Lancaster Vision

Lancaster Castle

Lancaster Castle

Lancaster Vision was formed in December 2012 with the aim of bringing together people and groups with an interest in securing the best outcome and increased prosperity for the Lancaster District with the opening up of Lancaster Castle.The group has been formed under the umbrella of the Lancaster Civic Society but membership is open to all and anyone interested in joining should contact:

James Wilkie – Chair: Email

New members are always welcome.

Next meeting:   4th November 2020 6:00pm via Zoom

For an invitation and login details contact:

  Lancaster Vision’s website available at:

Annual reports of the activities of Lancaster Vision (presented to Lancaster Civic Society AGMs) (please click on the links below)

2014 report

2015 report

Seminar:  From Education to Employment:  Challenges and Opportunities; held 15 March 2016 at Lancaster and Morecambe College.

Full report available by clicking on the link: Seminar From Education to Employment – Report

Working seminar on Transport in Lancaster District, held 24th March 2015 at The Storey

Nobody likes sitting in traffic jams. But it’s not just the delays that are the trouble – it’s the unpredictability of journey times, because either you set out very early to be sure of arriving on time (and often get there very early), or else you risk arriving late. Either way, valuable time is wasted. If you’re aiming to catch a train or a ship, arriving late can be a disaster.

This came out very clearly at a seminar entitled Transport in Lancaster District – Challenges and Opportunities, held at The Storey on Tuesday 24 March. For companies such as Seatruck, much of whose business is shipping between Heysham and Irish ports, reliable road transport is a critical factor: they are hoping for a big improvement in reliability when the Link Road opens in summer 2016.

The seminar was timed to fall in the early part of the 6-week consultation period for the draft Lancaster District Transport Masterplan, which was published by Lancashire County Council on 18 March.

Delegates at the transport seminar

Delegates at the transport seminar

Organised by Lancaster Vision with the Chamber of Commerce, the seminar brought together some 60 people from local businesses, from transport organisations, from Lancaster and Morecambe College and the two universities, and from the County and City Councils to discuss transport options for the District.

Discussion group at transport seminar

Discussion group at transport seminar

Speakers included Dave Colbert and Hazel Walton (Lancashire County Council) on the Transport Masterplan, Andrew Dobson (Lancaster City Council) on Local Development Plans, Ian Stokes (York City Council) on Sustainable Transport in a Historic City, Phill Wilson (Lancashire County Council) on the Preston Fishergate Shared-Space project, and Colin Pooley on Mobility, Sustainability and the Pedestrian. Other topics included cycling, trains and cable-cars.

A full report on the seminar is available through the following link:  Transport Seminar Report

Lancaster Vision’s response to Lancashire County Council’s Masterplan consultation  is available via the following link: Response to Masterplan consultation 2015 8 June revision

Housing Development in the Lancaster District: Seminar held on 19th June 2014 at Lancaster University

This half-day seminar focussed on the Lancaster district’s housing need.  It was hosted by Lancaster Vision and attendees included city councillors and officers, academics, housing developers, solicitors and agents and other interested parties.

One outcome of the seminar was agreement that the figure adopted by Lancaster City Council of 12,000 new homes needed in the district by 2031, is based on information that may be out-of-date and it was noted that the Council has asked their consultants, Turley, to “re-run the numbers”.  The meeting also discussed the uncertainty over forecasts over a future period of 20 years and how demand for housing will be affected by how much economic growth takes place in the district. Size, price and design were also considered important issues when it came to housing need.

The seminar agreed that housing expansion in the Lancaster distrct was such an important matter locally, “that if possible it should be a non-political issue, where everyone works together to look for the best solution for the district”

For the full report on the seminar click on: Housing Seminar notes June 2014

A Vision of Lancaster

The link below gives the first draft of  how we would like to see the city develop over the next ten, twenty or fifty years.  The first section lists some of the City’s assets, the second sets out some aspirations for the future, and the third indicates how the City and District could move towards realising these aspirations. The document is still under development and comments are welcome.

