A Lament for Lancaster? Stop the destruction of the canal corridor
In this shocking new report, SAVE Britain’s Heritage reveals the devastating impact of a proposed new development in the canal corridor area of the historic city of Lancaster.
An outline application set to go to planning in October seeks the demolition of more than 25 buildings across three conservation areas within a triangle of land east of the Lancaster city centre. The current plans, put forward by the developer Centros Lancaster LP, would spell disaster for this sensitive and finely textured site.
The canal corridor area, just 200 metres from the City centre, contains a diverse collection of Georgian and Victorian buildings, most built in local Lancaster sandstone. As well as the resulting loss of so much historic fabric, the new mixed use development would replace the intimate and distinctive street layout with a series of large regular blocks. The plans also threaten to damage famous views across the city.
This report provides a detailed survey of the various buildings which stand to be lost under the current proposals, among them the Mitchell’s Brewery complex and associated warehouses - a fine group of buildings eminently capable of conversion and reuse. SAVE believes that without these and other background buildings the listed structures would lose their context and become isolated.
The report also shows how the proposed blocks and central ‘square’ or ‘piazza’ reflect nothing of the existing streetscape and plan, imposing a rigid, impermeable, series of blocks and disregard the scale and variation of the historic layout. The proposed layout is based on that of a modern shopping mall - a completely alien model for this part of the city. With substantial open space available in the north and east of the site for new build it seems inexcusable that existing fabric should not be preserved and tied in to any new development.
SAVE challenges Lancaster City Council not to put short-term economic gain ahead of long-term sustainability. If the city’s aspirations as the ‘Bath of the north’ are to be met then a sensitive, conservation led approach to new development must be adopted. This insensitive scheme would blight the city, damage its special character and endanger its long-term economic future. It must be abandoned.
To get more information about this development contact IT'S OUR CITY on-line at http://www.itsourcity.org.uk/
Photographs by Oliver Leigh-Wood