2 2 4 5 5 8 10 10 10 10 13 14 16 18 18 20 21 22 23 24 26 28 29 29 30 30 31 32 33 33 34 35 36 38 38 39 41 42 44 INTRODUCTION Location Description of the Site History - The Site - James Williamson II (Lord Ashton) CONTEXT and SITE APPRAISAL Historic Fabric - the City - Architectural Style The Site and the City Landscape Setting Site Analysis - Planning Site Analysis - History Site Analysis - Views Site Analysis - Physical Setting Site Analysis - Flooding Site Analysis - Access Site Analysis - Microclimate Site Analysis - Built Assets Site Analysis - Ecology and Conservation Site Analysis - Summary DESIGN APPROACH Brief Partners Strategy The Lancaster Environment Centre Concept SITE PLANNING Layout - Lines in the Landscape Strategic Masterplan Campus Masterplan Spatial Organisation DESIGN DEVELOPMENT Planting Strategy Landscape Framework Precedents Visualisations REFERENCES


The site is a 25ha area of riverside, occupying a former industrial area in the historic city of Lancaster, in northwest England (see figures 1-3). Although the city of Lancaster is in the far north of Lancashire, close to the remote fells of the Lake District and the expanse of Morecambe Bay, it is well connected to the major conurbations of NW England by motorway, road and mainline railway. The closest airport is Blackpool, with Liverpool and Manchester airports providing good international connections.

Figure 1 Location of Lancaster

Figure 2 Lancaster and Morecambe




Figure 3 Lancaster and Luneside (the site)


Description of the Site
The area is a chaotic mixture of derelict or vacant nineteenth and early-mid twentieth century industrial buildings, waste land (with some contamination issues), isolated modern industrial units (small and large), untidy street and unorganised public space, and an under-utilised riverside. In short, the area is run-down and neglected (see figure 4).

Figure 4 Aerial images of
the site

The site is bounded and physically constrained to the north by the river Lune. East of the site is the Castle Conservation Area including Lancaster Castle itself, the Priory Church and the historic waterfront of St. George’s Quay (which contains converted warehouses and new buildings providing a mix of housing, office, food and drink and heritage uses). To the south is an area of established residential communities, including the Marsh housing estate. “The Marsh”, as it is known, is a run-down former council estate, and has been identified by the City Council as a priority for economic and social regeneration. The area has not benefitted from any significant investment from either public or private sources. The river itself is tidal, and from this point widens to become a broad estuary


with mudflats and saltmarsh, part of the wider Morecambe Bay system. The estuary is a SSSI, the boundary of which is just 200 metres from the site. Lancaster City Council has also acknowledged that regeneration of this area is a long term objective, describing the site in a brief for a neighbouring area as “… an extensive area of derelict and underused previously developed land. Despite development constraints, this is Lancaster’s major resource of brownfield land with potential for redevelopment in the long term.” (Lancaster City Council, Luneside East Development Brief, 2004). The area’s assets include: 1. Edge of city centre location 2. Backdrop of Lancaster Castle and the Priory Church 3. River frontage and views into and out of the area 4. The river itself – its ecology and recreational potential 5. Flat, developable land There are obvious problems that the site imposes – existing structures, contaminated land, and restricted access via the Quayside and the surrounding residential areas.

The Site
Lancaster held an important role as major port during the 18th century. Before this time Lancaster was essentially a fortress “border” town and administrative and legal centre; the scene of many an Anglo-Scottish skirmish. But the Lune was wide enough and deep enough to allow ocean-going vessels to load and unload close to the heart of the city (see fig 5). International trade (cloth and hardware in return for sugar, spices, cotton, etc from the West Indies) flourished and the city needed facilities – quays, warehouses, custom house and ship yards.

Figure 5 New Quay 1865 (left) and St George’s
Quay in c. 1790 by Gideon Yates (below)

This infrastructure gradually extended westwards along the southern bank of the Lune from the historic core. First, St George’s Quay built in 1749, then Ford Quay in 1767, and later the New Quay in 1787. New Quay and its associated boat yards and warehouses stood where the current developable site faces the river (see figures 5 and 6).

