Friday, 30 November 2012

British Land in Lancaster with Centros

The UK’s largest listed retail landlord British Land has acquired the Canal Corridor North site in Lancaster city centre. The land includes the former Mitchell’s brewery. British Land has appointed Centros as development manager (so it's not 'Goodbye Centros' after all, I got that wrong, sorry).

A development agreement is also in place with Lancaster City Council for the acquisition of its adjoining land to enable the delivery of a significant canal-side, mixed-use scheme across a 10 acre site.

Bound to the east by the Lancaster Canal and with two working theatres and a musicians cooperative, the site is next to the city centre and developers hope to significantly improve the city’s retail offer.
The project has had a troubled history, with first Carillion and then Centros upsetting local groups and residents with concerns about impacts on existing retailers, traffic, affordable housing, heritage, lack of clarity around design issues, financial liability and the lack of projections available around its proposed 250 year lifespan. See our many, many, previous stories. More recently a Judicial Review prioritised development of the site over a proposed out of town supermarket development in Scotforth, which was rejected. It is thought that the new development plans will include a foodstore. Locals await the latest round of proposals

British Land tell us:

"The development is set to further enhance the fortunes and overall appeal of the city. It will significantly improve public space, the city’s cultural attractions and retail provision. The scheme will also boost the local economy through the creation of many new jobs and act as a catalyst for attracting further investment.

"The next step over the coming months will be detailed discussions with key stakeholders including Lancaster City Council and English Heritage. This will lead to an extensive consultation process with the public."

The project has had a troubled history, with first Carillion and then Centros upsetting local groups and residents with concerns about impacts on existing retailers, traffic, affordable housing, heritage, lack of clarity around design issues, financial liability, skewed consultations and the lack of available short- or long-term projections around its proposed 250 year lifespan. See our many, many, previous stories. More recently, a Judicial Review prioritised development of the site over a proposed out of town supermarket development in Scotforth, which was rejected.

It is expected that the new development plans will include a foodstore.

Richard Wise, Head of Retail Development for British Land, said: “Working closely with Lancaster City Council and English Heritage, our aim is to deliver a scheme that complements the site’s historical setting. Lancaster has seen very little retail investment over the last two decades and we look forward to creating a retail and leisure destination to serve local people and attract significant numbers of visitors into the city.

“We are confident that a relatively modest initial investment could lead to a future development with a targeted end value of over £75 million.”

Councillor Janice Hanson, Cabinet member with responsibility for regeneration at Lancaster City Council, added: “This investment by British Land is a major coup and a vote of confidence in the future of Lancaster and the district as a whole.

“Along with the other exciting developments at Lancaster Castle and Luneside East, the Canal Corridor North site holds the key to our regeneration and future economic growth. These are exciting times for the Lancaster district and shows we are well placed to build our economy and create jobs for local people."

British Land is one of Europe’s largest real estate companies with seven million sq ft of high quality offices and around 28 million sq ft of retail space across 82 retail parks, 92 superstores, 13 shopping centres and 9 department stores.

The company owns Meadowhall shopping centre in Sheffield and is building the Leadenhall Building, informally called the Cheesegrater because of its distinctive shape, in the City of London.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Take time out to volunteer for sport

Local people are being invited to take time out for sport as part of a new scheme introduced by Lancaster City Council.

The 'Your Sport, Your Community' scheme has been set up to support and reward sports volunteers across the district and to recognise the valuable work they do within the community.

Anyone becoming a member of the scheme will benefit from support in finding volunteer placements at local sports clubs and getting access to training as well as being rewarded for their efforts with sports clothing and discount cards for council facilities.

Anyone interested in joining the 'Your Sport, Your Community' scheme or sports volunteering in the district is invited to book their place to attend the launch event on Wednesday 5th December at the Vale of Lune Rugby Club in Lancaster.

This free event runs from 6.20 until 8.00pm and will introduce the scheme as well as give potential volunteers the opportunity to meet a number of local residents who have benefitted from sports volunteering.

Former Lancashire Sports Volunteer of the Year and local resident Sarah Boak will help launch the event and is thrilled to be promoting the 'Your Sport, Your Community' scheme.

Sarah said: “Volunteering with the help of Lancaster City Council is a fantastic experience, as I’m given so many great opportunities to work in a variety of school and community settings as well as with a lot of different age ranges.

“Seeing all the smiles and laughter throughout the sessions keeps me motivated and is the reason why I enjoy volunteering so much, as I always finish every session with a huge smile on my face.”

Coun Jon Barry, Cabinet member with responsibility for volunteering, said: "It's people like Sarah who through her passion for sport can make a massive difference to the lives of people of all ages. It is hoped that this scheme will encourage others to come forward, share their skills and knowledge and help support community sport."

