Friday, 6 June 2014

Horse Shoe finally returns to Horse Shoe Corner

The Horseshoe Corner Horse shoe is back where it should be. Photo courtesy Lancaster City Council.
Lancaster's famous Horse Shoe is back in its rightful place on "Horse Show Corner", as part of the improvements to Penny Street and Market Street co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Programme 2007-2013 and both Lancaster City and Lancashire County councils.

Horse Shoe Corner is the unofficial name of the intersection between Penny Street, Cheapside and Market Street in Lancaster. It is so named because of the horse shoe once set into the paving at the centre of this crossroads that has now been restored. 

There are three different stories about the shoe's origin, the most popular being that John o' Gaunt's horse shed a shoe here when he left Lancaster castle for the last time and the townsmen fixed it on the spot to commemorate the visit. Another story connects it with the Young Pretender and, as noted on British History Online,  a third account supposes it to have been connected with the city's horse fairs. 

The horses shoe was removed for safe keeping from Penny Street some time ago (during work carried out by United Utilities) and kept safe at Morecambe Town Hall until it was the "Square Routes" works reached the spot.

The works are part of the Lancaster Square Routes Project and being led by Lancaster City council in close partnership with Lancashire County Council and other partners to make improvements to Market Square and surrounding streets to strengthen the city centre’s position as a quality destination for visitors, residents and traders.


The Horseshoe in its original setting.Photo: Han Fleet
While work is going on the Charter Market will continue to run in the city centre every Wednesday and Saturday as normal, but some stallholders have temporarily been relocated to New Street. Others have taken up vacant pitches on lower Market Street and Cheapside until the works are complete. 

An improved long term layout for the Charter Market will be introduced after works are completed, which will make full use of the new look to Market Square. 


• For more about Horseshoe Corner visit: https://www.facebook.com/groups/393878117314695

• For more information on Lancaster Square Routes visit www.lancaster.gov.uk/squareroutes


• Lancaster Library is hosting an ongoing exhibition of photographs of Market Square down the years


Thursday, 5 June 2014

Year of Link roundabout roadworks on Morecambe Road to begin Monday

Traffic changes planned from Monday for 2014

Costain, the company contracted to build the contoversial new Heysham-M6 Bypass, have posted the June issue of their newsletter 'The Link' today, explaining that major roadworks are due to start this coming Monday 9 June on the roundabout at the junction of Morecambe Road and the A683 (end of Heysham Bypass), requiring traffic diversions. These will continue until May 2015 at the earliest.

You can download the newsletter from the Link website at http://heyshamlink.lancashire.gov.uk.
Lancashire County Council has also supplied a more detailed 2-page document outlining the changes planned and you can download it here.

They explain:

"We’ve designed four phases of construction, to reduce the impact on road users, in order to keep traffic flowing.

This drawing (see above) explains the changes to the junction layout during construction.

"The major changes are:

  • The Heysham Bypass will only allow one-way traffic from Lancaster on a single lane carriageway from Morecambe Road Junction to the Mellishaw Lane roundabout (see insert).

  • There will be no right turn onto the Heysham Bypass for traffic heading out of Morecambe on Morecambe Road; drivers must continue along Morecambe Road to the ‘ASDA’ roundabout and take Ovangle Road for Heysham

  • Traffic from the Heysham Bypass will be diverted at the Mellishaw Lane roundabout and sent along Ovangle Road.

Phase 1 works to the Morecambe Road roundabout commence on 9 June 2014 as workers move in to remove the traffic islands.  The full changes shown above are due to come into effect from 30 June 2014 when Phase 2 begins.

From November 2014 phase 3 begins: "This phase keeps the same principle for local traffic but changes the traffic alignment on Morecambe Road only.

Phase 4 is "works to Morecambe Road Roundabout commencing May 2015, when the A683 should be back open as two-way traffic."

Drivers of these routes would be advised to consider carsharing or public transport to help reduce the inevitable congestion and also to reduce the fuel costs and pollution resulting from idling traffic. You can find local carshare opportunities on the County Council-sponsored website at https://sharedwheels.liftshare.com/. If you've been thinking about trying it, you couldn't find a better time than now. 

If you have any issues to raise with Costain or Lancashire County Council regarding the works, they can be contacted via their respective websites at http://heyshamlink.lancashire.gov.uk/ and www.lancashire.gov.uk.

