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