Ford Quay 1767 New Quay 1787 Luneside

St. George’s Quay 1749

extent of Lancaster early 1700s

Figure 6 Lancaster’s quays
Lancaster’s role as a port declined in the early 19th century due to competition from other ports, including nearby Glasson, and the difficulty of ever larger ships navigating the Lune. However, this trade had brought considerable wealth to the city, and had transformed it into a mercantile and commercial centre. Industries and trades that had developed as a result of foreign trade (cloth, furniture and engineering), would flourish. As the quayside fell into decline, industrialists occupied the site, and one in particular, a James Williamson (senior), had established a coated fabrics works there. It was James Williamson (junior), however, who, in the 1870s, transformed the business and the site into what became one of the city’s largest employers. The new Lune Mills Factory, on the site of a recently bankrupted shipyard, produced floorcloth, then blindcloth and finally, in 1887, cork linoleum. After the acquisition of further land from Lancaster Corporation in 1889, major development of the firm proceeded quickly. The works finally grew to cover twenty-one acres (see figures 7 and 8).

Figure 7 Lune Mills c. 1950

Figure 8 Lune Mills from the river c. 1900
Many of the buildings are red brick (see figure 9), due in large part to the fact that they were constructed from left-over bricks from a former brickworks. However, the buildings facing the river were stone-faced and rather more ornate, accommodating the factory’s offices.

Figure 9 Brick-built factory (visible in figure 8, circled)
By 1894, Williamson’s were employing 2,500, and by 1911, the firm employed around 25% of Lancaster’s working men and women. Production reached its peak in the 1950s, but the following decade was to see the company taken over by its rival, Nairns of Kirkcaldy, and the operation in Lancaster was gradually wound down, with the majority of production transferred to Scotland. The company was then owned by Forbo Kingfisher Ltd, and finally Forbo Lancaster Ltd, with production eventually ceasing in 1999. Since 1999 the site has been occupied by a variety of businesses, but much of it has remained vacant, derelict and neglected. Recent modern additions were built in the late 1990s, and there have been limited plans to redevelop the site (mainly housing and mixed use). However, the plan proposed in this document is a far


more ambitious and exciting prospect for the site, and the city, than any so far proposed.

James Williamson II (Lord Ashton)
The site and city owes much of its Victorian and Edwardian character to James Williamson (senior) (see figure 10). He was a philanthropist – donating money to civic projects and other worthy causes in Lancaster and Lytham St. Anne’s, on the Fylde coast. To Lancaster, he donated the Queen Victoria Monument and the new Town Hall, (both in Dalton Square), the Ashton Wing of the former Royal Albert Hospital, Ashton House at Lancaster Royal Grammar School, Ashton Hall, and money to help build other local hospitals. He also completed the works and renovation of Williamson Park, started by his father, with the building of the Ashton Memorial (see fig 11), which overlooks the city, and is visible from the site. On the opposite side of the river from the site is Ryelands House and park – his home in the city (see figure 12). The park was transferred to the City in 1931, with some of it being used to build the Ryelands and Skerton housing estates in the mid1930s. Ryelands Park, Williamson Park and the site of the former Lune Mills form a “triangle of influence” (see figure 13), enveloping the city. It is notable that he did not build homes or provide other benefits for his employees. Amongst his many civic roles and titles, he was the Liberal MP for Lancaster (1886-95), and ultimately elevated to the peerage and the House of Lords in 1895, becoming Baron Ashton of Ashton. He died in Lancaster in 1930 at the age of 88, leaving a fortune of £10.5 million.

Figure 10 James Williamson (Lord Ashton) Figure 11 Ashton Memorial,
Williamson Park, Lancaster

Figure 12 Ryelands Park and House (inset) Figure 13 Ashton’s influence

Skerton Ryelands Ryelands House and Park Luneside Williamson Park


Historical sources: Lancaster City Council Property Services and website; White (ed) 2001


