Lancaster has an identity problem, according to new research.
It is claimed that the city is “relatively unknown” outside the north west and that it is “in the Second Division of historic cities”.
The research by Cairn Consultancy has been funded by Lancashire County Council, Marketing Lancashire and Lancaster City Council. It has involved local councils, organisations and businesses.
Lancaster will now be promoted as a “destination brand which is set around the history, heritage and culture of the city”. Developments such as the M6 link road, Lancaster Castle and the Canal Corridor are identified in the research as key to the city’s future success.
A spokesperson said: “The brand will celebrate the Lune Valley, accessed from the River Lune Millennium Park in the city centre, as a key recreational asset.”
Morecambe has also come out badly in the research. The town is described as being “associated with decline” and will be marketed separately from Lancaster.
The focus will be on Morecambe Bay instead of the town itself.
Researchers found that more tourists visit Morecambe and that visitors to Lancaster tend to be younger and from higher socio economic groups.
Two steering groups for taking forward the individual Morecambe Bay and Lancaster destination brands are to be set up.
Suzi Bunting of Lancaster BID said: “The challenge is now going to begin – to relay the proposed long term branding strategy with individual businesses and for visitors to gain greater awareness of the identified destinations for Morecambe Bay and Lancaster.
“Hopefully the Lancaster BID, working closely with the businesses within the city, will be able to assist with this.
We wish to bring together Lancaster’s unique artistic heritage, retail sector, natural and historical assets to create a city centre that’s alive with culture, expression and vibrancy.’’