Local economic recovery planning in Lancaster City Council

Lancaster City Council have built their recovery planning around their collaborative work with neighbouring authorities Barrow Borough Council and South Lakeland District Council.

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An aerial photograph of Lancaster City seafront

The Bay Resilience and Prosperity Strategy sets out integrated growth and investment plans around the functional economic geography of the Morecambe Bay area, which straddles County Council boundaries. The plan builds on the collaborative partnership between the Councils which created the Cultural Compact, with support from Arts Council England. The plan will improve the integration, profile and cross-sectoral support and investment into the cultural sector across Morecambe Bay as a health, education, business and tourism asset. This has led to a proposal for a new unitary authority on the same geography.

Resilience has been a key planning theme. The economy is very rural and stood up well to the challenges of the pandemic. There are a large number of SMEs with a service focus and the public sector makes up a larger proportion of the economy than the average in England. Home working, more local shopping and online shopping are expected to continue post-pandemic. This will be a challenge for some businesses, but there is a positive focus on opportunities and the potential to build further local resilience.

The visitor and culture economy has been hit hard by the pandemic, with continued uncertainty over reopening, but there are positive signs of pent-up demand for events and visits. Flexible plans are being developed to support a phased reopening as lockdown and the pathway out of the pandemic allow. This could start with local engagement building on the renewed affection for local cultural assets witnessed during lockdown, followed by regional and national audiences. Big events are planned as part of reopening later in the year include UK Corporate Games, Vintage by the Sea festival and Light Up Lancaster. Major new investment proposals are in development, including Eden Project North which aims to bring together ‘green’ investment from local, private and government sources.