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Public meeting to be held on future of Lancaster city centre car parking

Parking spaces could be cut in car parks in Lancaster

Plans for the future of car parking in Lancaster city centre will be discussed at an event at the Grand Theatre.

Lancaster BID (Business Improvement District)  has organised a 'The Future of Lancaster City Centre Car Parking' Q&A amid concerns over the possible reduction of off-street car parking spaces.

Lancaster BID said the plans could have "devastating effects" on city centre businesses.

Plans to revamp the Canal Quarter area of the city includes proposals to cut public car parking spaces over the next three to 10 years.

The meeting will be held on Monday November 13 at 6pm, and city councillors will answer questions about the car parking proposals.

Tony Johnson, Lancaster BID manager, said: "Lancaster BID has received substantial amounts of communication both in writing and verbally from businesses about the City Centre Parking proposals and all are singing off the same hymn sheet, one of serious concern about the devastating effects the proposed plans could have on the city centre in economic terms.

"We felt it was the right thing to do to try and hold an event where Lancaster City Council could share their plans and thoughts for the future and we are very pleased that councillors have agreed to sit on a panel to do just that.

"We are hopeful that the event will allow our businesses to share their views openly, honestly and in the right way that’s why we decided to have former BBC reporter Dave Guest present the Q and A event to keep things moving in the right direction.

"Lancaster BID would like to thank Lancaster Grand Theatre for kindly offering us their venue for the evening."

Lancaster city centre businesses have been invited to the event and residents are also welcome to attend.

You can register to attend here. 

Lancaster BID is an independent body representing city centre businesses.

A statement on the BID website said in September: "Lancaster BID has recently been made aware of a number of proposed changes to city centre parking which give us cause for concern.

"We have spoken with a small number of businesses which will be most heavily impacted and confirmed very low levels of awareness of the proposals.

"We are sharing this information to ensure all city centre businesses are aware of the planned changes and to invite you to share your thoughts with us.

"The Lancaster BID board of directors is very concerned about the combined impact of these proposals which have been developed without an adequate parking strategy for the city. Your views will help give us a broader view from all levy paying businesses to help us initiate conversations with Lancaster City Council and other key partners and to lobby on your behalf.

"Nelson Street Car Park (pictured below) is scheduled to close early in 2024 with the loss of 105 spaces to build new homes on the site. Lancaster BID has been aware of this proposal for 12 months and felt that, in isolation, the loss of parking would be offset by the development bringing new residents into the city.

"However, we have recently been made aware that this is only one part of a wider plan to vastly reduce parking provision in the city.

"We have now been made aware of the proposed loss of a further 400 car parking spaces around St Leonardsgate as a key part of the proposed Canal Quarter Masterplan recently adopted by Lancaster City Council. This will significantly reduce city centre parking as well as causing serious issues for neighbouring businesses such as The Grand Theatre and The Dukes. It also potentially impacts on the only designated coach parking in the city centre. Neighbouring businesses were unaware of these proposals."

A plan to transform the derelict Canal Quarter area of Lancaster into a “vibrant district which is welcoming and inclusive” was backed by Lancaster City Council in July. See artist's impression below.

The masterplan proposes "a network of new high-quality public realms" in the area that will "prioritise pedestrian and cycle movements over private vehicles in line with the council’s aspirations to tackle climate change" and a "walkable neighbourhood".

Read more on the Canal Quarter Masterplan here:

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

As part of the proposals, the council will build new housing on the Nelson Street car park and has earmarked a site at St Leonardgate for housing development too.

Councillor Nick Wilkinson, Lancaster City Council cabinet member with responsibility for regeneration, skills and digital innovation, said in September: “I welcome Lancaster BID’s commitment to working with the city council on developing a strategic response to the city’s off street parking facilities.

"Doing so is a key component of the Canal Quarter development and one we are acutely aware of the need to address.

“The masterplan, which was subject to extensive consultation and a wide range of stakeholders and the public, including Lancaster BID, does propose a reduction in public car parking spaces on the site over the next three to 10 years.

“However, as a part of the wider transport work, noting that the County Council are responsible for transport infrastructure, we will be looking at the overall parking situation in Lancaster. This will include looking at parking need in the city centre for the future. I fully intend to engage with local businesses as a part of this work."

Read more: Free parking at Christmas in Lancaster is announced quashing fears it would be scrapped - Beyond Radio

Lancaster multi-storey car park to remain closed due to "structural defects" - Beyond Radio

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