Saturday, 23 January 2016

Marketing boost for Lancashire's arts organisations announced by Marketing Lancashire

The Dukes Oliver Twist in Lancaster's Williamson Park
With councils and arts organisations facing  huge cuts to central government funding, there's a bit of good news this week from Marketing Lancashire, which has has been awarded £50,000 from Arts Council England National Lottery Funded Grants For the Arts programme to commence work on a new initiative to help raise Lancashire’s profile as a cultural destination.

The project will help establish the county’s cultural offer as one of the leading reasons for people to visit Lancashire over the next few months, a key ambition expressed in the county’s new Visitor Economy Strategy, launched last year, part of an overall strategy plan to boost the county's economy that is backed by European Union funding.

Aimed at enabling Lancashire’s art organisations to reach new audiences, it's hoped the new initiative will also strengthen Lancashire’s cultural reputation with arts practitioners and investors, acting as a catalyst for further developments and investment.

Marketing Lancashire, formerly Lancashire and Blackpool Tourist Board, was established in April  2012. As the destination management organisation for Lancashire it works closely with VisitEngland and a wide range of public and private sector agencies. Their activities in marketing and communications, commercial membership and place marketing are all designed to grow the visitor economy and develop the destination as a great place to visit, work and invest.

2014 figures show that Lancashire attracted 63 million visitors, who contributed £3.68 billion to the local economy and helped support 56,074 jobs.

“Lancashire is such a diverse county with a rich and varied cultural offering that can sometimes get lost in the national arts landscape," says Ruth Connor, chief executive of Marketing Lancashire. "However inspiring and unique the work that’s created here, Lancashire is not generally seen as a cultural destination.

“The activity that we can now start, boosted by this award, will pull together and develop a distinct cultural narrative for Lancashire.

“I’m truly delighted that Arts Council England is supporting this new initiative, the aim of which is to achieve greater collaboration between visitor economy businesses and Lancashire’s vibrant arts sector.  It will contribute to a healthier and more sustainable future for cultural tourism across the county, as well as influence future programming that will help raise visitor numbers to 70 million (per annum) by 2020.”

Grants for Arts is ACE’s lottery-funded grant programme for individuals, arts organisations and other people who use the arts in their work.  Awards range from £1,000 to £100,000 and support a wide variety of arts-related activities and help artists and arts organisations in England carry out their work.

Commenting on the award, Neil Harris, senior relationship manager at Arts Council England, said: “We’re pleased to be supporting this project that will further promote the rich cultural offer in Lancashire to a wider audience.”

Marketing Lancashire worked with a county-wide steering group on the application which was submitted in September 2015 and, going forward, will manage the project.

• Marketing Lancashire is at www.marketinglancashire.com

Potato Day returns to Lancaster


Lancaster's annual Potato Day festival, organised by Transition City Lancaster, will be on Saturday 30th January from 11.00am to 3.00pm.  To celebrate local food growing there will be 22 varieties of organic seed potatoes to choose from as well as local apple trees to buy. 

As always, the potato themed cafe will have delicious home made cakes as well as hot food, teas and coffees.  Lancaster has a thriving local food scene and there will be a host of stalls where you can find out more.

The event is at the Friends Meeting House, next to the train station and is free and open to all.

Transition City Lancaster is a local community group, part of a huge movement happening everywhere round the world. Groups of people who live in a town or village share their concerns about the future; climate change, the economic crisis and resources running out and decide simply to do something about it there and then, in their own community.

• To find out more see www.transitioncitylancaster.org

Lancaster Castle to host Shakespeare anniversary celebration show, Measures for Mesure


Lancaster Castle is raising the curtain on a brand new production of William Shakespeare's Measure for Measure in February.

The show is being performed from Thursday 25th February until Saturday 19th March. Tickets are available from 9.30am on Monday 25th January.

The performance, by Demi-Paradise Productions, will have an unconventional and upbeat 1950's setting and will feature live music and songs from the time.

