road protests 2002   |   road protests (current)   |   movement links

Date: Tue, 18 Jun 2002 19:23:26 +0100
Subject: -ALLSORTS-mixed news 18th June 2002



Jarvis Destruction plc, in conjunction with Lancaster University want to build a new complex on a greenfield site to the south of the university. Part of this will involve a new link road between Green Lane and the A6. The scheme is being rushed ahead to try to forestall local objections and to capitalise on funding before the state's education budget is eaten up with the long anticipated upcoming war on Iraq. Student representatives oppose the scheme, which is expected to drive up the rents to £68 / wk. Ultimately this destruction will be paid for with increased student debt. Trish McGrath, President of the Student Union, said the student voice had not been listened to in the uni council meetings. This cash cow, costing £120M, will be owned by Jarvis, under a 35 year lease scheme, and will provide 1750 new residencies. Other developments not shown on the plan include an 'Infolab' complex nearby. On top of all this, under 'Phase 1' there are also plans to pull down existing university buildings and put up a seven storey monster accommodation block. Eventually, 4,000 university residences are expected to be owned and managed by Jarvis.


Buildings on the existing Barker House site are not in keeping with the surrounding countryside, with naff three storey pink buildings on top of the hill, overpowering Ellel and the village of Galgate. Expect more ofthe same but worse with this new scheme. Many of the residents of Galgate expressed their opposition, to local MP Hilton Dawson, and University Council, pro-Vice Chancellor Alan Whitaker, at a meeting in the Stoney Lane Institute, Galgate on Saturday 15th June 2002. Organised by local residents Helena Todd and Val Purnell, people told of their concerns about the wholly negative impact such a gross development will have on the quality of our environment here.


During the protest meeting it became clear that the impact of their link road on traffic has not been properly considered. Abattoir waste Nightingale Farm lorries already use Green Lane to avoid Lancaster centre, and will cut through. The proposal to increase the size of the university by 18% will bring much more traffic. Already, in rush hours, traffic backs up from Galgate traffic lights, almost to the point where this road will be built. There have been many crashes on this part of the A6 in recent years. It is a common experience to see roadside bouquets of flowers left where people have died. Often there is a 'serious accident here - can you help?' notice outside the main university gates. With another road junction put in on this fast stretch of road, near the bend, the university should order another one of these signs now.


It is not just about the destruction of green fields, unacceptable though this is. It is also about drainage. The existing buildings have diverted old water courses, causing rain to flood down Chapel Lane, and overwhelm the septic tanks of the houses and farms there. 'Would you like raw sewage to wash across your garden?' asked one irate resident. During the Galgate protest meeting, slides were shown of the flood waters. Before the building of the graduate college, promises were made to build surge chambers to collect flood waters, but this was just bullshit. Screening trees were also not planted. People said that previous promises made were not kept, so why should residents trust them now?


Objectors described how run off from the university also flows into Ou-Beck, which since the mid 1990s expansion has repeatedly flooded houses in Meadow Park, Galgate. The recent building excavations have covered over a spring, which has made water flow down Chapel Lane towards the village.


We have to understand the context. The proposed Whinney Carr housing estates and the existing Royal Albert housing site, together with the proposed science park near the old water works, will join the south of Lancaster to the university. This Barker House development will join the university to Ellel, At the meeting, we were told that Lancaster City Council (aka "The Forces of Mordor") is in favour and wants to bulldozer through the scheme asap. This comes as no surprise. We know how many recent development schemes there have been here. We all remember how two or three years ago, the Council's Lune Trail had cut down trees, inverted and placed them in large plant pots as a perverted satanic parody of nature. More developments, housing estates, university expansions eating up the beautiful countryside here are clearly part of their obscene plan. However, the scheme is to be discussed at a council meeting on 22nd July. The University Council is said to be meeting on the 19th. People who are concerned about this threat to the environment are urged to write letters to councillors and council planning officers, and make representations. Further residents' meetings are planned. We were left with the distinct impression that time is running out.

road protests 2002   |   road protests (current)   |   movement links