Great North West Vegan Festival comes to Lancaster this Saturday



This Saturday Lancaster will host the huge annual North West Vegan Festival across two venues, Lancaster Town Hall (LA1 1PJ) and the Gregson Centre (LA1 3PY), with 115 stalls selling a wide variety of vegan products and promoting critical animal welfare issues.

The festival will have 90 stalls at the Town Hall, and 25 at the Gregson Centre. At the Town Hall there will be a vegan cafe serving meals, snacks and refreshments, talks, cookery demonstrations and children’s activities and at The Gregson you will find a vegan beer and wine festival, films in a 26 seat cinema, vegan speed dating and meeting and a special extra vegan menu in this vegan friendly community centre that already has vegan pizzas and other vegan meals on its menu.

Admission is just: £1.50, which  includes entry to both venues and all proceeds from the Festival will go to the registered charity International Aid for the Protection and Welfare of Animals.
To add the entertainment on offer the Dukes will be holding its Green Film Festival nearby on the same day.

The Vegan Festival aims to make the transition to veganism smoother by showcasing easy and inexpensive items that can enrich any cafe or restaurant menu and promote real vegan meal options as an accepted feature of the North West food offer.

The difference between a vegan and a vegetarian is that a vegan will not consume anything sourced from animals - this includes eggs, milk, cheese and, for some, even honey and isinglass (a fish product used to clear beer).  Most vegans will not wear or use leather goods either. The reasons for these choices may be personal, health-based, financial, ethical, religious, political and / or environmental. Dairy and beef production in particular have a very heavy carbon footprint and moving our diets towards veganism is one way to begin tackling this problem.

You can see from the list below how much more water alone is required to produce meat:

1 pound of lettuce 23 gallons
1 pound of tomatoes 23 gallons
1 pound of potatoes 24 gallons
1 pound of wheat 25 gallons
1 pound of carrots 33 gallons
1 pound of apples 49 gallons
1 pound of chicken 815 gallons
1 pound of pork 1,630 gallons
1 pound grain fed beef 3,000 gallons

The vegan diet is very inexpensive but it can be difficult or time-consuming to find snacks, convenience foods, condiments, mixes, baked goods or confectionary that don't include any butter, egg or milk powder. Vegans get used to reading the small print list of ingredients on every product. You don't see many overweight vegans as most fattening 'comfort' foods contain animal products.

In central Lancaster we are fortunate to have the Single Step Wholefood Co-op and Health n' Brew which between them supply a tasty and extensive range of vegan recipe items. The Whale Tail Vegetarian Cafe and The Gregson also offer vegan menu choices, the latter also offering disabled access. We'd love to hear from other cafes or restaurants in the area that routinely offer decent vegan meal options.

Not all conventional cafes and restaurants have vegan items on the menu, as they tend to rely on dairy, cheese or egg-based recipes to provide vegetarian options and most desserts.  Vegans get used to phoning ahead of restaurant and hotel bookings to give them warning and check that they can cope. While better restaurants generally have a kitchen capable of rising to the challenge, many rely on contract catering and are tied to standard menu items and minimally-trained staff and can't come up with a balanced animal-free meal.

The more vegans there are, the easier it becomes and the number of vegans in the North West is growing and organising as online shopping brings a wider range of products and supplements closer to our doors. Information and tips about maintaining a healthy vegan lifestyle abound on the internet.  A good place to start is the Vegan Society website at http://www.vegansociety.com/.

As people begin to grasp their responsibilities for climate change, and learn more about links between health and nutrition, the number of people moving closer to veganism in their diets at home is also growing rapidly, although they may still find themselves forced to compromises in order to manage away from home.

DO say to a vegan: 'Yes, we have dairy-free spread for your bread
DON'T say: 'Can't you just eat the vegetables?'

Lancaster Guardian cartoonist exhibits in the Park


Yes, we know that headline could be misleading. Got you here though, didn't it?

Paintings of local landmarks by Lancaster artist and Lancaster Guardian Jack Knight will be on display throughout June in the Pavilion Café in Williamson Park.

The exhibition features a number of original pieces and Giclee prints, including his most popular work, "Summer in the City".


As part of the exhibit, Jack has created a new piece, "Candy Castle", portraying  Lancaster Castle as an edible delight - a running theme with many of his paintings of the city's architectural heritage.

Originally from Liverpool, Jack moved to Lancaster in 2004 and has made it his home. A member of both the Ethical Small Trader's Association and the Chamber of Commerce, Jack enjoys being “hands on” in Lancaster and his paintings are often inspired by the history of the city.