Measure for Measure is a dark story of hypocrisy and coercion, threatened rape, death and damnation. But it is also a story of romance and redemption and has a wide audience appeal.

The performance is directed by Joyce Branagh, sister of Sir Kenneth. All of the ten actors taking part are from the North West.

Demi-Paradise Productions is Lancaster Castle's resident professional theatre company, set up in 2000 by actor and part-time castle guide, Stephen Tomlin.

Measure for Measure is the company's tenth production at the castle and forms part of the events across the country marking the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare.

Colin Penny, Lancashire County Council's museum manager at the castle, said: "Even the Bard himself couldn't have imagined a more incredible location for this performance, set against the wonderful historic backdrop of Lancaster Castle.

The production company have been nominated for many awards, gaining a reputation for terrific theatre with live music. Tickets for their productions sell out very quickly.

"To offer people lots of choice we've also organised a family friendly night and a students' and young people's matinee. It is a real treat for Shakespeare lovers and will be great entertainment for everyone."

Director Joyce Branagh, said: "Having experienced Demi-Paradise's promenade productions of Much Ado About Nothing and Othello at Lancaster Castle, I am very excited at the prospect of working within the rooms and courts of this beautiful historic building, with a company so experienced at staging Shakespeare here."

Tickets for the public performances cost £25 from Monday to Thursday and £27 on Friday and Saturday. Tickets for the family friendly night on Monday 14 March, and the students' and young people's matinee on Saturday 5 March, cost £12. Numbers are limited so booking is essential. For booking information or opening times, call 01524 64998 or visit the castle shop between 9.30am to 4.30pm

• For more about Demi-Paradise Productions visit www.demiparadiseproductions.co.uk or follow them on Facebook here

• More information about other Lancashire County Council museums is available at www.lancashire.gov.uk/museums

Friday, 22 January 2016

Find out more about Lancaster City Council's 2016/17 budget

Members of the public are invited to attend a presentation of Lancaster City Council’s budget and proposed priorities and for the coming year.

The presentation will form part of the next meeting of the council’s Budget and Performance Panel on Tuesday 26th January 2016.

Everyone is welcome to attend the meeting which takes place at Morecambe Town Hall from 6pm.  There will also be the opportunity to ask questions after the presentation has taken place.

The agenda for the meeting can be found on the council’s website at www.lancaster.gov.uk/meetings-and-minutes.

• For information on the council's proposed budget which will be put before Full Council for final approval on Wednesday 2nd March visit www.lancaster.gov.uk/budget-update

Lancaster City Council Chief Executive Wanted, salary: £107.000

Lancaster Town Hall. Photo: John Freeman

There are tough times ahead for Lancaster City Council, facing extraordinary cuts to its central government funding, with many local services under threat. So the person who gets the just-advertised position of Chief Executive - replacing Mark Cullinan, who retires in June - will have no easy task on their hands, even if the salary is at least £107,000 a year.

Working full time, this permanent position for a 37 hour week based at Lancaster Town Hall is surely an opportunity not to be missed.

"The role of Chief Executive brings with it
both significant challenges and
opportunities", says Council leader
"As with any public sector organisation, Lancaster City Council faces a great deal of challenge in the years ahead," notes council leader Eileen Blamire in the introduction to the job's 26 page recruitment pack. "These challenges are met with strong ambitions and a genuine will and determination amongst our elected mem-bers to lead our communities and deliver services that meet the needs of the people we represent. Guiding the path we take is our ethos as an ‘Ensuring Council’.

"We have continually improved key areas of our operations and transformed how we deliver many of our services. This process of continuous improvement, married to strong financial management, is key to our future, as we seek to innovate and work with our partners and neighbouring councils to strengthen how we operate.

"Our ethos as an Ensuring Council cannot be overstated. We believe this enables the council to maintain a strategic advantage in how we develop and deliver our services. The role of Chief Executive brings with it both significant challenges and opportunities for strong and inspiring leadership, aligned with sound management across all service operations.

