Friday, 22 April 2011

Adult College July Craft Fair - Book stalls now!

A Craft Fair will be held at the Adult College on Saturday 2 July (10am - 3pm) and if local craftspeople would like a stall there they need to get weaving as the closing date for bookings is this Friday 29 April.

As well as Arts and Crafts Stalls, Taster courses and free family art sessions will be taking place on the day.

Stalls cost just £10 (£5 for Adult College students) and are approx 2'6 x 6ft
Requests for stalls need to be in by 29th April

For more information contact Helen Pass, email helen.pass@lancashire.gov.uk or Liz Mouel - liz.mouel@lancashire.gov.uk or tel: 01524 581269.

• The Adult College is at White Cross Education Centre, Quarry Rd, Lancaster, LA1 3SE.

Enter your produce in the Incredible Edibles Awards 2011

The Incredible Edibles Awards aim to champion local food growing and local produce by showcasing the best food growing projects in Lancaster district.

Keen on growing your own? Want to show off? The Awards' organisers, the Sustainability Partnership, together with LESS, are looking for people and communities who are growing their own fruit and vegetables – on allotments, in a garden, on a window-sill or balcony, in the school grounds, or even on a roundabout…

You can nominate yourself for an award, or you can nominate another person or group of people; and it’s so easy. All you need to do is download an application form from www.lancaster.gov.uk/sustainability-partnership; complete it then send it in before the closing date of 3rd June.

There are seven categories you can enter to win an award:

  • Nurseries & Primary schools;
  • Secondary schools, FE & HE institutions;
  • Community project;
  • Whole allotment site;
  • Individual allotment plot;
  • Private garden;
  • Container growing (including window-box, balcony & yard).

And...for submission on the day

  • Miniature Garden - Your garden must be portable by hand
  • Wobbly Veg & Funny Fruit - Display your oddly shaped fruit and veg!-)

The top three entries in each category will be visited by the judges and will be invited to attend the Awards Ceremony on Sunday 10th July 2011, 2-5pm, at the Off the Ground Allotments, Ambleside Road, Ridge, Lancaster. They will also receive a certificate and the winner in each category will receive a great prize; prizes include gardening hampers, tools, training sessions, vouchers and organic veg boxes.

The ceremony is open to the public and there will be refreshments available on the day, plus a plant & produce swap and fruit trees for sale. There will also be compost experts available and lots of other information on local growing for you to take away.

The Sustainability Partnership, a group of local residents and organisations promoting sustainable activity in Lancaster district, invite you to take part in the district’s first ever Incredible Edibles Awards.

If what you are growing is edible – then you’re incredible!

Williamson Park seeks friends

Lancaster City Council is inviting you to become a Friend of Williamson Park. Does Williamson Park hold a special place in your heart? If so, perhaps you’d like to be involved in making it a memorable place to be for others too! The Friends of Williamson Park Group has already been running a number of years and has been successful in raising funds for new facilities and encouraging hundreds of people to benefit from them.

Having lost a number of members due to other commitments the friends group is being re-launched and is on the look out for new members who will be keen to work with the council to develop a ten year plan for the park.

There are a number of specific roles in the group that are currently vacant but general members are also needed to join the meetings and get involved. Members can give as little or as much time to the park as they wish and the type of work they do is entirely up to the individual. This may include environmental or educational projects, preserving the heritage, fundraising or just being kept up-to-date on progress made.

Anyone who is interested in joining the Friends of Williamson Park Group should contact Sharon Wilson, Promenade and Outdoor Facilities Manager on 01524 582847 or send an email to swilson@lancaster.gov.uk

• Find out more about the park at www.williamsonpark.com

Local ME Group needs friends!

Imagine that you have absolutely no energy, your muscles hurt, your head aches, your vision is blurred, you get dizzy spells and you can’t think straight or remember things properly.

Then imagine that, unlike the winter colds and viruses that have been doing the rounds recently, you don’t get to feel any better. This is what thousands of people in the UK who are living with ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis), also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome experience every day.

The isolation caused by the illness is one of its most upsetting and disabling aspects. For many, it is down to chance and good fortune as to whether or not friends and family are understanding, and how much they are able to help out with daily tasks such as shopping and preparing food.

The Morecambe Bay ME (MBME) group exists to help alleviate this isolation and help local sufferers in various ways. There are just over 200 members who keep in touch through a quarterly newsletter, the website (www.bayme.org), regular “round robin” emails and a Facebook group.