Historic Fabric
The City
Lancaster is delightful mixture of Georgian, Victorian, Edwardian and modern architecture. A Roman fort was established here, but the first major phase of urban expansion took place in mediaeval times, at the foot of the castle, with little further growth until in the 18th century, when the town expanded with classically-planned areas. However, only in the late 19th century did development expand beyond the confines of the canal and railway. In the twentieth century, there were some planned suburban developments, but generally, development has been piecemeal and unplanned. The early 20th century town lacked any overall structure or plan form, and the organic and haphazard nature of development has remained a feature of the town’s growth. During the 19th and 20th centuries, growth absorbed surrounding villages and eventually closed the gap between Lancaster and Morecambe. Early to mid 20th century housing estates dominate the suburbs, and feature as the main aspect of urban expansion during that period. Modern commercial and industrial areas have been limited to development at Luneside and along the northern arterial road. Late 20th century development occurred between Morecambe and Lancaster along the route of the former electric railway line. The town’s 18th century mercantile prosperity led to its almost total rebuilding in stone. The stone was gained from local quarries, and was very pale when fresh and used flush, as ashlar, on public faces. Flagstone was used for flooring, fireplaces and roofing. However, by the early 19th century, flags were replaced for roofing by Coniston slates (White 2000). By the late 19th century brick was being used for some of the newer terraces.

Architectural Style
Lancaster has a stunning architectural legacy, and it has over 300 listed buildings. It has many notable Georgian buildings including those on the St George’s Quay (the Custom House and a range of Georgian warehouses), and in the town centre (the old town hall (now the museum), the Assembly Rooms, Penny’s Hospital and many of the buildings surrounding Castle Hill). Beyond the historic core, Lancaster has a very different - and substantially Victorian - character, dominated by important buildings in the Gothic style. Equally dominant, are the streets of terraced housing, dating from the 1870s through to the early 1900s. Lancaster differs from Morecambe, and most other Lancashire towns, because its heritage is so diverse; it is not limited to a single period of major development (LCC 2006).
Historical sources: Lancashire County Council Historic Town Survey: Lancaster (2006); White (ed) 2001; White (2000)


Lancaster Castle St. George’s Quay

Typical terraced street

A canal-side mill Skerton Bridge

Victoria Monument

Ashton Memorial Lancaster Town Hall

Old town hall, now City Museum

Inter-war housing estate


Lancaster’s Catholic cathedral

Lancaster c. 1780 The Music Room Church Street

Penny’s Hospital Penny Street The Judge’s Lodgings

Custom House, St George’s Quay Former St. Anne’s Church, now the Duke’s Theatre


The Site and the City
The site sits between the city and the saltmarsh, but it neither links nor pays reference to either. As the site was developed, it introduced a new character to the city - industrial, harsh and grimy. From historical maps (see figure 14), it is clear that the site was developed on a grid, though it is also likely that development was piecemeal; that the site as a whole as it ultimately became was not pre-planned. Clearly constrained by the river and the railway (built 1833), the site has always been physically isolated, forming a distinctive ingredient to the mixture that is Lancaster.

Figure 14 Historical maps of the site





Landscape Setting
The city, including neighbouring Morecambe, sits within the Morecambe Coast and Lune Estuary countryside character area (Lancashire County Council, 2000). This area is characterised by coastal lowlands (including large areas of saltmarsh, reclaimed mossland and marsh), rising sharply inland to the Bowland Fells to the east (see figures 1 and 15). Between the coast and the Bowland Fells the rural landscape is dominated by enclosed pasture, rough grazing and picturesque villages. Lowland topography is characterised by drumlin fields (with the drumlins having a generally north-south orientation), which have been washed away at the coastal fringes. To the West is Morecambe Bay and the Irish Sea. Wide panoramic views across the lowlands can be gained from high ground (for example from the castle, Williamson Park, the Bowland Fells). Parts of the coastal plain (between Lancaster and Heysham, for example) can feel windswept, bare and remote. The immediate area has a generally urbanised and suburban character (see photos below).

Figure 15 Landscape character


Figures 16 and 17 show by means of aerial photography the character of the city and surrounding area.


saltmarsh landfill site Luneside Salt Ayre Sports Centre

White Lund Ind. Estate Morecambe

Aldcliffe Marsh

Railway Station Castle

St. George’s Quay

Figure 16 Aerial photograph of the city

Old Town Hall (Museum)

Town Hall

Dalton Square

Figure 17 Aerial photograph of the area east of the city

drumlin fields M6

Ashton Memorial

Williamson Park

Site Analysis - Planning
The following points are summarised from the Lancaster District Local Plan (LDLP) and illustrated in figure 18: Designation Employment Area Housing Part of the site is capable of accommodating 400 dwellings, but the following issues obviate residential development: ground contamination existence of industrial/commercial activities poor road access flood risk This means that the Council cannot commit to carrying a proposal for housing forward into the Local Plan. Indeed, a recent council audit of the district’s housing needs (LCC public inquiry document published 2007) concluded that current and projected requirements could be adequately provided for from the current available land for new housing within the LDLP.


