Ambitious plans to bring a multi-million pound hotel and marina to Carnforth have divided the north Lancashire town.
Dozens of residents packed into a public meeting as developers Graham Anthony Associates unveiled plans for development at Carnforth Brow, on the Lancaster Canal.
Artists’ impressions of the proposed 100-room hotel and 50-berth marina went on display in the town’s Civic Hall on Monday.
The scheme would also include a wind turbine, a new roundabout and new access off the A601 on land to the north of Brewers Barn.
“I’m in favour of it, as long as it doesn’t make the road busier, but the developers seem to have thought of that,” said resident Susan Spriggs. “We don’t have a good hotel in Carnforth even though it’s a tourist area.”
Geoff Billingham, from nearby Nether Kellet, said: “It’s a good idea. It’s creating employment which is badly needed in the area.”
But Mike Cronshaw, of Carnforth, said the scheme would do ‘very little’ for the town and there was already space for boats further along the canal.
“There’s only one person going to gain from this and that’s the developer,” said Mr Cronshaw. “The jobs in the hotel will all be people from outside the area.
“I don’t see the need for a marina – there is unused capacity at Tewitfield.”
Bryn Spriggs said he ‘felt sorry’ for people living on Whernside Grove, whose homes would back on to the planned new development.
“Their bungalows have an open aspect at the back and they bought their properties knowing they were like that,” he said. ”They would lose that openness.”
Like many locals, Mr Spriggs said he had concerns about extra traffic created by the hotel but was pleased an access road formed part of the plan as it would help keep vehicles away from residential areas.
“Anything that provides permanent, reasonably-paid employment is a plus, providing there’s not a big price to pay,” he said.
Graham Salisbury, from Graham Anthony Associates, said the scheme was backed by British Waterways and would create up to 80 full-time jobs.
He also reassured residents that the roundabout would address traffic concerns.
“It will slow traffic down and prevent traffic from going on to the estate,” said Mr Salisbury.
The proposals will now be submitted to Lancaster City Council, which will decide whether to grant consent.
Carnforth town councillors will also have their say at a meeting which clerk Adrian Attwood predicted would be ‘lively’.