Eric Ollerenshaw column

Eric Ollerenshaw MP.

Eric Ollerenshaw MP.

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Last week I met with trustees of the Footlights charity which runs the Grand Theatre in Lancaster in order to discuss problems they foresee for the future with regards to parking and the means to get their acts’ support vehicles in at suitable times once the Centros development goes ahead.

As many of you will know I am a firm supporter of getting this development, with its promise of a department store adding to our retail offer, as I do feel this will be another boost for business.

Given we are yet to see the final plans, I am sure a way can still be found to ensure the Grand’s issues are addressed and it can remain a key part in ensuring this long awaited regeneration project retains the confidence and support of most people.

I also called into the launch of the Future of our Cities Project at the Storey Institute to see the exhibition – Drawing Back/Forward and to hear about the plans for this project so far.

Future of Cities is a national project run by the Government Office for Science and aims to look at what cities might look like in the years 2040 and 2065.

Here in Lancaster our local Chamber of Commerce has been successful in obtaining a grant and have decided to run a competition which will enable young people to explore the future of the area and feed in to the Government’s consultation

There was also a public meeting last week in Cockerham, we were there to discuss the plans that might be submitted to Lancaster City Council to build 35 properties in the village.

Many people are concerned that the size of this added new development will just put too much strain on their existing small village. While I accept in some places new homes are needed, I do question the quantity that is being proposed together with the lack of information to support the planned numbers.

But I have to say that the residents of Cockerham are being very practical and are now going to use this issue to begin some wider work with their Parish Council on a possible Neighbourhood Plan for the future of their parish as envisaged under the Government’s Localism Act.