Tuesday, 24 May 2016

New Home for Morecambe’s Mosaic created by Leslie Cant

Photo: Lancaster City Council
A Morecambe landmark created by the late Leslie Cant is set to be preserved in a new location as preparations get underway for improvements to the town centre.

The Morecambe Mosaic, sited outside the Arndale Centre on Euston Road, will be moved in the next few weeks and given a new prominent setting on the seafront near to the RNLI lifeboat station.

This will then pave the way for improvements to this section of the town centre, including new street surfacing, street furniture, new lighting and artworks.

The decision to relocate the mosaic - created some 40 years ago - follows a public consultation last year about its future when the improvement works take place, and concerns from locals about its future that go back even further.

Local MP David Morris voiced his concerns about the fate of the mosaic back in 2011, saying he had received many letters from constituents who expressed their fondness for the mosaic following press reports that it was to be removed.

There were 16 responses to the consultation, representing a mix of views.

Councillor Janice Hanson, Cabinet member with responsibility for regeneration, said: “To many people the mosaic represents something of the town’s identity, but keeping it in the current location would severely limit what we can do to enhance this area of the town centre.

“The results of the consultation weren’t conclusive in terms of its future location, but most of the respondents said they wanted the mosaic to be kept in some form and I absolutely agree.

“The area we’ve chosen is a good location just off the promenade, easily accessible to the public. The mosaic will be on a slope as now.

“Morecambe’s motto is ‘beauty surrounds, health abounds’ and the new location, with the Bay in the background, represents that perfectly.”

The works are part of the Morecambe Area Action Plan, an ambitious programme to regenerate central Morecambe, which includes plans to improve Euston Road from Barclays through to New Town Square, with new street surfacing, street furniture, lighting and artworks.

Leslie Cant. Picture via
Tagging the Treasures
The Morecambe Mosaic, one of a number of items of public art that formed part of the Council's last art audit back in 2012 (PDF link), is credited to artist Leslie Cant, who was born in Glasgow but moved to Preston in his twenties and worked as a set designer for the Salburg Players at Preston Hippodrome. Before he became a self-employed artist in 1983, he was office manager at the Building Design Partnership in Preston.

During his career as an artist he turned his talents to a range of disciplines including perspective drawing and building design, sculpture, mosaic and murals, as well as lecturing. He enjoyed landscape painting, some of his favourite scenes being of the Lake District. He died in June 2007, aged 87.

Appeal for information after woman, 21, found in distressed state in Lancaster

Police are appealing for information after a student was found in a distressed state in Lancaster in the early hours of Saturday morning.

The 21-year-old woman was found by residents on Coulston Road near the University of Cumbria and was later taken home by police, where she disclosed that she may have had her drink spiked while she was on a night out in the city centre.

Detectives are now trying to establish the exact circumstances surrounding the incident and are keen to hear from anyone who may have seen the woman, who was wearing a pink top, black jeans and black boots, in the area between 1.30am and 2.20am on Saturday 21st May.

DC Sam Johnson of Lancaster CID said: "Our enquiries are on-going to establish exactly what has happened to this woman and we would like to hear from anyone who may have any information that could help us piece her movements together. If anyone saw her in the Coulston Road area in the early hours of Saturday morning I would urge them to get in touch with us.

“There is a suggestion that she may have had her drink spiked and this incident serves as a timely reminder to anyone on a night out to be careful about what they drink and who they accept drinks from.

"We would advise people to keep a close eye on their drinks at all times and make sure they are never left unattended. If you’re unsure about whether your drink may have been spiked, our advice is not to risk it and leave it well alone.”

• Anyone with information can contact Lancaster CID on 101 quoting crime reference WB1603945

Take a tour of Hidden Lancaster

A walking tour of Lancaster is planned in June for anyone interested in finding out about the darker secrets of Lancaster's criminal history.

The 'Lawless Lancaster' walking tour will take place on Thursday 2nd June.

This tour will start at 10.30am at Lancaster Castle, and will finish at approximately 4.30pm at Lancaster Town Hall. It will also visit the Judges' Lodgings, Lancaster City Museum and the courtroom and cells at Lancaster Town Hall.

The walk will also include lunch at Lancaster Castle.

Now in its second year, the tour will tell the story of law and order and crime and punishment in Lancaster from the Georgian period in the 18th century through to the early 20th century.

