Councillors called for a community led approach to plans for the Canal Corridor development site in Lancaster at a public meeting this week.
Green Party councillors said that the proposed British Land scheme was “full of financial and environmental risks” and the council needed to take back control of the project.
The current proposals for the land bounded by St Leonard Gate, Moor Lane, and Lancaster Canal, include an arts hub, underground car park, student village and a retail/food and drink offer. But Coun Tim Hamilton-Cox, who addressed the meeting of around 70 people at The Gregson Centre on Tuesday March 13, said the proposals put to councillors in October last year would mean the council is locked into 25 or 30 year leases for the arts hub and underground car park and would be liable for rents regardless of income.
He said: “This is exactly the same situation as with Lancaster market and ended up with the council incurring big six-figure losses each year – as the rents from market stalls declined – and having to buy itself out of the lease. British Land is ‘de-risking’ the scheme for itself by transferring risk to the taxpayer.”