Lancaster Vision’s response to Lancaster City Council’s recent proposals for the redevelopment of the Canal Quarter

Canal Quarter Strategic Regeneration Framework – Comments from Lancaster Vision

Lancaster Vision generally support the Canal Quarter Regeneration Framework [SRF], however we would make a number of specific points:

  • We are of the view that the future success of the Canal Quarter is largely dependent on connectivity with the city centre. At present the A6 inhibits pedestrian flows between the two areas. We are surprised by the lack of firm proposals to resolve this issue in the SRF.
  • We are particularly pleased to see that although student housing is identified as a potential future use for parts of the area it would be a precondition that any such applications must be supported by an evidenced need and pipeline supply assessment.
  • We are extremely disappointed that the SRF makes no mention of any plans to provide social housing within the area. References are made to affordable housing, key worker, and retirement housing but not to social housing. Following the local elections in 2019 Lancaster City Council announced proposals to establish a Community Wealth Building Partnership. One of the principles underpinning this partnership is the “Socially just use of land and property” In line with this principle we believe that the City Council should commit to a substantial programme of social housing building across Lancaster District. In 2018 the Government removed the restriction on Local Authorities borrowing to build social housing. Lancaster is in the fortunate position of still having a Housing Revenue Account and is able to take advantage of this opportunity. It is generally recognised that one of the major barriers to the provision of social housing is the high cost of housing land that is privately owned. Lancaster has a particular opportunity in that the authority owns a number of sites in the Canal Quarter that would be suitable for the provision of social housing. Lancaster Vision believe that the SRF should identify and reserve some of the Council owned land within the Canal Quarter for social housing. A local social housing building programme also has the potential to make a significant contribution to moving towards the achievement of net zero carbon targets by embracing the highest possible sustainable building standards.
  • We welcome the focus on cultural industries. We believe that consideration should be given to the provision of an outdoor performance space.

James Wilkie, Vice Chair, Lancaster Vision

Please let us have your comments regarding the proposals for the Canal Quarter, or any other aspect of the Lancaster area, by going to our contact us page

How Lancaster University’s new Health Innovation Campus is helping businesses before it’s even finished

By Gayle Rouncivell Lancaster Guardian 6th February 2020

The new Health Innovation Campus at Lancaster University has already supported more than 100 businesses – well before the centre opens its doors this spring

But there’s still time for organisations interested in working on site to co-create groundbreaking developments in health and well-being to get involved.

Workshops and site visits have been held for those thinking about getting on board with the new development, alongside a leadership programme.

The new campus will be home to Lancaster University’s Medical School and Division of Health Research – but also offers space for organisations to co-locate on site and work with the university and its partners on significant health challenges.

As well as office space and hot-desking facilities, campus residents will have the opportunity to use the various meeting rooms and event spaces in the new building – including a dedicated Innovation Lab and Business Lounge.

But the most important aspects of co-location are the opportunities to engage in academic partnerships and join consortia of organisations working on large-scale projects to improve health and well-being.

Dr Sherry Kothari, director of the Health Innovation Campus, said: “By joining us at the Health Innovation Campus, organisations will become part of an eco-system that maximises the value of co-design and co-production to develop health solutions through cross-sector, multi-disciplinary collaborations.

“Through our engagement work to date, we have already had a number of companies apply to be considered for space in the new building. Many of these organisations see this as an opportunity to help shape the future of health and well-being delivery – and put their skills to use in driving forward projects which can provide positive benefits for our communities.”

Organisations joining the HIC community, will benefit from:

* Working with leading researchers, academics and students

* Opportunities to join large project consortia

* Excellent transport links

* Access to health and well-being facilities at nearby Sport Lancaster

* Contemporary office facilities – including Innovation Lab for project work

* Academic library access

* Inspiring spaces and views

* Car share and electric car parking facilities

As part of its small/medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) support project – fully funded by the European Regional Development Fund – the campus has also been delivering a programme of assistance for SMEs and third sector organisations.

Whether they be start-up companies keen to learn how to do things differently, or more established organisations looking for assistance with new digital products or services, the campus has been on hand to help.

A programme of events has also been delivered, showcasing the latest thinking in various health-related fields.

As part of its small/medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) support project – fully funded by the European Regional Development Fund – the campus has also been delivering a programme of assistance for SMEs and third sector organisations.

Whether they be start-up companies keen to learn how to do things differently, or more established organisations looking for assistance with new digital products or services, the campus has been on hand to help.

A programme of events has also been delivered, showcasing the latest thinking in various health-related fields.

It is currently recruiting for its first cohort, which is due to start in March with the second beginning in May.

Dr Kothari said: “While we are excited about our new building being completed, it was always important to ensure we were creating partnerships and networks before the campus opens its doors.

“With 99.7 per cent of organisations in Lancashire classed as SMEs, we are aware that those companies can be real drivers of change when it comes to the wellbeing of our region – and is where offering support can have the most impact.

“We’re really pleased we have been able to utilise the business support and digital strengths of Lancaster University to work with companies interested in offering new health products and services and driving forward innovation.”

One business which has benefited from the support on offer was Preston-based digital communications company Redmoor Health.

The business has worked with the Health Innovation Campus team to produce an artificial intelligence system for an NHS breast screening unit.

Cameron Booth, digital analyst at Redmoor Health, said: “This collaboration is about to deliver a really exciting digital solution, which we believe could be utilised in different ways across the health sector.

“We had a really positive experience working with the team at Lancaster University.”

Preston company Mente Health worked with the Health Innovation Campus team to create a digital system to improve transparency around different Employee Assistance Programmes so companies can better assess their suitability.

