Canal Enthusiasts Voice Concerns Over Lancaster Local Development Plan
Lancaster, 31st March 2017
Members of the Lancaster Canal Trust have recently submitted a document voicing their concerns over Lancaster City Council's proposals for the Lancaster District Local Development Plan, due to be completed in September 2018.
The aim of the plan is to guide development in the Lancaster District for the next 15 years. However, following a meeting with their partners, the Inland Waterways Association, the Lancaster Canal Regeneration Partnership and the Canal & River Trust, the Lancaster Canal Trust have raised a number of concerns.
These concerns include ensuring that the fifty or so listed structures, mostly Grade II bridges, as well as aqueducts, culverts, locks and milestones, are given appropriate protection.
There are other concerns too, like protection of the natural environment. For example, development of a thirteen mile stretch adjacent to the canal between Galgate and Carnforth may result in the encroachment of large housing estates onto the canal, potentially threatening wildlife and the canal’s Biological Heritage Site status.
But not all is negative. The Trust welcome the City Council’s pledge for there to be no net loss of value to wildlife, their recognition of the canal as a major green corridor, and proposals for the creation of new wildlife habitat.
Richard Trevitt, Lancaster Canal Trust member and retired Civil Engineer said: "We routinely monitor new planning applications and make appropriate comment on those that could have an impact on the Canal. This Local Plan for Lancaster District has the potential for a far greater impact on the canal than any individual planning application. The Canal's county importance as a Biological Heritage Site and its tranquility as a peaceful corridor for boating, angling, walking, running and cycling are under threat if it were to become more or less continuously built up on one or both banks, from south of Galgate to north of Carnforth.'"
Wendy Humphreys, representative of the Inland Waterways Association Lancs and Cumbria branch pointed out that "this is a good example of partnership, the Lancaster Canal Trust working closely with the Inland Waterways Association, the Lancaster Canal Regeneration Partnership, and the Canal & River Trust"
Consultation closed on the 24th March 2017. The City Council have received a large number of representations but the Lancaster Canal Trust and their partners are hopeful that their concerns will be fully taken onboard.
Note to Editors:
The Lancaster Canal Trust is a voluntary organisation that represents the interests of all users of the Lancaster Canal and campaigns for the conservation of the Lancaster Canal and restoration of the "Northern Reaches" from Tewitfield to Kendal. The Trust organises work parties every second weekend of the month where a variety of restoration tasks are carried out such as vegetation clearance and repairs to walls and bridges. The Trust also operates a Tripboat from the section of canal opposite the Crooklands Hotel in Cumbria during summer months.
The canal forms a valuable wildlife corridor through towns and farmland. Originally man made, it has become naturalised over time, enabling species to survive and thrive where otherwise they would be unable. A walk along the towpath is, effectively, a walk into the heart of the country, even though you may only be a stone’s throw from human habitation, a built up environment or an area of intensive agriculture. The whole of the Lancashire section of the canal is designated a Biological Heritage Site (a second-tier wildlife site) and is the largest water-body in the county of Lancashire.