Saturday, 1 October 2011

All Aboard the Soccer Shuttle!

A private bus service to get Morecambe football fans to the Globe will be up and running in time for their home game against Wimbledon next Saturday.

The news will be welcomed by the fans who have pointed to the lack of a public bus service to the Shrimps new ground, which it's claimed has damaged attendance.

The Morecambe Heritage Bus Company, in association with Fans' Club Morecambe have announced their bus service for supporters around the district to transport them to home games, starting this coming Saturday (8th October) for the home game versus AFC Wimbledon.

The service will start at Lancaster University from 1.00pm and travel along the regular 2A route with a small diversion to pick up fans on Bowerham Road. The service will continue along Torrisholme Road and to the Globe Arena prior to doing a loop of Morecambe and can be flagged down from any bus stop on the route.

The aims are to encourage more fans to watch the league pacesetters, take fans right to the ground and so reduce personal car use and ease congestion and parking issues around the Globe Arena.

David Lord, of the Morecambe Heritage Bus Company, and Darren Clifford, chair of the supporters club, have been in discussions for some time to organise the service.

"We’re really pleased to be working with the Heritage Bus Company," says Darrem, "and to be able to provide this service for supporters.

"We'll be looking to trial the scheme in the next few weeks and hopefully it will prove popular with supporters old and new," David added.

“It’s exciting times at Morecambe Football Club with Jim Bentley's lads doing so well, hopefully fans will see the bus service as a fun and convenient way to travel to the game."

- Contact the Morecambe Heritage Bus Company on 07980676810, or email david-lordATsky.com. A more detailed timetable will be announced soon.

- Morecambe Heritage Bus Company web site: www.morecambeheritagebus.co.uk


- Morecambe FC Official Site: www.morecambefc.com/page/Home

Lancaster city revamp work gets green light

Design for a new look Market Square


Lancaster City Council has awarded Thomas Armstrong Construction Ltd the tender to begin work on the first Lancaster Square Routes project, part of a much larger development scheme to improve Lancaster town centre, starting with work in Market Square.

Work on the Square Routes project began back in 2008, when the Northwest Regional Development Agency awarded money to the council to prepare detailed design proposals to upgrade a number of spaces within the city centre. Lancashire County Council also awarded money to support the involvement of an artist throughout the project.

As we previously reported in July, the council then sought comments from all users of these spaces, including residents, visitors and traders to help analyze and evaluate the current issues and potential opportunities.

The Council then commissioned a design team, led by consultants Gillespies, to produce a series of detailed design visions for how key spaces and routes along the city centre's east-west axis could be transformed, which was then published for public consultation.

The overall aim is to better connect the retail and commercial heart with the more cultural offerings towards the Castle and quay, and includes detailed designs for Market Square, Sun Square and Horseshoe Corner amongst others."

Maryport-based Thomas Armstrong Construction will work on the initial phase of the revamp, which will see improvements to Market Square and Ffrances Passage.

"By investing in quality public realm, we're seeking to improve activity and therefore raise the social and economic performance of the city," the Council's Regeneration Officer Kate Smith told us earlier this year. "These visions constitute a programme of work that is variously deliverable over time as opportunities and funding permits.

"Each location proposed for improvement makes for a physical project that in turn can be disaggregated into work packages."

By breaking up the program, the Council can implement according to the availability of funding, the primary constraint on delivery."

Work is set to begin in Market Square this autumn, completing before the Christmas period commences, and then undertaking works along Ffrances Passage early in the new year, edging into Gage Street if funding permits. Both of these will include surfacing and lighting improvements.

This is good news for Lancaster's traders, especially with work proceeding apace already on the revamp of St. Nicholas Arcades (see news story).

Earlier this month, one hurdle - the issue of trees that might be lost in Market Square - was resolved by the Council's Cabinet, who agreed to replanting any removed trees once work was completed.

• See also: Council gets set for "Square Routes" work to improve City Centre


Friday, 30 September 2011

Archbishop of York to visit Lancaster next week

Image: Archbishop of York web site
The Archbishop of York, The Most Revd and Rt Hon Dr John Sentamu will be visiting Lancaster on Thursday 6th October as part of a two day visit to the Diocese of Blackburn.