"The public sector has never been under so much scrutiny as it is now. However we must embrace this and use this scrutiny and challenge through transparent management arrangements to ensure we are accountable inter-nally and are able to demonstrate value for money to the people we serve.

"The role of Chief Executive at Lancaster City Council offers up a great opportunity for a suitable candidate to work with Elected Members and Partners, and lead a workforce that has a passion to serve the wider community. If you have a shared passion for supporting elected members in their role of community Leadership and the deliv-ery of first class local government services, combined with the drive and ambition to take the council forward, then we would be delighted to hear from you."

The Job Description


  • The Chief Executive is Head of the Council’s paid service
  • Act as the Returning Officer in local electoral matters
  • This role is the main link between Council Members and Officers, promoting positive and open communications between members and officers, ensuring strategic priorities are implemented in an appropriate and accountable manner
  • Principal adviser on matters of general policy, giving advice at council and committee meetings, providing the proper level of service to Members of all parties
  • Represent and negotiate on behalf of the council with external bodies and leads the development of effective and productive relationships, setting the right balance between the council’s own objectives and shared goals with other organisations that may support the achievement of public service and community objectives
  • The role is outward looking and is an ambassador for the council, ensuring it is fully engaged in a productive partnership with its stakeholders and communities to fulfil its community leadership role
  • To lead, coordinate and enthuse senior managers and staff in developing policies, actions and influence which reflect the aspirations of the council, ensuring that corporate strategies and public services are developed with a clear focus on supporting these aspirations
  • Exercise performance management across the organisation, ensuring that staff have work programmes, targets and appropriate appraisal systems that support achievement and improvement. The Chief Executive focuses upon forward planning, overall organisational performance and promoting the cultural change necessary to achieve all round service excellence
  • Communicate and engage others in ambitions for the vitality and growth of the local economy, creating sustainable and valuable local employment. Development of the ‘Ensuring Council’ principles to secure effective, value for money services
  • Optimise the council’s financial resources to provide the necessary capacity and capability to achieve planned objectives. Establishing appropriate financial planning, policies and strategic connections to allow the council to conduct its financial affairs effectively and manage future risks


• For a recruitment pack (which includes details on the post, job description and person specification) and an application form please download from the links below. The closing date for applications: 10am on Friday 12th February 2016



  • Lancaster City Council Corporate Plan 2015 - 2018
  • Application Form
  • Chief Executive Recruitment Pack
  • Lancaster City Council MTFS 2015-2018

  • Apply Now



  • E-mailable Form (Word)
  • Wednesday, 20 January 2016

    Local Cinema Round-Up for the 20th to 28th January 2016

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

    There is a good input of fresh material this period with six new movies making it to the local cinemas. There is animation with Capture the Flag (PG); historical action with Dragon Blade (15) and financial drama in The Big Shot. In addition we have science fiction adventure with The 5th Wave (15), police comedy with Ride Along 2 (12A) and an historical documentary My Nazi Legacy.

    Surprisingly with so many new additions, we have only one loss with The Lady in the Van which is no longer being screened. The period comedy Bill, and period dramas Brooklyn and Suffragette also make a return to the screens.

    Adult comedy is represented with the story of the Miracle Mop in Joy; and family crisis in Daddy's Home. For drama there is the excellent cowboy adventure The Hateful Eight, pugilistic action in Creed and survival against the odds in The Revenant.

    Family oriented films include Snoopy and Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie, Hotel Transylvania 2, The Good Dinosaur and Capture the Flag.

    Finally this period there is a welcome return of high culture with NT Live: Les Liaisons Dangereuses and ROH Live: Two Pigeons/Rhapsody.

    Reviews

    Brooklyn
    Director: John Crowley
    Certificate: 12A
    Cast includes: Saoirse Ronan, Fiona Glascott, Emory Cohen.
    The movie is a period drama, based on the novel by Colm Toibin. Eilis Lacey (Ronan) grew up in Ireland, but her sister (Glascott) arranged for her to move to Brooklyn for a chance to find a better future. Initially homesick, Eilis finds lodgings, a job and subsequently romance in the form of Tony (Cohen) who she meets at a dance. However back home her sister Rose dies and her mother gets her to return to Ireland. Here Eilis must decide whether to continue with her life at home or to return to New York. The film has been well received and is marked by very strong acting. An excellent movie that will tug at the heartstrings.

