Thursday, 9 August 2012

Morecambe man charged with explosives offences

Stephen Kay, 36, of Mardale Avenue in Morecambe has today (9th August) been charged with firearms offences and offences against the person relating to explosives.

The charges follow his arrest yesterday morning and an on-going investigation where explosive devices were made and directed towards a specific victim in 1999 in Heysham.

He appeared at Lancaster Magistrates Court today and has been remanded in custody. His next court appearance is 20th August.

There are four charges:

1. Possess firearm without a certificate
2. Possess weapon for discharge of noxious liquid/gas
3. Send/deliver explosive substance with intent
4. Place/lay an explosive substance with intent

Police appeal following theft from jewellers

Police are appealing for witnesses following a theft from a jeweller’s in Lancaster.

The incident happened on Tuesday 7th August at HM Samuels on Market Street between 4.00 and 4.10pm.

The offender has asked to see some engagement rings which were located in a display cabinet. The staff member has placed a ring on the counter and the offender has snatched it and ran off. The ring was worth over £3,000.

A CCTV image of a man police want to speak to in connection with this incident.

PC Philip Williamson from Lancaster police said, “I would appeal to anyone who recognises this man to come forward and get in touch.

“I would also appeal to people who may have been out in Lancaster City Centre on the Tuesday afternoon who may have seen a man acting in a suspicious manor who was perhaps running down Market Street.”

Anyone with information is asked to call Lancaster police on 101.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Refurb ahead for Dalton Square benches

Those of you who enjoy a quiet lunch in Dalton Square snacking on a sandwich will probably have noticed the benches have disappeared.

Contrary to rumour that this is some scheme to stop the Square being used by drinkers flouting the city's non-drinking public orders, we're pleased to report the Council have told us new benches will be installed next week. 

Just in time for the long-predicted "heat wave"!

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Festival organisers urged to make their funding bids

Morecambe Town Council is encouraging local organisations wanting to put on festivals and events in 2013 to to get applications for funding in as soon as possible.

Over the last three years the Town Council has financially supported the organisation of Festivals and Events within Morecambe.

This year, 24 Festivals and Events have been supported and the Town Council is keen to support and promote a further comprehensive programme of events in 2013, helping with their delivery and using them to promote the town both nationally and internationally.

The hope is that the festivals will provide a diverse range of festivals and events for local people throughout the year to help boost the local economy in all aspects.

With that in mind, the Town Council is seeking applications for funding from interested Organisations who wish to organise Festivals and Events in Morecambe which share the same vision.

Organisers may be from the voluntary sector, community groups or the private sector - but applications must be in by 7th September.

The Council is currently working with Lancaster University to evaluate the impact of the Festivals and Events that it supported this year, research that will be used to help make funding decisions for 2013. They're also keen to speak to businesses interested in sposoring the programme.

• Application forms for funding may be obtained from the Town Clerk, David Croxall by telephoning (01524) 422929 or by email at, or from the Town Council’s website at The closing date for applications is Friday 7th September 2012.

MBI Councillor jumps ship and joins Labour councillors

Tracy Brown, who has been an Morecambe Bay Independent Town Councillor for Westgate since 2011, has announced she’s resigning from the MBI Party and joining the Labour group on Morecambe Town Council with immediate effect.

The respected Westgate councillor - a teaching assistant who has a special interest in youth issues and is married to a serving soldier- says the Government ‘is increasingly out of touch on issues as varied as childrens services, housing and defence' and has decided to join the Labour Party.

"It’s my belief that this Tory-led Government promised much but has failed to deliver," says Tracy, who was the driving force behind establishing the urban child project on Morecambe Town Council. "The Big Society needs big-hearted people to do what’s right for all and in particular for those in disadvantaged communities.

"I want to actively campaign in those areas that are most in need of help.I look forward to facing the challenges ahead as a member of the Labour Party campaigning in Westgate to deliver fairness even in tough times."

"I’m very pleased that Tracy is joining the Labour party here in Morecambe," commnted Labour Group Leader and Vice-Chair of the Council, Darren Clifford, "And I know she will make a positive contribution.

"I’m looking forward to having her support in campaigning for the young people of Morecambe."

Bring Back the Castle Beacon, councillor urges

Councillor Ian Pattison has praised Beyond the Castle's consultation with the public over the weekend on the future of Lancaster Castle's surrounding area. 

Beyond the Castle is a design team running events and the projects to develop the green space around Lancaster Castle. The consultation took place in Market Square on Saturday 4th August and gave residents and tourists the opportunity to feed their ideas into the group and have a say on what they would like to see the Castle used for in the future and what they want to see in the surrounding area.