Following a visit to St Peter’s Heysham, Archbishop Sentamu will arrive at Lancaster Priory at 12 noon, where he will launch a new “Virtual Tour” of the Priory based on “QR Codes” which can be read by smart phones. Using state of the art 21st Century technology, he will learn about a Roman Oil-Lamp bearing a Christian symbol which was discovered in the church grounds early in the 20th Century, and which may suggest that Christian worship took place on Castle Hill in Lancaster in the Roman period.

This object is now on display in the Priory, on loan from the Lancaster City Museum.

The Archbishop will also meet members of the Lancaster Priory Organ Project team, who secured a Heritage Lottery Fund bid to install two historic pipe organs in the Priory, which have been recovered from other churches in Lancashire. The organ builders who are now responsible for the largest building project in the Priory for over a century will explain the current state of the organ building process to the Archbishop.

He will then move on to Christ Church, where he will meet volunteers from the Night Shelter Project, which has fed and accommodated homeless men and women in Lancaster for nearly 20 years.

He will also visit Lancaster and District Homeless Association, where he will talk to the homeless over coffee, before returning to Christ Church where he will then join members of the over 60s club in their monthly meeting for lunch.

Lancaster University will be the Archbishop’s last stop in Lancaster before heading to Blackburn. Dr Sentamu will be welcomed by the Pro Vice Chancellor and will have the opportunity to visit Freshers’ Fayre and talk to students.

John Sentamu was born in Uganda in 1949, the sixth of thirteen children. Married to Margaret Sentamu, they have two grown up children and two grown up foster children.

Lancaster Priory Official web site

Lancaster police hunt would-be cash machine raiders

Spar on Willow Lane, Lancaster. Image: Google Maps

Lancaster police are appealing for people to come forward with information after a cash machine was targeted on Lune Industrial Estate this week.

The incident took place overnight between Thursday 29th September into Friday 30th September when offenders entered a number of yards belonging to business premises on Lune Industrial Estate, to the side of the Spar shop on Willow Lane.

They smashed a number of bricks in the wall of the building that houses the ATM, in what appears to be an attempt to attack the machine, although it appears that nothing has been stolen.

“We’re asking for any members of the public who may have seen suspicious activity in the vicinity of the Spar shop on Willow Lane and the area around this location," says Detective Sergeant Mark Stephens from Lancaster CID, particularly on the industrial estate at the rear of the premises to contact us.

“The investigation is being co-ordinated by CID at Lancaster and any information relating to this incident can be reported to them via the telephone numbers 01524 63333 or 01524 596712.” 

• Information can also be passed through the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or on-line at Crimestoppers-uk.org. No personal details are taken, information is not traced or recorded and you will not go to court.

Rewards offered for return of stolen watch

The Lancashire Partnership Against Crime is offering a cash reward for the safe return of the Omega watch which belonged to the Morecambe woman’s late husband.

The watch was stolen from a house in Sefton Road, Heysham on Tuesday 13th September, along with a Samsung television (see new story).

Police say the Omega watch is of huge sentimental value to the house owner and are keen to find the person or people responsible for this burglary.

The Crimestoppers charity has also said anybody who supplies any information (which can be done anonymously) which leads the to the arrest and charge of an individual may be eligible for a cash reward of up to £500.


“The theft of her late husband’s watch has left the victim completely devastated," says Detective Sergeant Steve Craig, "and we want to do all we can to get the watch back for her and bring whoever is responsible to justice.

Crimestoppers can be contacted on 0800 555 111 or via their website www.crimestoppers-uk.org. They will not ask for your name and if you are interested in the reward you must ask for a reference.

Election process begins after Morecambe Town Council chair resigns

Councillor Roger Plumb, who
recently resigned
Following the resignation of Morecambe Town Council's chairman, the process for filling the vacancy within the Westgate Ward of Morecambe Town Council will begin on 30th September 2011.

Councillor Roger Plumb, who recently resigned citing personal reasons, had been the Chairman of the Council since April 2010.