• Jack’s “Paintings in the Park” exhibition runs until 29th June 2014

• For more information on Williamson Park visit www.lancaster.gov.uk/williamsonpark or call 01524 33318

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Local Cinema Round-Up for 4th to 12th June by Peter Clarke

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.

 Films released during this period are the action comedy 22 Jump Street (15) a musical documentary about the Sheffield band PULP: A film about life, death and Supermarkets (12A) and a documentary on motorcycle road racing Road PG).

We see the welcome return of old favourites with Despicable Me 2; Mr Peabody & Sherman and Divergent. However we have lost the movie Blended and it looks like Bad Neighbours will soon be at the end of its screening.

An excellent period for Documentaries with the Dukes showing the films Planet Ocean; A River Changes Course and Expedition to the End of the World. Also to be recommended is Inside Llewyn Davis, followed by live music from the Lancaster Folk Club.

Reviews

22 Jump Street
Director: Phil Lord and Chris Miller
Certificate: 15
Cast Includes: Jonah Hill, Peter Stormare, Channing Tatum, Amber Stevens, Ice Cube
The movie finds Police officers Schmidt (Hill) and Jenko (Tatum) working undercover at a local college to investigate supply of an illegal drug. Actually the movie is a deliberate re-hash of the earlier '21 Jump Street', but this still makes it a zany comedy with humour ranging from slapstick thought parody to the surreal. Well rated and very enjoyable.

Bad Neighbours
Director: Nicholas Stoller
Certificate: 15
Cast Includes: Seth Rogen, Jake Johnson, Zac Efron, Rose Byrne
Released as 'Neighbors' outside the UK, this is a comedy about Mac Radner (Rogen), his wife Kelly (Byrne) and young baby and the disruption they face when a college fraternity led by Teddy (Efron) moves in next door. Initially relations between the neighbours are not too bad but increasingly the frat boys work to ruin their family life and the Radner's give as good as they get. The film is a bawdy comedy as the tit-for-tat acts of sabotage escalate to hilarious (and possibly offensive) effect. One of the better Frat house comedies.

Despicable Me 2
Director: Pierre Coffin , Chris Renaud
Certificate: U
Cast includes: Steve Carell, Kirsten Wiig, Steve Coogan
A sequel to Despicable Me, which became the tenth biggest animation movie in US history. Gru, now retired, spends his time caring for his adopted children. He has turned good and is recruited by the Anti-Villain League to track down a criminal who has stolen a serum from a research facility. This is a great animation for both children and adults and, like last time, it is the Minions who provide the most entertainment. If you only get to see one film this week - this should be the one.

Divergent
Director: Neil Burger
Certificate: 12A
Cast includes: Kate Winslet, Theo James, Shailene Woodley
The movie is based on Veronica Roth's popular trilogy. Tris (Woodley) is a 16 year old girl living in Chicago after a war which wiped out most of civilisation. Society has been divided into different factions and as teens come of age they undergo tests to decide which faction will contain them. Yet Tris proves to be divergent, not fitting into any of the factions and divergent people are considered a threat to the status quo. She must work with the mysterious Four (James) to determine why being divergent is considered to be so dangerous. The movie is rather a slow starter. However the cast is full of talent, there is some nice dialogue and the film finishes with a tense climax. A must see movie if you have read and enjoyed Roth's books.

Edge of Tomorrow
Director: Doug Liman
Certificate: 12A
Cast Includes: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Jonas Armstrong, Bill Paxton
In the near future aliens attack the earth and Major Cage (Cruise) is killed in battle. However he becomes enveloped in a time loop in which he repeatedly re-lives the combat and his death. However he learns more with each incarnation and increasingly becomes a more formidable solider. The film is based on the novel 'All you Need is Kill' by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, and it is difficult to write a review that does not refer to 'Groundhog Day'. However the movie in not without moments of dark comedy that adds to the entertainment.

Godzilla
Director: Gareth Edwards
Certificate: 12A
Cast Includes: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, David Strathairn, Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Olsen, Juliette Binoche
Godzilla rises again with an excellent cast and plenty of special effects as cities are destroyed. Joe Brody (Cranston) is a physicist who investigates the events at a Japanese nuclear facility where Godzilla is accidentally released. It is his soldier son Ford (Taylor-johnson) who battles the beast as it stalks San Francisco. There is some excellent performances, especially from Cranston and the director tells the story from a human viewpoint. Indeed we don't get a good glimpse of the monster till the latter half of the film. A spectacular disaster movie and one of the best re-telling of the story of Godzilla.