Founder Mel Joseph said: “I couldn’t have done it without them. A university isn’t just there for teaching students – it’s there to help business.”

Workshops have already been held which offer dedicated business support and delivering skills to encourage innovation.

To find out more about working at the Health Innovation Campus, go online here

Details on future workshops can be found here

What is the Health Innovation Campus?

The new Health Innovation Campus at Lancaster University will make a major contribution towards tackling some of the significant health challenges we face today.

As populations continue to live longer, the preservation of good health and quality of life presents significant challenges to an increasingly ageing population.

Health systems in the UK, and globally, are under enormous pressure, necessitating innovative approaches through various methodologies.

The Health Innovation Campus will provide the physical space to support researchers, healthcare providers, businesses, local authorities and policy makers in overcoming health challenges.

Development of the new campus has been supported by the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership Growth Deal, as well as the European Regional Development Fund. The project is receiving up to £8.6m of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund.

Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit

Morecambe Town Council will look into buying Frontierland site

Article by NICK LAKIN – The Visitor 6th February 2020

Morecambe Town Council has said it will carry out a feasibility study into purchasing the Frontierland site and developing it for leisure purposes.

This could include compulsory purchase of the site from current owners Morrison’s.

Some of the suggested uses are a conference hotel, an ice hockey/skating rink and a velodrome, but the council said that any positive leisure ideas would be considered.

At a meeting last month, the Morecambe Bay Independents group, which controls the town council, put forward a motion that it “will look to buy the Frontierland site, by compulsory purchase order if necessary, for the benefit of the residents of Morecambe and Heysham.”

The proposal came after developer Opus North said in October 2019 that the site was now likely to be “residential led” following a “general collapse in interest in the site”.

Previous planning applications have now expired and no new proposals have been formally submitted by Opus North or Morrisons.

But after discussion at the Morecambe Town Council meeting in January, the motion was amended to say: “Morecambe Town Council will set up a ‘feasibility group’ to consider the possibility, logistics and merits of acquiring and developing the Frontierland site for leisure purposes, including by compulsory purchase order if appropriate, for the residents of the district.

“The Town Council will ask for this to be done in conjunction with officers of Lancaster City Council.

“The derelict site has monopolised the promenade for too many years already and must be put back into leisure use.

“Some of the suggested uses are a conference hotel, and ice hockey/skating rink and a velodrome, but any positive leisure ideas would be considered.

“The site can no longer be left neglected as a detrimental divide between the central and west end of Morecambe.”

It was agreed that a feasibility group will be established with a view to working with Lancaster City Council to consider the risks and benefits associated with Morecambe Town Council acquiring and developing the Frontierland site for leisure purposes.

In a draft budget for 2020/21 to be heard at a full council meeting on February 6, a capped fund of £10,000 has been suggested to develop the proposal.

Holiday village, 100-bed hotel and ‘VR experience’ plan for Lancaster revealed

Plans to create a new holiday village including a 100-bed hotel and “virtual reality experience” in Lancaster have been revealed.

by Nick Lakin – Lancaster Guardian 28th January 2020

The plans detail the creation of 400 holiday lodges, a 100 bed hotel with function space, holiday and artisan “pods”, and a 750sqm “VR experience” on land at Ellel Grange, on the A6, south of Galgate.

M Capital Investment Partners Ltd, based in Church Street, Lancaster, have submitted an environmental impact scoping document to Lancaster City Council, outlining a major new “holiday village/leisure destination” comparable to Last Drop Village outside of Bolton.

The site adjacent to junction 33 of the M6, on land associated with Home Farm, would straddle Lancaster Canal, and included Home Farm itself – a collection of farmhouse, cottages and agricultural buildings set next to a walled garden.

It sits between the river Conder to the north, and the river Cocker to the south.

There are two listed buildings within the site, Ellel Grange Bridge and Double Bridge, which are both Grade II listed.

Adjacent to the site lies Ellel Grange and Redwards (Grade II) whilst further to the south lie Kings Lee Chapel (Grade II*) and the Preston Family Mausoleum, Church of St Mary (Grade II).

The scoping document shows the development would consist of around 400 Lodges (total area 28,000 m2), 100 Stay Pods (total area 2000 m2), a ‘Marketplace’ (circa 1500m2 retail sales area, 1400m2 F&B, 500m2 servicing/storage, 100 m2 Ancillary facilities) up to 25 ‘artisan pods’ (1,000sqm of new employment space), a hotel (100 bedrooms, 150 seat function space and associated break out suite, reception and ancillary spaces, totalling 3,700 m2), a ‘VR Experience’ (circa 750m2).

It states: “The proposal comprises of a mix of tourist destination uses, much of which will be ancillary to the holiday accommodation provided across the site. The TRICS database has a limited number of sites that are of comparable complexity, other than The Last Drop Village outside Bolton…

“The site will also deliver 525 holiday pod units.”

M Capital Investment Partners Ltd lists Lancaster tech entrepeneur Martin Higginson, founder of Lancaster based Monstermob Ltd, as a director.

Lancaster BID Newsletter – January 2020

Lancaster BID January 2020 newsletter is now available and includes articles on:

  • Lancaster BID survey
  • City footfall bucks national trend
  • January BID Breakfast – ASB Question Time
  • BID Commercial Marketing Pack
  • FREE Dementia Awareness Training
  • Festive Window Winners Announced
  • Happy New Year from Holdens
  • Help Shape the Future Canal Quarter
  • Business Crime Booklet
  • Upcoming events

To view your copy of this newsletter click this link Lancaster BID Newsletter – January 2020