The Notice of Casual Vacancy will be published on Friday 30th September, which gives electors 14 days (not including Saturdays or Sundays) to write to the Returning Officer claiming an election to be held.

The written notice to the Returning Officer should be signed by 10 electors of the Westgate Ward and should be delivered to the Returning Officer no later than Thursday 20th October, 2011.

A by-election to fill the vacancy will only be held if such a written notice is made within the above timescales. If no such notice is given to the Returning Officer, the Town Council will fill the vacancy by co-option.

The Address of the Returning Officer is: Lancaster City Council, Town Hall, Dalton Square, Lancaster LA1 1PJ. For further information contact the Clerk to the Council on 01524 422929 or by email: clerk@morecambe.gov.uk

Success for rural crime crackdown - but battle continues

Superintendent Richard Spedding with Farmer Ally Weare during Operation Firecrest
A week-long operation to combat rural crime in Lancashire has been hailed a success by the police.

Over £50,o00 of cash and stolen property was seized during raids on suspect addresses as part of Operation Firecrest, including power tools, trailers, quad bikes and motorcycles. A total of 21 people were arrested in connection with offences of hare coursing, burglary, money laundering, poaching, theft and handling stolen goods.

The operation, which ran between Monday 19th and Friday 23rd September, also uncovered a significant fuel laundering plant in Morecambe - which is one of the most commonly stolen rural commodities.

More than 30 rural crime suspects were visited and handed warning letters and officers visited over 20 scrap yards. Over 200 vehicles were stopped and three people were arrested for road traffic offences.

Despite the success, police are warning that the fight against rural crime will continue.

“Operation Firecrest has been hugely successful," said Superintendent Richard Spedding, "and I'm delighted with the response we’ve had from both farmers and rural residents.

“Fortunately, in Lancashire, any increases in rural crime have been small and overall crime levels across the county are still low," he added. "Clearly, any increase in crime will cause concern, particularly amongst people living in rural communities who feel isolated, which is why the operation was so important.

“I hope it has sent a clear message to people involved in rural crime that both police and communities will not tolerate this type of behaviour and will work together to identify those involved and bring them to justice.

“We will continue to focus our activities on those criminals who persistently target rural areas so that we can reduce even further the number of victims affected by these crimes.”

Action during Operation Firecrest included additional patrols in rural areas; visits to farms and rural businesses to offer crime prevention advice and attendance at auction marts. Specialist wildlife officers and representatives from the Environment Agency, United Utilities and other agencies carried out anti-poaching patrols and warrants.

Multi-agency roadside checks took place throughout the week to identify travelling criminals and to deter the theft of livestock and plant equipment.

Farmers, landowners and gamekeepers were encouraged to work with the police to help identify, disrupt and deter criminals targeting the Lancashire countryside through initiatives like Farm Watch and Rural Watch.

• Anybody who would like to speak to an officer to discuss concerns about rural crime or report suspicious activity that they have seen and not yet reported, should contact local police on 0845 1 25 35 45.

Morecambe Winter Gardens seeks restoration funds vote

Hot on the heels of an appeal from the Highfield Regeneration Project for support for their planned restoration of the Derwent Road grounds comes and appeal from the Winter Gardens Preservation Trust to back their appeal for funds from the same competition.

The good news is that registered voters on the NatWest’s Community Force web site can vote for up to three projects, so you don't have to feel torn between these two local projects.

The Winter Gardens trust is hoping its supporters will boost the restoration fund by casting their vote in Natwest's online competition, which could see them win one of the £6000 awards.

If successful, the Trust intend to use the money towards providing toilet and refreshment facilities in the main auditorium. This will extend the venue’s availability for both community and professional use and enable the theatre to be hired for paying events, thereby raising income towards further restoration work. It will also improve the amenities offered for community events and make the historic building more accessible to visitors.

Friends of the Winter Gardens on stage at the venue
To support the Gardens, visit http://communityforce.natwest.com/project/4233 before 23rd October to register and cast your vote. The page contains further information about the work of the Trust and includes videos showcasing the beautiful architecture of the Grade II* listed building and also the volunteers who are working to restore it to its former glory.

