Tag Archives: Bailrigg Garden Village


Mary Rose’s letter on Bailrigg Garden Village (see below) offers a counter to subtext’s mildly optimistic tone. As Prof Rose reminds us, many Galgate residents are unconvinced that city council planners are taking their concerns about future development – on traffic, air quality and especially flooding – seriously.

The city council planning committee’s recent decision to permit development at Ward Field Farm has particularly annoyed villagers. Ward Field Farm is on your left as you leave Galgate on the A6 northbound and its land abuts the north bank of the River Conder. Given the ongoing serious risk of flooding, one might expect an application to build houses there to receive short shrift. Not so. The landowner now has permission to build up to 68 houses on the site and the tenant farmer faces eviction.

Conveniently for the landowner, Ward Field Farm lies just outside the Bailrigg Garden Village zone – if it lay within the zone then permission would probably have been refused, since the plans for Bailrigg make clear the importance of protecting the ‘buffer’ between Galgate and Lancaster, and not doing anything to increase the flood risk.

But surely, given that every other square inch of land between Lancaster and Galgate comes under the remit of the garden village consultation, it’d be premature, to say the least, to let a developer build on Ward Field Farm before the final shape of the garden village is known? Not so – as the council officers reminded the planning committee, ‘refusal of planning permission on the grounds of prematurity will seldom be justified where a draft Local Plan has yet to be submitted for examination.’ In other words, until we finalise the Local Plan, it remains open season in places like Ward Field Farm. Ho hum.

Hence the vote by 6 (Labour) to 5 (Conservatives and Greens) to approve the development plans. Read all about it at https://committeeadmin.lancaster.gov.uk/mgAi.aspx?ID=39599



Presented with such an open goal, how have the Conservatives been behaving? We’re pleased to report that their opposition campaign has so far been robust and dignified, with one of their more colourful councillors berating Lancaster & Fleetwood MP Cat Smith this week in a self-penned press release that subtext was lucky enough to receive directly from the author. Blaming the MP for Labour councillors proposing to build ‘thousands more houses in Galgate’ (‘thousands’ meaning ’68’), the press release lamented her ‘refus[al] to meet with her residents from the CLOUD campaign’, and slammed her as ‘out of touch’ and an ‘absent MP.’

On an entirely unrelated note, subtext would like to send its best wishes to the ‘absent’ Cat Smith, who is heavily pregnant and awaiting the imminent birth of her first child.


Dear subtext,

I am an enormous fan of subtext and have been over a number of years. I have been especially impressed by reports on UA92 and much more. This meant I was surprised to see the report on Bailrigg garden village which seemed to lack your usual depth, questions and challenges. Bailrigg garden village has been in the public domain since January 2017 and the ‘issues and options’ drop ins followed Local Plan drop ins in February 2017 and consultations in October 2017. In other words it has been around for rather a long time.

Am puzzled by the housing numbers that you quote since there is a bid in to the Housing Infrastructure Fund – something in the region of £150m on the basis of there being 3,500 houses. This is to justify some funding for the reconfigured motorway junction, the crossing of the mainline west coast railway to access the site, to develop the bus system etc. Maybe a first question to ask is what are the infrastructure costs associated with this particular site? Given recent history of expenditure overruns on say the Bay Gateway the track record is not encouraging.

This week’s Lancaster Guardian (paper edition) includes a two page special report entitled: ‘There’s a sense that Galgate doesn’t count: seven months on from the major flooding that hit Galgate, residents are becoming increasingly concerned about new building developments that could leave them at even more risk than ever before’:


You seem to be dismissing the community impact of Bailrigg garden village as something that only affects Burrow Heights and the tone is ‘well so what?’ Galgate, Bailrigg village, Burrow Heights and Scotforth are Bailrigg garden village’s neighbours. The November floods affected all those areas and additional building simply adds to concerns. Did you attend the recent open meetings around the Health Innovation Campus? Those meetings highlighted how the local communities felt about drainage from University development flowing into the Ou Beck and the Burrow Beck – residents were anxious and angry. Did you read about the angry flood meetings in December following last year’s floods? Residents were not reassured by Lancaster City Council that Bailrigg garden village would solve all that, far from it.