For those who can make it out of the house, the group offers regular socials, volunteer benefits advisors and monthly meetings, with speakers on areas ranging from alternative therapies to benefits advice. In 2010, MBME set up courses in Lancaster and Kendal on assertiveness training, yoga, and thanks to a very understanding dance teacher, even ran a few dance lessons at Ludus dance in Lancaster!

The groups have a lot in the pipeline for 2011 and hope to involve more members in feeding into planning the way the group m moves forward.

Although the group has an enthusiastic group coordinator who holds all of this together, she is only funded for 10 hours per week and more help is sought. All the committee members and volunteers are ME sufferers and it is creditworthy that the group continues to achieve as much as it does over an area spanning from Barrow to Lancaster.

Volunteers are needed to help establish, and be part of, a “Friends of the Morecambe Bay ME group”. It is planned that the “friends” would fund-raise, extend the group skills base and also help out with existing activities. In particular,the group is looking at ways to reach, support and involve more of the housebound and severely ill members

• If you are interested in volunteering, or would like to know more about joining the Morecambe Bay ME Group, please contact Jo Farmer on 01524 888214, email info@bayme.org, or visit: www.bayme.co.uk

Legal challenge to proposed Heysham Reactor: studies link to doubled cancer rates

Following on from German government studies showing more than doubled risks of infant leukaemia around every nuclear power station studied, Heysham Anti-Nuclear Alliance (HANA) has launched a legal challenge against Chris Huhne, the Secretary of State for The Department of Energy and Climate Change, for his Justification of new nuclear power stations.

A scientific report prepared for the court by Dr. Ian Fairlie, consultant on radioactivity in the environment describes numerous epidemiological studies into the increased incidences of cancer near nuclear power stations. A report commissioned by the German Government (KiKK) found significantly increased risk of various cancers, especially leukaemia (2.2) to infants and young children under five living within a 5km radius of each of the 16 German nuclear power stations.

Govt denies radiation the cause of UK cancer increase around reactors
Increased incidences of childhood leukaemias were first reported near UK nuclear facilities in the late 1980s. Various explanations were offered for these increases; however the UK Government Committee on the Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment (COMARE) concluded that the causes remained unknown but were unlikely to involve radiation exposures. This was mainly because the radiation exposures from these facilities were estimated to be too low to explain the increased leukaemias.

Official measurements outdated
Part of the problem seems to be in the way radiation exposure is officially measured in sieverts as a uniform average. This leads to under-estimation of the actual dose 'density'. If one ingests an alpha particle emitted from a uranium atom, the dose isn’t evenly spread throughout the body – its energy is entirely concentrated into a miniscule volume of tissue, with embryonic tissue being particularly sensitive. As Richard Bramhall of the Low Level Radiation Campaign explained recently in the Guardian, the standard way of measuring emissions is like ‘believing it makes no difference whether you sit by a fire to warm yourself or eat a hot coal’.

The German studies prompted an investigation by the UK Department of Health, the results of which were originally due to be published before the end of last year, but have been delayed, with no publication date in sight.

Huhne: Build now, worry later.
Huhne argued that the health impacts of new nuclear reactors could be looked at after construction had commenced. But this was rejected as illegal by law firm Irwin Mitchell.

Heysham Anti-Nuclear Alliance is a coalition of individuals and groups living in and around Heysham who are increasingly worried that successive governments show as little concern about regulating the nuclear industry as they did about regulating the banks. Rory Walker, the member nominated to represent the group in the legal action explained, “The Justification regulatory process is the key piece of UK law by which health detriments of nuclear power stations are evaluated. It is crucial to keeping communities safe.” The challenge aims to hold the Energy Secretary responsible for not meeting this legal obligation.

Euratom Directive
According to the Euratom Directive and UK Regulations, the Secretary of State must ensure that the health detriments from nuclear power stations are outweighed by their economic, social and other benefits before giving the go ahead to build new nuclear power stations.

“The fundamental purpose of the Euratom Directive is to make sure that a comprehensive and detailed assessment is made before new nuclear reactors are built,” said Andrew Lockley, a partner with Irwin Mitchell.

“It does not permit an approach which appears generalised, generic and deferred. Justification requires that the health detriments should be considered and balanced against the economic, social or other benefits which may occur - but this doesn’t seem to have happened here.”

The lawyers want a judicial review to rule that Huhne acted unlawfully, and to quash his decisions. This would force the minister to reassess the issue, they said, and could make him change his mind “in light of recent events in Japan”.

Legal proceedings were formally begun on 28 February. The announcement was postponed, however, to avoid accusations of opportunism in the immediate aftermath of Fukushima.

Heysham, which already has two nuclear reactors, is one of seven sites that the Government identified for future reactors, despite its being within 5k of the towns of Heysham and Morecambe and within 10k of the City of Lancaster.