The Winter Gardens opens its doors regularly and welcomed over 2000 visitors during the recent Heritage Open Days weekend. An exciting programme of events is already under discussion for 2012, dependent on improved facilities being available.

There are several other local groups seeking your vote, including the Highfield project, One Voice, St. John's Hospice and LESS in Lancaster (the latter seeking to improve facilities on the allotment site to ensure full accessibility for people of all abilities) and the Wsetgate Wanderers and Morecambe Hawks football clubs (who want to buy equipment, kits, rain jackets, and, eventually, build their own own club house).


• Website: www.thewintergardensmorecambe.co.uk
• Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/morecambewg
• Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/pages/The-Morecambe-Winter-Gardens-Preservation-Trust/151507424938654
• Twitter: http://twitter.com/morecambewg

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Wi-fi at Williamson Park

Customers of the Pavilion Café at Williamson Park can now surf the internet over a cappuccino following the installation of a new wireless access point.

If you fancy getting out of the office, you can now tweet and email from the beautiful surroundings of the Park cafe, whilst tucking in to some great food using locally sourced ingredients. (When you are ready to give your eyes a screen break, why not treat them to some spectacular view of the Lake District, which is probably far more interesting).

After you've Facebooked your friends to tell them where you are, why not visit the Ashton Memorial and enjoy the latest exhibition, then continue admire the views across Morecambe Bay to the Lakeland hills from the first floor viewing gallery.

As with the wifi available in other Lancaster cafes, the access code to enable customers to use this new service will be available from staff.

The Pavilion Café is open from Monday to Sunday 10.00am until 5.00pm.

• For more information about the latest news and what’s on at Williamson Park visit www.lancaster.gov.uk/williamsonpark

Grammar School drama group boosts Highfield Tennis Courts Appeal



With the help of some very funny guys from Lancaster Royal Grammar School Drama group and their fabulous 'silent movie' style video to support their entry, Highfield Regeneration Project is through to a final round of a national competition to win a community award of £6,000 from NatWest bank, which will allow work to start the currently derelict tennis courts at the end of Derwent Road.

Highfield was once a hive of activity, offering space for Tennis; Bowls and football butfor the past 12 years has been mostly derelict for over 12 years. A small group of locals keen to "get it back in use" set out to clear the jungle of bracken and weeds and were joined in their by over 100 others.

Highfield Regeneration Project is a sub group of the Gregson Community Association, which already offers a successful community centre and brokers sub groups such as theirs, whose aims are to "improve the quality of life for the whole community". Being able to offer an outdoor sporting facility for all age groups to incorporate entry level tennis, bowling, multi-use games area with some free for all times would extend the GCA remit to health and wellbeing of all within its boundaries.

In order to move forward to the next phase, the Project needs to raise £30,000 for ground clearance and site preparation. To date, they have raised nearly £20,000 - so £6000 would allow them to start work with the contractors in preparation of the groundworks required for the Tennis courts.

"We hope to grow the number of people playing bowls and add surfaces that will allow free access to all for football, hockey etc.." says fundraiser Paula Richardson.

"We hope also to renovate a wonderful pavilion that has a potential for a fabulous roof top terrace cafe with views of the Lakeland hills, and we are keen to develop a community orchard and children's natural play area, and have a thriving outdoor community space for all."

So now it's time to get voting for the Project , which you can do until 23rd October 2011. (You will be asked to register your details this is just a formality to ensure no duplications).

Only three projects per area will win the £6000 each, so your vote would mean a lot to the Highfield Regeneration Project team.

Woman’s late husband’s watch stolen in Morecambe

Police are appealing for information after a watch was stolen from a house in Morecambe which belonged to the owner’s late husband.

Between 12.30pm and 3.45pm on Tuesday 13th September, somebody broke into a house on Sefton Road, Heysham and stole a Samsung television as well as an Omega watch.

The watch belonged to the female owner’s late husband and is of huge sentimental value to her.

Police are keen to find the person or people responsible for this burglary in the hope that they will be able to reunite the woman with the watch which means so much to her.

