Eric Wright picked for £30m Lancaster Canal Quarter job
The city council has selected the contractor to build Coopers Fields, a 139-home affordable housing project within the 16-acre masterplan zone.
Eric Wright will redevelop two acres of city council-owned car parks off Leonard’s Gate in the Canal Quarter.
The tender process for the job was publicly run through the North West Construction Hub high value framework for projects valued in excess of £25m.
Coopers Field is one of the first phases of Lancaster’s Canal Quarter regeneration efforts.
The scheme will prioritise “sustainable urban living by maximising renewable energy opportunities and looking to reduce the impact of the construction process by minimising elements of embodied carbon where possible”, according to Eric Wright.
The contractor already has an interest in the Canal Quarter proposals.
Maple Grove Developments, part of Eric Wright Group, has an option to redevelop another site within the Canal Quarter, the former Heron Chemical Works.
Phil Brown, commercial director at Eric Wright Construction, said: “We have a long-standing relationship with the area, having delivered the Caton Court project and the Luneside student accommodation project and look forward to utilising our knowledge of green buildings and Passivhaus principles developed on previous schemes to deliver a highly sustainable project .”
The Coopers Field project is led by the city council’s housing team with Anderton Gables acting as its retained consultant and project manager. PRP is leading on the project’s design.
Cllr Caroline Jackson, deputy leader of Lancaster City Council, said: “A key ambition of the Canal Quarter Masterplan is to breathe new life into this area of Lancaster by providing local people and families with much-needed affordable housing.
“The council has appointed Eric Wright under Pre-Construction Services Agreement to collaborate with the design team under early contractor engagement protocols, taking a major step forward in making the ambitious housing vision a reality.”
Elsewhere within the Canal Quarter, the city council is also looking for a contractor to deliver housing on Nelson Street car park.
The triangular site comes in at just under an acre and is located next to Lancaster Canal at the southern tip of the masterplan area.
The Canal Quarter vision
Overall, the Canal Quarter, which stretches southwards from St Leonard’s Gate to Quarry Road, would comprise 580 homes, two public squares, and more than 75,000 sq ft of commercial space.
The Lancaster Canal Quarter is intended to become a 15-minute neighbourhood under the masterplan vision, with additional pedestrian and cycle-friendly streets encouraging access to Lancaster Canal.
At the heart of the proposal is the former Mitchell’s Brewery, which is set to become a landmark building in the quarter.
Other aspects of the Lancaster Canal Quarter vision include extending Duke’s Theatre, improving the public realm, and enhancing the existing ginnels in the area to create interesting pathways for pedestrians to explore. The plan also calls for stepped canal access.
Lancaster City Council owns the majority of the site and PRP will also work with private landowners within the area to create a coherent plan that features homes, hotels, offices, and a prominent cultural and artistic offer.
The main privately-owned site within the Canal Quarter, previously known as Canal Corridor North, is the 2.5-acre former brewery.
The site was previously owned by a joint venture between Worthington Properties and fund manager Revcap.
However, following the developer’s collapse in 2019, Revcap went into partnership with Riverstone Developments to bring forward the site’s redevelopment.
The masterplan follows the blueprint laid out in a strategic regeneration framework for the Canal Quarter, drawn up by Planit IE and Avison Young.
A previous retail-led iteration of the Canal Quarter scheme was brought forward by British Land in 2013 but the partnership between the council and the developer was terminated in 2018 and British Land sold its interest in the site to Worthington the following year.