I was surprised to read of Lancaster City Council’s plan to promote the city as a tourist attraction to rival Chester and York (July 24, As good as York or Chester ... if we promote ourselves).
It will require a massive commitment in terms of finance and will on the part of the council and the residents of Lancaster.
Lancaster has several attractions but they are just not fully developed or exploited.
The Castle and Priory are unrivalled but student accommodation is totally inappropriate here. A look at Oxford Castle (where, let’s face it, there are plenty of students) shows how the area could be developed to create outdoor eating and a luxury hotel.
The canal area has undeveloped potential. A few outdoor tables clustered round a pub will not attract anyone.
The Quay is probably the most attractive part of Lancaster and has fared quite well despite demolition in the vicinity. However it will lose its appeal if, once on there, you can’t get off.
Lancaster’s town centre is its big let-down. No nice shops except the promise of a cheap and nasty student store to match the local pubs. The grey edifice nestling attractively between Greggs, TK Maxx, Morrisons and the museum steps with their winos, loud kids and mangy dogs doesn’t promise to be much of an attraction
Williamson Park is fantastic. It has lovely views and many attractions. However, studies have shown that the proposed development of 750 houses on adjacent Grab Lane will detract significantly from its appeal.
I would love to see Lancaster as a thriving tourist attraction, but it will need a sea change in the council’s ‘slash and burn’ attitude to development. People will stay at home if the parking fees remain extortionate, the traffic remains at a standstill and nothing interesting and historic remains.
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