“The theft of her late husband’s watch has left the victim completely devastated," says Detective Sergeant Steve Craig, "and we want to do all we can to get the watch back for her and bring whoever is responsible to justice.

“If anybody was in the area at the time of the burglary and saw anything suspicious then I would urge them to contact police.

“I would also be very keen to speak with anybody who has any information they think could help us progress this investigation.” 

• Anybody with any information is asked to call police on 08451 25 35 45 or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

In Review: We are Three Sisters


Northen Broadsides' production of Blake Morrison's new play We are Three Sisters, directed by Barrie Rutter, which focusses on the lives of Charlotte, Emily and Anne Bronte as young adults, faces a particular challenge. Not only does it have to cater for those who are familiar with the Brontes and their work, and those who are not, it also has to consider those familar with Chekhov's Three Sisters and those who are not. For the three most famous Brontes have been shoehorned into the Chekhov play. There is a logic to this: Chekhov was well aware of the lives of the Brontes before he wrote his play, and Morrison has completed the circle. And while this works in that there is a clear sense of watching Chekhov - the intense conversations, the characters who come and talk and go, the wishing things were otherwise, all of which must have been characteristic of life in Haworth Parsonage too - for me, the effect was somewhat strained, and also something of a distraction. It may be a coincidence, but - with the exception of Eileen O'Brien's Tabby, the servant - the characters whose parts most closely corresponded to what actually happened were also the most convincing.

Much of the acting is excellent, particularly Catherine Kinsella's Charlotte, Rebecca Hutchinson's Anne, and, best of all, Sophia di Martino's sardonic Emily. These three young actors show us three close siblings, as well as three highly different (and differentiated) individuals. They also do full justice to probably the best aspect of Morrison's script - when the three Bronte women are talking together, alone, and in particular when there are tensions and when they disagree about how they should be living their lives. The Yorkshire accents (and their father Patrick's (Duggie Brown) Irish one) are done well and consistently. Gareth Cassidy plays the tragic brother Branwell, alcoholic, in debt and in unrequited love, without being melodramatic, and elicits a measure of sympathy from the audience as well as from his sister Emily.

The set is the same throughout both Acts - the parsonage reception/dining room - with two gravestones to the left, a reminder of the omni-presence of death in the family, as well as in the insanitary village. Even the stone-flagged floor is like a churchyard. This is echoed with constant coughing - anticipating the TB that proved to be fatal. The 'sameness' is interrupted just once - when Anne and Charlotte return from London having said to their sceptical publisher 'We are three sisters' - full of excitement about life outside the Parsonage. This is shown well with sound effects of the train, and changed lighting, and brings a welcome change of pace. And this is needed - Act 1 seemed to amble along rather slowly; Act 2 picked up the pace.

Although this is a sad and serious play, it is to the credit of Morrison's script and its delivery that it also elicited some laughs. I will finish with one of these. When Charlotte has just told her father Patrick about Jane Eyre, has handed him a published copy, for which the printing, she explains, has been paid for by the publisher, Patrick says "They must be daft. Nobody's heard of you."

"I've chosen a different name," Charlotte replies. "Currer Bell, see."

"What good will that do?" replies Patrick. "No-one's heard of him, either."

We Are Three Sisters runs at The Dukes until Saturday 1st October, with a matinee on Saturday Tickets: £12.50 - £18.50 (£2.00 off for concessions). Box office 01524 598500 Web: www.dukes-lancaster.org

Cathedral Sky




St. Peter's in Lancaster's unusual late September sun this morning.

The good weather is expected to continue into the weekend.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Appeal after Carlton Street assault in Morecambe

An investigation is underway after a 21-year-old man was subjected to an unprovoked attack as he walked home in Morecambe on Saturday 24th September.

The incident happened around 1am along Carlton Street when the victim was approached by a man who angrily accused him of breaking his window. When the victim denied doing anything wrong the offender punched and kicked him and stabbed him in the back causing a deep wound which required surgery.

He then fled in the direction of Woodhill Lane.

The offender is described as white, aged in his mid-20's to early 30's, stocky to muscular build and around 5ft 10" tall. He had short dark cropped hair which was shorter at the sides, and his nose is described as being wider than average. He spoke with a northern accent and was wearing a light grey t-shirt and dark bottoms.

