The design watchdog said it was concerned the project for developer Urban Splash – which will eventually create 533 homes, shops and cafes – would form a ‘dominating mega-block’ limiting ‘permeability’ through to the foreshore.
The commission went on to say that the development had to ‘justify its own existence by making a tangible and lasting positive contribution to the town, in addition to being a good piece of architecture in its own right’.
However, CABE did commend the scheme’s ‘curved form’ as the ‘appropriate response’ to the site, and refused to raise any objections to the proposed demolition of the listed wall around the Grade-II* Midland Hotel, which is linked in to the development.
Back in July, objectors threatened to chain themselves to the wall outside Oliver Hill's 1933 Art Deco gem in a bid to save it from the bulldozers.
An Urban Splash spokeswoman said: 'We are meeting with Lancaster City Council to review the statutory consultees’ comments and hope to address any relevant issues including CABE’s comments shortly.'