'I want to start a family in safety'
Walker told us: “My concern is the effect of radiation emissions on myself and my community and the potentially long-lasting impact of radiation on people like myself wanting to start a family.”

Walker works on a project to help local people grow more food on a community allotment. Under legal aid rules, he has agreed to contribute £45 a month – 10% of his income – towards the cost of the legal action.

Donate for legal costs
HANA also needs to raise around £16,000 as a 'community contribution' towards the cost of bringing the legal challenge, and is asking for donations. If you would like to contribute, you can donate by Bank Transfer to:
Account name: Heysham Anti Nuclear Alliance
Account reference: 616 322 406
Account number: 10091267
Sort code: 16-12-27

Or email contact@heysham-anti-nuclear-alliance.org to arrange cheque or cash donations.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the application opposed to nuclear power?
This application for Judicial Review is not about opposing nuclear power but about how the Secretary of State failed to carry out his legal duty to ‘justify’ the proposed new reactors by weighing the health detriments of radiation emissions and discharges from nuclear plants against economic and social benefits. The Government is required to do this under UK Regulations which in turn follow the Euratom Directive.

What would happen if HANA won?
The Court could either issue a Declaration or a quashing Order, or both. The Government would need to reconsider its Justification decisions.

Would the Government have to stop its nuclear plans?
For instance, would EdF have to stop its ground-clearing operations at Hinkley Point in Somerset?

The 2004 Regulations state that it is unlawful to introduce a new “practice” without it being justified in advance. Therefore if there were a judicial verdict against the Government’s Justification Decisions, then, legally speaking, it would be unlawful to continue to proceed. In particular, the Government would not be allowed to issue licenses under s. 36 of the Electricity Act 1999.

Parliament has already passed Regulations bringing the Justification Decisions into legal effect. Can the courts overturn a Parliamentary vote?
If the Justification Decisions were held to be flawed in law, then the Parliamentary votes based on them would also be flawed and therefore invalid.

Where will the hearing be held?
A procedural hearing will be held on May 12th in Leeds to decide whether the application will proceed to a full judicial hearing on its merits.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Police appeal after fires on Heysham Barrows


Police are appealing for information after a number of small fires were started on Heysham Barrows on Monday.

It is believed there were around seven or eight separate small fires which were started at around 7.20pm on Monday evening and police are asking for anyone with any information to come forward and contact them.

In particular, they are asking for information about a group of around five or six young boys who were seen in the area at the time, described as being in their late teens, all with shaven hair.

The area was targeted in the same way last year (see archive news story) and as a result officers from the Neighbourhood Policing Team are working with the National Trust stepping up patrols in the area to try and tackle the issue.

As part of Operation Barnacle, officers will be using ‘direction to leave’ powers to disperse groups that meet at the site and those that return within a specific time can then be arrested. Youngsters may also be taken home to their parents and could find themselves subject to a Youth Referral Scheme, in a bid to improve their behaviour.

“This is a beauty spot that is used by a large number of people but this sort of behaviour is spoiling it for those who want to make use of the site, says PCSO Chris Dyson, Heysham ward.

“We will be clamping down on this and are asking parents to help us too – do they know where their children are going in the evening? Parents have a responsibility to make sure that their children are safe and aren’t causing any trouble.”

• Anyone with any information about the fires can contact police on 08451 25 35 45 or via Crimestoppers 0800 555 111.

LitFest brings new storytelling to Lancaster

Chasing Tales logoLancaster LitFest is bringing some of the country's most spellbinding storytellers to Litfest in a partnership with London's Crick Crack Club. On offer is the chance of a literary trip around the world, a journey with the Queen of Sheba, and a strange fairytale adventure.

LitFest's last storytelling night, Metamorphoses, was a complete sell-out - so don't miss these new events!

A picture of a chickenThe Balance of Things with Michael Harvey
Friday 13th May, 7.30pm at The Storey - £7.50 / £6.00 concs

Venture into the vibrant world of Breton fairytales, and a landscape filled with beauties, beasts, strange companions, bizarre marriages and ruthless atonement.

In a charm-your-socks-off performance, Michael Harvey draws on the collections of French folklorist Francois-Marie Luzel to retell these grown-up tales of wonder with a disarmingly light touch.

Michael is one of the UK's leading contemporary storytellers. He works at major international festivals in Britain, Europe and North America telling traditional stories from the Celtic countries and beyond with humour, skill and a great sense of enjoyment. In 2009, he visited Litfest to perform Hunting the Giant's Daughter.

