Decision Maker: Cabinet
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: Yes
Is subject to call in?: Yes
The report considers the route and approach to
implementation of an area in the Canal Quarter known as
Cooper’s Fields, the area of city council interest dominated
by the Upper and Lower St. Leonard’s Gate surface car
parking, bounded by Lodge Street, Alfred Street, Seymour Street /
Edward Street and St Leonards Gate. Cabinet is asked to consider
the approval of Reserve Funds to undertake the management and
progression of an RIBA competition to select the preferred
architectural design team to work on the project.
(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Hamilton-Cox)
Cabinet received a report from the Director for Economic Growth and Regeneration to consider the route and approach to implement the economic regeneration of key council land interests, particularly the area known as Cooper’s Fields which is dominated by the Upper and Lower St. Leonard’s Gate surface car parking and bounded by Lodge Street, Alfred Street, Seymour Street / Edward Street and St Leonards Gate. Cabinet was requested to approve the use of Reserve Funds to commission a full professional services master planning team to deliver the next key phase of the Canal Quarter project.
The options, options analysis, including risk assessment and officer preferred option, were set out in the report as follows:
Option 1: Approve £120K to procure a master-planning team through an existing Framework Agreement to progress the council’s preferred masterplan/ development solution
Option 2: Approve £120K to procure a master-planning team through open competitive tender to progress the council’s preferred masterplan/ development solution
Officers are experienced in progressing UK directive compliant tenders via Frameworks to appoint masterplan/design teams for projects.
Use of a pre-approved UK directive compliant Framework will reduce the administrative burden on officers in managing a legally compliant tender process.
Greater likelihood of securing a high-quality team and detailed design solution for the project.
Greater “reach” in securing interest from a range of design practices.
Enables a wider range of national and international practices to participate.
“Reach” of the council’s tender may not be wide enough to secure innovative thinking or creative solutions from smaller firms if a Framework is used.
Officer resource commitment would be higher particularly under an open competition with an element of negotiation/ dialogue.
Risks / Mitigation
A quality design team would be appointed who progress a feasible masterplan / design solution to meet the council’s and community’s objectives as expressed through the CQSRF.
The risks are therefore around whether the Framework route delivers the best possible range of expertise.
Officers are experienced in securing design teams to the requirements of UK public procurement law.
While the demands on officer time will be higher, a wider range of national and international practices will be able to participate.
Option 2 is the preferred option. There is an onus on the council to drive forward economic regeneration initiatives as part of the pandemic recovery process. The high degree of Member, public and commercial interest (including from MCHLG and Homes England) and the complexity of addressing key issues raised through CQSRF consultation (such as car parking, traffic movement and integrating open space provision) means the progression of a detailed development masterplan is essential to make further progress.
The funds for the detailed work will be sourced from the Canal Quarter Reserve (agreed under the Outcome-Based Budgeting process of as part of the Regeneration Development Reserve) and split over the current financial year and early part of next financial year (refer to Financial Implications).
Following completion of the procurement stage the recommended master-planning team will be contracted and the work undertaken. However, the work will be supported by structured engagement with Cabinet, continued input from the existing community stakeholder group, and wider public consultation.
On conclusion of the work a report will be made to Cabinet to consider the next stages and approval of any funding from the Canal Quarter Reserve required to progress the masterplan/design ideas to investment readiness through the protocols outlined in the council’s emerging Capital Investment Strategy.
Councillor Hamilton-Cox proposed, seconded by Councillor Whitehead:-
“That the recommendations, as set out in the report, be approved.”
Councillors then voted:-
(1) That approval be given to allocate up to £120K of the Council’s Canal Quarter Reserve for the management and progression of site investigations, surveys, development of a detailed masterplan, phased development delivery strategy, and feasibility appraisals for key areas of the Canal Quarter as outlined in the report.
(2) That Tender material is prepared by officers for issue.
(3) That following completion of the procurement stage the recommended master planning team be contracted and the work undertaken.
(4) That the work be supported by structured engagement with Cabinet, continued input from the existing community stakeholder group, and wider public consultation.
Officer responsible for effecting the decision:
Director for Economic Growth and Regeneration
Reasons for making the decision:
The Canal Quarter site is a long-standing allocation within the Lancaster Local Plan and is identified via Policies ER4 and ER5 of the Lancaster District Core Strategy (adopted in 2008) and Policy SG5 of the Strategic Policies & Land Allocations DPD.
In terms of the potential future development proposals the outcomes, impacts and issues will be explored and tested through the master-planning phase, adhering to the principles of the council’s Local Plan and Canal Quarter SRF and taking into account any further objectives as defined by the council in its master-planning brief. This will have an early focus on developing options and resolving the key issues and points of contention raised through the stakeholder / community consultation including (but not limited to) the most appropriate physical solution to issues of movement and connectivity, car parking provision and open space provision (including the relationship of development and access to the canal) .
Report author: Paul Rogers
Publication date: 22/01/2021
Date of decision: 19/01/2021
Decided at meeting: 19/01/2021 - Cabinet
Effective from: 30/01/2021