Another question to ask is what relationship, if any, does the university have to Bailrigg garden village? It isn’t at all clear and with a venture that is causing so much local concern it would be interesting to know. Where will people work who live in Bailrigg garden village? I have long been confused by seeming conflicting employment projections from the Health Innovation Campus.

2,000 jobs are quoted in the publicity – how has that figure been arrived at?

There is also massive worry about air quality in South Lancaster, highlighted in research from LEC. You commented on the very vague ‘plans’ for rapid bus transport and the belief that the reconfigured motorway junction would solve air quality for Galgate. But would it? What will happen to Scotforth and the Pointer roundabout, already hardly quiet, if spiralling costs or planning issues and personal choice mean people still use their cars to take their kids to school, to go to the supermarket, etc.?

I am a retired member of the University and I am a Galgate resident so you could say I am an interested party. You normally provide an excellent set of insights and hope this letter might be helpful.

Best wishes,

Mary Rose


Dear subtext,

Thought this might be of interest. A group of squatters recently occupied one of Gary Neville’s properties in Manchester in part to protest against the lack of affordable housing in the city and Neville’s role in gentrification. Their collective statement (cited in the below piece) directly takes aim at the UA92 plan and its relationship to the wider marketisation of HE.


Best wishes,

Toby Atkinson


It’s consultations galore at the moment. The city council is presently carrying out an ‘Issues and Options’ consultation on Bailrigg Garden Village, including several drop-in events during June. For details, go to:


The first drop-in session was on Wednesday 6 June in the Bowland Suite at the Lancaster House Hotel, so subtext dropped in to take a look. The room was busy, with over 20 people poring over the maps, diagrams and artists’ impressions.

At the moment, Bailrigg Garden Village is just a shaded area on a map, the ‘Bailrigg Garden Village Broad Area of Growth’. It’s bigger than you might imagine – north to south it goes from Collingham Park to the outskirts of Galgate, while from west to east it includes the canal, the railway line, the A6, campus, the M6, Forrest Hills and a large part of the Conder Valley. Council officers were keen to stress that much of the land in the shaded area will not be developed but instead ‘retained as existing’ or designated as ‘Village Greenspace’ – how much development, and where, is the main subject of the consultation. An initial meeting with local landowners – subtext was told there were between 60 and 80 with ‘land interests’ in the area – took place this week.

Three ‘spatial options’ have been worked out, and all of them situate the majority of Garden Village development in Burrow Heights, to the west of the railway line. The village centre is likely to be close to Burrow Road. None of the options envisage any residential development east of the M6, due to the risk of flooding in the River Conder catchment area, and there’s not much scope for significant university development there either. Despite the name, the existing Bailrigg village looks like surviving largely intact.

The three options are the ‘concentrated village’ (Burrow Heights, basically), the ‘dispersed village’ (Burrow Heights plus most of the land north of Burrow Heights and Bailrigg, not including the land either side of Burrow Beck which would be left as ‘greenspace’) and the ‘concentrated village with possible site extensions’ (covering the same area as the ‘dispersed village’, but only Burrow Heights would be developed in Garden Village style, the rest being earmarked for regular residential development). The first option scores highest for all the policy objectives, except (predictably) meeting our future housing needs.

How many dwellings are we talking about? The likely density is between 30 and 50 dwellings per hectare. According to a table on housing supply shown to subtext, the planners currently forecast Garden Village construction to start in 2021/22, with 205 houses built between then and 2023/24, a further 700 built between 2024/25 and 2028/29, and a further 750 built between 2029/30 and 2033/34.

What about transport links, then? There will hopefully be funding to reconfigure Junction 33 of the M6, although no plans for this were on display at all, except for an ‘illustrative transport sketch’ showing a pair of red arrows pointing to where Hazelrigg Lane currently passes under the M6 at the southern end of campus. Despite many calls for ‘Bailrigg Halt’ railway station, this seems highly unlikely to happen. Instead, we get ‘Bus Rapid Transport’ (more buses, in other words, although probably more bus lanes as well) and a ‘Cycle Superhighway’ between Bailrigg and the city centre.

Our verdict? subtext was cautiously impressed, although if we lived in Burrow Heights we might be a little more sceptical! Readers are encouraged to attend a drop-in session (six more are planned), question the officers, and respond to the consultation. The deadline for responses is 11 July 2018.