Michael HarveyThe Whistle-Stop World Tour - family storytelling for ages 7+ Saturday 14th May, 2pm at The Storey - £5.00 / £2.00 concs

Take a lickety-split world tour with storyteller Michel Harvey; a gaggle of brave, magnificent, sometimes stupid companions, and their stories. On this journey to here, there, and anywhere else, it's quite possible to fall in love with a mermaid, outwit a giant with nothing but a piece of cheese, run away with a monster and still be back in time for tea...

You won't need your passport, but be sure to pack your sense of adventure, polish up your imagination, and get your giggles into gear. This package tour of stories is for big and little people alike - in fact anyone aged 7 to 107...

Sally Pomme ClaytonSolomon and Sheba with Sally Pomme Clayton  
Thursday 23rd June, 7.30pm at The Storey - £7.50 / £6.00

Provoking, seductive, and a virgin, the Queen of Sheba visits King Solomon to test his wisdom. Riddles and tricks, desires and foolishness ensue, as they unravel each others' histories.

In a vibrant and dynamic performance, Sally Pomme Clayton snips and clips stories of this royal duo from Hebrew, Christian and Islamic traditions.  This stunningly composed performance mixes the sacred with the profane, the raunchy with the poetic, and the biblical with the folkloric.

• To book for any LitFest event call the Box Office on 01524 582394 or book online; or by calling in person to the Lancaster Visitor Information Centre, in the Storey Creative Industries Centre, Meeting House Lane, Lancaster LA1 1TH.

Scotforth supermarket plans set for inspection

A design for Commercial Estates Projects proposed supermarket and hotel complex on the A6, south of Lancaster.
Lancaster City Council's Planning and Highways Regulatory Committee will consider separate proposals by Booths and Commercial Estates Properties  to build supermarkets on land at Lawsons Bridge, Scotforth at its meeting on Tuesday 3rd May.

The two applications relate to different ends of the triangular greenfield site and propose different scales and mixes of development.  The plans have met with fierce opposition from some locals (see previous news stories here and here)

Both are departures from the council's Development Plan and have to demonstrate special reasons to justify why they should not be refused.

Should either development be refused permission, the applicants, as with any other planning application, have the right to appeal to an independent planning tribunal.

"The council's Planning Committee will consider reports prepared for them by consultants White Young Green on the planning merits of each case," said Mark Cullinan, Lancaster City Council's Chief Executive, "and the many representations made by local residents, interested parties and statutory consultees."

• Update 28/4/11: There will be a meeting held at 4.30pm on Sunday 1st May at the Gregson on Moorgate with a view to organising a protest on the 3rd May outside Lancaster Town Hall at 9.30am.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Morecambe man convicted of child sex offences

Peter Barber was convicted for child abuse
last year - but media coverage resulted in
more victims coming forward
Peter Barber, a man who groomed four youngsters over a period of 10 years, has been convicted of 19 child sex offences.
Barber was found guilty of the charges today after appearing before a jury at Preston Crown Court during an eight-day trial.

Barber, 62 and formerly of Hawksworth Grove and Sandylands Promenade, Morecambe, was jailed in 2010 after being convicted of child sex offences at Carlisle Crown Court, after abusing a Kendal school boy "hundreds of times" over a five-year period in the 1980s.

The Westmorland Gazette reported how Barber had been convicted of 12 charges of indecent assault and five of inciting the boy to commit gross indecency. The ‘specimen offences’ were just a sample of the ways he abused the boy, the court heard.

This and other media coverage of the original trial led to four boys from Morecambe coming forward to say that they too had been abused by Barber.

The offences, which happened when the boys were aged between six and 15, took place over a decade, culminating in 2010.

Preston Crown Court heard how Barber would take the boys to his home in Sandylands, or out in his car to Middleton Sands, before abusing them.

Following Barber’s conviction at Preston Crown Court today, Detective Sergeant Simon Coates, of the public protection team, said: “Barber has serially targeted young boys and has put his victims through extra pain by making them go through the trial process. I hope that his young victims can seek some comfort from the fact that he has been found guilty.”

Barber is due to be sentenced on 4th August.

Butchers burgled in Morecambe, sausage making equipment taken

Police are appealing for witnesses after a J Hunters Butchers was broken into in Morecambe.

The incident happened between last weekend at the butchers shop on Glenworth Road West in Morecambe.

The offenders have approached the shop and forced open a wooden door to access the premises. Once inside, they stole a large quantity of meat including beef and pork, along with vintage sausage making machine and other butchery equipment.

In total, nearly £7,000 worth of goods were stolen from the shop and police are asking the public for help to try and find out who is responsible.

