Lancaster bowling green to have shops built on it despite parking fears

Lancaster Bowerham Hotel land plan for commercial units. Image submitted to Lancaster City Council
-Credit: (Image: LDRS)

A former Lancaster bowling green near an old ‘ornate’ city pub can have commercial buildings such as shops or offices developed on it, councillors have decided.

Despite some fears about future HGV deliveries and traffic congestion, the loss of some existing residents’ car parking spaces on a street and potential flood risks, city councillors decided the application to develop land next to the Bowerham Hotel on Bowerham Road is acceptable. The old bowling green has not been used for some years. But £70,000 will go to other bowling facilities in Lancaster under a planning agreement, it was said, probably at Highfield. This will benefit bowlers who were displaced from the old Bowerham site in the past.

Councillors on Lancaster City Council’s planning committee considered the application this week. The site is also bordered by Trafalgar Road and Newsham Road, where vehicle access is proposed for the new development. The applicant is named as a Mr Renwick of Luna Developments with an address at De Pol Associates, Stanfield Business Park, Leyland.

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The Bowerham Hotel is not currently used but it is considered to be a ‘remarkably ornate’ two-storey pub, a planning report stated. Green Party councillor Hamish Mills had asked the planning committee to scrutinise the application. And fellow Green Coun Sarah Punshon also spoke about it.

First, Coun Mills said: “There have been several applications for this site since I became a councillor. Residents have raised many concerns including parking and traffic impact, which are among the most significant. The impact on residents and traffic, the loss of six existing parking spaces, access for delivery vehicles and delivery times at the new site all have to be considered.

“Access space for the proposed new site is not enough. The area is already subject to lorries driving on pavements, A nearby junction is regularly blocked by delivery vehicles. Traffic problems would increase in what was once a residential area.”

Then Coun Sarah Punshon said: “I’m speaking on behalf of residents too and I also live around the corner. I’m personally extremely concerned about the parking and traffic issues. Through living there and seeing how crowded Newsham Road is now, the prospect of heavy vehicles there is terrifying. There are also flooding risks that need to be considered. This would dramatically raise the risks. There are 29 houses at risk in one area and another 25 elsewhere. Overall,50 to 100 homes are at risk.

“Planning officers talk about the economic benefits of creating around 15 jobs at the new site. I’m astonished about that. The risk of flooding and to people’s well-being far outweighs the benefits of new shops. There are already other shops in the area.”

But agent Chris Betteridge, of De Pol Associates, spoke in favour of the plan.

He said: “This application was submitted following refusal of a similar plan and an appeal last year. This new application seeks to address points raised previously. Key issues include the amenity of local residents and the appearance on Trafalgar Road. Some buildings have been repositioned and landscaping has been introduced for softer screening. A noise impact report has also been submitted.

“A planning inspector has reviewed the access plans and says they are acceptable. Lancashire County Council is happy with highways details. There is also a full, detailed drainage strategy. There is currently no drainage on the site. The new drainage system will include a tank and slow water release system which can deal with heavy rainfall. There is no increased flood risk.” In a final vote on the plans, the application was approved.