Recreation There is a shortage of recreation space in the district, with the Council committed to continuing to develop Salt Ayre (sports centre) and the former landfill site (for sports and informal recreation), on the opposite bank of the river. Lune Riverside Park (upstream) will continue to be developed and advance the promotion of cycling along the riverside. Employment The service sector is growing, particularly within education and tourism. 78% of those employed in the district are engaged in the service sector. Some land on the site is unattractive or subject to some form of contamination. Where there is no possibility of employment, the Council will encourage recycling of land for other purposes. Within the LDLP the amount of land required for employment 1991-2006 is 100ha. Between 1991 and 1996, only 9ha of land was developed for employment, with the vast majority of land allocated for employment being unused. There is a substantial stock of vacant land on the site (22%), but it is constrained by contamination, access and flood risk issues.

Figure 18 Land allocation according to the LDLP


Salt Ayre Sports centre and landfill (sports and informal recreation)


Green = woodland opportunity land Pink = informal recreation Yellow = employment allocation

Yellow/crosshatch = planning application received for mixed development, including 400 housing units Orange = East Luneside - masterplan for mixed use approved by LCC


Site Analysis - History
Figure 19 Key historical elements
White Lund Trading Estate late 20th century commercial Lancaster-Poulton (now Morecambe) electric railway 1848 Ryelands Estate 1930s Lancaster-Carlisle railway 1846

Salt Ayre Sports Centre Lancaster tip

Ford Quay 1767 St. George’s Works 1854

St. George’s Quay 1749 Lancaster-Leeds railway 1850 Roman Lancaster 80AD Priory Church from 11th century Lancaster Castle from 1086


Lune Mills 1870-90

Marsh estate 1930s

Pre-1800 1800-1850 1850-1900 1900-1950 1950-present or undeveloped Existing railway Disused/dismantled railway

The Greaves Victorian terraces and villas Lancaster Castle Station 1846

Lancaster-Glasson railway 1883

Preston-Lancaster railway 1842-49

Site Analysis - Views
Figure 20 Views
Significant view from site Significant view into site Limit of other views from/to site LV Local view (view obscured by buildings, etc)

From Heaton To Heaton and Heysham



To Castle and Priory Church


From Castle and Priory Church




View from site to opposite side of river

Views within the site - buildings obscure long views, but glimpses of the distant Bowland Fells are possible

View into the site from opposite side of the river

View from Heaton

View from the castle

Site Analysis - Physical Setting
Figure 21 summarises the geographical factors affecting the site.

Figure 21 Geographical influences




Site Analysis - Flooding
The level of flood risk derives from the interaction of geology, soils, topography, rainfall and human activity. Figure 22 shows the level of flood risk to the site prior to recent works by the Environment Agency to improve defences.

Figure 22 Risk from flooding and flood defence measures (inset)


Zone 2 (medium probability)

Zone 3a (high probability) Zone 3b (functional floodplain)

Zone 1 (low probability)

According to a report published by the City Council in 2007, the site is in High Probability risk area (including functional floodplain). Areas within the functional floodplain (Zone 3b) are subject to relatively frequent flooding, and may be subject to fast flowing and/or deep water. Areas in Zone 3a may be subject to flooding up to (and including) once in every 100 years as a result of fluvial (river) flooding, and once in every 200 years as a result of tidal flooding. A flood alleviation scheme is already in place, with recent upgrading of the wall on the quayside, costing £7.1 million. Significant tidal storm events in 1907, 1927 and 1977 caused widespread flooding, (with lesser events in 1983, 1990, 1995 and 1997). The combination of high tides associated with gale force winds and/or heavy rainfall increase the likelihood of flooding. The photograph shows fields flooded during the winter of 2007, the result of soil saturation after heavy rainfall.