Maleficent
Director: Robert Stromberg
Certificate: PG
Cast Includes: Angelina Jolie, Miranda Richardson, Elle Fanning, Sharlto Copley, Sam Riley
In part a re-telling of the tale of sleeping beauty but from the point of view of the villain of the story, Maleficent (Jolie). Maleficent was driven to evil following an act of betrayal which cost her the ability to fly. She battles to save her shadowy forest kingdom and plots revenge by placing a curse on the infant Aurora (Fanning), daughter to the king. Aurora herself becomes caught in the conflict between forest and human kingdoms. This is a rather dark fantasy for a Disney film, but a great tale with powerful characters and impressive special effect.

Mr Peabody & Sherman
Director: Rob Minkoff
Certificate: U
Cast Includes: Ty Burrell, Max Charles, Ariel Winter
A DreamWorks comedy animation. Mr Peabody is a dog, but this does not stop him being an inventor, scientist, sportsman and general genius. Accompanied by his boy Sherman, the duo use their WABAC time machine in order to impress Sherman's friend Penny. However during their adventures meeting famous characters of history,they accidentally rip a hole in the Universe. As a result they must repair history in order to save the future. A great yarn and appealing family movie. There is little here to offend the youngest of children, and some of the jokes will entertain an older audience.

X-Men: Days of Future Past
Director: Bryan Singer and Matthew Vaughn
Certificate: 12A
Cast Includes: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Jennifer Lawrence, Ian McKellen, Peter Dinklage
The film starts in the year 2023 where a war has resulted in the near destruction of all mutants. Trask (Dinklage), leader of Trask Industries, had developed robot soldiers that can destroy mutants under the Sentinel Program. The mutants send Wolverine (Jackman) back to the year 1973 in order to stop Mystique (Lawrence) from killing Trask as it was this death that resulted in the creation of the Sentinel Program. This is a fine movie worthy of the X-Men franchise that will not disappoint.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Anti-fracking Gathering in July: 'We won't sell our children's future for shale oil'.


Lancashire people who oppose fracking are invited to the third 'Gathering on The Green' on Saturday 19 July from 2-6pm by the windmill on Lytham-St-Annes's central beach.

Opposition to fracking (shale gas extraction) is snowballing in Lancashire with local groups forming in almost every village and town in the Fylde Coast area, where fracking company Cuadrilla has made numerous license applications. (See previous story)

Residents Against Fylde Fracking, who are hosting the Gathering said:

"The industry & Government have suggested we can be bought-off with ‘sweeteners’. 
"That WE would sell our right to health, safety and quality of life…and that of our children; as if we live by the same morals they work by. 

"The fantastic work of residents, communities, local, national and international groups has meant that ‘fracking’ has stayed in the news and despite the wealth and power of those behind this dangerous industry - the opposition to it grows more informed and numerous. We need to make it loud and clear that we do not accept this threat to our community and to do that, we need to gather ourselves together and show we are united on THIS ISSUE. 

"The gathering is for residents, friends, families, businesses and any who feel that the shale gas industry comes with too many risks. A day for picnics, conversation, information and a show of numbers that makes our position clear and says ….we will not be bought-off.

"As we gather for a third time - we are now 15+ groups and growing rapidly.  As each area was given the opportunity to access the truth and reality of what fracking for shale gas involves... a new group naturally formed to defend the community and further share the information.  

"Around this time last year and the year before, we had our first and second 'Gathering on the Green' events and now in 2014, as Cuadrilla put planning in for more sites in our area - we are in URGENT need of another one.  So again and this time much more LOUDLY - we call for a gathering on Lytham Green by the Windmill of all who are concerned about Fracking. 

"The politicians just aren't sure we mean it when we say shale gas extraction in Lancashire (or anywhere else) comes with too many risks."   

The campaigners will have to shout loudly indeed. Cuadrilla's chairman Baron Browne of Madingley was embedded in the Cabinet as Government Lead Non-Executive in June 2010. His remit is to work with Secretaries of State to appoint non-executives to the board of each government department.

