Friday, 28 August 2009

Tyre Slashings: Arrests Made

Three youngsters have been arrested after 30 cars had their tyres slashed, causing damage which runs into thousands of pounds.

Police say the vehicles, parked in Gressingham Drive and its surrounding streets in Lancaster, were targeted overnight on Wednesday. The cars had some, and in some cases all, of their tyres slashed with a sharp instrument.

The cost of the vandalism was in excess of £5,000.

Following police inquiries and information from witnesses, three boys aged 10, 11 and 13, were arrested on suspicion of criminal damage. They have been released on police bail until October.

Sgt Jim Edmonds, Lancaster police, said: "A large number of cars were damaged over night, causing a lot of distress to residents. We have arrested three young males in connection with the incident and they are currently on police bail pending further inquiries.

"We have been carrying out reassurance work in the local community and want residents to know that we will take robust action following reports of this nature."

Local Heritage Opened to Public - for free!

from_chchst_jf.jpgHeritage Open Days, the country’s annual celebration of its rich architectural and cultural heritage, takes place this year between 10th - 13th September.

The nationwide promotion is a great opportunity to visit some of Lancaster's historic attractions that are either not normally open to the public, or which usually charge an entrance fee.

The Council are fully behind the scheme and have announced a large and varied selection of special openings and related activities will take place across Lancaster district, mostly concentrated on Saturday and Sunday, 12 and 13.

As well as free admission being available to Lancaster Castle, the Grand Theatre, Maritime Museum, Judges’ Lodgings and many of the district’s other well-known historic buildings such as Morecambe's Winter Gardens, a variety of properties not normally open to the public will also open their doors.

Behind-the-scenes tours of Morecambe and Lancaster Town Halls will provide a rare glimpse into the lesser-known reaches of the city council’s headquarters. The Lancaster tour will be accompanied by a reincarnation of lino magnate Lord Ashton, who gifted the building to the people of Lancaster.

In addition, at 11.00am on the Saturday there will be a Heritage Bike Ride around Lancaster. Meet at the Millennium Bridge for a short, leisurely, guided cycle tour, with frequent stops at interesting historical buildings.

Further afield, the Beatrix Potter Gallery in Ambleside is opening its doors to the public for free, as are venues such as Church Bow Cottage in Kirby Lonsdale and Sizergh Castle & Garden in Kendal.

• Further information on local Heritage Open Days is available from the Lancaster and Morecambe Visitor Information Centres, telephone 01524 582394 or 582808.

• For a full list of Heritage Open Days attractions in the North West visit

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Souled Out at Last Orders


Popular soul band Souled Out are gearing up for their first ever Lancaster gig next month, appearing at the Last Orders pub on Friday 4th September.

Formed back in the 1990s Souled Out have carved themselves a reputation for putting on live and lively show which is hard to top. An 8-peice set up with keyboards, guitar, bass, the legendary Souled Out Brass section gives them their unique sound.

"I'm really excited about this, lead singer Lloyd Corless told virtual-lancaster. "We've been together as a band for 15 years, playing virtually every weekend.

"I understand Morecambe and Lancaster have a great soul music following and it would be really good to see some soul fans down on that night."

• Souled Out appear at The Last Orders, 32 Church Street, Lancaster on 4th September. Souled Out on the web at:

Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen come to Morecambe


Veteran traditional jazz player, Kenny Ball will visit Morecambe's Platform on his 50th Anniversary Tour on Saturday 5th September - one of very few dates in the North West in coming months.

Kenny has flown the flag for his particular brand of jazz all over the world for 50 years, and it's a tribute to his stamina and musical integrity that Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen are as popular today as they were back in 1960 when they had their first chart hit with ‘Samantha’.

From that time, hit after hit came pouring out, gaining 14 Top 30 records - an achievement which has never been equalled by any other jazz artist and which included ‘Midnight in Moscow’ a top two in both the UK and USA charts. Kenny is, quite simply, the most successful jazz trumpet player this side of the Atlantic.

The band’s popularity was enhanced further by its four year spell on the Morecambe and Wise show and Saturday Night at the Mill, both of which were viewed by millions.

