Saturday, 5 May 2012

Future of Ryelands Park Consultation Events

Ryelands Park

Local residents are invited to enjoy a number of events at Ryelands Park this month which aim to bring everyone together to look at ways in which the park could be improved.

The Ryelands Park project is being led by Lancashire County Council and Lancaster City Council, along with members of the local community who are in the process of setting up a 'Friends of Ryelands Park' group.

Since December last year, the project has been organising events to help gather the views of local people on how Ryelands Park could be transformed into something more inviting and be able to offer something for everyone.

The next event will take place on Wednesday, May 16 at 6pm.  This will take people on a tour of the park and give them the opportunity to offer new ideas and comment on those already put forward.  The event will end at 8pm

On Sunday, May 20, a designer will be in the park from 2pm to 4pm to mark out areas on the ground to show what the potential new designs could look like.  Everyone is welcome to come along and give their views.

In addition to the events, a local history project is being launched which will look at people’s memories and experiences of the park and how it has been used over the years with a collection of photographs.

If you have fond memories of time spent in the park, whether they be family days out, sporting events or buildings from the past, and have photographs which tell your story, Skerton resident Elaine Corless is looking forward to hearing from you.

Please send your old photos to Elaine at Skerton Community Centre, Slyne Road, Lancaster, LA1 2JH.  Alternatively you can post them on the Ryelands Park Project Facebook page below.

To find out more about what is happening and how to get involved visit or contact Lancaster City Council’s Public Realm Officer, Helen Ryan on 01524 582822 or by email to

Friday, 4 May 2012

Police appeal after collision in Morecambe

Police are appealing for information after a collision in Morecambe earlier today(Friday 4th May).

At around 7.45 this morning, police were called to a report that a pedestrian had been hit by a Silver BMW outside Hest Bank Kennels on Coastal Road in Bolton-le-Sands.

The 18-year-old man was taken through to Royal Lancaster Infirmary with serious leg and arm injuries. The driver of the car was uninjured.

Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding the collision and are appealing for any witnesses who have not yet spoken to police to come forward.

PC Shaun Canning from the Road Policing Unit said; “I would appeal to anyone who may have been in the area at the time and who witnessed the collision to come forward and contact us by calling the new non-emergency number 101 quoting log number LC-20120504-0246.”

Railway Children and Midsummer Fairies set to entertain in the Park

Lancaster's Williamson Park is providing the backdrop this summer for a packed programme of outdoor theatre productions.

Throughout August there will be adaptations of Shakespeare’s Henry V and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Roald Dahl’s The Twits, Gilbert and Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore and E. Nesbitt’s The Railway Children.

Henry V

Join the cast of Illyria on Wednesday 1st and Thursday 2nd August at 7.30pm as they perform Henry V with all its patriotism, pageantry and poetry.

Many companies offer open-air Shakespeare. But only Illyria Theatre has won four International Awards for their Shakespeare productions.

In 2012, Illyria celebrates its 20th anniversary, the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and "a minor sporting event in London" with Shakespeare's most popular historical drama.

Full of patriotism, pageantry and poetry, it tells the gripping story of an inexperienced king who leads a small and weakened army into the battle of Agincourt against the might of the French battalions. With towering odds stacked against them the English win a sweeping victory.

But after such an extraordinary military conquest, how will Henry fare with the greatest challenge of all - the conquest of Princess Catherine's heart?

This stirring play has twice been the subject of major film adaptations, one starring Laurence Olivier and another starring Kenneth Branagh. Brimming with excitement, romance and a surprising amount of comedy it is now performed by Illyria, as originally written, with a reduced cast and on a stage inspired by those of the mediaeval touring troupes.

Tickets cost £13.50 for adults £8.50 for children/concessions and £39 for a family (2+2).

The Twits

Entertain the family at a matinee performance of Roald Dahl’s The Twits. Do you want to know why your spaghetti was squirmy and squishy? And why it had a nasty bitter taste? Because it was worms!

That’s just one of the horrible tricks Mrs. Twit plays on Mr. Twit, and she only does it because he puts a slimy frog in her bed. And he only does that because she puts her glass eye into his beer. And she only does that because well, you get the picture.

Mr. and Mrs. Twit loathe each other. They never wash and they live in a smelly old caravan next to a rotting tree. Bored of playing tricks on each other they decide to open a circus, capturing a family of monkeys and cruelly training them to perform in the ring. The local birds try to rescue the monkeys, but only with the audience’s help will the Twits meet a sticky end and the monkeys finally be set free.

Illyria promises a slimily, stickily, revoltingly funny show, from the most popular children's author in the world on Tuesday 7th and Wednesday 8th August at 3.30pm.

Tickets cost £13.50 for adults £8.50 for children/concessions and £39 for a family (2+2).