DC Brian Shepherd from Morecambe CID said: "This was a sickening attack on a young man who was simply walking home. The victim sustained a deep stab wound which only narrowly missed his vital organs so we could have been dealing with a much more serious incident.

“We need the public’s help to catch the man responsible. Anyone with any information should contact DC Brian Shepherd on 01524 596712 or 01524 63333 quoting log lc-20110924-0147 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111"

Police are also keen to trace the occupants of a small silver car which was seen in the area of Carlton Street and Woodhill Lane around the time of the offence.

The car was being driven by a young, blonde haired woman and there was a stocky dark haired man in the front passenger seat who was on his mobile phone. These people could be key witnesses.

Show me the Honey: Lancaster Beekeepers gather

Image: Dave Hamilton

Lancaster Beekeepers are holding their Annual Honey Show on Saturday 15th October at Hest Bank Village Memorial Hall.

The show is an opportunity for people to see honey and honey products that have been produced by members of local beekeeper groups and find out more about what makes good quality honey.

Honey, bee-keeping equipment and wooden crafts will be for sale, along with a cake stall with home-made cakes plus cream teas and a book stall.

Honey is a premium natural food, with many benefits both nutritionally and medicinally. It is delicious in cakes and chutneys and is an essential ingredient in traditional mead – honey wine. Bees are also wax makers, which is used in candles, polish and cosmetics.

To produce the honey for us to take from the beehive, and use in these various ways, we're told these wonderful insects fly over 55,000 miles to collect a pound of honey – the equivalent to flying 1½ times round the world!

Honey has a different flavour and colour depending on which flowers the bees have been visiting. When the beekeeper takes away the surplus honey from the bees, they extract the honey from the wax comb and store it in jars.

"For good honey you have to be fortunate and live in the right area, which we do," says  Lancaster Beekeepers' Honey Judge Dennis Atkinson, "or lots of various types of nectar and  pollen bearing trees and shrubs with wild flowers to give a variety of colour, taste, and aroma."

When judging honey Dennis says he is looking for, "good  presentation, with the honey being bright and shiny, not cloudy, of good flavour with an appealing bouquet, and a nice colour with no visible debris or scum on the surface of the honey".



• The Show runs from 2 – 4 pm and is open to entries from other local beekeeping clubs and organisations. For a schedule, please go to www.lancaster-beekeepers.org.uk



CND Chair in Lancaster as local group discusses future campaigns


Given the state of the economy, is there any point in hoping that the Trident Missile system will at last be abandoned?

That's the topic of discussion at the AGM of Lancaster CND tomorrow (29th) when Dave Webb, the anti-nuclear pressure group's National Chair, will be on hand to talk about prospects for Nuclear Disarmament in 2012.

Non-members will be especially welcome.

Dave is also Chair of Yorkshire CND, Convenor of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space; and a member of Scientists for Global Responsibility.

His talk will be followed by discussion, followed by refreshment and the local group's Annual General Meeting, to set their campaigning priorities for 2011-12.

• Lancaster District CND Talk and AGM, Friends Meeting House (7.30-9.30pm), 29th September 2011. More info: www.lancaster-district-cnd.org E-mail: contact@lancaster-district-cnd.org

The Dukes welcomes the original Stig


A great family night out is promised by The Dukes when Stig of the Dump comes to Lancaster on Tuesday 22nd October.

The well-loved children’s classic has been adapted for the stage and features puppetry and performance by Mind the Gap, one of the UK’s leading disability related theatre companies.

An enchanting tale of a unique friendship, Stig of the Dump is a magical story to captivate and inspire anyone aged eight plus.

An enchanting tale of a unique friendship. Stig wears rabbit-skins and speaks his own language and uses empty tin cans for a chimney. In his world the outsider is king, nothing is wasted and a dump is filled with endless delights.

Barney has scuffed shoes, grazed knees and dirty fingernails, in his world anything is possible, the mundane becomes magical, summer holidays last forever and the sky is as big as his imagination.

