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Government funding to transform brownfield land

Lancaster City Council’s ambitions to bring back to life the site of a former department store have moved one step closer thanks to the award of a government grant worth nearly £750,000.

Originally built in 1927 and extended in 1961, Centenary House on Regent Road in Morecambe has been largely vacant since the mid-1990s.

Bought by the city council as part of the West End masterplan, the intention is to refurbish the building’s upper floors to provide affordable housing and accommodation for local arts businesses, retaining the Co-Op late shop that occupies one-half of the ground floor.As the building suffers from a number of expensive constraints that add cost and complexity to the challenge of bringing it back into use, the plans have stalled in recent times.

Now, thanks to a £749,016 grant from the Brownfield Land Release Fund (BLRF), the plans can be progressed and will now be worked up in greater detail before a planning application is submitted.

Councillor Caroline Jackson, cabinet member with responsibility for housing, said: “The ongoing regeneration of Morecambe is a priority for the council.

“We are in urgent need of more affordable housing and if we are able to provide it while bringing this building back in to use then that has to be a positive.

“Progressing the refurbishment and reuse of Centenary House would not be possible without the grant funding support from the Brownfield Land Release Fund and I’m grateful for the support so we can now progress with the development.”

The council is working with a specialist regeneration developer, Place Capital Group to bring forward the development.

David Smith Milne, Place Capital Group chief executive, said: “We are really pleased to be helping the council to bring this lovely old building back to life.  We know the West End of Morecambe very well and it is once again crying out for quality developers who care about its future.”   

In addition to the BLFR funding for Centenary House, the council has also been successful in securing £690,000 for its plans to redevelop the Skerton High School site with approximately 130 new affordable homes to rent.



Last updated: 09 October 2023

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