Lancaster residents “disappointed” about lack of garden village debate at council meeting

Morecambe Town Hall
Morecambe Town Hall

Residents concerned about plans for 3,500 new homes near Lancaster University said they were “disappointed” after being denied a debate by councillors into the scheme.

A group officially handed a petition to city councillors at Wednesday evening’s full council meeting.

More than 350 people living in areas surrounding the Bailrigg proposals have asked the city council to reconsider the plans, which were announced earlier this year as a “once in a generation opportunity” for Lancaster.

Villagers in Galgate and Burrow say the scheme is “not a garden village but an urban extension to the city of Lancaster”.

Plans for the garden village – one of only 14 in the UK – include 3,500 new home on land close to Lancaster University, and have been hailed by university and council chiefs as a game-changer for the city.

But residents have raised concerns about the lack of amenities and public services for the scheme, as well as the nearby road network.

The scheme was announced as one of several sites identified in a forthcoming publication of the district’s Local Plan.

That plan will be the subject of a debate at council and will then be “published” to allow comments.

Councillors were advised at Wednesday evening’s meeting that a debate on concerns about the garden village could not be properly informed at this point in time, and as such should not take place.

Members agreed to defer consideration of the concerns raised by the petitions until a publication version of the Local Plan is prepared

and brought to council for consideration.

After the meeting residents said they were disappointed that a debate had not been held.

Mark Salisbury, who presented the 350-strong petition to councillors, said: “A debate is not necessarily a decision-making exercise but an opportunity for information and opinions to be aired by those entitled to speak.

“None of us concerned folk even remotely expected the proposal to be dropped, not least because no one, including the planners, has yet figured out what the plan entails in terms of infrastructure and especially road works, and no one has more than a back of an envelope notion of what it might cost, to be met by council and/or national taxpayers.

“What we wanted and what it was reasonable to expect was that some of the points raised, and other related matters about which councillors have knowledge and/or opinions, could have been openly discussed.

“Instead, the discussion was shut down. We now have to hang on until December, by which time the plan will be in a cut-and-dried, take-it-or-leave-it state.”