Chamber Chat – Marcus Angell
Back in April, I hosted a free Lancaster property forum event at my company offices. It was organised jointly by the Chamber, Digital Lancaster and Lancaster Vision and was well attended by over seventy people from the City Council, our two Universities, local businesses and other interested bodies.
Its purpose was to stimulate debate about the commercial property scene in the district, and try to help drive a new investment and development focus. The single most important point I took from it was just how many small and medium sized local firms are crying out for new quality office space in the city centre. At the fabulous Chamber Expo event a few weeks ago I was struck once again by how many exciting local companies there are in our district, many of whom are looking to expand but simply can’t find the space.
This year has seen some significant property development announcements in the district, with the news that the Eden Project is planning to build a new attraction in Morecambe, and the city council has finally walked away from a retail development plan with British Land in the Lancaster Canal Quarter.
The city council should be applauded for its new focus on appropriate commercial development in the city centre, but we mustn’t once again get bogged down in the minutiae of planning. It’s essential that we start building new office space - and soon! Otherwise, we’re going to lose investment in new jobs to Preston and Manchester.
I’m determined to keep my company in Lancaster city centre, and so I’m prepared to invest and build a new office myself if I have to. If any other local business owners or developers are interested in joining me to build new offices together then please get in touch via the Chamber.
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