"I was happy to meet with David Redmore who is doing an excellent job with the Beyond the Castle group in planning this fresh project," says Councillor Pattison, who joined the consultation stall and is campaigning for the Castle Beacon to be returned.

"The consultation was imaginative and did an outstanding job, in including a wide variety of individuals of all ages from Lancaster and from outside the city."

The 'Beyond the Castle' project wants to create a high-quality public space around Lancaster’s historic castle and priory, down the hill and over the meadows to the quayside.
The first step invites everyone to imagine and design the possibilities, so 'Beyond the Castle' is asking people of all ages to share their thoughts and big ideas in a series of fun events over the summer and autumn.

Together with a team of designers and volunteers, people will have the chance to develop the first plans, with the aim of revitalising the space. There'll be a whole series of activity days to get people thinking about how they use the site at the moment and what they'd like to see there in the future.

As these plans are developed, any options that are considered will need to fit in with this historically important area of the city. 

Councillor Pattsion feels the project is vital for the future of Lancaster's tourism.

"We need to get this space invigorated," he insists, "and highlight the historic heritage of the city.

“Personally I would like to see the Castle Beacon return so it can be used for events and festivals in the future," he added. "The Beacon is significant to Lancaster's historic past and this should be celebrated.

"Now the Castle has ceased being a prison the intention will inevitably be to convert it into a tourist attraction. The Beacon will hopefully be back in place when this goes ahead and we can light it during events for charities, historic groups and the arts.”      

“I have written to the department responsible for Culture at Lancaster City Council on the issue of reinstating the Beacon. I have asked for an officer evaluation and report on how the it could be restored and how it could feature in future events.

"I will be working to get this report as soon as possible and work to get our city's Beacon back where it belongs.”  

• For more about the Beyond the Castle project, visit

Summer fun in a seaside town!

Morecambe Town Council have joined forces with the Arndale Shopping Centre to put on activities for the youth over the summer holidays.

The activities such as bouncy castles, gladiator duel, bungee run and a rodeo bull will take place on Wednesday 8th, 15th and 22nd August, in and around the Arndale Centre.

These events all form part of the Town Council’s initiative called the Youth Forum which is aimed at bringing the young people of Morecambe together to have their say on what should be done to improve the town and find ways of making these ideas into realities.

On the activity days anybody interested in the Youth Forum can get a chance to chat to a Councillor or Council Officer about any issues and ideas they have for Morecambe.

• For further information visit:

100 days until Lancashire elects first Police and Crime Commissioner

Today marks 100 days until the election of Lancashire's first Police and Crime Commissioner.

Lancashire residents will vote to elect a PCC on 15th November, with the successful candidate announced the following day.

The PCC will replace the current Lancashire Police Authority.

With just 100 days to go, the Authority is reminding the people of Lancashire of the forthcoming election and to ensure that they are registered to vote.

Following a recent review from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, Lancashire Police Authority has been praised for its work in preparing for the incoming Commissioner.

Published just last month, the report  noted Lancashire Police Authority has already put in place sound plans for managing the handover to PCCs, including ensuring partners are involved in the transition and making the public aware of what the changes will mean to them (using innovative communication channels).

"The Authority is continuing to work hard to prepare for the arrival of the Police and Crime Commissioner," says LPA Chairman Bruce Jassi. "There is still a long road ahead.

"Today marks a significant milestone for the Authority: with 100 days to go, we are continuing to manage internal matters appropriately whilst guiding the people of Lancashire through this transition and informing them of the many changes it may bring.

"The recent HMIC report was an important one for us; reinforcing our belief that our preparations are on track. We will remain positive and continue in our aim to provide a secure and smooth transition over to the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner in November."

• For more information about the election of Lancashire's Police and Crime Commissioner, go to: or follow them on Twitter: @LancsPCC

• The full HMIC report can be found at

Monday, 6 August 2012

Childhood dreams come true with opening of new Morecambe play area

An afternoon of fun and games will mark the official opening of a new family play and recreation area in Morecambe next week.

Lancaster City Council has worked with the local community to design the new Claypitts play area between Charles Street and Out Moss Lane.

Now, years of hard work will pay off when it officially opens with a family fun afternoon on Thursday 16th August from 5 to 7.00pm.

As well as the chance to try out the new play equipment, there will be free refreshments (while stocks last), face painting, balloon modelling and a children’s entertainer.

“The design for the Claypitts play area has been a real team effort between the council and local people, showing how we can all work together to take pride in our communities," notes Councillor David Smith, Lancaster City Council’s cabinet member with responsibility for Environmental Services.