HMS Pinafore

On Sunday 12th August the wonderful comic opera, HMS Pinafore by Gilbert and Sullivan gets the complete Illyria treatment, faithfully performed by a reduced cast on a beautiful nautical set. Performed for one night only, the opera cheerfully mocks such Great British institutions as class, patriotism and the Royal Navy.

The performance starts at 7.30pm. Tickets cost £15 for adults, £10 for children/concessions and £45 for a family (2+2).

The Railway Children

The literary classic The Railway Children has been adapted into an award-winning performance by Heartbreak Theatre Company.

Watch the story unfold as the gentle Edwardian lifestyle is about to be turned upside down for Bobbie, Peter and Phyllis.

Mysteriously separated from their father, Bobbie and her family relocate to “Three Chimneys” in Yorkshire. As endless days stretch before them, the family set about establishing themselves and making friends in the village. The all-important railway runs like a life vein through the community and its importance grows–learning from the people in and around it, the children rediscover and piece their family back together as the story steams towards its heart-warming and iconic end.

Wrapped in a blanket of nostalgia, this show delivers the heart and soul of this timeless classic and, with inspirational storytelling and uplifting music at its core, guarantees to have the whole family, whatever their age, on their feet and cheering.

Choose from two performances on Wednesday 15 or Thursday 16th August at 7.30pm. Tickets cost £13 for adults, £9 for children/concessions or £39 for a family (2+2).

A Midsummer Night's Dream

The outdoor theatre season will conclude with Shakespeare’s best loved romantic comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Chapterhouse Theatre Company will whisk you away on a thrilling journey to the most magical of forests. Star-crossed lovers, playful fairies and raucous travelling players come together to create one of the most fun and frolicsome evenings of the summer.

Join them on Tuesday 21s or Wednesday 22nd August at 7.30pm.  Tickets cost £13.50 for adults, £8.50 for children/concessions or £39 for a family (2 + 2).

• Tickets for all of these performances are available from the Williamson Park gift shop or by calling 01524 33318 or online at You can also purchase tickets from Visitor Information Centres at Lancaster and Morecambe.

Lancaster May Day events - all week

Lancaster May Day celebrations last all week with gigs, a March and Rally on Saturday 5 May, a community picnic on  Bank Holiday Monday and all week there is a photographic exhibition in Lancaster Library depicting - 'A history of local political action'.

There will be a benefit gig at the Yorkshire House on Friday 4 May as the Rednblack Collective present Eastfield, The Sanity Clause and a debut Yorkshire House appearance for Manchester's Jezabellezza, who will be kicking the night off with her folk punk rhymes, and her keyboard! £3, from 8pm.

The people's March and Rally organised by the Lancaster and Morecambe Trades Union Council on Saturday 5 May starts from Market Square at 12 noon and will process around the city with many banners and a rousing show of solidarity. After the march there will be speakers and music in Market Square.
In the evening there will be a Cabaret + Quiz at the Gregson from 7pm in aid of Occupy Lancaster.

Sunday 6 May sees 'Funk the Cuts!' a music evening from 8pm at the Yorkshire House, fundraising for local hardest hit causes.
Featuring festival favourites, Room Full of Mirrors and support from Righteous Bees and local act the Convulsions.!/events/281672591919368/

Bank Holiday Monday 7 May will see the traditional May Day Community Picnic.  Bring picnic, rugs, games, kids and fun to Quay Meadow for Lancaster's traditonal May Day Community Picnic on Quay Meadow / Priory Field (between Priory + St George's Quay). Time tbc but usually noon onwards.
See Lancaster May Day on facebook for more about the May Day celebration events.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

West Lancashire Vegan Fair coming to Lancaster

This year the West Lancashire Vegan Fair will be held in Lancaster on Saturday 12 May from 11am - 5pm, at the Friends Meeting House next door to Lancaster train station. It is set to be an even bigger success this year, because there are a lot of vegans and vegetarians in Lancaster.

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 many beers).  Most vegans will not wear or use leather goods either.  The reasons for these choices may be personal, ethical, religious, political or environmental. Dairy and beef production in particular have a very heavy carbon footprint and many believe that moving our diets towards veganism is one way to begin tackling this problem.

Whatever the motivations, they need to be strong as it can be difficult to get foods that contain no animal products at all when away from home. It is remarkable how eggs, dried milk or animal fats sneak into everything. One spends a great deal of time reading labels and groaning. Or interrogating indifferent waiters, barstaff and bakery assistants.  Few places provide balanced meals with non-animal protein.