• The show will start at 7.30pm and tickets cost £14 from the box office on 01524 582803.

• Kenny Ball's Official web site:

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Couple fined for flouting planning laws

The owners of a Galgate farm have been ordered to pay a fine and costs totalling £7,950 after pleading guilty to flouting planning laws.

Charles Newhouse and Joan Telford, of Stoneybrook Farm, pleaded guilty at Lancaster Magistrates’ Court to breaching two enforcement notices issued by Lancaster City Council.

The court heard that Newhouse and Telford were served with enforcement notices in 2007 for a number of breaches of planning law at Stoneybrook Farm.

The breaches included having a static caravan on the land for residential purposes, using the site to store non-agricultural equipment and making a number of alterations to the site without planning permission.

The enforcement notices required a number of works to be completed to reinstate the site, including the removal of the caravan, and they were upheld by a planning inspector at an independent public inquiry in January 2008.

Despite this, they were not complied with and the council was left with no option but to prosecute.

Newhouse and Telford both pleaded guilty in court to breaching the two enforcement notices and were fined £6,750. They were also ordered to pay the city council's costs of £1,200 and that the city council could apply to the court for further fines if they continued to be in breach of the enforcement notices.

“Planning permission is not an ‘optional extra’ and is needed to ensure that people do not carry out works which have the potential to have a detrimental effect on our district," commented Coun Keith Budden, chairman of the council’s planning committee.

“This case should serve as a warning to other people that the council will have no hesitation in enforcing the law and will take action against those who flout planning laws."

Links to all the Enforcement Notices issued by the Council in the last five years

• Find out if planning applications have been made for work on your street: search for applications by street

Monday, 24 August 2009

Call for 20mph Speed Limit on Lancaster Roads

Green councillors have asked that a general, system wide, enforced, 20mph speed limit be set for every residential road and roads through villages in the area covered by Lancaster City Council.

The request, partly inspired by the success of similar schemes introduced in cities such as Portsmouth, Norwich and Leicester, will go to the Lancashire Locals: Lancaster joint committee meeting of city and county councillors on 1st September at 6.30pm in Morecambe Town Hall.

The call comes at a time when recent statistics gathered for Lancaster's 'Health Profile 2009' by the Association of Public Health Observatories indicate there have been 115 road injuries, including deaths, in the past year, against the national average of 54 (based on a rate per 100,000 population 2005-2007).

"Road safety - especially for children and the elderly - is a real concern for many residents," argues Councillor John Whitelegg. "The overwhelming evidence is that fatalities and serious injuries are dramatically reduced when a 20mph speed limit is introduced and enforced. This has already been done in several other local authorities and in other countries.

"Our district has significantly more road deaths and injuries than the England average. An enforced 20mph speed limit will bring a massive improvement in safety to the district.”

"In the run up to the recent county elections I raised this idea with hundreds of residents in Bulk and John O’Gaunt and over three quarters of those asked supported it," added Councillor Sam Riches, Green Party county councillor. I'm now urging the County Council to accept the idea and do it.”

The Greens are hoping that if their proposal is accepted, the 20 mph limit could be in place by March 2011

Lancashire Local-Lancaster District is a Joint Committee of the County Council and Lancaster City Council which provides a forum through which the County Council can prioritise its resources to best meet local needs and aspirations. Meetings of the Lancashire Local are generally open to the press and public.

Parish and Town Councillors, together with local people interested in specific agenda items, are able to have their say before decisions are taken.

Dome Ice Rink extends opening times

Morecambe's Dome is extending the opening times of its summer indoor ice rink due to popular demand.

The ice rink was originally due to close on Wednesday 26th August to make way for the Dome’s autumn programme of events, but, although the ice rink has to be taken down in time for the From the Jam gig on the 28th, a deal has now been secured for it to be rebuilt in time for the bank holiday weekend.

It will be open on both Sunday 30th August and Monday 31st August from 11.00am, with last admission at 4pm on each day.

The rink has been a tremendous success for the venue, which was recently saved from early closure by Lancaster City Council. More than 1,500 people have visited the ice rink since it opened on 9th August, providing some indoor entertainment and summer fun during the school holidays.