Outline plans were revealed for a development including:
- a retail/food and beverage development with some 250,000 sq ft of high street comparison retail floorspace and 70,000 sq ft of food and drink retail incorporating one anchor (high street comparison retail) store;
- an 82 bedroom hotel;
- a new student village of around 1,000 units of student accommodation;
- an underground car park with 786 spaces; and
- a new “arts hub” building which could house the Dukes, Ludus dance and other arts organisations.
Significant community concern was expressed, particularly in relation to the financial risk of the development agreement with British Land for the arts hub and underground car park. There was criticism of the heavy retail focus and concern that, with high street retail in decline and a significant proportion of city centre shops unoccupied, this was not the right time for a retail development. After receiving reports from consultants, the development agreement between Lancaster City Council and British Land was ended. The city council has announced the wish to pursue an alternative, phased and less risky development.