3DReid’s North Canal Corridor project looks set to be scrapped following the announcement by Lancaster City Council that it is to withdraw from the public enquiry
It follows the unprecedented decision in March by the developer Centros, not to take part in the inquiry. Heritage groups had lambasted the property firm both over its plans and its decision to pull out of the public hearing. However Centros’ chief executive Richard Wise again defended the move claiming the inquiry ‘had not been of their making’ and that the possible expenditure – expected to be up to £1million – would havejeopardised some of the community benefits proposed.
Wise also fired a salvo back at English Heritage saying the organisation had behaved ‘questionably’ and that the government needed ‘to bring it to heel’. He said: ‘Their contribution to this development has been erratic at best and is likely to send shockwaves throughout the property sector as well as local authorities trying to achieve regeneration of their town and city centres.’
The application, the first to be called-in for a public inquiry in the north-west since 2001, involved the demolition of 30 historic buildings, 18 within conservation areas.
William Palin, secretary of SAVE said: ‘We are delighted that the council has acknowledged that there is no point in continuing its defence of this application.
‘SAVE has argued from the outset that this is completely the wrong scheme for this sensitive and finely textured site. In commissioning an alternative conservation-led ‘blueprint’ for the site from Richard Griffiths, SAVE has demonstrated the benefits of an adaptable, phased approach, which makes the best of the historic fabric. Now the council has a real opportunity to change direction and promote a new scheme worthy of this unique and beautiful city.
‘…this must be the end of the line for this ill-conceived scheme. Centros, having declined to turn up and defend its own application, has seen the council’s efforts to promote it fall apart.’
The scheme was also being opposed bylocal group It’s Our City.