Centros, the developer owned by Delancey, is criticising the government for calling in its development proposals for a £140m regeneration of a 10-acre brownfield site in Lancaster city centre.

Centros said the Government has ‘unwittingly put the whole Lancaster regeneration project at risk at a time when the economy most needs investment and new jobs.’

Centros is also questioning the role played by English Heritage in campaigning for the call-in having previously stated that it was happy for the local council to make the planning decision.

Richard Wise, chief executive of Centros, said: ‘Having been lobbied by English Heritage and local minority objector group “It’s Our City”, the Government has effectively valued a handful of mediocre unlisted buildings above the delivery of a major regeneration scheme and a thousand new jobs.

'This is a complete contradiction of its policies and all the economic initiatives aimed at pulling the country out of recession.’

He added: ‘If the government really wants to deliver much-needed regeneration for our city centres – especially in the current economic climate – then it must look carefully at both how it can encourage such development and reduce the level of bureaucracy hindering its delivery.

'Further expenditure on our Lancaster planning application at this time would affect the scheme delivery and jeopardise some of the community benefits, and therefore there is no point in us spending up to another million pounds to be represented at the inquiry. While remaining fully committed to the project and Lancaster, we will simply await the outcome and only then decide how to progress the scheme further.’