Thursday, 11 October 2012

Council backs Morecambe's Festival Market

Morecambe's Festival Market. Image courtesy Lancaster City Council
Lancaster City Council has reaffirmed its continued support for providing a sustainable market in Morecambe.

At a Cabinet meeting held this on Tuesday, councillors considered ways to improve market provision in the resort.

A number of measures to help improve the market in the short term were agreed.

These include:
  • Improving coach parking, either by a route into the car park or getting the existing layby properly designated /signed as a coach stop.
  • Improving marketing of the market to maximise the amount of visitors we get to market.
  • Investigate options for insulating / heating of the market.

In the long term the council will be looking at a range of options of how the market can be sustained, in the context of any plans coming forward as part of the Morecambe Area Action Plan.

The Plan - now being drafted - is intended to offer a vision and map the future of central Morecambe. It will create a framework for the development, conservation and change needed to secure lasting regeneration gains for the town.

It is expected that discussion about the future of the Festival Market will include consulting with traders, elected members, Morecambe Town Council, business representatives and shoppers.

Commenting on the outcome of the discussion, Festival Market Trader, Karen Kay, said: “This is a reassuring and positive step forward for Morecambe's Festival Market.

“As traders, we’re all committed to providing a market that’s a great place to shop for both local people and day trippers, and we’re pleased that the council has also publicly stated its continued commitment.

“We all have to work together to make it a success and if anyone in Morecambe or the wider district hasn’t been in to see us yet I’d urge them to do so as the Festival Market really is a great place to visit.”

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

"Poetry Podium" unveiled in Dallas Road Gardens

Writer of the Winning Words poem, Freddie Granger, stands on top of the new sculpture in Dallas Road Gardens after its unveiling.

Lancaster’s latest sculpture is pure poetry.

The city’s newest piece of public art was officially unveiled last Friday (5th October) in Dallas Road Gardens - just in time for National Poetry Day.

The Winning Words sculpture, which takes the form of an Olympic podium, features a poem by Lancaster schoolgirl Freddie Granger, carved by Alan Ward who lives and works in the city.

Alan Ward with his 'poem podium'
People can step on to it, if they wish, and perhaps even have their photos taken on Lancaster’s very own Olympic podium intended as a permanent reminder of the 2012 London Olympics.

The unveiling was the culmination of the nationwide Winning Words project linking poetry and sport. Lancaster was one of only seven towns chosen to take part in the nationwide project and Freddie Granger, aged 11, penned the best poem to be entered in the local heat.

Five primary schools – Christ Church, Bowerham and the Steiner School in Lancaster; Quernmore School,  and St Mary’s & St Andrew’s School in Barton – took part in the project which saw poet Chris Jam working with and inspiring young pupils.

60 poems were eventually submitted to the competition and Freddie’s took Greek mythology as one of its themes as she and fellow pupils at Lancaster Steiner School were studying ancient Greece at the time. 

Sculptor, letter-carver and art tutor Alan Ward was then commissioned to create the artwork and over recent weeks has been working on it in the playground of Dallas Road Primary School.

The podium is Blade Street-based Alan's latest public art to go on display in Lancaster. Other works include "Lune" and "Thomas Gray", which are integral parts of the Millennium Park attractions.

Winning Words is a Forward Arts Foundation project, led locally by The Dukes in partnership with LitFest. The other poems by local schoolchildren which were shortlisted in the competition are on display in The Dukes café bar this week.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Woodland improvement scheme seeks local backers

Lancashire County Council is appealing to landowners and businesses in Lancaster to join a woodland scheme which has already helped to boost tree cover at a local caravan park.

The Lancashire Woodlands Project helps landowners access funds to plant new woods and look after existing ones to improve wildlife, timber production, and people's enjoyment of the countryside.

David Wightman, managing director of Old Hall Caravan Park near Carnforth, contacted the woodlands project in spring 2010.

Paul Bullimore, manager of the LWP, said: "David wanted to improve the management of the woodlands on his site with the eventual aim of gradually replacing the existing conifers with native broadleaf species.

"We helped him to prepare a five-year management plan and apply to the Forestry Commission for grants towards the cost of the work."

Mr Wightman added: "The woodlands are important to my business but I am not a forester.

"Professional help in drawing up the management plan was really valuable and has allowed me to plan the long term management of these wonderful woodlands.

"The grant system can appear complicated for those unfamiliar with it and guidance from experts makes all the difference".

If you have land you could plant woodlands on or woodlands which are not managed please contact the project to discuss the options available.

• You can contact the Lancashire Woodlands Project on 01772 533917, email or find out more online at

Monday, 8 October 2012

City takes control of Storey, Tourist Information moves back

Lancaster City Council has taken control of the management of the Storey Institute, fulfilling its commitment to reinvigorating this important building.

Today (Monday 8th October) the city council forfeited the lease of the Storey Creative Industries Centre Ltd (SCIC Ltd), and took possession of the Storey Institute as a result of the company going into liquidation.

Because of the necessity to undertake certain operational investigations before pursuing legal procedures to gain possession, today was the earliest date that officers could implement the resolution made by Full Council in September.

Former tenants of SCIC Ltd have been invited to sign licences to permit them to continue operating their businesses from the rooms they occupy in the building until formal leases are granted to them by the council.

They will play an important part in securing the future of the Storey Institute and the city council will be working with them closely to secure its true potential.

Lancaster Visitor Information Centre, which vacated the building when the financial difficulties of SCIC Ltd came to light in July, has already moved back in.

Mark Cullinan, Lancaster City Council’s chief executive, said: “Since the Full Council took its decision to keep the Storey Institute open as a centre for the creative industries, we have been working towards regaining possession as soon as possible.

“Issues regarding company liquidation are never easy and that it is why it has taken until now to reach this position and for the head lease to be returned. In the interim the tenants themselves have been running the building and we are grateful to them for their continued support.

“The next stage is for the city council to continue to work with the tenants to make the building sustainable.”

The terms of the lease between the city council and SCIC Ltd specified that the lease could be forfeited in several ways, one of which was if the tenant (being a company) went into liquidation.

The city council chose the process known as ‘forfeiture by peaceable re-entry’ to secure the return of the building. This required the assistance of a certified bailiff to ensure that this procedure was conducted in accordance with the law.

Teenager has stomach removed after drinking 'nitro' cocktails.

A Lancaster sixth-former had to have emergency surgery at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary after drinking two cocktails containing liquid nitrogen at Oscar's Wine Bar on George Street in Lancaster last Thursday evening.

Although her companions suffered no ill-effects from drinking the cocktail, the BBC reported that the teenager, Gaby Scanlon, 18, from Heysham, began to experience breathing difficulties and severe stomach pains. Taken to nearby Royal Lancaster Infirmary at 11pm she was found to have a perforated stomach and given life-saving emergency surgery to remove it. She is said to be in a stable, though serious condition.

Lancashire Police issued a statement saying "Medical opinion is that this would have proved fatal had the operation not been carried out urgently. The premises involved have fully co-operated with all agencies and have suspended drinks involving liquid nitrogen. The investigation is still in its early stages and we are still interviewing witnesses to establish the full facts." The force said they had been warning other bars in the town about what had happened.

Liquid nitrogen vaporises at -196°C and in drinks creates a smoky “dry ice” effect. You can see a video demonstrating the making of 'nitro' cocktails at

According to the cancer survivor's forum you can live (with care and good luck) to be 100 without your stomach, thanks to advanced surgical techniques and the human body being a wonderfully adaptive system.  We wish young Gabby all the very best for a strong and speedy recovery.