Tide turns against new prom

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Ambitious plans for the redevelopment of Morecambe Promenade have been rejected by Lancaster city councillors.

At a packed planning meeting at Lancaster Town Hall on Monday, councillors discussed developer Urban Splash’s outline planning application for the central promenade in Marine Road Central.

Planning officers had already recommended the mixed use residential, retail and leisure space for refusal.

Councillors heard objections from Morecambe Town Council, The Winter Gardens Preservation Trust and The Friends of the Midland Hotel.

Coun Evelyn Archer said the development would “destroy the character of the conservation area and the siting of Listed buildings”.

David Croxall, clerk of Morecambe Town Council said that a public consultation had found Morecambe residents to be against the plans, which, he said, would bring no real improvement to the area”.

Julie Chapman, who spoke in favour of the proposals, said the development would result in transforming “the dreary to the desirable”.

She added: “We’re losing vast amounts of potential revenue. “We must see the bigger picture.”

The plans were rejected due to doubts over whether Urban Splash could deliver the scheme given the current economic situation, and it was of the opinion that the scheme was no longer viable.

Gaps between the development’s phases were considered too lengthy, and the applicant could not guarantee the timing of the development, or the end-uses that would occupy space within it.

Coun Keith Budden, chair of Lancaster City Council’s planning committee, said: “Through the regeneration of the Midland Hotel Urban Splash have done an awful lot of good for Morecambe and there’s no doubt that we are better placed now to fulfil our ambitions for the town than 10 years ago.

“But a lot has changed in the period since the plans were first submitted and unless we can be certain that the development is viable the committee decided it could not be granted in its current form.

“We would be doing a disservice to the people of Morecambe if we were to agree a scheme which could lay unfinished and it is a chance we could not take.”