But Lancaster is indeed one of the easier places in the UK to be a vegetarian and one of the few places where a vegan stands a chance of eating out regularly on real meals. Everywhere else it is all  jacket potatoes and baked beans - if you are lucky.  The city has one entirely vegetarian and vegan cafe, (the Whale Tail), one entirely vegetarian and vegan caterer at the open air market, another cafe (Bohemian Wraps), with many vegetarian and vegan options, and a community centre with many vegetarian and vegan options, (the Gregson). Lancaster also has five wholefood / health food shops. Vegetarianism is common enough that most eating establishments offer vegetarian options. Most local restaurants will shape up reasonably well on the vegan front  if they get advance warning when you book (make sure they understand the difference between a vegetarian and a vegan, and that a mushroom, even a big one, is not a meal for an active adult).  You can even eat vegan in Wetherspoons.

And if you ask at the vintage 'Sunset Ices' ice-cream van on Morecambe Prom you can even get non-dairy ice-cream!

Attractions a this this year's Vegan Fair include: 50+ stalls over two floors; Free vegan food; Vegan cookery demos; Speakers; Films; Free recipe booklets; Vegan cafe; Children's area; Aftershow.

Vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores are all welcome.

For more information, please go to the website at:
Or you can 'phone Roddy on 01253 895271, or email

For more about veganism visit: The Vegan Society website at

Morecambe's Catch the Wind Kite Festival Sunday 13 May

Morecambe's Catch the Wind Kite Festival 
Once again, there will be fantastic seaside fun for all the family at Morecambe's famous 'Catch the Wind' Kite Festival on Sunday 13 May from 12 noon - 4pm. Join hundreds of people of all ages Kite flying on Morecambe  beach - a magical experience. Absolute beginners are welcome!

There will be a spectacular display of custom kites and stunts and tethered ariel effects, plus live music all afternoon on the Platform forecourt green. Children (and adults) can enjoy free kite, paper aeroplane and wind chime making workshops in the Platform. On the Prom there will be stalls with easy, fun kites (and advanced). tethers and parts, and the radio roadshow.

For more information about the Catch the Wind Kite Festival  tel More Music on: 01524 831997 or visit

Low tide is at noon so you have all the beach!

Spotlight announces One-to-One Writing Surgeries

Whether you are just starting outor have been writing for some time...Whether you write for performance or the page...Would you like feedback on your writing?

Lancaster's Spotlight - the same team that run the Spotlight events at the Storey- are running another of their One-To-One Writing Surgeries on Sunday 13th May, from 2pm - 4.00pm at The Gregson Centre on Moor Lane.

Places are limited and must be booked in advanceas a sample of your work will be required prior to the surgery.

Lancaster Spotlight is funded by Arts Council England and supported by Lancaster City Council. Spotlight works in association with litfest.

- Fee: £5 (Free to unwaged). To sign up for a 20 minute writing surgerye-mail: More info:

Lancaster Police hunt tow path robbers

Police are appealing for witnesses to a robbery that occurred near to the canal towpath in Lancaster on Monday afternoon (30th April).

The incident took place around 1.45pm on the grassy area adjacent to the canal towpath at the rear of the Riverview Day Centre on Langdale Road. The 21-year-old victim, who is a final year Fine Arts student at Lancaster University, was taking pictures for a project when he was approached by three youths wearing hooded tops. They asked him for the time and when he produced his Blackberry curve mobile phone from his pocket they have snatched it from him and refused to return it.

After initially leaving, they have turned around and approached him again. One offender punched him before another produced a pair of scissors and pointed them at him, demanding his camera. Fearing for his safety, the student handed the camera over before running away onto the canal towpath where he stopped a passer-by and used her phone to contact the police.

The three offenders made off down Bulk Road onto Caton Road and across towards Skerton. They are all described as white, the youngest was aged around 16 and the other two were between 18-21 years old. All were wearing hooded tops, one of which was beige and grey in colour with a muddy front. They also had a black holdall type bag with them.

DC Ian Wright from Lancaster CID said: “The victim is devastated by what has happened but thankfully suffered no injury as a result of the robbery. I’d appeal to anybody that witnessed this incident or has any information about the persons responsible to come forward.

"The camera stolen is a black Sony A55 SLR digital camera with separate lens. It is worth £560 and is a vital piece of equipment for the victim’s University course. I’d urge anybody that has been offered the camera for sale or has any information about it to contact Lancaster Police on 01524 596634 or 101."

• People with information can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or on-line at No personal details are taken, information is not traced or recorded and you will not go to court.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Freeman's Woods - Council's response to waste concerns

Lancaster City Council has responded to concerns Virtual Lancaster raised about possible exposure of material contaminated by asbestos at the Freeman's Wood site, an historic landfill site owned by Bermuda-registered company The Property Trust Group and recently part-excavated by a private company. The council's  response also addresses concerns raised about the extent of waste that has recently been strewn outside the site, on public footpaths and their verges.