Lancashire County Council's head of libraries, museums, culture and registrar's services, Julie Bell, said: "I have no doubt that this will be a fascinating day.

"Those taking part will be able to learn about the more hidden details of the city's history, and enjoy some gentle exercise at the same time."

Tickets for the tour are now available and cost £20 for adults and £15 for concessions, which includes lunch.

Numbers are limited so booking is essential. To book a ticket, or for more information phone 01524 64998 or call in at Lancaster Castle shop between 9.30am and 4.30pm.

Appropriate footwear and suitable outdoor clothing is recommended for the tour. Unfortunately it is not suitable for wheelchair users.

• More information about this walking tour is available at: www.lancastercastle.com/event/lawless-lancaster-tour | More information about other Lancashire County Council museums is available at www.lancashire.gov.uk/museums

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Local Cinema Round-Up for the 18th to 26th May 2016

For up to date local cinema links and day-by-day  listings of what's showing on local screens every week visit the Virtual-Lancaster Cinema Page. Read on for the weekly round-up, and reviews.

We see few changes in our cinemas during this period as there are just three new releases. There is drama with A Hologram for the King (12A) and family animation with Thomas & Friends: The Great Race (U). Also new to the region, though released some time ago, is the very well received comedy The Brand New Testament (15).

The horror movie Friend Request has vanished from the cinema whilst the family movies Norm of the North and Robinson Crusoe seem to be nearing the end of their screening. We do however see the return of the UK number one film The Revenant for one day only.

Forthcoming attractions later this month include Alice through the Looking Glass and Warcraft: The Beginning whereas Independence Day: Resurgence is due to be screened in June.

Again this is a good time for caped crusader action with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice; Captain America: Civil War and X-Men: Apocalypse all being shown. In addition there is science fiction drama in High Rise.

More down to earth drama is available in A Hologram for the King; Eddie the Eagle; Eye in the Sky; Son of Saul and The Colours Red. Alternatively there is comedy with Bad Neighbours 2, Florence Foster Jenkins and The Brand New Testament.

Family entertainment comes with Norm of the North; The Angry Birds Movie; The Jungle Book and Thomas & Friends: The Great Race.

There is just one entry for high culture this period with ROH Live: Frankenstein.


A Hologram for the King
Director: Tom Tykwer
Certificate: 12A
Cast includes: Tom Hanks, Alexander Black, Sanita Choudhury
Based on the best selling 2012 novel by Dave Egger, Alan Clay (Hanks) is an American Businessman whose life is falling apart following the recession. He is trying to make a comeback, leading a team to sell a new holographic telepresence system to the King of Saudi Arabia. However he is out of his depth with no knowledge of the local customs and facing a bureaucracy worthy of Kafka. Attempts to see the king repeatedly fail and he and his team just wait in a venue with failed communications and air conditioning. The only hope seems to be his taxi driver Yousef (Black). This is something of a convoluted story which is both funny and terribly sad. However Hanks gives a great performance and the whole provides a very entertaining movie.

Bad Neighbours 2
Director: Nicholas Stoller
Certificate: 15
Cast includes: Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne, Chloe Grace Moretz, Zac Efron
A sequel to the 2014 Bad Neighbours. Mac Radner (Rogen) and his wife Kelly (Byrne) are expecting their second child. They are in the process of selling their old house when a newly established female sorority, Kappa Kappa Nu led by Shelby (Moretz), moves into the house nextdoor. Excessive partying on the part of the sorority makes life a nightmare for the Radner's and will jeopardise the sale of their house. Their requests for the girls to keep the partying quiet lead to an all out war. Teddy (Efron) from the previous film has not coped well outside of college and he is enlisted by the Radner's to be their ally in the battle with the sorority. This movie is little more than a re-run of the first Bad Neighbours, but the film still has more than its share of very funny moments. Good entertainment.

Eye in the Sky
Director: Gavin Hood
Certificate: 15
Cast includes: Helen Mirren, Alan Rickman
Colonel Katherine Powell (Mirren) is tasked with capturing a terrorist who is attending a meeting in Kenya. The meeting room is bugged and a drone used to provide surveillance. Powell discovers the terrorists are actually planning suicide bombing attacks and so she seeks authority to call in a missile attack on the building. However there is a chance any attack will result in civilian casualties. The movie is a gripping and well received drama that explores some of the moral issues of drone warfare.

