Multi-million pound M6 link road and garden village plan for south Lancaster put on hold
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This decision to suspend further work on the plans follows extensive discussions between the partners as part of work to develop the scheme, along with design and engineering considerations.
Overall the aim is still to develop plans for this part of south Lancaster, create sustainable communities and unlock long-term traffic issues, but the current plans will be re-evaluated.
The South Lancaster project aimed to provide residents with greater travel choices, including delivering investment in public transport infrastructure, alongside new roadbuilding which would help ease traffic congestion through the village of Galgate, and would have unlocked access to the proposed Bailrigg Garden Village and surrounding settlements
Aidy Riggott, cabinet member for Economic Development and Growth at the county council, said: "We've been working hard to try and deliver these transport and community improvements, and unlock access to the proposed Garden Village, but we're not able to continue with the proposals in their current form.
"In particular, we're faced with rising costs due to inflation, which would have affected how we can deliver these improvements within the current plans.
"It's still our aim to develop plans for this part of south Lancaster, and unlock long-term traffic issues and help people to get around. We'll re-assess the proposals to make sure that they deliver against our aims and are affordable."
Funding for the road scheme and a wider programme of supporting infrastructure included an award of £140 million from the government's Housing Infrastructure Fund. This will be returned to the Government.
Councillor Phillip Black, leader of Lancaster City Council, said: “I am pleased that the County Council and Homes England have taken the sensible decision to suspend and re-evaluate plans for South Lancaster in light of inflationary pressures and rising costs.
“However, as a Government Planning Inspector recently acknowledged, there is an overriding need for housing within the Lancaster district. All parties involved recognise that the South Lancaster area still has a part to play in meeting this housing need in the future, but now is the time to evolve our strategic vision of housing developments in our district.
“The decision to stop work on the current plans provides a genuine opportunity for alternative, place-based development proposals to emerge in tandem with the necessary infrastructure (transport, including sustainable transport, schools, healthcare and employment).
“We will work with our partners and our local communities to develop this new vision.”
Green Councillor Sally Maddocks said: “The South Lancaster project was always an alarming combination of over-ambition regarding developers' capacity to pay for it, alongside uncosted climate and nature impact. This decision removes the uncertainty that has hung over so many Ellel residents for so long. There will be huge relief all around Galgate.“But this was never just a local issue. As construction costs have risen with inflation, the original £121m funding gap between the actual infrastructure costs and the HIF grant has widened very considerably. The financial risk to the taxpayer had become ever starker.”