Anger at meadow land grab

Michael Waiting at the bottom of Quay Meadow, which could be used as land for gardens if eight new homes are built.
Michael Waiting at the bottom of Quay Meadow, which could be used as land for gardens if eight new homes are built.

PLANS for eight affordable homes off St George’s Quay – which would see land from Quay Meadow grabbed to form back gardens – have sparked objections from residents.

The Places For People scheme would see derelict workshops on the site adjacent to River Street demolished and replaced with the three-storey townhouses and 16 parking spaces.

A half acre strip of Quay Meadow would form back gardens and there have already been six objections to the planning application.

It is understood that Lancaster City Council used compulsory purchase orders to force the workshop owners to sell up several years ago to help plans to rejuvenate the quayside.

On Tuesday the council’s cabinet decided in private that the site should be sold to Places For People.

The council says it cannot reveal the amount it will receive for the site due to “commericial sensitivities”.

Some residents have objected to the loss of the meadow land, which they say was given to the people of Lancaster by the Priory Church.

However, the Priory has agreed to the transfer of the land on the understanding that it will be used for social housing.

But River Street resident, Michael Waiting, said: “Quay Meadow is classed as an Urban Green Space and plans to develop it for housing go against the new regulations in the National Planning Framework.

“It appears that the city council is only playing lip service to the consultation process and that residents objections are being ignored.”

Other concerns raised include the use of River Street as a pedestrian access, increased anti-social behaviour, the risk of flooding and an increased risk of accidents due to the extra traffic.

River Street residents are angry the new homes will have back gardens, claiming they were told that no land would be available for them to add back gardens to their homes.

Places For People said its plans would improve the area and that the pedestrian access via its scheme was required by the council under its masterplan for the nearby Luneside East site, which has permission for more than 300 homes.

It said the removal of the building and the thinning of vegetation would deter anti-social behaviour.

Castle ward city councillor, Jon Barry, said: “I’m very happy with the affordable housing and this gets rid of an empty building which has attracted undesirables.

“It does steal a bit of Quay Meadow, but I’m okay with it because it is a muddy path which nobody really goes on.”