New Development Agreement
Posted: Wednesday 23 May 2012
Lancaster City Council New Development Agreement with Centros
IOC is asking everybody to write to their local Councillors to ask them to vote against extending the development agreement with Centros to allow other developers to come forward with ideas for the site. You can find your local Councillor's email address on the council website's list of councillors. Alternatively, you can download a spreadsheet with councillors details.
It is always better for people to write their own letter to Councillors but we have provided a list of reasons why the Council should not renew the development agreement as well as a model letter for people to use if they wish.
Some of the reasons why the City Council should not renew the development agreement with Centros:
- The latest Centros scheme will fundamentally damage the existing city centre. The proposals entail the demolition of Stonewell but do not now include the bridge link connecting the development to the city like the last proposed scheme did. The scheme will stand alone and any new shoppers it attracts will have no incentive to visit the city centre. in fact it is more likely to draw shoppers away from the city centre. This means that the scheme will be even more damaging to the existing city centre than the last one and on this basis alone other ideas and proposals for the site should be sought.
- The current economic conditions which look set to last, throw into question the viability of a shopping centre which will almost double the city's retail floorspace. Also, the exponential growth of internet shopping over the past few years has not been taken into account and this will also affect the viability of the scheme.
- The scheme will make the current traffic problems around the city very much worse. In addition, the 800 space car park in Centros' scheme (ie net 500 increase on existing parking spaces on the site) will undoubtedly have financial implications for the city council in terms of lost revenue from the council's other car parks: councillors have not as yet been presented with a risk analysis of the magnitude of this loss.
- The city council has a history of entering into ill thought out damaging agreements with private sector commercial organisations (i.e. Blobbygate and the Market lease). The Centros development is shaping up to be the same kind of thing.
- To carry through the development, Centros will use an arm of itself which is registered in the British Virgin Islands to avoid taxes. It is not appropriate for a public body like the council to collaborate with tax avoidance. There are other implications as well. The offshore registration of the Centros arm may make it difficult if not impossible for the council to pursue the company should there be any breach of condition or failure to fulfil.