    Creed
    Director: Ryan Coogler
    Certificate: 12A
    Cast includes: Michael B Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tony Bellew
    Adonis "Donnie" Jackson (Jordan) is the son of former heavyweight boxing champion Apollo Creed. He is determined to become a fighter and looks up his fathers old friend Rocky Balboa (Stallone), who agrees to become his trainer despite problems of his own. Jackson gets a chance to prove his worth by fighting the world light heavyweight champion "Pretty" Ricky Conlan (Bellew). The movie closely mirrors the original Rocky with fighting underdog making good. However this is very much a film in its own right with Stallone and Jordan giving excellent performances, making for great entertainment.

    Daddy's Home
    Director: Sean Anders
    Certificate: 12A
    Cast Includes: Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Linda Cardellini
    A comedy. Conservative radio executive Brad (Ferrell) marries Sarah (Cardellini) and tries to be a good step dad to her two children. However his wife's charismatic and musclebound former husband Dusty (Wahlberg) comes for an extended visit. Brad finds he must now compete with their real father for the affection of his step children. There is a real on-screen chemistry between Ferrell and Wahlberg as they vie with each other and this provides plenty of opportunity for gags and comedy set pieces. However some of the gags are rather predictable leaving a film that is genuinely funny but seldom hilarious.

    In the Heart of the Sea
    Director: Ron Howard
    Certificate: 12A
    Cast Includes: Ben Whishaw, Brendon Gleeson, Benjamin Walker, Cillian Murphy
    A film based on a non-fiction book by Nathaniel Philbrick. It is set in the winter of 1820 when the whaling ship the Essex sets sail. Finding the local whaling ground is depleted, the ship ventures into the Pacific Ocean. Here prey is bountiful, but a massive sperm whale seeks vengeance against the hunters. It attacks the ship and the crew take refuge on a tiny island where they face the prospect of starvation. Hence they have little option but to take to the seas again to face the hardships and privations of an extended voyage to return home. This is a gripping film with convincing special effects and plenty of action, though somewhat lacking in suspense. An entertaining sea-fairing yarn.

    Joy
    Director: David O Russell
    Certificate: 12A
    Cast includes: Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Diana Ladd
    A semi-fictional biographical comedy drama about a mop, or how Joy Mangaro (Lawrence) became a millionaire. Joy is a divorced mother with two children, living with her extended dysfunctional family who all depend upon her. In the early 1990s she invents and markets the Miracle Mop. This becomes a great success, selling on a TV shopping channel. Her grandmother Mimi (Ladd) is always supportive of her, and it is she who supplies the narration during the film. The movie has a strong cast and Lawrence provides an exceptionally strong performance. There are some laugh out loud moments during the movie though at times it seemed a little flat. A good, but not a great film.

    Star Wars: The Force Awakens
    Director: J J Abrams
    Certificate: 12A
    Cast includes: Harrison Ford, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver.
    The movie is set some thirty years after 'The Return of the Jedi'. The power vacuum left after the Empire was vanquished has been filled by the 'First Order' who start to control the galaxy with their stormtroopers. The movie tells of the adventures of Han Solo (Ford), Chewbacca and Princess (now General) Leia (Fisher) as they join new characters including Rey (Ridley), a scavenger, Finn (Boyega) a First Order Conscript and a spherical droid BB-8 as they battle the First Order led by the ominous Kylo Ren (Driver). This movie follows the style of the first star wars trilogy and, for this reviewer, was much better than the prequels. Old characters make a welcome appearance to supplement the newer heroes and villains. An excellent movie in all respects and the best Star Wars yet.

