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Plans go in to demolish former factory of iconic Lancaster ice cream makers

The former Macaris ice cream depot in Lancaster is earmarked for demolition

A former ice cream factory in Lancaster has been earmarked for demolition to make way for housing.

Plans have gone in to Lancaster City Council asking for permission to knock down the derelict former Macari's depot on St Leonardgate as part of the mooted Canal Quarter development.

If permission is granted, six outbuildings and stone walls on the St Leonardgate car park will be demolished, temporary hoardings will be put up and asbestos will be removed.

The site is part of an area earmarked for housing, as the city council aims to build on the car parks in future.

The six small industrial buildings date back to the mid-to-late 20th century, and were built and used by the iconic Lancaster ice cream making family business A. Macari & Sons for the production of ice cream. They have been empty for many years.

"A. Macari & Sons utilised the site to form their ice cream depot catering for their café business on North Road in the city centre," says a heritage report submitted with the demolition plans, available on the Lancaster City Council website.

"The firm constructed a number of manufacturing shed-like structures from brick and breezeblock intermittently through the late-20th century, including the reconstruction of the south perimeter wall with stone and railings, and the construction of a new stone and metal gated entrance to the west onto St Leonards Gate.

"The firm left the site at some point in the last 20 years. 

"The site today comprises six shed-like structures all built over the mid-to-late 20th century, and in which were used for the ice cream manufacturing process, including a large yard to the west, which allowed for ice cream vans to be parked and deliveries etc."

A covering letter with the plans, by NJL Consulting of Manchester says: "Identified asbestos will be removed by an approved contractor before demolition commences.

"To ensure safety during the demolition process, a 2.4-meter-high closed-boarded hoarding will be installed around the perimeter of the site. The proposed hoarding will be temporary until the site has been redeveloped.

"The expected duration for the works is a week for asbestos removal and two weeks for demolition. However, it should be noted that duration of works may be subject to change if an archaeological watching brief is deemed necessary.

"After the demolition works are completed, the site will be left clear, clean, and free from any debris or potential hazards, such as trip hazards and remnants from the demolition process."

The Canal Quarter plans include building houses on both Upper and Lower St Leonardgate car parks, which could result in the loss of 181 spaces and six coach parking spaces by 2026.

The plans have proven unpopular with many city centre businesses.

Read more: INTERVIEWS: Strong words from Lancaster businesses as concerns grow over future of car parking - Beyond Radio

Lancaster Canal Quarter revamp is officially backed by council - Beyond Radio

St Leonardgate car park is pictured below

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