Site Analysis - Access
Figure 23 Access


Figure 24 Walking times to local services




Figure 25 Vehicular access to the opposite side of the river
Access to the site is a crucial factor because it is limited to a small number of roads, all of which pass through residential areas. Currently, large trucks use these routes (see figure 23). In addition, the isolation of the site is demonstrated by figure 24 - despite its proximity to the city, the provision of services, such as shops is limited. Moreover, access to the opposite side of the river is somewhat constrained by the absence of a convenient crossing point, with access directed through the city’s congested one-way system (see figure 25).

Site Analysis - Microclimate
Figure 26 shows the seasonal path (orange) of the sun and the direction of prevailing wind (blue). During the year the solar azimuth (point on the horizon directly under the sun) where the sun sets and rises changes, affecting the direction from which the sun can be observed, and the direction and length of shadows cast. In winter, the sun’s solar altitude (height above the horizon) is relatively low, casting long shadows. In summer, the sun’s solar altitude is much higher, producing shadows of reduced length.


Figure 26 Sunshine and prevailing wind 23

Site Analysis - Built Assets
Figure 27 Remaining buildings on the site

Derelict hard surfaces



Walls and fences Functional hard surfaces

Trees and bushes Natural regeneration (advanced) Natural regeneration (early stages)







An on-going programme of demolition has been taking place in preparation for redevelopment. The drawing in figure 27 attempts to record the remaining buildings on site. The buildings circled have been identified as having potential for re-use. The building identified as “A” is a key building in the plan for the site - it is a substantial stone-fronted mill (see figure 28).

Figure 28 Building “A”
Front of building “A”

Rear of building “A”


Site Analysis - Ecology and Conservation
Figure 29 illustrates the stark contrast in ecology of the area surrounding the site. Typically, urban environments (such as Lancaster) have less diverse populations of fauna and flora, but the land immediately downstream of the site contains natural habitats of national and international importance, including the Lune Estuary SSSI, Morecambe Bay SAC/SPA/SSSI/Ramsar and Freeman’s Wood County Biological Heritage Site. The Lune Estuary forms part of the Morecambe Bay intertidal system and includes extensive mudflats and saltmarsh. As part of Morecambe Bay, the site forms a major link in the chain of estuaries along the west coast of Britain used by birds on migration between the breeding grounds in the far north, and the wintering grounds further south, and is of international importance for the passage and wintering waterfowl it supports. Some of the saltmarshes are of interest for their breeding bird populations and collectively support a variety of plant communities and a number of uncommon plant species.

Figure 29 Landscape ecology


Aldcliffe Marsh

Freeman’s Wood

Lune Estuary SSSI

Figure 30 Designations
Morecambe Bay SSSI

As a whole the site regularly supports internationally important numbers of wintering oystercatcher, grey plover, turnstone, knot and pink-footed geese , and nationally important numbers of curlew, redshank and dunlin. The total numbers of wintering waders are also of international importance. In spring and autumn the estuary provides an important staging post for birds on passage, and has supported numbers well above the qualifying levels for international importance. The breeding bird communities of the saltmarsh are also significant. The saltmarshes themselves are mostly grazed by sheep or cattle. The bay and the estuary are designated as SSSIs (see fig 30). Bird Survey data from the Atlas of Breeding Birds of Lancashire and Merseyside 1997-2000 (Lancashire Bird Club/Lancashire and Cheshire Fauna and Flora Society, 2001) show that of the birds spotted in the four 1km tetrads covering the site, approximately half were species of concern or rarity (see figure 31).

Lune Estuary SSSI

Figure 31 Birds observed



Site Analysis - Summary
Figure 32 summarises the most salient aspects of site survey and analysis.
Edges and boundaries - physical and visual River to north (soft edge) Housing and Conservation Area (to east) Marsh to west (soft edge) Site Conditions Ground contamination (from industrial use) Ground compaction (having been built on) Existing buildings - to be demolished (cost and practicalities) Flat topography Most buildings already demolished Some buildings have character and potential for re-use Local Authority has taken decision to clean up site Potential to bridge the river as an access solution River - views, recreation Marsh and drumlins - landscape setting (character)


Access - via residential streets and quayside Ecology and Environment Lune Estuary SSSI to west Flood risk