    The 5th Wave
    Director: J Blakeson
    Certificate: 15
    Cast includes: Chloe Grace Moretz, Zackary Arthur
    A 'young adult' science fiction movie based on the 2013 novel by Rick Yancey. Our planet is being attacked by aliens called The Others, and their space ships hover over the planet. Rather than attack in battle, the aliens initiate a series of malevolent events or waves that devastate humanity. The first four waves occur rather early, and the movie concentrates on the fifth wave. Teenager Cassie Sullivan (Moretz) is caught in the action. She becomes separated from her younger brother Sam (Arthur) and seeks to survive so she can find him again. The movie benefits from a rather novel alien invasion plot, excellent special effects and a good number of twists in the plot, not all of which were predictable. Along the way Cassie finds love and the movie itself offers more by way of drama than action. An entertaining science fiction film.

    The Danish Girl
    Director: Tom Hooper
    Certificate: 15
    Cast includes: Eddie Redmayne, Alicia Vikander, Ben Whishaw
    The film is based on a novel by David Ebershoff and inspired by the lives of Dutch artists Lili Elbe/Einar Wegener (Redmayne) and Gerda Wegener (Vikander). Set in the mid 1920's Gerda is a portrait painter, but a sitter is late for an appointment. Hence Gerda gets her husband Einar to stand in for the missing female sitter. This has consequences. Einar has been harbouring a disire to become a female and the finished portrait attracts favourable attention from art dealers. Einar decides to permanently convert to his alter ego Lili Elbe and becomes one of the first people to received a surgical sex realignment procedure to change from a man to a woman. The movie follows both the artists as they come to terms with the change from Einar to Lili. A serious movie, well acted and well received that highlights the issues of gender reassignment.

    The Hateful Eight
    Director: Quentin Tarantino
    Certificate: 18
    Cast Includes: Samuel L Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Walton Goggins
    A mystery western set in Wyoming some years after the American civil war, and told in six chapters. A stagecoach bound for Red Rock picks up a number of passengers. These include John Ruth (Russell), bounty hunter, Daisy Domergue (Leigh) a criminal, Major Marquis Warren (Jackson) another bounty hunter and Chris Mannix (Groggins) the prospective sheriff of Red Rock. Due to a blizzard, the stage coach is forced to make a stopover at Minnie's Haberdashery and here the travellers meet a local hangman, a loner, a Mexican and a Confederate General. These eight must spend the night together. However, one of them is plotting evil and the night descends into violence and death. This is an excellent movie, stylish, well acted and with excellent dialogue. Tarantino slowly builds up tension and suspense during the first half of the movie, leading to a final climactic resolution.

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

    Salt Ayre plans pass the first stage

    There's a new look for Salt Ayre Sports Centre ahead. Image supplied for illustrative purposes only. Image © Createability
    Proposals for a multi-million pound redevelopment of Salt Ayre Sports Centre have passed the first stage.

    On Tuesday (19th January) Lancaster City Council’s cabinet unanimously supported the plans, which will now go to Full Council on Wednesday 2nd March for final approval.

    The aim of the project is to invest and improve facilities at Salt Ayre to make it a ‘community hub’ providing accessible sport and leisure facilities to the local community.

    Facilities would include a fitness suite, multi-functional training space, high ropes course, adventure play, BMX track, outdoor fitness equipment and a new spa facility. The reception area and café facilities will also be refurbished.

    Image supplied for illustrative purposes only. Image © Createability

    Image supplied for illustrative purposes only. Image © Createability
    The £5 million scheme would be delivered over five years starting in April 2016, subject to approval from Full Council.

    Money to finance the scheme would have to be borrowed, but the costs would be more than offset by increased income and reduced costs.

    The investment would be paid back within 12 years and without it the centre would continue to need a subsidy to stay open.

    Image supplied for illustrative purposes only. Image © Createability
    Councillor Darren Clifford, Cabinet member with responsibility for sport and leisure, said: “Salt Ayre Sports Centre is a very well used public facility, but it could be so much more.

    “If we go ahead with this project it gives us the opportunity to not only create a premier sport and leisure facility but, ultimately, reduce the amount it costs to run.