“I would appeal to anyone who has any information to come forward and contact police," asks Inspector Dave Vickers from Morecambe police.  "A large quantity of meat and some specialist equipment was stolen which has had a detrimental effect on the victim’s business.”

• Anyone with information is asked to call Lancashire police on 0845 1 25 35 45 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Police appeal after cyclepath robbery

Morecambe police are appealing for information after two brothers with learning difficulties had a digital camera and two mobile phones stolen from them on a day trip to the town.

The two brothers, aged 22 and 25, who were in the county on a day trip from Stoke-on-Trent, were walking down the cycle path from Lancaster into Morecambe between 10.30 and 11.00am yesterday morning (Monday 18th April 2011).

As they approached the River Lune at Ryelands, a man approached them and began to walk with them, asking them questions. After about three quarters of a mile, around the ASDA store, near to the Ovangle Road Bridge, the man demanded that they handed over their digital camera and their mobile phones.

The man suggested that he may have had a knife in his pocket and even though the knife was never seen, the two brothers handed over the items and the man ran from them towards  Lancaster.

The man, who spoke with a local accent, is described as a white, in his late 20's to early 30's, about 6 feet tall and of slim build. He dark short hair and was wearing a black jumper.

“We believe that these two men were targeted because they have learning difficulties and were vulnerable," notes PC Nicola Parker of Morecambe Police,  "and we are extremely keen to trace the person responsible for stealing from them.

“Due to the time of day that this took place and because the weather was nice, I would expect the cycle track to have been quite busy, so I am appealing to anyone who may have been in the area at the time to contact us if they saw anything or if they have any information.”

• Anyone with any information can contact police on 08451 25 35 45 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Candidates line up for 5th May



(Updated 8/5/11): Here's a list of the candidates for the Lancaster City Council elections taking place on 5th May 2011. This list is sourced from a PDF on the Council web site: post election, addresses have been removed.

Since the last boundary changes in 2003, 60 councillors have been elected from 28 wards.

The Labour Party is fielding the most candidates, followed by the Conservatives and the Greens, with the Liberal Democrats almost pipped to the post by the Morecambe Bay Indpendents.

There are a number of 'returning' hopefuls in the list, including former Morecambe Bay Independent Council leader Tricia Heath and Labour's Bob Clark, seeking to get back as a councilor for Bulk. Former MBI and Winter Gardens supporter Evelyn Archer is standing as an independent.

Several candidates are listed as Lancaster University residents, suggesting high student involvement in this year's elections. 

There are also Parish elections and a referendum on the national voting system happening on the same day.

Total Number of Candidates
Conservatives: 43
Green Party: 32
Independent: 16
Labour Party: 48
Liberal Democrats: 21
Morecambe Bay Independents: 20

Total Number of Male Candidates: 108
Total Number of Female Candidates: 72

BARE

Tony Anderson - Morecambe Bay Independents

June Irene Ashworth - Morecambe Bay Independents

Susan Elizabeth Bray - Conservative Party

Allison Bernadette Tyson - Conservative Party

BOLTON-LE-SANDS

Keith William Budden - Independent

Sue Holden – Green Party

Val Histed

BULK

Howard Byers - Conservative Party

Bob Clark - Labour Party

Sue Clark - Labour Party

Paula Dunn Claire - Conservative Party

Tim Hamilton-Cox - Green Party

James Jenkins-Yates - Conservative Party

Andrew Kay - Green Party

Ceri Mumford - Green Party

James Williams Aidan - Labour Party

CARNFORTH

Amanda Louise Davies 

Paul Malcolm Gardner The Labour Party

Fran Hanna - Labour Party

Tony Johnson - Conservative Party

Chris Leadbetter - Conservative Party

Bob Roe Independent

CASTLE

Jon Barry - Green Party

Paul Hardingham Bramhall- Liberal Democrat

Melanie Forrest - Green Party

Stuart Groves James - Labour Party

Tracey Kennedy - Green Party

James Simon Parker - Liberal Democrat

Rebecca Joan Parris- Liberal Democrat

Kyle Patterson - Conservative Party

Peter Leo Rivet - Labour Party

Aaron Spence 

Karolina Natalia Anastacia Weglarz - Conservative Party

Joe Wright - Labour Party

DUKE'S

Dave Brookes - Green Party

John Michael Gibson - Labour Party

Stephen Maxwell - Liberal Democrat

Richard Sykes - Conservative Party

ELLEL

Jane Binnion - Labour Party

Susie Charles - Conservative Party

Helen Rebecca Helme - Conservative Party

David John Hill - Labour Party

Paul Hindley- Liberal Democrat

Annabelle Lyons- Liberal Democrats

Rebecca Marsden - Green Party

HALTON-WITH-AUGHTON

Cat Gillies - Green Party

Paul Woodruff Independent

The Returning Officer ruled that Conservative candidate Andrew Philip Coates' description "Is Not A Registered Description With The Electoral Commission" and his application to stand declared invalid

