Give us a voice plea on Lancaster Canal Quarter

Canal Corridor North, Lancaster
Canal Corridor North, Lancaster

A new action group that aims to give Lancaster residents a voice in plans for the city’s Canal Quarter development will hold a public meeting next week.

The Canal Quarter Action Group (CQAG): putting Community at the heart of the Canal Quarter Development, was set up in April 2018, and through surveys, meetings and pop up stalls in Lancaster has received ideas from members of the public about how they’d like to see the site developed.

Some of the ideas include small business spaced integrated with education and apprentice schemes, publicly owned affordable housing with green initiatives, and leisure activities for children and adults.

A development of the arts with a focus on mental health and community wellbeing, an expansion of green spaces and integrated transport links that support community health that could include canal buses also feature on the wishlist.

Emphasis was put on regenerating older buildings rather than building brand new.

Lancaster city councillors are due to meet to discuss the Canal Quarter on July 18. The report is now available on the city council’s website.

Alistair Sinclair, a member of CQAG, said: “The people of Lancaster have amazing strengths, skills and experience.

“We’re calling on the council to engage widely and meaningfully before making any plans for the Canal Quarter, working together we can make something special that meets the needs of the whole community.”

Prior to the Lancaster City Council meeting the CQAG will be hosting a community engagement event at the Gregson Arts & Community Centre in Moor Lane on Sunday July 15 between 12.30pm and 3.30pm. This event is for anyone interested in how the whole Lancaster District community could be actively involved in the Canal Quarter development.

Coun Janice Hanson, Cabinet member with responsibility for regeneration and planning, said: “The city council is committed to working closely with the public, businesses and organisations to develop ambitious new plans for the Canal Quarter site. The feedback we have received to date from our initial consultation on the nine principles has been extremely helpful and will be considered by Full Council on July 18. Following this more work will be done on what will be needed to turn the principles into reality.

“Public engagement will take place throughout the process and we welcome any ideas that people, businesses or organisations have on how the area should be developed to ensure it achieves the best for the Lancaster district.

“This promises to be an exciting journey and there will be many opportunities for people to get involved along the way.”

Lancaster City Council ended its partnership with developers British Land for the Canal Corridor site in March.

The city council is rethinking the scheme to redevelop the area known as Canal Corridor North – a 16 acre site bounded Moor Lane, St Leonard’s Gate and Lancaster Canal – with a more diverse mix of uses, including further housing and business opportunities combined with retail space.

Work could now start on the site, which has seen more than a decade of controversial proposals and abandoned ideas, as early as next year, the council said.