City councillor objects to Public Right of Way change at Chancellors Wharf

4 July 2018


Planning application ref 18/00570/FUL - Chancellors Wharf

There is a proposal to change the right of way through Chancellors Wharf. It is ostensibly about moving cycle shelters but in fact it is a proposal to obstruct the public right of way. In short :There will be  1.8 metre wall, hedge and gate that are proposed for east end of the site which will prevent pedestrians passing through Chancellor's Wharf. The proposal seems to suggest that pedestrians should cross Aldcliffe Road, which is busy and with poor sightlines at this point. To continue south beside the canal they would have to cross a further four roads with no pedestrian crossings before they could return to the canalside path. One of these crossings at Carr House Lane is particularly difficult for pedestrians because it is a very wide section of highway.

 City Councillor Dave Brookes has sent the following 3 points: ( with some good photos that have not copied over) 

If you have any thoughts about the proposal or think it should be rejected until it includes a properly designed footpath through the north/west side of Chancellor's Wharf linking Penny Street Bridge and the quayside with the towpath along the west side of the Lancaster Canal going southwards then please send an email to development control at Lancaster City Council very soon.

1. Pedestrian Safety

The applicant is correct to suggest that members of the public use the site, but in my experience this is predominantly as a pedestrian through route from housing areas west of the city centre to eg the bus stop on South Road, Sainsburys Local, Royal Lancaster Infirmary and vice versa.

People use Chancellors Wharf as a through route because there are no signalised pedestrian crossings on Aldcliffe Road, and because the best sight lines for crossing Aldcliffe Road, and the route of least road crossings (ie avoiding the B&Q entrance and Queen Street) involves crossing into Chancellors Wharf car park. There are at present a number of sett paved areas on the boundary that facilitate this, as well as the quiet road junction between the car park and Aldcliffe Road.

The proposed arrangement of a new boundary wall with security gate at the east end of the site, forces pedestrians to cross where there is currently a small spur of paving slabs and dropped kerb between two areas of landscaping. People generally do not cross at this point because of the poor sight lines from the canal side of the road, and its position between the junction with Queen Street and the B&Q entrance, which means there are lots of places for cars to appear from, and it does not feel like a safe place to cross.

Note that there currently is not a dropped kerb on the opposite side of Aldcliffe Road from this crossing point. 

The removal of the shrub planting will improve visibility to a small extent, but not lengthen the sight lines or address the locational problem of the crossing point being between the junctions of B&Q and Queen Street. Aldcliffe Road does benefit from a 20mph speed limit but it does not seem to be well observed at this location, and again does not address the locational issue.


  • As previously stated, sight lines at the junction of Aldcliffe Road and the Chancellors Wharf car park entrance are good, and I note that a new section of footpath is proposed at this location. It would be preferable for pedestrian safety purposes to remove the security gate at the east boundary and have a well demarcated through route across the site between the east boundary and the footpath at the car park junction.
  • I understand that some of the infrastructure is already in place to provide a signalised pedestrian crossing at the junction of Aldcliffe Road and Penny Street. Introducing this crossing would provide an alternative safe route across Aldcliffe Road and mitigate the negative impact of this application.
  • As a minimum a dropped kerb should be introduced opposite the current crossing point and some means of improving visibility or better identifying the crossing point to motorists such as small build outs and tactile blister paving. 

It is important to note that pre-application advice has recently been supplied to Aldi about redevelopment of the B&Q site to an Aldi food store. Aldi do now own the B&Q site. While B&Q probably does not attract a large number of pedestrian visits from the south side of Aldcliffe Road, it is likely that Aldi would (not least from the occupants of Chancellors Wharf, putting further pressure on this crossing point. Any works here should not prejudice future improvement of this crossing point.

2. Footpath to Rear

It is not clear from the drawings whether there is any intention to prevent access to the footpath around the back of the accommodation blocks (immediately alongside the canal), but it appears not. I have been told that maintaining public access to this footpath was a condition of the original planning application, but I do not know if this is actually the case.

It is not clear how maintaining access to the route around the back of the accommodation blocks is compatible with the security justification for closing the more direct and visible through route across the front of the blocks. It seems that most of the problems identified in the Design & Access statement could still easily occur.

3. Boundary Treatments

No justification has been provided for the 1.8m height of the proposed boundary wall and hedge at the east end of the site. I am concerned that this height would create an unnecessarily imposing feel to an area of already poor public realm immediately adjacent to the Chancellors Wharf, in the ownership of the Canal & River Trust. A 1.8m height seems contrary to the objective of security in that it blocks visibility and creates an area where it is possible to hide from public view. A wall/hedge height between 1.2 and 1.35 metres would prevent easy access by jumping across while maintaining visibility.





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