Local anti-fracking campaign links:
RAFF - Residents Action on Fylde Fracking
Lancaster Fights Fracking
Ribble Estuary Against Fracking - Reaf GB
Frack Free Fylde
Defend Lytham
Refracktion
Roseacre Awareness Group - RAG
Inskip
FRACK FREE KIRKHAM & WESHAM
Frack Free Freckleton 
GAF - Garstang Against Fracking
Frack Free Blackpool
Fleetwood Folk Say NO Fracking (FFS NO Fracking)
Frack Free Lancashire
Frack Free Creators - Knitting Nannas Lancashire
Blackpool & Fylde Green Party
East Lancashire Green Party
Longridge Against Fracking
Singleton Treasure Karoo Action Group
Preston Frackoff
Keep East Lancashire Frack Free - KELFF
Frack Free Bolton
Preston New Rd (Westby with Plumpton)

Library opening hours under review

Library bosses at Lancashire County Coouncil are asking people of all ages for their views on opening hours at local branches, including Lancaster and Morecambe.

The consultation is now under way and will run for eight weeks, and involves 63 of the 74 libraries across the county.

Around 18 months ago opening hours were increased or adjusted in most of the county's libraries following a public consultation and as as part of that process, library managers promised to look at the issue again this year to see whether further changes are needed.

Julie Bell, county libraries manager, said: "We want to help people across the county to get the most out of all the services on offer at their local library, and this means making sure that libraries are open at the times! when our customers are most likely to use them.

"With that in mind, we are asking people to choose between the current pattern of opening hours at their local library and the changes we are proposing to make based on our knowledge of how and when the library is used.

"Any decisions we make, including 'no change', will depend on the results of the consultation, which is why we want to hear from as many of our customers as we can.

"So, whatever your age, please do tell us what you think by filling in our simple questionnaire, either at your local library or online."

The proposals would not significantly alter the overall number of library opening hours, and, it's argued,any changes would have little or no impact on the cost of running the library service.

In the case of Lancaster and Morecambe, if the changes are given a green light, it would mean an end to evening opening hours on Tuesday and Thursdays, but extended daytime opening hours.

There are posters in participating libraries showing the current and proposed opening hours, together with copies of the questionnaire. The information is also available online and staff will be happy to help if people are not sure whether their library is part of the review.

• To find out which libraries are involved and to fill in an online questionnaire, go to http://bit.ly/openinghours2014

• People can also get more information by phoning 01772 534008 or emailing library@lancashire.gov.uk. The consultation runs until Saturday 26th July.

Where have all the flowers gone? Memorial Poppies stripped from Park


Hundreds of poppies sown by members of the public to commemorate the fallen of WWI have all been removed overnight from Happy Mount Park in Morecambe.

The poppies were part of a project by Morecambe Poppyscatter, a fundraising group set up locally by Heysham bus driver Steve Trainer,  to commemorate service personnel killed in  WWI, on its centenary. They are trying to raise £136,904.30 - one penny for every service person killed in the Great War,  which will be donated to the Royal British Legion and the Commonwealth Wargraves Commision.

One of the ways they have been doing this is by the sale of Poppy seeds to the public who then scattered them in a flower bed in Happy Mount Park which the council kindly gave over for this use.  In May hundreds of poppies were beginning to grow.

But sadly, when Steve Trainer visited the park this week he had a terrible shock. He said:

"I went back to the park yesterday to find that somebody has entered the park, in the evening we guess, and stripped every single poppy from the bed. They didn't touch any other plant in the bed - only the poppies.

"So on behalf of Poppyscatter, first of all I want to apologise to all you kind people out there who bought seeds and scattered them and, secondly, if anyone has an hour to spare on Friday morning they would be more than welcome to come down to the park and help us to strip the bed, turn it over and re-seed it (all seeds provided).

"Also if anybody knows anything about what happened please contact me on facebook or on 0780 755 8864. You will not be named but the people responsible will be prosecuted . THANK YOU."


The poppies have been removed completely from the park - an act that must have taken some time and organisation. All the other varieties of plants and seedlings nearby were left untouched.

A Lancaster City spokesperson told Virtual-Lancaster:

"We are unsure as to what happened to the poppies.  However, we believe these are being replaced this week by the organisers of Morecambe Poppy Scatter and the council will be supporting the event with the provision of compost and tools.  The newly sown poppies should be in full bloom later this year."

Steve expressed his feelings to Virtual-Lancaster today, but they were not entirely printable and he has our warmest sympathies. He said,

'The memorial is not solely to commemorate our service personnel. This centenary will be one of our last chances to really try to connect with the terrible loss of millions of people on all sides in the Great War and to think about the lives that these flowers symbolise."