“Having visited the Claypitts play area several times recently I've seen that it is already proving popular and I’m it sure it will quickly become a popular community resource for all.”

The Claypitts play area includes play areas for both toddlers and older children and a multi-use games area.

In Review: Tiny Ruins with Turnstone, Kristi Michele and Gareth Williams at the YoHo

Tiny Ruins
Tiny Ruins with Turnstone, Kristi Michele and Gareth Williams
at The Yorkshire House, 29 July 2012
Reviewed by Marion Dawson

The poster for Tiny Ruins' Lancaster gig features a quote from Radio 6 DJ Tom Ravenscroft's blog that makes me bristle with rage. Tiny Ruins is in his favour because she 'manages to avoid the applied angst that so often ruins the work of British female singer-songwriters ' apparently.  Perhaps some singer-songwriters are guilty of piling on the angst in a bid to get sympathy or appear interesting in the absence of talent, but this is hardly exclusive to the female gender.  It’s a bit disheartening that this was reproduced on the gig poster as some sort of compliment.  A bit like saying, ‘She’s good… for a girl’.  Why not just say she’s good?  Cos she is.

I hesitate to call New Zealand's Tiny Ruins ( a singer-songwriter.  Although, I guess, she does sing and write songs.  But there is something a little bit unusual and otherworldly about her music which makes me unwilling to use that hackneyed title.  Her songs do come with stories – excellent, otherworldly stories, like the priest who jumped off a cliff with helium balloons (he was never seen again).  Or how about the 'dead Russian', unnamed, whose last act was to order champagne?  Or the mysterious woman who 'lives in the Adelphi apartments' and 'reads Cannery Row before saying goodnight to the highway'.  They are stories that intrigue and spark the imagination.  But satisfyingly, they are also mostly true.  Hollie Fullbrook's use of language is creative and well-honed, without being overly romantic or obscure.  As in all the best stories and songs, every word and note serves a purpose.

This could also be said of her music.  With just one acoustic guitar, backed with double bass, Tiny Ruins does that canny musician's feat of making the difficult look effortless.  Her guitar finger picking is subtle and extremely skilled, using a capo to utilise all of the instrument's tonal range.  My favourite songs are at the higher end, evoking the sound of a mandolin or plucked violin.  Her vocals, like her songs, have a touch of Joanna Newsom about them, but are less affected.  You feel she is being herself, and the little stories from her life between songs sustain that impression.  Everyone is beguiled.

Cass Mitchell on the double bass doesn't say much, but her occasional vocals are rich and full, adding just the right amount of warmth to Hollie's pared down songs.  The double bass is barely noticeable much of the time but this is probably a compliment, meaning that it gels perfectly with the guitar, adding a subtle and necessary note of rhythm.

Cass and Hollie are shyly complimentary about Lancaster, saying they'd like to come back.  The response from this tiny but devoted crowd is adoringly enthusiastic.  The album I bought on the door, 'Some were meant for sea', is just as compelling as the live performance.  Coincidentally, I used to live with two people called Hollie and Cass.  If only they had played beautiful acoustic music instead of arguing all the time about the central heating bill!

Tiny Ruins is supported tonight by an impressively large Lancaster cast.  Unfortunately, it was a 6.30pm start, and as my brother was visiting I missed Gareth Williams and only caught the end of Kristi Michele's set (  Her melancholy acoustic songs are atmospheric and she has a strong, interesting voice.  I preferred her last song, for which she was joined, excitingly, by a friend on sitar.  But what I saw of her set was a bit repetitive for me, both lyrically and musically.  I would have found her songs more enjoyable if they were half as long – but that's just a matter of taste.

After Kristi, Turnstone ( stepped on stage to augment the evening with an impressive variety of instruments: guitar, bongos, fiddle and trumpet, as well as 'traditional' drum-kit. Not all of these instruments were played at the same time, which meant that each of their songs had quite a different sound.  I thought the fiddle worked best with the two women's voices, as although I love a trumpet in a rock band, the Mexican feel they were going for on those tracks just didn't work for me.  There was some skilled playing all round though and it was nice to hear two very different voices working together.  My brother thought that a tension between the two women added interest, but I must admit I didn't detect any!  The band's sunny disposition and musical flavour had me completely hoodwinked.  But then he also said that I missed their best song (the last one) while I was on the toilet.  So maybe he was making that up.

Turnstone's music is perfect for long, summer evenings, so it's a shame that we don't get so many of these!  But then we can always hide from the rain in the Yorkshire House.  Long may ECP Promotions gigs there continue (