Lancaster Lune Industrial Estate Housing Jan 2019
The Hurstwood site highlighted in red

Lancaster set to refuse 250 homes after three-year wait

Proposals by Hurstwood to build nearly 250 houses on the Lune Industrial Estate have been dealt a blow after Lancaster City Council planning officers recommended the scheme for refusal, nearly three years after plans were submitted.

Hurstwood’s proposals are for a 25-acre plot on the industrial estate; the developer is proposing to demolish the existing buildings on the site and bring forward up to 249 homes, including a mix of two, three, and four bed houses.

Two of the larger industrial units on the site are still occupied with Howdens in one and VMC Developments in another.

Hurstwood said it had been in dialogue with the council over redeveloping the site since 2011.

The developer’s application was first submitted in March 2016 and validated in July of that year; planners originally advised this should be withdrawn, but Hurstwood decided to propose a series of amendments to address planners’ concerns.

These have included reducing the number of proposed homes from 263 down to 249.

However, a number of objections to the scheme still remain, leading planning officers to recommend it for refusal when Lancaster City Council’s planning committee meets next Monday.

Objections include from the local highways authority, which takes issue with the proposed access arrangements to New Quay Road, on the grounds of highway safety. Objections to the original application relating to site safety were previously removed following Hurstwood’s commitment to provide £540,000 towards a new bus route into the city centre.

Planners also argued the site’s status as an employment site in its Local Plan should be protected, and that the Local Plan does not “support piecemeal redevelopment of the site that concentrates only on residential development”.

“It is accepted that the industrial estate as a whole is no longer appropriate in this location in the long term but still has economic value evidenced by the number of businesses operating from the site”, added the planners’ report.

The council’s environmental team had also raised issues with noise, while the Lancaster Civic Society had argued against the demolition of a stone-built mill on the site, claiming this should be retained for a residential conversion.

There have also been 137 letters of objection from members of the public, while the area’s local MP Cat Smith has also signalled her opposition, arguing the industrial estate was “thriving” with claims that 100 jobs could be lost if the development goes ahead.

In a response to concerns put forward in 2016, Hurstwood’s planner Peter Brett Associates said the developer was “extremely disappointed” with planning officers’ comments.

“The fact of the matter is that the application proposal is the most comprehensive scheme that is ever going to come forward for this site,” said the letter.

“The remaining land is under the control of disparate freehold interests who have no obvious incentive to partner with Hurstwood or bear the cost and upheaval that would be associated with an even more comprehensive scheme that involved their own premises.

“For the council to think otherwise is, frankly, completely unrealistic and undeliverable in practice”.

Lancaster City Council’s planning committee is due to meet on 4 February.

Your Comments

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I couldn’t disagree more with the applicants consultants. This is a dreadful piecemeal proposal that makes me embarrassed to be a planner. Hurstwoods have run down the industrial estate with the view to making a quick buck out of housing.

By Peter Brett

Lune industrial estate has had very little investment from hurstwoods or the previous owners for 20 years… The site really isn’t suitable for commercial use anymore especially when you have the roads in disrepair, no motorway link and you have heavy commercial vehicles driving through residential estates to get to the estate.

I believe lune industrial estate needs to be made into a light commercial site solely or residential.

By F West

Not sure those reasons for refusal would outweigh the need to meet thier housing numbers at a public inquiry.

By DJ

This presumably would require the removal of the beautiful classic Art Deco power station which would be a dreadful shame as it’s as important in it’s way as the bus station was and we all know what an eye sore that is now.

By Gordon Fox

I totally agree with what has been written. But it is the only true woodland in this area. I also think there is a lack of amenities in the area. The roads are bad around there . There is no room in the local schools . The builders are just wanting to make money.

By Sheindel Zloch

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