Startup city: Lancaster reimagined

On paper Lancaster ought to be thriving. It is a compact city and that makes it ideally suited to digital and creative businesses that flourish in higher density places, where it is easy to mix with others.

This is one reason why London’s Shoreditch, New York’s Williamsburg and Manchester’s Northern Quarter are so popular with startups.

The quality of life here is good. Morecambe Bay and the Lake District are close enough to see. Our parks are beautiful.

Lancaster is well connected. Yesterday I met a client in the Lakes. Tomorrow I have a meeting in London. The M6 and the West Coast Mainline serve us well.

Our university was ranked first in the Good University Guide. Having lots of smart people here is a massive asset.

But there are problems that need to be addressed.

One is a serious lack of good quality office space.

Beautiful existing buildings in the city centre, which we have in abundance, need to be reimagined and made fit for purpose.

The quality of life here is good, but there are problems that need to be addressed.

After years of neglect the Storey, where Hotfoot Design is based, offers an attractive home to digital and creative businesses.

It is a real success story. There should be ten more like it.

New buildings should be built beautifully. They should be encouraging of culture, nestled amongst cafés, bars, and independent retail.

More and better spaces for digital and creative businesses to start and grow will create a critical mass of people with money to spend in the city.

The new Canal Quarter, and an imaginative rethinking of the city centre as place to live and work, offers Lancaster the chance to realise its immense potential.

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