Judge works at the end

Councillor Janice Hanson.
Councillor Janice Hanson.

In a recent letter your correspondent, Norman Fairclough, refers to the ongoing improvement works to Lancaster city centre (A wasted opportunity, July 3).

Far from being a “wasted opportunity” as he claims, the work is a positive step forward and will improve the area enormously for businesses, visitors, locals and alike.

A great deal of care was given to choosing a materials palette of the highest quality so as to create classic, timeless, locally distinctive and sustainable public spaces which respect the architecture of the surrounding buildings and embrace city 

Natural products vary enormously in their impact strength, porosity, slip resistance and flexural strength.

We have deliberately used a very high quality hard English Pennine Stone known as Scoutmoor.

This is very hard wearing with a proven history in high footfall locations such as in Trafalgar Square.

Examples of other towns which have used the material include Bristol and Doncaster, so it has a proven and successful track record of use in high traffic pedestrian areas.

With regard to the cleaning of the area, an appropriate cleansing schedule is being put in place.

This will take into account what’s best for the materials, based on best practice from other places that have the same surfacing, and obviously the resources that the council has.

But it’s not just about cleaning up after the mess has been made – it’s also about thinking of how to reduce the mess in the first place.

Clearly some businesses and their customers generate more cleansing issues than others and we very much agree it is in everyone’s interests to maintain the standard of the appearance of the city once the works have been completed.

We have plans in place to work with the business community and other stakeholders to achieve this.

As an example we intend to have another focused campaign to encourage people to take pride in the city and prevent many of the issues occurring in the first place.

There are already several city centre businesses that take the lead in keeping the area outside their shop clean and tidy and we are looking at how something practical like that could be expanded.

As I’m sure Mr Fairclough and your readers will appreciate, undertaking work in an area that needs to be kept open at the same time is very difficult.

Effectively the whole area is a construction site, which inevitably produces a fair amount of muck and grime, and shouldn’t be judged until it’s all completed.

Coun Janice Hanson

Cabinet member for regeneration and planning

Lancaster City Council