Back in May 2023 we had a community consultation evening with Lancaster-based architects HPA to discuss the proposals to transform our building and outside space. Following the consultation, lots of people have pledged their support for the plans, including the Chamber of Commerce, local councillors and the MP for Morecambe and Lunesdale.
Denise Armer, Co-founder, Trustee and Parent said “These proposals are the culmination of over 14 years of hard work and determination that myself and Jane, the other Co-Founder, have, for our children and other young people with disabilities to have access to the same opportunities as anyone else their age to make friends, have fun, socialise and play. This is why is it so important for the facility we have now to be able to expand and develop… this development would provide a legacy for disabled children, young adults, and their families”
Jane Halpin, Co-founder, Trustee and Parent, says, “I wholeheartedly support the planning application that is being submitted as I know the difference it will make to my daughter’s life and the lives of so many other families in the local and surrounding areas.”
Trustee, Tracey Elkington explained, “The development of the field and building will mean we, at Unique Kidz and co., can help more individuals and families who desperately need our services. We can also help other groups and schools by providing access to these new facilities and improve the environment for those that live in the community.”
Working very closely with HPA and Landscape Architect, Laurel Truscott, the plans will see the extension and refurbishment of our existing building. A representative from HPA gave an overview of the plans on their website. “Additional lodges are proposed for erection within the grounds of the site to provide additional activity spaces, alongside an accessible bike track, sensory gardens and dedicated play spaces. It is important to all involved that the new scheme fits seamlessly into the local environment and a significant part of the proposal involves the landscaping of the field adjacent to Acre Moss Lane, to offer a range of activities and facilities.”
Trustee, David Walker, clarified “As can be imagined, a development, such as the one proposed, with carefully managed grasses, shrubs and wetland etc. could also greatly benefit residents in addition to being of benefit to the local environment.”
“The information gathered from such undertakings has been meticulously analysed and the findings used to inform an Action Plan’, described David Walker, ‘All of this has been ably overseen by our Architects (HPA). The Architects at HPA have been invaluable throughout this process and who (with colleagues) have produced the relevant drawings that depict our vision of the expansion necessary, not only to ensure the future of Unique Kidz and 4Ever Unique, but also, in doing so, bringing benefit the community.”
We were so pleased that over 60 people came to our public consultation and were very enthusiastic about the project. One parent said “The use of this land is particularly relevant to me as I live next door to Unique Kidz and my son currently attends Unique Kidz. I feel the new design will offer the users a lot more opportunities to be active, enjoy nature, relax, bring together the local community, support wildlife, provide a safe sensory area, as well as boosting imagination and creativity.
We particularly like the dipping pool area and the cycle track, as well as the additional lodges. It would be fabulous for my son’s health and wellbeing to have a large safe space for him to enjoy.”
Another parent shared their thoughts, “I could see from the plans that the proposed landscaping and wildlife pond have been carefully thought out, using largely native species that will enhance the local environment and create new habitats, in what is currently an area of unused land devoid of ecological interest. I feel sure this would be good for the wellbeing of local residents as well as the children and young adults lucky enough to attend Unique Kidz.”
HPA have received messages of support from MP David Morris, local councillors and the Chamber of Commerce.
“The Chamber of Commerce are, ‘Impressed at how the scheme has been developed in alignment with the discussion held at the engagement sessions, which makes this project feel like it really is for the benefit of its users and the community…
…Excited to see something happen on the redundant land running along Acre Moss Lane and it is obvious that the provision of the facility will improve the health and wellbeing of users and locals.’
David Morris MP echoed this sentiment, writing, ‘In the Lancaster and Morecambe area, there is extremely little in the way of sports facilities for disabled children and adults and these plans for an accessible bike track, outdoor play areas and wetland areas for outdoor learning is not only a much-needed local facility but will be centre of national excellence in this field.”
Councillor Joanna Ainscough, said “The scheme will provide much needed facilities for severely disabled children and young adults in the area who must currently travel some distance to seek out these services…
…the landscaping will vastly improve the outlook for nearby resident and increase biodiversity, with a mixture of wildflower meadows an, pollinator friendly planting and tree.”
County Councillor, Margaret Pattison, also spoke of their support “I particularly like the planting areas (accessible bike track, refurbishment of the existing building, wetland area for learning, safe outdoor play areas. It will specifically benefit from the whole plan, clean and green, healthy living building the confidence of our young people to be able to learn outside and inside.”