The show will be performed by a cast of four professional actors, three of whom have a learning disability, and continues Mind the Gap’s mission to create high quality awardwinning inclusive theatre.

Children will watch with delight as everyday objects are transformed into people and places before their eyes in this show for families to share together.

• Tickets are priced £11/£9. Concessions £2 off. Schools £8. To book, please contact The Dukes box office on 01524 598500 or www.dukes-lancaster.org

• More info on the play at: www.mind-the-gap.org.uk/stig

Arcades revamp on course for Spring 2012 completion

Behind the scenes: work on re-developing St. Nicholas Arcades in progress.
Photo courtesy St. Nicholas Arcades

The St. Nicholas Arcades revamp is proceeding apace in Lancaster, with work well underway on re-developing the retail hub, with completion on course for early next year.

Warrington-based Globe - who have an office in Lancaster - are the appointed contractor on the project, best known for recent completion of Morecambe's new Football Stadium,"The Globe Arena".

The works - which include the building of an all-new store for clothes retailer Next - commenced in early August with an expected completion date of Spring 2012.

"The first phase involved seperating the construction site from the working shopping centre," says Arcades manager Jerry North, "through construction of a temporary mall connecting the Arcades from the side of Boots to Argos main entrance. This allows works to continue during the trading day with minimum disruption to our operating tenants.

"The contractor has a tight timescale of available working time outside trading hours to remove demolition materials from site anddeliver construction stuff to site. Obviously the location of the Arcades and the need to operate normally during trading times puts severe constraints on the contractor and he is having to work hard to keep on programme.

"Our first target is to hand over a completed shell to Next by Christmas this year in order that they can then carry out their shopfitting works to be opened for March."


Despite the country's economic woes, Jerry says the revamp has caught the attention of many prospective tennants and with Bright House and Poundland new arrivals at the Arcades, despite the revamp, 2012 looks set to be a good year for this major retail focus, which also hosts Boots and the Early Learning Centre.

"Our lettings agents are reporting good interest in the other newly created units and it is hoped we should soon have some exciting anouncements to make," he teases.

The Facebook St Nicholas Arcades page shows the works in progress

• Official site: www.stnicholasarcades.co.uk

Harvison, Bartley, back for more folk at the Gillow in October

Jon Harvison plays the Robert Gillow on 6th October
Folk Music continues aplenty at Lancaster's  Robert Gillow in October, in a line up that includes the ever brilliant Jon Harvison, back at the popular venue for another performance. Here's the line-up...

Thursday 6th October: Jon Harvison 

From Keighley, Jon Harvison plays guitar and sings. He has an exceptionally powerful voice and is acknowledged as being “one of the finest exponents of English contemporary folk song” (Folk On Tap magazine).

The planned set will be a mixture of his own material, other contemporary song and traditional English and Scottish folk.

Thursday 13 October: Rodney Cordner and Jean-Pierre Rudolph 

On tour from Ireland, 2011 sees Rodney Cordner and Jean-Pierre Rudolph celebrating 30 years on the road. They are perhaps one of the most unique acoustic-duos around, combining the wit of the Irish with the charm of the French and also one of the best kept secrets on the acoustic music scene.

They came together in the 1980's and since then have released nine albums and toured extensively in more than 20 countries. Playing in almost every type of venue, they've also appeared on over 50 TV and radio shows and had the best selling acoustic album of the year, Measure of Dreams in Germany.

On stage they use fiddle, guitar, flute, mandolin, tin-whistles and bodhran to perform traditional, contemporary and original songs, mostly in the celtic style with a little swing jazz thrown in for good measure and strongly laced with humour and audience participation.

gren_bartleyw.jpgThursday 20 October: Gren Bartley 

A "phenomenal guitarist and singer", Gren Bartley - who has made several appearances at the Gillow - is deeply rooted in old folk and blues traditions whilst stamping his own style on the genre. Whilst the first thing you'll hear is his virtuosity on guitar, it is his mature vocals and poetically crafted lyrics that ensure the longevity of this young musician's career.

