Peace breaks out at Lancaster retail scheme

Previously opposing sides in the battle over how to develop Lancaster city centre have issued a joint statement saying they intend to 'work in partnership to take the necessary steps to develop further the options for redeveloping the Canal Corridor site'.

The agreement was reached by landowner and planning authority Lancaster City Council, fellow landowner Mitchell's, watchdog English Heritage and developer Centros.

The statement said: "The partners fully understand the role of preserving the city's heritage assets and will now work collaboratively with all parties.

"Collectively, we need to deliver a development proposal which will ensure sustainable economic, environmental and social regeneration for the city."

The scheme would have featured 427,000 sq ft of retail and leisure, anchored by Debenhams, alongside offices, residential and an 800-space car park. Labour's then Secretary of State John Denham ruled against the plans in January following public inquiry, triggered mainly by objections from English Heritage.

This week's joint statement continued: "Whilst all partners are committed to working to this aim, the city council will also be working with all other interested parties and will be consulting with the communities of the district, to ensure the early redevelopment of this important site within the city.

"The city council would also like to report that, following the recent High Court decision that has now been made regarding the judicial review, the City Council is now in a position to continue its work in reviewing the Conservation Areas.

"This will assist in establishing the heritage values of the site that need to be taken into account in the development proposal."

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