Gillow flats spark fears for future of club

Photo: David Hurst'Gillows Building, North Road, Lancaster.
Photo: David Hurst'Gillows Building, North Road, Lancaster.

More than 600 students have objected to plans for new student acccomodation in Lancaster.

Proposals by Lancaster developer CityBlock to convert the former Gillow building in North Road into a major student development have been recommended for approval by the city council.

But Lancaster University Students’ Union (LUSU) said that although it “did not want to stand in the way of the development”, it was concerned that noise assessments had not been thorough enough.

LUSU owns the Sugarhouse nightclub, situated behind the Gillow building, which is itself a former nightclub.

The concerns focus on the effect of noise from the venue on future tenants, which in turn could jeopardise the future of the Sugarhouse.

Sophie Tarif, LUSU vice-president, said: “We’re committed to the prosperity of Lancaster city centre and eager to see the Gillow building put to good use – but we want to be sure that student flats built there are properly soundproofed for the sake of tenants and the Sugarhouse.

“Gillow’s seems perfect for student accommodation, but what we’ve learned about building acoustics means we’re not convinced current plans go far enough to protect tenants and allow peaceful co-existence with The Sugarhouse.”

Trevor Bargh, owner of City Block, said: “The planning process regarding the re-development of Gillow’s, a largely redundant and significant listed building, has been extremely thorough and on-going for over 18 months...and we are pleased that our application is now recommended for approval.

“It is unfortunate and disappointing that LUSU have not accepted the significant assessments and conclusions of the many independent experts, including those appointed by Lancaster City Council, that have reviewed and commented on our acoustic solutions.

“To say that the noise assessments have ‘not been thorough enough’ is simply untrue.” The plans, which include a range of “cluster flats”, 32 residential studios, 
a gym and extensions to the rear of the building, are due to go before the planning committee on Monday, 
December 12.