blight the surrounding area.

Section 215 enables councils to take enforcement action against owners and occupiers of land and buildings that, by virtue of their condition and appearance are considered to have an adverse affect on the amenity of an area.

A section 215 notice sets out what works need to be done to rectify matters and a deadline for completion of the works.

If the owner / occupier fails to carry out the works specified the council has the power either to prosecute or may carry out the works itself.

The council can then seek to recover the costs through the county court or by placing a charge on the property through HM Land Registry to recover the costs should the property be sold.