His first full solo album Carry Her Safe is a collection of original songs and tunes, played on guitar and banjo. His second CD e°g°,  with fiddle sensation Tom Kitching, led to a record deal with folk stalwarts Fellside Records.

He is often compared to the likes of Richard Thompson, Nic Jones and Kelly Joe Phelps - an emerging talent not to be missed.

Thursday 27 October: Phil Saunders 

This is only Phil’s second visit to the Robert Gillow - a solid, stonkin’ bluesman who will entertain and delight you. He plays guitar and harmonica and sings, and whether he is playing his own material or rejuvenating classic blues numbers his music is down to earth, genuine and heartfelt.

He says "just like the weather I'm a bit under the moon" and his autobiography reads “after diddling about on guitar and harmonica since my early twenties I decided to try open tuning to entertain myself for the evening. So I twiddled the knobs until it sounded good and enjoyed the freedom of having no idea of what I was doing, years later I’m still enjoying myself.” More about his work at: http://philsaundersblues.co.uk

You’ll love it!

• The Robert Gillow is at 64 Market Street, Lancaster, LA1 1HP. Tel: 01524 36092. Official web site: www.pubfoodlancaster.co.uk

Monday, 26 September 2011

Students asked to ‘tag the tiger’ to support responsible drinking

Lancaster students are being urged to ‘tag the tiger’ as part of a joint project to encourage responsible drinking.

Easy Tiger is a campaign run jointly by Lancaster police and the city’s universities and colleges, in conjunction with various partners, to encourage students to be sensible about the way in which they consume alcohol.

Officers and staff speak to students about the importance of pacing their alcohol intake, keeping their drinks with them at all times, considering how their personal safety may be affected while they are intoxicated and the importance of acting respectfully towards other residents.

This year’s Easy Tiger message is ‘Get out and stay out’ and is aimed at getting students to pace their drinking across the night so they are able to enjoy the whole evening, while reducing the risk of them coming to any harm.

Jan Brown, crime prevention officer for Lancaster, said: “Students will often try to save money by staying at home and ‘pre-loading’ with alcohol before they go out –often getting involved in drinking games. While we most certainly want students to be having fun, we would also like them to be responsible in the way they consume their alcohol.”

A life-sized Easy Tiger mascot will be out on patrol with officers during the main freshers’ events. Students can have their photo taken with the tiger, and if they then upload and tag themselves on the ‘Tag the Tiger’ Facebook page they can get free entry into Lancaster’s Sugarhouse nightclub, as well as receiving other benefits from members of the city’s PubWatch scheme.

“The officers and other partners who are accompanying the Easy Tiger will be engaging with those having their photos taken," added Jan, "and will be passing on crime prevention and safety messages.

“Whilst making the most of their night out, it is important that students remember that drinking lowers inhibitions and, aside from the obvious health risks, it makes you more vulnerable to becoming a victim of crime.

“Likewise, it can make you act differently and your behaviour may come at a cost – police officers take a zero tolerance attitude to drunken criminal behaviour.

"Penalty notices for disorder cost £80 - a fairly hefty fine for a student pocket – and a criminal record is not the kind of result you want to leave university with.”

A spokesperson for Lancaster University Students Union said: “During Freshers’ Week, Easy Tiger wants to get the message across to students not to let alcohol ruin the beginning of their university experience. The start of university is a time for having fun and making new friends, some of whom will last a lifetime; not for feeling sick, being a burden on others, and apologising for drunken behaviour.”

Other activities to encourage responsible drinking will include a ‘mocktail’ bar at the Lancaster University’s freshers fair and Street Pastors will be handing out bottles of water to those who are on a night out.

The initiative will continue throughout the academic year, with a main focus being on the Tag the Tiger campaign and the Easy Tiger mascot featuring in a variety of social events where alcohol usage is prominent.

• Students can visit www.facebook.com/tagthetiger to upload their photos and www.easytiger.org.uk to get more information about the campaign.

Easy Tiger is a joint initiative between LUSU, University of Cumbria Students’ Union, Lancaster and Morecambe College Students’ Union, Lancashire Police, Lancashire Pub Watch and Lancashire Drugs and Alcohol Action Team.