A little over a year ago, I took up the post of chief executive for Lancaster City Council, writes Susan Parsonage. Driven by action, real collaboration and seizing opportunities, the area’s potential is becoming a reality.
The Council has made economic growth a priority. We are investing in the future to create business growth, attract investment and develop the skills needed in the area, matched with a big commitment to the visitor economy.
The opening of the Bay Gateway in 2016, has led to a growth corridor from the M6 to the Port of Heysham which opens up a wealth of possibilities in the area for international trade to places like Ireland and beyond, demonstrated by recent investment from Peel Ports, Surefreight, and Seatruck.
On top of this, the Council is facilitating regeneration in this strategic location to help create employment areas, including a focus on the technology and energy sectors.
The district’s recently created partnership of Coastal Community Team majors on new tourism opportunities for Morecambe and Heysham, in particular heritage-led regeneration.
Working with British Land, we’re progressing proposals for the long-awaited Canal Corridor North development in Lancaster – a once-in-a-generation opportunity. This will see the transformation and building of a new retail and leisure quarter for the city, which compliments the historic roman city and castle and helps magnify the cultural offer.
A significant part of the project is the development of a unique arts and cultural facility to anchor the overall scheme, which will build on our burgeoning reputation as a district of artistic repute. The Council will take final decisions on detail in the new year with a planning application for the development expected in 2018, with a start date of 2021.
A key partner in the proposals for the Canal Corridor North is Lancaster University, who also want a great place with a special regional offer to complement the fantastic success of the university.
The university is a partner in the development of proposals for a Garden Village at Bailrigg, adjacent to their campus. This provides an opportunity to design a new settlement from the ground up and will perfectly complement the university’s Health Innovation Campus and its promise of a world-class centre of excellence for innovation and research.
There’s no doubt that the future is bright and our unique position, not only as a key growth centre for Lancashire but also as an important part of Morecambe Bay, is a great advantage. This is reinforced by the three leaders of Lancaster, Barrow and South Lakeland Councils signing up to work more closely on economic development opportunities.
A historic city, beautiful coastline and incredible rural spaces combine to provide a stunning location whilst our heritage, arts and culture sets the area apart.
We have fantastic partners locally, across Lancashire and around Morecambe Bay, and together we are creating a great and thriving place.
The North West in 2018 series features guest contributors looking ahead to next year and is published throughout December.