Centros will not appear at Lancaster inquiry

Centros will not be represented at the planning inquiry into its £140m retail scheme in Lancaster.

The developer said its plans had been publicly tested already in winning planning permission from Lancaster City Council last autumn.

Richard Wise, chief executive of Centros, said: "Further expenditure on our Lancaster planning application at this time would affect the scheme delivery and jeopardise some of the community benefits, and therefore there is no point in us spending up to another million pounds to be represented at the inquiry.

"While remaining fully committed to the project and Lancaster, we will simply await the outcome and only then decide how to progress the scheme further."

The inquiry was called after a public campaign by English Heritage objecting to the scheme, in particular a pedestrian bridge and demolition of unlisted buildings in a conservation area.

Wise added: "Having been lobbied by English Heritage and local minority objector group It's Our City, the government has effectively valued a handful of mediocre unlisted buildings above the delivery of a major regeneration scheme and a thousand new jobs.

"This is a complete contradiction of its policies and all the economic initiatives aimed at pulling the country out of recession."

The scheme would feature 427,000 sq ft of retail and leisure, anchored by Debenhams, alongside offices, residential and an 800-space car park.

No date has been set for the public inquiry.

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