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Masterplanner sought for Lancaster city centre

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Lancaster City Council is seeking a design team to draw up a masterplan and investment framework for its central zone

The winning team will evaluate local development opportunities and compile an ‘articulate, accessible, and visually stimulating long-term vision’ for the city centre.

The project aims to produce a 25-year strategy for the historic settlement, and is part of the local authority’s bid for inclusion in the government’s Growth Deal initiative.

The masterplan will also support the council’s ambitions to secure UNESCO World Heritage Site and City of Culture status.

According to the brief: ‘The case for inclusion in the Growth Deal of a contribution towards key city centre developments and critical enabling infrastructure needs to be articulated.

‘We are now looking for suitably qualified consultants to pick up the many activities and opportunities existing in and around Lancaster centre and draw these together into an agreed long-term vision for the city and an accompanying Investment framework to turn the vision into reality.

‘The successful consultant will evaluate Lancaster’s key strengths and highlight opportunities to raise the city’s profile and improve its attractiveness as a place to visit, live, work and invest in.’

Founded as a Roman fort on the River Lune, the settlement became part of the Duchy of Lancaster during the Plantagenet era and was awarded city status in 1937. Key city centre landmarks include the 11th-century Lancaster Castle (pictured) and the Grade I-listed Priory Church of St Mary.

Earlier this year the city council announced it would push ahead with a 4ha town centre regeneration backed by British Land and Lancaster University.

Known as Canal Corridor North, the scheme by Chapman Taylor and Richard Griffiths Architects will overhaul a waterfront area currently home to the disused Mitchell’s Brewery and the Dukes and Lancaster Grand Theatre performance venues.

Earlier plans for the £140 million mixed-use project by 3DReid were blocked by the then communities secretary, John Denham, in 2009.

The deadline for applications is 27 May.

How to apply

View the contract notice for more information

Contact details

Helen MacMahon
Lancaster City Council
Town Hall
Dalton Square

Tel: +44 1524582122
Email: hmcmahon@lancaster.gov.uk


Client Q&A

Lancaster City Council Cabinet Member with responsibility for regeneration and planning Janice Hanson

Lancaster City Council Cabinet Member with responsibility for regeneration and planning

Lancaster City Council Cabinet Member with responsibility for regeneration and planning

Janice Hanson

What role will high-quality architecture play in Lancaster’s bid for World Heritage Site, City of Culture and Growth Deal status?

Developments should be well designed, sympathetic to the natural and built environment and be planned and constructed in a sustainable manner. As most of Lancaster city centre is a Conservation Area, with a high concentration of listed buildings, protected views and a valuable historic setting, this becomes even more critical. The city council is seeking further evidence for major initiatives including:

  • Plans for city centre retail expansion to the north west of the city centre on the Canal Corridor site and other nearby city council land / assets (led by developer British Land).
  • Development in and around Lancaster Castle and St George’s Quay.
  • Lancaster Square Routes - focussing on public realm improvements and connectivity within the urban fabric.
  • Developing the visitor economy and the introduction of new branding and destination management guidelines.
  • Museums Service - reviewing of the management arrangements between the city and county council and the role, shape and content of the city’s museum offer.

Our great challenge is to secure the strategic resources and infrastructure to accommodate projected growth and at the same time help developers deliver modern, functional environments which work with the grain of a place with over 2,000 years of history behind it.

What sort of masterplanner are you hoping to work with on the city centre?

Ultimately we want a consultant who can assist us in developing the case for delivering specific key actions and strategic opportunities in and around Lancaster centre. We also need help to draw these together into a compelling vision for the city and an accompanying investment framework to turn the vision into reality so as to raise the city’s profile and improve its attractiveness as a place to visit, live, work and invest in.

How will the council take forward projects identified in the masterplan?

While many of the strategic initiatives are in the pipeline we will be looking to the investment framework to provide clear ‘next steps’ with an assessment of anticipated timescales to develop the propositions and finance, grant funding and investment packages alongside.

Will there opportunities for smaller architectural practices to get involved?

The council will make decisions on the development and delivery strategy for those initiatives or projects within its control on a case by case basis. Where work is made available outside an existing partnership arrangement or procurement framework the council usually makes the opportunity available to firms of all sizes.

Which other city centre regeneration schemes have you been impressed by?

Lancaster was recently designated as one of England’s Heritage Cities and also as a leading visitor destination within Lancashire for short breaks. We’ve taken a keen interest in the progress and experiences of the other Heritage Cities and the ways in which these places are creating vibrant, popular centres capturing the opportunities afforded by their historic capital.

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