Plans for a £75m transformation of Lancaster could be published soon.
Developers British Land said they are close to revealing their proposals for the long-awaited Canal Corridor North project.
The London-based firm said that if their plans gain approval, they could start work in 2015 and the completed development could open in 2017 or 2018.
The Canal Corridor scheme covers land between Lancaster canal and the city’s one-way system bordered by St Leonardgate and Moor Lane, and includes numerous historic and listed buildings including the former Mitchell’s Brewery site which has been acquired by British Land, as well as the Dukes and Grand Theatres.
British Land took over the scheme from former developers Centros in 2012.
The firm bought a 2.3 acre section of the site – including the former Mitchell’s brewery – and made an agreement with Lancaster City Council for the acquisition of its adjoining land, which they said would “enable the delivery of a significant canalside, mixed-use scheme across a 10 acre site.”
Centros’ plans were wracked with controversy and had to be revised after being rejected by the Secretary of State following a public inquiry in 2009.
The revised project included an open pedestrian shopping street leading from Stonewell to a new public square, around 30 new shops including a supermarket, a new public park leading up from Alfred Street to the Lancaster Canal, rehousing of the Musician’s Co-Op and a new restaurant quarter. It is unclear which, if any, of these ideas will be adopted by British Land.
In 2012 a report by The Conservation Studio, commissioned by English Heritage and Centros, recommended further research into the “archaeological potential” of the site before development took place.
British Land said the scheme will enhance the Lancaster shopping experience with new large retailers, cafés and restaurants, create jobs, improve public space and bring historic buildings back into active use.
A spokesman for British Land said: “Our development team is reviewing the previous scheme, consulting with English Heritage, key stakeholders and both the city and county councils and working up initial proposals for the development. We hope to be in a position to publish the proposals shortly.”