"The flowers were sown by members of the public, who wanted to share and support this message in such a good way. It's unbelievable that anyone could show such total disrespect."

But it's just a temporary setback. Everyone is invited to help with the reseeding at Happy Mount Park this Friday morning 6 June, and Steve's Poppyscatter group has more plans.  Poppy seeds will also be scattered in Bare Village at this year's BareFest on Saturday, at Princes Crescent in Bare.

If you would like to support the Poppyscatter initiative, you can buy packets of  poppyseeds at Bare Pharmacy, at George's Cafe in Lancaster Bus Station, at the Welcome Cafe in Morecambe's Arndale Centre, and in the cafe at Happy Mount Park. You can scatter them at home and you are also invited to scatter some or all of them in the dedicated beds at Happy Mount Park and also in Lancaster Garden of Remembrance next to Lancaster Town Hall.

You can find out more about Morecambe Poppyscatter at their website http://www.poppyscatter.co.uk/ or visit Poppyscatter Morecambe on facebook.

Funding secured to bolster Morecambe’s Coastal Defences

Lancaster City Council has secured the long term future of key sections of Morecambe’s coastal defences following the award of capital funding of nearly £10m from the Environment Agency.

This funding will pay for the reconstruction of the Wave Reflection Wall which was installed in the 1980s and is now showing signs of failure, including visible cracking to the concrete face.

The works will be delivered in three 18 month phases with the first phase between Happy Mount Park and Lord Street starting in the Autumn. Subsequent phases will cover the stretch of seafront between the Midland Hotel and Oakley Road.

Councillor Janice Hanson, Cabinet member for Economic Regeneration and Planning, said: “We are delighted to have secured funding for these important works from the Environment Agency.

"Maintaining Morecambe’s coastal defences is clearly a high priority not just in terms of protecting people and property but also to support the ongoing regeneration of the town.

"This is a significant investment in Morecambe’s infrastructure and we will work with the local community to try to minimise the physical impact of the works. Our thanks go to the Environment Agency and everyone who has worked on this bid.”

Andy Shore, NW Coastal Engineer for the Environment Agency, said: “The weather we have experienced across the country over recent years highlights how important it is for communities to be prepared for flooding. Work on the Wave Reflection Wall will ensure homes and businesses continue to be protected for many years to come.”

Lancaster Town Hall to host food poverty conference

Lancaster Town Hall will be hosting a community conference this month to raise awareness of the food poverty which exists in the local area.

Beyond Food Banks will take place on Thursday 12th June and is being organised by the Lancaster Sustainable Food Cities group, supported by both Lancaster City and Lancashire County Councils.
More than 50 members from the local community will be coming together to understand in more detail the food poverty that exists in our area, both urban and rural and the current resources available to ensure we respond to food poverty especially to those in need of emergency food aid.

The aim of the conference is to enable representatives from local charities, businesses, voluntary and faith groups and public organisations to discuss and generate new practical ideas to stop people falling into or staying in food poverty and plan how they can make them happen.

It promises to be a lively and interesting day with seven local speakers giving brief inputs of up to the minute information, including representatives from the Olive Branch, Marsh Community Centre and the Soil Association as well as local author Mike Berners-Lee.

Councillor Jon Barry, Cabinet member with responsibility for the voluntary sector, said:  “The conference will provide the perfect occasion for public organisations and the voluntary sector to share their knowledge and skills and discover new ways in which they can make a difference to the lives of some of the most vulnerable members of our community.”

Top ten position for Lancaster in Guardian's university leagues tables for 2015



Lancaster has charged ahead of its Russell Group peers to be ranked tenth in the Guardian League table 2015, confirming its place among the world’s elite institutions.

The table ranks universities on a number of measures including the percentage of graduates who find graduate-level jobs, teaching quality, student satisfaction and spend per student. Other universities ranked in the top ten include Oxford, Cambridge, Durham and Warwick.

Individual subjects ranked highly in the Guardian table include Accounting and Finance, Business, Management and Marketing, Art, Mechanical Engineering, Biological Sciences, Drama and Dance, Computing, Physics, Geography and Environmental Science, Mathematics and Social Work which is ranked second in the UK.

Lancaster is consistently highly placed in all major league tables. This latest result comes shortly after Lancaster was announced to be the highest placed UK university in the Times Higher Education 100 Under 50 ranking of the world’s best young universities.

