Storey seminar discusses ‘unlocking Lancaster’s potential’

The Big Opportunity: Unlocking Lancaster's Potential seminar at The Storey, Lancaster.
The Big Opportunity: Unlocking Lancaster's Potential seminar at The Storey, Lancaster.

“Quirky, gritty, rich in narrative, heritage, culture, plenty of local talent, creativity and passion for the town.”

This was one of the comments made by delegates at a working seminar held at The Storey last Thursday, when they were asked to sum up Lancaster in one sentence.

The seminar, The Big Opportunity: Unlocking Lancaster’s Potential, was organised by Lancaster Vision, in association with Lancaster Civic Society, and sponsored by CLB Coopers (Lancaster) and Handelsbanken, with support from Lancaster Unlimited and North West Energy Consulting.

A group closely associated with Lancaster Civic Society, Lancaster Vision is chaired by engineering lecturer and castle precinct resident Martin Widden.

Martin said: “Lancaster Vision was established as it became apparent that a number of developments were about to take place in Lancaster which could completely change the future of the city – the opening of the castle to the public, the British Land/Centros development at the Canal Corridor North, the approval of the M6-Heysham link road and housing developments at several locations.

“Suddenly Lancaster’s future looked exciting, with lots of potential.

“But seen in the light of severe cuts to local authority funding from government, it was not clear that the city as a whole would be in a position to exploit these opportunities.

“It seemed important to Lancaster Vision to try and gather together as many movers and shakers on the Lancaster scene as possible, so that everyone could hear what the others had to say.”

The event, chaired by Ann Dean, High Sheriff of Lancashire, was full to capacity at more than 70 participants.

These included leaders from all the sectors of Lancaster which provide services and aim to maintain the well-being of the city – senior officers and elected members from both city and county councils, Lancaster MP Eric Ollerenshaw, leaders from business, retail and commerce and from tourist and transport organisations.

There were also representatives from the faith and voluntary sectors, the two universities and Lancaster & Morecambe College and from local arts and theatre groups.

There was a universal will among the participants to work together in the interests of Lancaster and the district.

Lancaster Vision are currently writing a report on the outcomes of the seminar, to be published by the end of the month.