New flats plan causes concern for music fans

Kevin and Debbie Pegram at The Pub in Lancaster.
Kevin and Debbie Pegram at The Pub in Lancaster.
  • Concern over loss of music venue
  • Development will improve conservation area
  • Landlord disappointed at council decision

Plans to build residential flats next to a popular live music venue in Lancaster have been approved despite an 890 name petition against the development.

Ashby Properties has been given the go-ahead to build a three storey building in a long derelict and vacant plot in China Street, next to The Pub.

Landlords and owners of The Pub Debbi and Kevin Pegram said they were disappointed with Lancaster City Council for not supporting local business.

Developer Steve Ashby, who owns around 160 student rooms in Lancaster, said he could understand the concerns, but they were unfounded.

The development includes office and commercial use on the ground floor, and two two-bed flats on the first and second floors, with one extending into the roof space.

Lancaster Civic Society and Lancaster City Council’s conservation officer both agreed that the development would make a positive impact on the conservation area of the city centre, filling in a gap in the street scene that has been present for over thirty years.

But fans of live music in Lancaster have expressed concerns that The Pub might soon start to receive complaints from the new residents once the development is occupied – potentially resulting in the demise of what many consider to be one of the city’s best live music venues.

Ward councillor Dave Brookes said he did not vote against the proposal because there wasn’t enough justification to do so, and that any subsequent appeal would have left the city council out of pocket.

He said that environmental health has stipulated that the developer must use triple glazed, fixed windows and vents for air circulation.

He said: “If environmental health are saying it’s not a problem, we cannot sustain a refusal. People are right to be concerned, and to a certain extent we’re crossing our fingers and hoping that the environmental health officers have got it right.”

Debbi Pegram said: “I am very disapointed in our council for not backing small businesses. I would like to thank the clients of the pub for trying to help with all of their signitures and kind words about The Pub. We will carry on as usual and hope that music lovers move in next door.”

Music lovers from across the UK signed the online petition to “save live music at the pub”.

Many expressed concern that the plan echoed situations in other cities where new residential properties had eventually caused the demise of live music venues due to noise complaints.

Steve Ashby said: “I can understand the concerns, but they are slightly unfounded. A decision hasn’t yet been made on whether we develop the property, or pass it on to another developer, but we have properties in Sun Street, behind the pub, and we have never had a complaint about the venue.”