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It's Our City plans public meeting to discuss new Centros development plan

John Freeman
Lancaster development campaign group It's Our City held a meeting at the Gregson earlier this week to discuss the latest Centros proposal for Lancaster Canal Corridor - and are now planning a public meeting on Tuesday 15 May at 7.30pm at Lancaster Town Hall to discuss the new plans.

Centros released revised proposals (see previous story for details)  for a £100m development of the area last month, drawn up in partnership with the City Council and English Heritage and include a department store, shops, cafes and restaurants.

The previous £150m proposal by Centros for the canal corridor north site was rejected following a public inquiry in 2009.

During their meeting, the IOC core group recognised that whilst many were opposed to the last Centros scheme, they felt they were currently no longer in a position to speak on residents' behalf in relation to this latest proposal one way or the other.

As a result, it's been agreed that IOC will host a public meeting in Lancaster Town Hall discus the new plans, with speakers on both sides of the development debate.

"The purpose of the meeting will be to gauge how people feel about the new proposal with a view to determining what relationship IOC as a group should take to it," a spokesperson tod virtual-lancaster. "At present we are looking to hold the event in mid to late May but this will depend on the availability of the Town Hall."

"[Our] revised proposals build on many of the positive components of the last scheme that were endorsed by the Secretary of State," argues Centros director David Lewis last month, "while creatively integrating more of the existing buildings, including the now listed brewery, bringing them back into vibrant use.

"Once legal formalities are concluded, we will be in a position to prepare a new planning application. In the meantime, we intend to continue our engagement with both statutory consultees and local stakeholders, as well as the public."

A new planning application is expected to be submitted at the end of the year and if successful the scheme could be completed by late 2016 or early 2017.

Lancaster City Council discussed the plans at Full Council last month, but the public and press were excluded from the debate.