Seminar to discuss ‘Unlocking Lancaster’s Potential’ held at The Storey, 6th February 2014

“Quirky, gritty, rich in narrative, heritage, culture, plenty of local talent, creativity and passion for the town.”  “A great destination for a unique shopping experience  –  clothes, furniture and artisan bread  –  as well as hidden gems around each corner.”  “Has a great selection of the arts and is full of potential to grow and grow.”

These are some of the comments made by delegates at a working seminar held at The Storey on Thursday 6th February 2014, when they were asked to sum up Lancaster in one sentence.

Martin Widden welcoming the delegates

Martin Widden welcoming the delegates

The seminar, The Big Opportunity: Unlocking Lancaster’s Potential, was organised by Lancaster Vision, in association with Lancaster Civic Society, and sponsored by CLB Coopers (Lancaster) and Handelsbanken, with support from Lancaster Unlimited and North West Energy Consulting.

A group closely associated with Lancaster Civic Society, Lancaster Vision is chaired by engineering lecturer and Castle precinct resident Martin Widden.  Martin says ‘Lancaster Vision was established as it became apparent that a number of developments were about to take place in Lancaster which could completely change the future of the City

Henry Owen-John (English Heritage) addressing delegates

Henry Owen-John (English Heritage) addressing delegates

–  the opening of the Castle to the public, the British Land/Centros Development at the Canal Corridor North, the approval of the M6-Heysham Link road and housing developments at several locations.  Suddenly Lancaster’s future looked exciting, with lots of potential.  But seen in the light of severe cuts to local authority funding from government, it was not clear that the City as a whole would be in a position to exploit these opportunities.  It seemed important to Lancaster Vision to try and gather together as many movers and shakers on the Lancaster scene as possible, so that everyone could hear what the others had to say.  This was the logic behind the seminar.

James Mackie (Mackies of Lancaster) addressing delegates

James Mackie (Mackies of Lancaster) addressing delegates

The event, chaired by Ann Dean, High Sheriff of Lancashire, was full to capacity with over 70 participants.  There were leaders from all the sectors of Lancaster which provide our services and aim to maintain the well-being of the city  –  senior officers and elected members from both City and County Councils, Lancaster’s MP Eric Ollerenshaw, leaders from business, retail and commerce and from tourist and transport organisations.  There were

Ruth Connor (MD Marketing Lancashire) addressing delegates

Ruth Connor (MD Marketing Lancashire) addressing delegates

representatives from the faith and voluntary sectors, the two universities and Lancaster & Morecambe College and from the arts and theatre groups.  All were there to play their part in looking at the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead for Lancaster.

There was a universal will among the participants to work together in the interests of Lancaster and the District.  Lancaster Vision is preparing a report on the outcomes of the seminar.

Ann Dean (High Sheriff of Lancashire and Chair of Seminar) with Phil Hudd and Chris Newlands

Ann Dean (High Sheriff of Lancashire and Chair of Seminar) with Phil Hudd and Chris Newlands

Eric Ollerenshaw (MP) and other delegates

Eric Ollerenshaw (MP) and other delegates

Eileen Blamire (Leader Lancaster City Council) and Andrew Dobson (Chief Officer, Regeneration & Planning Lancaster City Council)

Eileen Blamire (Leader Lancaster City Council) and Andrew Dobson (Chief Officer, Regeneration & Planning Lancaster City Council)

Below are various links and documents of interest and relevance:

“Beyond the Castle” aims to create high-quality public space in the Vicarage Fields Quay meadows area between the Castle and the Quay. For more details consult:

Lancaster Square Routes project aims to rejuvenate the historic city centre of Lancaster. For more information see:

Lancaster City Council has also produced or commissioned various reports, documents and appraisals of interest:


Castle Character Area Oct 2012

Quay Character Area Oct 2012

Castle Quay Management Plan, no date, [c.2006?]

Lancashire County Council’s Mario (Maps and Related Information Online) website also contains much valuable information:

Northwest Regional Develoment Agency and English Heritage
Historic towns and cities in England’s northwest: position statement, March 2007

If you Tweet about the Castle please use the hashtag #lanccastle

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