HARBOUR

Janice Hanson - Labour Party

Christopher John Hart - Green Party

Terry Ingle Morecambe Bay Independents

Elliot Layfield - Conservative Party

Ian Pattison - Labour Party

Geoff Walker Morecambe Bay Independents

Rita Margaret Walker Morecambe Bay Independents

David Whitaker - Labour Party

HEYSHAM CENTRAL

Rosemary Susan Jennifer Betterton - Green Party

Dilys Greenhalgh - Labour Party

Pat Hibbins 

Geoff Knight Morecambe Bay Independents

Joyce Taylor Independent

HEYSHAM NORTH

Nicholas Baxter Morecambe Bay Independents

Margaret Pattison - Labour Party

Peter Robinson Independent

Ron Sands - Labour Party

Geoffrey Wilson -  Morecambe Bay Independents

Matthew James Wilson - Green Party

HEYSHAM SOUTH

Keran Farrow Morecambe Bay Independents

Mike Greenall Morecambe Bay Independents

Charalampos Kaloudis - Green Party

Charlotte Louise Pattison - Labour Party

Kyra Physick Morecambe Bay Independents

Richard William Rollins - Conservative Party

Emma Louise Smith - Conservative Party

Stephen Charles Wheeler - Labour Party

JOHN O'GAUNT

Gareth Allan Baker- Liberal Democrat

Eileen Blamire - Labour Party

Wes Cosgriff - Conservative Party

May Elizabeth Holloway - Conservative Party

Caroline Jackson - Green Party

Richard John Newman-Thompson - Labour Party

Lyndz Pitchford - Liberal Democrat

Ashley Sansom - Liberal Democrat

Elizabeth Scott - Labour Party

Nicky Sharkey - Green Party

Dan Tierney - Green Party

Ally Whittam - Conservative Party

KELLET

Lawrence James Bardwell - Labour Party

Dave Horton - Green Party

John Roger Mace - Conservative Party

LOWER LUNE VALLEY

Charlotte Hill - Labour Party

Becky Hodgson - Labour Party

Joan Parkinson Jackson - Conservative Party

Stuart Langhorn - Liberal Democrats

Jane Parkinson - Conservative Party

Joyce Pritchard - Liberal Democrats

Mark Miles Westcombe - Green Party

OVERTON

Alan Biddulph - Labour Party

Keith Sowden Independent

POULTON

Evelyn Archer - Independent

Mark Bevan - Labour Party

Shirley Burns - Morecambe Bay Independents

Darren Keith Clifford - Labour Party

Tricia Heath - Morecambe Bay Independents

Paul Kutschmarski - Conservative Party

David Lord -  Independent

Terrie Metcalfe - Labour Party

Linda Margaret Page Morecambe Bay Independents

David Tyson - Conservative Party

SCOTFORTH EAST

Phil Dunster - Liberal Democrat

Emily Heath - Green Party

Billy Hill - Conservative Party

Janie Kirkman - Liberal Democrat

Abi Mills - Green Party

Pam Pickles - Labour Party

Jean Taylor - Labour Party

Janet Walton - Conservative Party

SCOTFORTH WEST

John William Allen - Liberal Democrats

Josh Bancroft - Labour Party

James Calder - Conservative Party

Robert Alan Chard  - Independent

Chris Coates - Green Party

Sheila Elizabeth Denwood - Labour Party

Colin Hartley - Labour Party

Zoe Jones - Green Party

Arthur Henry Livesley- Liberal Democrat

Becca Rollinson - Conservative Party

Matthew Sinclair - Conservative Party

Andy Yuille - Green Party

SILVERDALE

Amanda Faith Bingley - Green Party

Kathleen Valerie Graham - Conservative Party

Ruth Warren - Labour Party

SKERTON EAST

Paul Andrews - Green Party (Not listed as Green on election notice) 