SSSI - high ecological value on site’s doorstep Flood risk mitigated by recent Environment Agency works Potential to exploit floodwater for environmental improvement and SUDS Ponds habitat for birds

Economic Recent downturn - capital for major works not as available Planning and Legal Current designation as employment area City already has available land which is underused; local authority looking for innovative ideas for the site No listed buildings No TPOs Long term growth in service sector and green economy

Figure 32 Summary of site survey and analysis


In response to Lancaster City Council’s (LCC) public invitation for proposals for the economic and physical regeneration of Luneside, a consortium, led by the University of Lancaster, has developed a masterplan for the site. The objectives of the Joint LCC/University brief are as follows: 1. To reintegrate the site within the city, provide better connections to the river, resolve access problems, and provide greater public access. 2. To provide accommodation for the new Lancaster Environment Centre, with the secondary objective of enabling the University a presence in the city itself (which the University currently lacks), with the emphasis on positive public interaction with neighbouring communities. 3. To provide student accommodation on site. 4. To provide a busy campus atmosphere - a place to live, study and enjoy the benefits of a rich variety of cultural activities in keeping with the heritage, culture and environment of the city as a whole, and made available to all members of the local community. 5. To provide high quality public open space as part of LCC’s commitment to increasing the availability of open space for public use, and to satisfy the specific condition imposed on development to maximise open space. 6. To maximise sustainable use of existing infrastructure, and to create a “green” campus. 7. To conserve, enhance and sustain the local natural environment. 8. To introduce sympathetic development, in keeping with local tradition while incorporating modern state-of-the-art architectural form in the “new vernacular”, by demonstrating innovation in architectural design, flexible and adaptive use of spaces, the application of innovative systems and material technologies, and approaches to the public domain consistent with the University’s civic aspirations and role as a community leader. 9. To improve accessibility, promote public transport and the use of the bicycle as part of local and national objectives.


The strategy for the site is to relocate some of the University’s academic departments within the field of the environment - geography, biology, environmental science and all the associated research departments - to the new site. In addition, other academic departments will be re-located as part of the University’s expansion programme, and 200-300 units of student accommodation will be required (the first in the city itself). The new site will also be home to public and private bodies whose main focus of work is the environment. This will include a new home for the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (the major partner with the University), the Environment Agency (Northwest), Natural England (Northwest) and a variety of small to medium size businesses. In addition, an area is set aside for a more typical business park. There will be no restrictions on the kinds of business on the site, but they will be encouraged to be green-focussed by the introduction of covenants pertaining to energy use, use of the private car, etc. Building construction will also have to conform, if not exceed, current government guidelines on sustainable construction. The new site will be called the Lancaster Environment Centre and will be funded by the University, the NECR and CEH, along with substantial private investment.

The essence of the strategy is to provide a new home for 21st century green industries and services, spearheaded by the University, which sees its role as a leader in the field and having a social responsibility to the city, and the wider world. The site will combine the best of employment, leisure and open space, with a strong emphasis on protecting and enhancing the local environment by initiating woodland and wetland expansion to the west of the site, and to the wider world in its work and the resources it consumes. The University aspires to make as much of the site as accessible to the public as is possible, given the usual constraints of security and protection of sensitive facilities. The two main parks - will be gifted to the public, funded jointly by the University and LCC. The landscape plan aims to deliver: 1. A modern campus and business park 2. Improved access to benefit the site and the local community 3. Provision of high quality public spaces, including converting the waterfront into an attractive traffic-free space for public enjoyment 4. Expansion of important natural habitats to west of site as part of dual-pronged strategy to enhance the natural environment and protect the site from flooding


The Lancaster Environment Centre (LEC)
The LEC will contain state-of-the-art controlled environment facilities, specialised laboratories and cutting-edge equipment to allow integrative studies of terrestrial, aquatic and atmospheric systems, along with new offices, meeting rooms and laboratories for university research and a new facility for the location of businesses. Researchers will be supported by excellent facilities for chemical, biochemical and biological analysis and a substantial pool of first class equipment and data management software, to permit scientific research from the molecular to global scales. The university’s strengths in the humanities and social and management sciences concerned with science of the environment and policy-making, complement these developments. The pooling of human resources creates a powerful UK and European centre for the science of environmental change, having major international impact and the ability to inform national and European policy making. In achieving this, the Lancaster Environment Centre provides a significant international focus for research, teaching and innovation in the environmental sciences. More information regarding the LEH can be found online at:


The original brief asked us to consider options for a specific area of the city, but arising from the site survey and analysis was the revelation that the solutions for the site required an approach beyond the site boundary. The site is more than a site to build on or a place where the gaps need to be filled. This site is an integral part of the city, with important physical and social connections to the wider city; providing also a bridge between the city and the “wilderness” of the estuary and Morecambe Bay. However, these connections are frail and damaged, largely neglected and certainly forgotten. Fundamental to the success of the regeneration of the site is the principle of:

social and physical connectivity
Social connection will be achieved by bringing the university and the city’s residents into the site. Physical connections will be improved by new river crossings and a more permeable boundary - improved access to the site and the public spaces it will include, as well as to the river itself, and beyond. The gap between the urban city and the city’s natural heritage will be bridged.

Figure 33 Concept 32

Layout - Lines in the Landscape
The guiding principal behind the layout development was the desire to maximise the use of existing structures for both historical and sustainability reasons, while developing a framework on which new development could fit in a rational and efficient fashion. Initially, key existing structures were identified buildings that could be rehabilitated and provide a realistic opportunity for use as academic and residential units. These buildings have to be of architectural merit with good structural integrity. The second stage was to find a way of linking what appeared to be isolated units in order to provide the development framework. In order to do this historical maps were studied - to look for patterns. The resulting study revealed that history could provide the framework for a modern campus. The lines to the left have all been drawn from historical or current patterns of drainage, field boundary, roads and paths and building form. The four red rectangles are buildings identified as having the best potential for rehabilitation from those remaining on site. The blue rectangle is an existing former industrial pond (a few existed on the site in the past) and the green circles a group of trees which could be saved. The alignment of buildings, the location of pond and trees, and their coincidence with historical patterns provide the framework on which to develop the site layout.

Resulting lines drawn as framework

Features to be retained

Modern Roads

Woodland and orchards




Figure 34 Lines of historical investigation



Figure 35 Strategic masterplan






Figure 36 Campus masterplan
Proposed foot/cycle bridge Waterfront walk/park


Student accommodation Proposed footbridge Main building

Luneside Park

Academic campus

Plant research - greenhouses and planting beds Area set-aside for future development Business campus

Meadow Park (informal)

Visitor Centre (heritage/environment/arts)

Existing buildings - outwith masterplan area

Compensatory road access to existing businesses

Proposed habitat restoration - wetland, woodland and meadow


Spatial Organisation
The main campus sits where two pedestrian axes (red) cross at right-angles to each other, forming a nodal junction (purple). This crossroads pinpoints the heart of the campus, around which buildings are arranged to form enclosure, and delineate public space. Both axes are terminated by buildings (purple), which serve as destination and visual foci, closing the vistas. Road axes (yellow) provide access, but do not form typical streets (as places to meet or the location of shops and services). Their function is to afford access and space containment. There is a series of three connected public spaces, through which one is invited to traverse in order to get from one side of the campus to the other. The formal Luneside Park signals the approach to the campus and separates residential from academic. The campus plaza is a busy area, full of people moving through or within the space, meeting or using the space as an events area. Meadow Park is an informal area linking the campus to the visitor centre. While linking the three built elements along the main axis, the open spaces are also strongly perpendicular in order to lead people through the site to the river.
Luneside Park Gateway

Academic campus

Meadow Park (informal)

Visitor Centre (heritage/environment/arts)

Figure 37 Spatial organisation 36

This existing mill (previously identified as “A”) is a key building in the landscape plan as it provides a destination or termination point to the main axis. As a destination its attraction is derived from its function. The choice to house public facilities here will have broad public appeal

Main building orientated so that main entrance is facing the riverside walk, with another entrance facing the campus plaza. The building orientation deliberately links the waterside walk and campus