    “Given the huge amounts of money the council has to save over the next few years it’s incumbent on us to drive costs down and while we will need to borrow money upfront, investing now will save money in the long term.

    “If we don’t go ahead then costs will continue to rise and we might face the possibility in the very near future of looking at whether we can afford to keep the centre open.

    "The project will provide facilities much more in keeping with demand and enable many more people of all ages and abilities to enjoy leading a healthy lifestyle.”

    Cabinet members heard that only investing in essential planned capital improvements or repairs as opposed to any wider refurbishment would lead to a general decline in the quality of the facilities on offer.

    Without investment, the Council fears it is likely that gym memberships will decline further over the next few years and there would be a continued reduction in sports hall occupancy and sauna use.

    • February 2017 update: All images featured are courtesy Createability and are the  designs submitted for the project. The final designs used were the work of Karen Bignell of Bignell Shacklady Ewing


    Swingeing Cuts to Council Services Ahead as Tory Cuts to Funding Bite

    Councillor Richard Newman-Thompson says that in the face of more funding cuts, the City Council is "in an almost impossible position"
    Lancaster City Council's Cabinet has proposed plans to save £2.8 million annually over the next few years, as part of action plan to tackle a £5.6million funding gap by 2020.

    If approved by Full Council the plans which include cuts to CCTV provision, an end to Lancaster's role in the Youth Games, reviews of arts funding and the continued support of the Cottage and Maritime Museum, will see huge changes to the services delivered by the city council.

    New charges will be brought in and some services discontinued as the council looks to balance the books in the wake of further Government cuts which are facing rapidly-escalting opposition from councils across the country, including some that are Tory-led.

    Proposals in the budget plans include

    • Cuts to CCTV provision
    • A review of the future of both the Cottage and Martime Museums
    • Another review of local art funding
    • Backing out of the popular Youth Games from next year
    • Charging for admission to the Splash Park
    • More cuts to the remaining public toilet facilities (many have already been lost)
    • Charging Parish Councils for the costs of running local elections by 2019/2020
    • Handing back control of community pols to the County Council (which would make their fate uncertain)

    In the current financial year (to March 2016) the council will receive £9 million in funding from the Government. This falls to £7.9 million in 2016/17 and £6.9million in 2017/18. By 2020, it is expected to fall to around £5.9million.

    A number of reviews will also be set in motion to determine how the council can save the remaining £2.8 million it needs to find between 2018 and 2020.

    The savings come on top of almost £5m savings that have already been made since 2010.

    Councillor Richard Newman-Thompson, Cabinet member with responsibility for finance, said: “We find ourselves in an almost impossible position and are faced with decisions that we would prefer not to have to make. But with relentless cutbacks by the Government we have been effectively forced to cut services and bring in higher charges.

    “We don’t want to do this and while we will do our best to limit the impact on our communities, the reality is that we have to find the savings from somewhere.

    “Over the last five years the council has been able to make many savings by restructuring and changing the way it delivers services and becoming more efficient.

    “That will only take you so far and there comes a point where there just isn’t enough money to continue running the services you want. We’re at that point now.”

    Cabinet will present its draft budget for 2016/17 onwards for initial consideration by Council on Wednesday 3rd February 2016.

    At that meeting, it will also seek a decision to increase City Council tax by 1.99%, in line with previous years.

    Final approval for the budget will go to Full Council on Wednesday 2nd March 2016.

    View more information on Cabinet’s proposed budget

    Market Square Limes Fate to Be Discussed by Full Council


    Lancaster Market Square. Photo: John Freeman

    After a determined campaign by local people opposed to their removal, we're pleased to report the proposal to chop down Lancaster Market Square's lime trees has been deferred until the next Full Council meeting.

    The Council's Cabinet was to have decided the trees fate at a meeting at Morecambe Town Hall last night, but campaigners gathered more than enough signatures on a physical petition, backing up opposition voiced in an online version, to force a Full Council debate.