All photos with this article were taken just outside the site perimeter in March 2012.

The Council's full statement says:

"During a recent visit to the site by the council's Contaminated Land Officer, a relatively small quantity of made ground / waste materials were noted in close proximity to a recently constructed galvanised palisade fence.  These materials appeared to have been disturbed during the construction of the fence.

"The materials were visually inspected and there was no evidence of any risk to public health, including no sign of fibrous materials at the surface.

"It is not within the council's powers to take any further action at this time.  However, should the council receive a planning application from the landowner to develop the site in the future, it will have a duty and responsibility as local planning authority to assess any risks relating to land contamination as part of the planning process."

Local residents will doubtless be greatly reassured by this statement from the City Council. However it does seem as if the Council is exercising a great deal of discretion in its dealings with  this multi-million dollar offshore development company. 

As part of a crackdown in June 2010 by Lancaster City Council, 75 people were issued with £80 fixed penalty notices for dropping cigarette butts and litter in the Lancaster district (read report). 

In December 2009 a Morecambe woman pleaded guilty to three charges, brought by the City Council,  of flytipping in a quiet Lancaster lane (read report)  Although she claimed to have paid a private contractor to remove waste from her premises, she was fined £400 and ordered to pay £300 costs and £15 victim surcharge for failing in her duty of care. 

The council is committed to maintaining the cleanliness of our district," commented Lancaster City Council’s Coun Jon Barry, back in 2009. "Whether it's a case like this, or someone dumping a single bin bag in a back street, fly tipping is something that spoils the appearance of the area. Once a fly tip is identified it then has to be cleaned up and investigated, all of which creates a cost to the council tax payer."  

Virtual Lancaster has contacted the Environment Agency regarding the exposure and scattering of historic landfill material and their response is expected in due course. According to their website listing for the site it contains 'Waste that has hazardous properties and is defined in the Special Waste Regulations 1996.' 

Police appeal after arson at Morecambe home

Police are appealing for information after a fire outside an address on Brunswick Road in Morecambe last month.

At around 4.00am on Thursday 26th April, the occupants of the address were asleep when they heard a loud bang. Looking out the window, they saw a fire had been started outside their door.

Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service were called and extinguished the fire and fortunately no one was injured.

Detective Sergeant Mark Stephens said, “I would appeal to anyone who has any information or who may have been in the area around that time that saw anything suspicious to come forward and contact us.

“In particular, a man wearing dark clothing was also seen to run from the front of the house, across Brunswick Road towards ‘Marios’ and ‘Rumblin Tums’ takeaways on the junction with Sefton Road and so I would urge anyone who thinks they may have seen this man or anything else at all suspicious in the area to call us.”

• Anyone with any information can contact police by calling 101, Lancaster and Morecambe CID on 01524 63333 quoting reference BA1201602 or alternatively, information can be passed to the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or on-line at No personal details are taken, information is not traced or recorded and you will not go to court.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

We'll Meet Again... in Morecambe

Celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee with a celebration of wartime entertainment when We'll Meet Again comes to the Platform in Morecambe on the afternoon of Friday 18th May.

With an all star cast of your favourite artistes including singing star from the West End Musical The Sound of Music, Marilyn Hill Smith, this show guarantees to bring the spirit of the wartime era alive and recreate the music and memories that kept Britain smiling through her darkest days.

The damp eye nostalgia leaves you with a warm and sentimental glow as music, comedy and songs remember Vera Lynn, George Formby and many more.

• We'll Meet Again starts at 2pm, Friday 18th May 2012. Tickets cost £10 and are available on-line at, from the Platform Box Office on 01524 582803 or in person from Lancaster and Morecambe Visitor Information Centres.

Monday, 30 April 2012

Enjoy a moonlight serenade at the Platform

The Moonlight Serenade Orchestra UK will be swinging into action at the Platform in Morecambe on Saturday 12th May.

Founded by trumpeter, Kevin Cunningham, the Moonlight Serenade Orchestra UK has wowed audiences in concert halls and theatres all over Great Britain with their skill and passion for swing music since they formed in 2003.

Known for its mix of big band swing teamed with outstanding vocals, the orchestra's repertoire ranges from the classics of Glenn Miller through Count Basie, Tommy Dorsey and Benny Goodman to the cool vibe of Sinatra with a touch of Gene Krupa thrown in.

The Moonlight Serenade Orchestra UK’s musicians happily state that they are the hardest swinging big band in the UK but don’t take their word for it, come and see for yourselves!

The performance begins at 7.30pm. Tickets cost £13 and are available on line at, from the box office on 01524 582803 or in person from Lancaster and Morecambe Visitor Information Centres.

• For more information visit