James Stuart Alexander Bateson - Conservative Party

Abbott Clifton Bryning - Labour Party

Robin Gilles Gonard - Liberal Democrats

Janet Tracy Hall - Labour Party

Robert Michael Redfern - Labour Party

Mick Varey - Independent

SKERTON WEST

Graham Charles Agnew - Conservative Party

Keri Malinda Alston - Green Party

John Harrison - Labour Party

Karen Leytham - Labour Party

Roger James Sherlock 

SLYNE-WITH-HEST

Suzi Dunning - Labour Party

Barry Hankin Gwyn - Green Party

Sylvia Rogerson - Conservative Party

Malcolm Thomas - Conservative Party

Cari Wood - Labour Party

TORRISHOLME

Brian Binfield Morecambe Bay Independents

Jon-Paul Daniel Blundell - Labour Party

Ian Clift- Liberal Democrats

Roger Dennison - Morecambe Bay Independents

Michael Gradwell- Liberal Democrats

Bill Jackson- Liberal Democrats

Geoff Marsland - Morecambe Bay Independents

Dorothy Mingins - Conservative Party

Catriona Stamp - Green Party

Susan Gail Sykes - Conservative Party

John Wild - Conservative Party

UNIVERSITY

Paul Kenneth John Aitchison - Labour Party

Myles Anthony Clapham- Liberal Democrat

Jonathan Robert Dixon - Labour Party

Ian McCulloch - Green Party

Leo Mead - Liberal Democrat

Rick Seymour - Green Party

Jordan Thomas Shandley - Conservative Party

Samuel Vince Thurgood - Conservative Party

UPPER LUNE VALLEY

Gisela Christine Renolds - Green Party

Peter Thomas Williamson - Conservative Party

WARTON

Janette Gardner - Labour Party

Alycia Jayne James - Conservative Party

Mike Wright - Green Party


WESTGATE

Les Croombs - Conservative Party

Michael Donald Huett - Conservative Party

David Kerr - Morecambe Bay Independents

John Geoffrey Marsden - Conservative Party

Roger Henry Plumb - Morecambe Bay Independents

Vikki Price - Labour Party

David Smith - Labour Party

Michael Anthony Bernard Wade Morecambe Bay Independents

Full List of both City and Parish Council candidates on the Lancaster City Council web site

Local Elections - National Page on the Electoral Commission web site 


5 May public awareness campaign plans and information booklets

'Keep our NHS Public' say Lancaster protesters


Participant report: Lancastrians opposed to the Coalition Government's plans to restructure the National Health Service staged a peaceful demonstration outside the Royal Lancaster Infirmary on Saturday 16th April. Protesters objected to the substantial cuts already being implemented across the NHS, in an effort to reduce its costs by £20 billion, which has resulted in growing waiting lists and an ongoing programme of redundancies for more than 53,000 doctors, nurses, midwives and other NHS staff.

Many believe the conservative government, which has historically opposed state health and welfare provision, has tailored the proposed system of GP commissioning of services to encourage privatisation of NHS assets. Much current provision, such as multi-agency child protection, has been forgotten from the proposals, which are basically about reordering the healthcare market.

About a hundred protesters marched through the streets to Market Square where shoppers were able to sign a petition of support for the NHS, opposing NHS cuts, privatisation and restructuring. Many also took the opportunity to apply 'cathartic acupuncture' to an effigy of Mr Cameron, and his little Clegg hot water bottle, skewering them with messages on spikes, which certainly seemed to induce a sense of well-being in the practitioners;-)

Despite the claims of Conservative Health Minister Andrew Lansley that around 6000 GPs have already expressed an interest in GP commissioning (there are approximately 25,000 GPs in England alone) Dr David Wrigley, regional speaker for the British Medical Association (BMA), which opposes the Con Dem restructuring scheme, explained at a meeting later in the day that this is simply a lifeboat measure 'if you are on a ship and it's been torpedoed, taking the only lifeboat you can see available doesn't mean you want the ship to sink'.

Both the BMA and the Royal College of Nurses (RCN) are overwhelmingly opposed to the Con Dem coalition's restructuring plans, which have proved so unpopular with the British public that the PM has called a 2 month recess 'for listening'. Two weeks in it is still unclear what form this 'listening' is to take or how it might affect the proposals. Cuts and redundancies are still being implemented across the board, without consultation. Sceptics say Cameron is simply holding off on the unpopular GP commissioning scheme until after the local elections on 5 May, after which the Health Minister will be let off the leash.

Following the RCN's unprecedented 99% vote of no confidence in Health Minister Andrew Lansley, he responded loftily that he was sorry that they had been unable to properly understand his proposals. Some might say he needs a trip to the Hearing Clinic but it seems more likely that he has an appetite for confrontation in his privatisation mission, with the nurses first in his sights, as hundreds have lost their jobs in the last week.

Visit www.38degrees.org.uk and join the campaign to save the National Health Service.

Visit Lancaster and Morecambe Against the Cuts on Facebook

Monday, 18 April 2011

Dogs seized in Lancaster after morning raids

Three dogs have been seized after a number of dangerous dogs warrants were executed at properties in Lancaster.