    The Council is proposing to remove the mature lime trees from Market Square citing additional cleaning costs and other issues, arguing in part that secretions caused by aphids make paving slippery.



    Campaigners, many furious at a lack of public consultation, have countered that the chosen paving itself is more at fault and offered a number of suggestions that could help solve problems without losing the much-loved trees.

    The City Council has confirmed the petition has triggered a Council debate which will take place at the next Council meeting.

    A spokesperson says the actual decision on the trees is for Cabinet, but Council, in debating the petition, may decide to make recommendations to Cabinet to inform its decision.

    The next Full Council is on Wednesday 3rd February 2016 at 6.00pm at Morecambe Town Hall. The full agenda has not yet been posted

    • You can sign an online petition here on change.org

    • Read our Open Letter to City Cabinet members about the proposal, challenging some of the claims made in the report

    Do You Think Cutting Down Market Square's trees is a Bad Idea?

    • Lobby your own City councillor

    • Lobby Lancaster's MP Cat Smith: 01524 566 551 or 01253 490 440 email: cat@catsmith.co.uk | Twitter @CatSmithMP

    • Want to get a quick response from Lancaster City Council? Tweet and include the twitter handle: @LancasterCC hashtag #savelancasterlimes

    • The Council's Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/lancastercc; there is already a discussion thread about the proposal on their Facebook page here

    • There is a Facebook group for the discussion about the trees here

    • Complain to the council officer recommending and responsible for their removal direct, Mark Davies, Lancaster City Council's chief officer for the environment. Call him on 01524 582000 – ask for him specifically

    New scheme launched to help "flood proof" properties in Lancashire

    Photo: Cat Smith
    The Government has announced details of a Flood Resilience Grant Scheme to help householders and businesses make their properties more resistant to future floods.

    Under the scheme, householders and businesses affected by Storms Desmond and Eva can apply for grants of up to £5,000 to help make their homes more resilient to flooding in the future.

    The grants, administered by local district councils, are intended to help homeowners and businesses put in measures which improve the property’s resilience or resistance to flooding, over and above repairs that would normally be covered by insurance.

    Speaking about the funding, County Councillor Jennifer Mein said: "All of Lancashire's affected councils have been working very hard with central government and other agencies to help homeowners and businesses to get back on their feet following the flooding. This new scheme should play a real part in reducing the impact of any future flooding.

    "As well as the £500 payments to all affected households there are other sources of funding available for householders and businesses, and I'd like to urge people to make the most of them. Details of the funding, along with who runs each scheme, are available on our website. If you're not sure if you're eligible, just ask."

    “We are determined to support people and businesses affected by the recent severe weather so they can protect their homes against future floods," said Northern Powerhouse minister James Wharton.

    “This government has invested nearly £200 million following Storm Eva and Storm Desmond to help flood-affected communities get back on their feet.”

    Every household flooded during the storms is eligible to receive £500 and district councils have now made the vast majority of those payments, with the remainder expected to be paid very soon.

    Support is also available for businesses severely affected either directly or indirectly by the flooding to help them recover and get trading again as soon as possible.

    This support for businesses is delivered through Boost Business Lancashire, the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership's growth hub. Businesses who are unsure if they may be eligible or who need help with the process are urged to speak to a Boost Business Adviser. Details of this support are available from the Boost Business Lancashire website: www.boostbusinesslancashire.co.uk

    Further help in the shape of local tax relief is available for residents and businesses whose properties have not been occupied due to the flooding, with details of the application process available from district councils.

    • More details on how to apply for the Flood Resilience Grant Scheme are available from the relevant district council. More details on what the scheme covers are available under flooding advice at the Lancashire County Council website: www.lancashire.gov.uk 

    • Help is also in place for households in particular need, for example because they are not insured. People may be eligible to receive this additional funding from a local discretionary fund being administered by the Community Foundation for Lancashire. Details are available here www.lancsfloodappeal.org.uk

    • Support is now available for farmers from a scheme administered by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). Details are available at www.gov.uk/government/news/recovery-fund-for-flood-affected-farmers-opens