Florence Foster Jenkins
Director: Stephen Frears
Certificate: PG
Cast includes: Meryl Streep, Hugh Grant
A period drama based on the true story of Florence Foster Jenkins (Streep). Jenkins is a rich heiress with ambitions to be a singer despite a terrible singing voice. Her husband St Clair Bayfield (Grant), despite being something of a cad, arranges for her to sing in a concert, having carefully selected the audience to ensure her efforts will be well received. This is the second recent movie based on the life of Jenkins and it provides a more light hearted approach to the 2015 film Marguerite. The movie is has been well received and provides a good share of laughs, though, for this reviewer, it was something of a one joke film.

The Jungle Book
Director: Jon Favreau
Certificate: PG Cast includes: Neel Sethi, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba
Based on Rudyard Kipling's works, this is a reworking of a the well known classic using live action and CGI. Mowgli (Sethi) is an orphaned boy raised by a wolf and thence by Bagheera (Kingsley) a black panther. Mowgli alienates the Bengal tiger Shere Khan (Elba) and so must make his way to humankind for safety, meeting the well known characters Baloo and Kaa on the way. Subsequently he returns to the jungle to face Shere Khan. The movie is a good example a remake that improves on the original. An excellent movie that will entertain all ages.

The Revenant
Director: Alejandro G Inarritu
Certificate: 15
Cast includes: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy
Set in Montana and South Dakota in the year 1823 and based on the book by Michael Punke, this is a tale of revenge. A party trapping for pelts in the American wilderness come under attack by native Americans of the Arikara nation. With most of the hunting party slain, the remainder escape. However one of their number, Hugh Glass (DiCaprio) is attacked and nearly killed by a bear. The remainder of the hunters split up. The larger group go back to their barracks whereas a couple of men including John Fitzgerald (Hardy) stay to look after Glass. However Fitzgerald tries to kill Glass and then abandons him to the wilderness. Against the odds Glass survives and is intent on revenge. The scenery in the movie is breathtaking and the action shots are stunning. The bulk of the film shows the tribulations of Glass as, wounded, he tries to return to safety after his abandonment. An emotional, well acted and very convincing movie.

Overnight closures required on M6 between Junctions 34 and 35 Next Week

Drivers using the M6 in Lancaster are being advised of two overnight closures as part of ongoing works for the Heysham to M6 Link Road.

On Monday 23rd May, the motorway will close at 8.00pm and re-open by 6.00am the following morning. A second provisional closure is booked for Tuesday 24th May 8.00pm to 6.00am.

The closure is required to permit the safe lifting and fitting into place of the new parapets on Foundry Lane Bridge over the M6, which carries traffic to Halton from Kellet Lane. The current bridge has been extended to accommodate the new northbound slip road of junction 34 onto the M6 underneath.

Diversion signs will be erected on the M6 prior to junction 34 (northbound) and junction 35 (southbound), its important drivers familiarise themselves with alternative routes, and plan their journeys ahead.

During the closure between junction 34 and 35 of the M6 all traffic will be diverted along the A6.

Southbound traffic on the M6 will exit at junction 35 and will be diverted on the A6 via Carnforth, Bolton-le-Sands, Slyne, Skerton and Lancaster. They will be guided to re-join the M6 at junction 34.

Northbound traffic on the M6 will exit at junction 34 and will be diverted on the A6 via Lancaster, Skerton, Slyne, Bolton-le-Sands, and Carnforth. They will be guided to re-join the M6 at junction 35.

“We have planned two overnight closures where we will complete the task of installing the parapets as quickly and as safely as possible”, said Costain Project Manager Richard Helme.

New M6 Junction 34 southbound off slip

To maximise the use of the overnight closure of the M6 motorway, the new southbound off slip will also be opened in a temporary alignment. This is to facilitate the construction of the final phases of the off slip. As we will still be working on Caton Road, the junction with the new off slip will be controlled by temporary traffic lights. This is for the safety of both the workers and the travelling public.

• The Highways Agency provides live traffic information via its website www.highways.gov.uk/traffic-information

• Local Twitter services are also available at @HighwaysNWEST @Heysham_Link