Officers from the dog unit, the police support unit and Lancaster neighbourhood police teams swooped on addresses in Broadway, Sycamore Grove and Chestnut Grove shortly after 10.30am this morning (Monday.)

The dogs were seized under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 and specialist officers will now determine whether or not they are illegal breeds.

A 39-year-old man, a 16-year-old boy and a 17-year-old boy were arrested on suspicion of possessing a fighting dog. A 38-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of assaulting a police officer.

“We carried out the raids after residents raised concerns about animals that were being kept at the properties," said Inspector Ian Hesketh of Lancashire Police. “This operation shows our commitment to taking firm action against anyone believed to be housing dangerous dogs or breeding them to fight.

“I would like to reassure the community that this is not a widespread problem, but is an isolated issue. I would also urge residents to contact us if they have any concerns and we will take action on them.”

• Contact police on 0845 1 25 35 45 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Campaigners challenge election candidates on M6 Link

Transport Solutions for Lancaster and Morecambe has written to every local election candidate about the controversial and hugely expensive M6 link - and ask them to support instead the package of integrated transport measures they argue the district really needs.

The challenge to support existing City Council opposition to the Link comes as two sitting Councillors in Skerton - one ward which will be hugely affected by the link road scheme - declare support for the scheme, even though their local ward party has long-standing policy opposing it.

Current Labour Councillors Abbot Bryning and Robert Redfern, both seeking re-election in Skerton, clearly advocate the scheme, with Bryning welcoming the M6 link "around Skerton" in the party's latest election leaflet - despite the adverse impact it will have on existing traffic problems in his own ward and, potentially, the huge environmental impact it will inflict on the very people he wants to elect him.

TSLM are hoping a letter sent to every local election candidate will influence their views - and perhaps change the minds of some road supporters when confronted with its rising costs.

Lancashire County Council has been forced to make drastic changes to the Road scheme, although to date they have not provided any plans. They claim to have reduced the cost by £16 million (to £123 million), but doubled their own contribution, from £6 million to £12 million, in order to gain Government approval.

The supposedly cost-cutting changes, which campaigner dispute, include raising Shefferlands Roundabout by 14 metres. This, the Council claim, will save £7.3 million, because earth does not have to be removed from site - but in the original plan, no earth was to be removed from site anyway, suggesting this is a phantom saving.

"The result is a higher Lune Bridge and a very steep road over, rather than under, Halton Road," argues TSLM chair David Gate "With extra costs."

Other proposals include changing the Junction 34 design to save £1.8 million - but the previous design was amended, at increased cost, to meet Highway Agency guidelines. Why is a new design that more or less reverts to the original now acceptable or safe?

Eliminating the lighting on most of the Link Road will also save money, TSLM acknowledge,  but the County Council previously claimed it was essential for safety. Why is an unlit road acceptable now?

"The cost to Lancashire County Council (and to us, Lancashire Council taxpayers) will certainly be more than £12 million," argues Mr Gate. "We can see additional costs to LCC of up to £33 million, eating up all of LCC’s capital spending on transport for the next four years, and more – since LCC are responsible for all cost overruns."

Because the changes are so drastic, consultation on the revised scheme will take place over the summer, at which local people will again have your say. It will then be considered by the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC).

TSLM argues the Link Road does not, as Councillors like Bryning and Redfern would have local people believe, tackle congestion. According to Council figures, on the day it opens, traffic will go down on some roads and up on others. Nor does it bring many jobs. County’s expert admitted (2007) that the few new jobs were “not worth building a road for”. Instead, it brings noise, light and air pollution to parts of our area, and devastates the area's environment and Green belt.

Yet alternatives do exist, proposed for LCC by transport experts Faber Maunsell, and developed by North Lancs sustainable transport groups (PDF). The package of transport measures would reduce congestion, and so bring jobs and help tourism. Key elements are: a high quality spinal bus route between Heysham and Lancaster University, rail system upgrades, park & ride, and revisions to Lancaster gyratory systems. What’s more, the cost would be around £30 million, almost £100 million less than the expensive Link Road.

TSLM's letter, which they hope others will emulate, warns this issue is a vote-changer;
asks them to oppose the Heysham M6 Link, and support instead the package of integrated transport measures that the district really needs, to avoid congestion and so aid regeneration and tourism.

In 2007, Lancaster City Council withdrew its support from the scheme, and voted for a comprehensive package of measures to deal with the district’s traffic problems.

• All candidates’ addresses are at
http://www.lancaster.gov.uk/council-and-democracy/elections-and-voting/elections/