Lancaster City Council consultation into future of city's Mill Race area is 'unrealistic' says civic group

A consultation has been held into how an area of Lancaster city centre should be managed.

Tuesday, 10th August 2021, 12:19 pm
Updated Tuesday, 10th August 2021, 12:20 pm

Earlier this year, £86,660 grant from Historic England as part of the Lancaster High Streets Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ).

The Lancaster HSHAZ focuses on an area to the north east of the city centre around North Road, Lower Church Street and St Leonardgate, known as the Mill Race.

‘Mill Race: Flow of Change’ will deliver a range of place-based cultural opportunities to help reveal and experience the area’s unique histories and distinctiveness.

North Road in Lancaster. Photo by Jonathan Bean Photography

It will celebrate the Mill Race area as a core and dynamic part of Lancaster that is directly informed by its heritage but also its emerging, contemporary character.

And now the city council has held a consultation process to discuss their proposals for future management of the Mill Race.

Lancaster Civic Society were invited to be a part of the discussions, and have said some of the plans are "unrealistic".

They said: "We are pleased that the city council has produced a management plan for the area; however we would contend that many of the problems that the plan seeks to address are the result of a lack of maintenance and investment.

St John's Church in Lancaster. Photo by Jonathan Bean Photography

"Lancaster Civic Society recognises the financial pressures that the city council has been subjected to resulting in an inability to carry out or facilitate consistent general maintenance programmes.

"Over the last 20 years there have been, one after another, plans to “improve” different parts of the mostly town centre.

"Most of these schemes, like the Mill Race, are an attempt to address the issues arising from a of lack of consistent general maintenance.

"The last big scheme “Square Roots” managed to engrave some street names in the pavers and then fizzled out. Failure to maintain St John’s Church and the historic buildings that surround it are good examples of this lack of ongoing maintenance.

"We also believe that there needs to be better oversight and management of the night time economy which currently seriously impacts on the historic core of the city in the shape of anti- social behaviour, vandalism, graffiti and litter.

"The Civic Society first advocated the appointment of a town centre manager 30 years ago.

"This scheme seems to be predicated on an assumption that Lancaster’s traffic problem is solved by closing Rosemary Lane to traffic. We consider this unrealistic."