Ranked tenth, a climb of four places, Lancaster is the highest ranked of only 14 UK universities to be listed.

Lancaster is also the leading university in the North West according to The Complete University Guide 2015.

• View the Guardian League Table: www.theguardian.com/education/ng-interactive/2014/jun/02/university-league-tables-2015-the-complete-list

Monday, 2 June 2014

Embroidery exhibition at The Storey will have you in stitches



‘Tied by Stitch’ is an exhibition presented by the Embroiderers’ Guild and is taking place at The Storey, Lancaster.

The North West Region of the Embroiderers’ Guild has brought “The Finest Stitches”, a selection of pieces held by the Embroiderers’ Guild as part of its internationally important textile collection.

The exhibition also features work by members of the North West region, a display of recent regional projects and the ‘World’s Longest Embroidery’, a work in progress to which members of the pubic are invited to contribute more stitches.

There are workshops each week throughout the exhibition period and a lecture by Poulton-le-Fylde based textile artist Elizabeth Couzins-Scott.

The exhibition will run until 19th June 2014 and open Monday to Saturday from 10am – 4.30pm.

• The Lancaster branch of the Embroiders' Guild meets at Rowley Court, Scotforth Road, Scotforth Lancaster LA1 4NP on the second Saturday of the month (except August)

• For more information, please visit www.thestorey.co.uk

Adactus begins work on Long Marsh Lane housing, Victoria Hotel plans raise parking concerns

Adactus Group Chief Executive, Paul Lees marks the start of building work on Long Marsh Lane with a sod cutting on Tuesday 27th May 2014. Photo: Adactus

The Adactus Housing Association has begun building work on Long Marsh Lane on what was the Lancaster City Football Club car park and the Dolly Blue Tavern, to create more one-bedroom apartments to rent and a new homeless hostel.

The £1.5m development, announced last year and which includes projects eleswhere in the district, was secured in partnership with Lancaster City Council and received funding through the government's Homes and Community Agency.

The Council's hope is that the project will provide much-needed homeless accommodation with assistance orovided to residents to help them move into a settled lifestyle.

The plans include the building of a homeless hostel offering accommodation from 8.00pm to 8.00am.

The Adactus development will be completed in one phase, taking approximately eleven months to build and will create 18 one bedroom cottage style apartments all for affordable rent. Adactus Housing Association will manage the apartments on behalf of the Group and Lancaster Council has 100 per cent nomination rights.

This is the first development that the Adactus Housing Group will project manage with its newly recruited in-house building contractor team.

The Lancaster Guardian noted last year that there is currently no hostel accommodation in the city for over 25s, although the YMCA offers housing for young people in Fleet Square and Adactus has eleven apartments for young homeless people at Mariners View.

“Affordable one bedroom accommodation availability is one of the biggest issues facing housing today, commented the company's Group Executive Paul Lees said. "Our latest development on Long Marsh Lane will provide this type of much-needed affordable accommodation for local people and Adactus is delighted to have worked with both Lancaster City Council and The Homes and Communities Agency in bringing it to fruition.”

“The delivery of affordable housing is an important council priority," added Councillor Karen Leytham, Cabinet member with responsibility for housing. "Lancaster district is in tremendous need of new properties, especially one bedroom accommodation. This latest development on Long Marsh Lane is another important step forward in providing much-needed affordable rented accommodation and as a result of our strong partnership with Adactus.”

All new apartments will feature high levels of insulation and will be designed to obtain maximum solar gains which should help reduce the fuel costs of the occupants. All ground floor apartments will come with their own private gardens.

The members of the Adactus Group Structure are a group of housing associations that work closely together to provide and manage affordable housing for rent and shared ownership in the North West of England.

There's no shortage of building work on Lancaster's Marsh and St. George's Quay at present. Building work has begun just as Persimmon Homes have submitted revised plans for their Luneside East project, and continued house building work on brown field sites on the Quay.

Plans were also submitted to the Council in April to convert the Victoria Hotel on West Road into housing, with offices and a chemist on the ground floor, which have, as with the proposed re-development of the Moorlands Hotel, prompted concerns about parking.

"Parking in this area is already becoming a big problem as train users park here instead of the train station car park," notes local resident Mo Docherty. "This has got worse since introducing residential permit parking in the Fairfield area.

"This has just pushed the parking problem down to us," she argues. "I can not imagine where all the extra cars from this development will be able to park without causing severe problems."