Planting Strategy
The planting strategy has two strands: 1. Campus planting - generally quite formal. The objective is to create a variety of spaces dominated by planting character areas. For example, a garden, parkland (in the traditional style), formal and less formal planting areas, screen planting, planting for effect, etc. 2. Habitat creation - wetland and woodland. The objective here is to establish robust habitats with high ecological value. Planting will be directed to assist “nature” in its work. The choice of planting will vary depending on the precise nature of the ground (particularly soil moisture), and the requirements of planned intervention - particularly pond creation. It is expected that as successional stages progress, the variety of associated wildlife will increase. A landscape management plan will be initiated in order to sustain natural regeneration, to maintain specific habitats (e.g. ponds and reedbeds) and to ensure a healthy ecosystem. The public will be given access to all but the most sensitive areas, and a team will be employed to manage the site. Some parts of the site have already been designated as nature reserves, particularly where birds are an important constituent. These are currently managed by the Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside.

Figure 38 Planting zones


Landscape Framework
A Landscape Framework will be developed, which - in addition to planting specifications - will detail all the materials that should be used, how and where. This framework will ensure that materials are used consistently throughout the campus, producing a unity of design and pattern. Within this unity, however, there will be scope for local character areas, which will reflect their relative level of importance, history and typology. Figure 39 illustrates how this approach will work - the overall “hue” will be the same, but the “tint” or “shade” will be allowed to vary, within strict parameters. The following elements are to be specified as standard or non-standard within the design unity: 1. Road surfacing and kerbing 2. Car park surfacing and kerbing 3. Cycleways 4. Paving 5. Lighting 6. Signage 7. Boundaries 9. Tree avenues 10. Street furniture Examples of the materials and colour palette proposed can be found on the following pages.

Figure 39 Harmony
Gateway Student accommodation Visitor Centre Luneside Park Waterfront Natural areas

Business park

Main campus Meadow Park Axes Plaza




Permeable blocks

‘Conservation’ kerbs for higher quality entrances

‘Conservation’ edging and paving slabs

‘Courtstone’ paving

Permeable block paving, brindle and charcoal, for car parks

Dense bituminous macadam/asphalt and standard concrete road kerbs for all access road

p Standard materials Materials for use with historic structures or within high quality areas

Concrete bench Granite Existing stone structures


Existing brick structures

Granite setts


The Waterfront at Wakefield, W. Yorkshire. Sensitively restored mills using modern materials, restrained colour palette and simple, but elegant, landscape elements.

Shawfair Business Park on the outskirts of Edinburgh. Again, a simple , restrained, aesthetic for both building and landscape.

Pentland’s Science Park near Edinburgh. Planting and use of water provide a less formal setting for offices.

Brooklyn Bridge Park, NYC - a tree-lined waterfront, with public open space.

Waterfront, Detroit - a tree-lined walk, with ample opportunities to sit, reflect and enjoy the view.

Queen Margaret University - a modern campus, but planting is sparse, leaving the site feeling exposed.

The site as viewed from the north 5

4 3 2


View 1. The site as viewed from the northern bank of the Lune - road bridge to left, foot-/cyclebridge to right

View 2. Main entrance (gateway) to the campus, utilising existing structures

View 4. Central Avenue from student residences, looking towards the campus

View 3. Student residences

View 5. Rehabilitation of existing mill (mill “A”) Viewed from North Quay Road. This elevation faces the river.

Viewed from southeast - this side of the building will become the front elevation


REFERENCES Lancashire Bird Club/Lancashire Fauna and Flora Society, Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Lancashire and Merseyside 1997-2000, Hobby Publications, 2001 Lancashire County Council, A Landscape Strategy for Lancashire: Landscape Character Assessment, 2000 Lancashire County Council, Lancashire Historic Town Survey Programme: Lancaster, February 2006 Lancaster City Council, Lancaster District Local Plan 1996-2006 (adopted 2004) Lancaster City Council, Luneside East Development Brief (Revised), September 2004 Lancaster City Council, Proof of Evidence re Application for Mixed Use Development at Luneside West, January 2007 Lancaster City Council, Strategic Flood Risk Assessment, September 2007 Natural England, SSSI Citation for Lune Estuary, HMSO Natural England, SSSI Citation for Morecambe Bay, HMSO White, A. J. (ed), A History of Lancaster, Edinburgh University Press, 2001 White, A. J., The Buildings of Georgian Lancaster, Centre for Northwest Regional Studies, 2000


Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful