Outline plans have been submitted for a Center Parcs-style destination including 450 lodges, a hotel and market at Ellel.
The plans come from Ellel Holiday Village, a sister business of Lancaster-based M Capital Investment Partners, with a professional team including Stride Treglown, Hatch Regeneris, JLL, landscape architect Randall Thorp and planner JWPC.
In 2018, M Capital put forward plans for a garden village of 950 homes at the site, which sits around the Lancaster Canal close to junction 33 of the M6, but switched to an alternative approach.
In a separate garden village scheme, nearby Bailrigg was one of the first wave of Government-backed garden villages to be approved in early 2017.
What is advancing at Ellel instead is described as an eco-friendly and educational holiday destination, which will see a net gain of 15% in biodiversity to what is already a green area, with 30,000 trees to be planted.
The proposed 90-bedroom hotel and a marketplace are to be brought forward together, with the intention being that the latter will supply the former. The plan is that food and drink operators will not pay standard rent, but that the landlord will take a percentage of takings. The project also includes function and education spaces and a spa.
Andrew Stanyon, project director for Ellel Holiday Village, told Place North West: “We always had a plan B beyond the garden village plan, and much of what we intended to do with that remains as part of what we want to deliver.
“Where this project differs from most is that the ecologists and landscape architects have been fully involved from the start, leading on large parts of the plan: we believe this is the only way you can approach developments like this as we look to enhance the area.”
One of the most eyecatching areas of the development could be at the former quarry on the site, which could see the introduction of a cantilevered building – this is where the immersive wildlife centre could be created. The company has worked with architect Stride Treglown before, on one of its many student accommodation schemes.
E-bikes will be used to move around the site, with other technologies to include virtual and augmented reality elements.
Stanyon said: “I’ve lived and worked in Morecambe and Lancaster all my life, I’ve seen the heyday, and we want to play a part in putting this area back on the map.”