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£13m Canal Quarter contract up for grabs to build new homes on Lancaster car park

Nelson Street car park in Lancaster

A £13m contract is up for grabs to build new houses on a Lancaster car park as part of the long-awaited Canal Quarter development.

Lancaster City Council is looking to appoint a housing developer to build homes on the Nelson Street car park in the city.

The site is one of several earmarked by the council's 'masterplan' to regenerate the Canal Quarter area of Lancaster.

There is funding available to build an estimated 233 new homes across the Nelson Street car park and another earmarked site on St Leonardgate - although only the Nelson Street development has gone out to tender at this stage.

The contract is expected to run from June 5 2023 to June 19 2026 and the deadline for expressions of interest from developers is January 16.

The new housing on Nelson Street would be part of a planned 580 new homes in the Canal Quarter area.

The tender information, available on the city council's website, says: "Lancaster City Council is seeking to appoint a preferred housing developer partner to assist in delivering its housing regeneration ambitions for a city council owned site designated for early release within the Lancaster Canal Quarter regeneration area.

"The council is seeking bids from housing developers (and their associates) or consortium (with identified lead organisation) to promote and develop an early phase market housing scheme.

"The council has been awarded Brownfield Land Release Fund (BLFR) money for the site, the aim of which is to unlock new homes on derelict and underused brownfield land through the One Public Estate programme. The money will help the council to bring forward plans for this early phase housing site which would see new homes delivered to the council’s exacting environmental standards.

"Regeneration of the Canal Quarter area is critical to enhancing Lancaster’s role as a sub-regional centre and boosting its housing, commercial, cultural and leisure offer."

Here is a map of the Lancaster Canal Quarter site.

The masterplan was revealed towards the end of 2022

Plans include for the Brewery to become a landmark building at the heart of the development, new public squares, work space, food and drink outlets and shops, and a "vibrant and sustainable mixed-use neighbourhood".

Here is an artist's impression of how a reimagined Brewery Lane might look.

"After decades of false-starts and failed proposals, where control and the overall direction of the regeneration approach was voluntarily ceded to the major private land interests, the city council is now taking a more pro-active role in enabling a fresh approach to progressing future development across the site," says a statement on the city council website.

"Nelson Street is a 0.34 hectare development site located within the Canal Quarter regeneration area in Lancaster City Centre also consisting of surface public car parking. 

"Nelson Street has been identified as an opportunity to bring forward much needed homes in the first phase of the regeneration. It is bound by Nelson Street to the north, Lancaster Canal to the east and a residential apartment block to the west. A public pedestrian and cycle route traverses the site to the north, offering level access to the canal path."

Lancaster Civic Vision, an independent local heritage and development group, said they welcomed the "progress on the provision of market housing".

They also "urged the City Council to also consider what positive steps they might also take to accelerate the provision of badly needed social housing within the Canal Quarter".

Further talks on the Canal Quarter plans will be held by Lancaster City Council Cabinet at a meeting next Tuesday (January 17).

Councillors will be updated on the early phase regeneration plans, in particular the "housing delivery on key identified sites".

They will also be asked to approve funding for the next stages of work.

The talks will not be open to the public, as the agenda item is "exempt" under the Local Government Act as discussions may include "information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information)".

Related Story: Grant funding boost for Lancaster’s Canal Quarter plans - Beyond Radio

Canal Quarter masterplan to be unveiled at consultation event - Beyond Radio

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