For more information and to book a place at the launch event visit or contact the council on 01524 582778.

Police hunt Morecambe garage thieves

Morecambe are appealing for information after four bikes were stolen from a garage in Morecambe.

At some point between midnight and 8.00am on the 24th November, the garage of a house on West End Road was broken into and two motocross bikes and two mountain bikes were stolen from inside.

Police have issued a description of the items and are asking anyone with any information to come forward. The four bikes, worth a total of over £2,000 are described as follows:

• KTM SX Pro senior motocross bike, 50cc engine, orange in colour with the number 96 on side and off road tyres, it is the 2004/5 model.

• KTM SX motocross bike 65cc engine, also orange with the number 15 on side and off road tyres, it is the 2005 model.

• Kona Sinder adult mountain bike with a 17 inch frame in red and white, front suspension, a black saddle, and 28 gears.

• GT Aggressor mountain bike with a 17 inch frame in red and white, with front suspension, a black saddle and 21 gears.

PC John Bradshaw said, “It would appear that whoever has taken these bikes has had to force open the garage door to gain entry and given they have taken four bikes,

"I’m sure they would have been noticeable when leaving the scene and so I would urge anyone who may have been in the area at the time and may have noticed anything suspicious, to get in touch with us.

“Similarly, if anyone has been offered anything similar for sale, I would urge them to contact us.”

Anyone with any information is asked to contact police on 101 quoting log number LC-20121124-0661

Monday, 26 November 2012

Massive cannabis find at Heysham port

Criminals looking to smuggle drugs via Heysham port are being warned that they are being watched following the seizure of £60,000 worth of cannabis.

Officers from Lancashire Constabulary’s port unit were carrying out routine checks on vehicles bound for the Isle of Man on Friday when a sniffer dog alerted them to the class B drugs. 60 nine-ounce bars, with an estimated street value of £60,000, were discovered in a spare tyre in the boot of a taxi.

40-year-old Darren Clayton, of Fordham Street, Liverpool, was charged with possession of cannabis with intent to supply and was due to appear before Lancaster Magistrates Court today (Monday.)

Lancashire Constabulary’s ports unit covers two major ports - the seaport at Heysham and Blackpool International Airport. It also has responsibility for numerous smaller ports and airfields throughout the county and monitors any sites that are used by aircraft or sea-going boats.

Detective Chief Inspector Gary Brooks, Lancashire Police, said: “Criminals who try to take drugs in or out of the county via these sites should know that they are being watched and will be caught.

“We take the policing of our ports very seriously and will work with users and operators of our ports, other police forces and law enforcement agencies on both sides of the water to provide a visible and effective deterrent to cross border crime and to make sure that our busy ports are secure.”

Residents are asked to help tackle drug importation and exportation by reporting suspicious activity involving boats or aircraft, or around coastal areas to the police on 101. In an emergency always dial 999.

New Lancaster community project aims to go "Beyond Radio"

After consultation with the public following the announcement recently that a local group were applying to Ofcom to license a new community radio station for the district, a name has been chosen for the station.

Over 100 names were put forward by local people following press coverage and via facebook and twitter. Proper Community Media (Lancaster) Ltd, the not for profit company developing the Ofcom application, had a difficult time choosing the name and in the end it came down to a vote as the members were split over the choices.

The new project will hopefully fill the gap left by the closure of DiversityFM, which ceased broadcasting some months ago.

Chief Executive, Duncan Moore, explained. “We wanted a name for the new station that was memorable and represented our desire to be more than just another radio station on the dial. In the end it came down to a vote among the members and from that a name was chosen that we feel best describes our aspirations for the new service we wish to establish.

"It was a name that cropped up very early in our consultations with the public and again towards the end," he continued. "We want to thank the many people who put names forward and I’m pleased to announce that we will take the project on from here under the name ‘Beyond Radio’. We hope that through the name local people will instantly recognise our intention to develop a community resource that goes further than just radio.”

The plan is to develop a station that not only engages with local people in a relevant way via FM radio and the internet, but in a face to face way by offering support for individuals and groups through training and community development work. Beyond Radio will be innovative in its output as well as in its engagement with local residents. It wants to find new ways to give listeners a much more rewarding radio experience and also wishes to work with other local media providers in helping residents shape their community.

Duncan went on to say. “We’re really encouraged by the messages of support from the public and I’m asked most days when the new station will be on air. We’ve a long way to go to that first broadcast and we have to convince Ofcom that Beyond Radio will be a viable alternative service for the district.

"Our immediate aim is to bring in funding to support us through the application process. A fundraising group has been formed and we’ll soon be out there spreading the word. If granted a license we hope that local people will take some ownership in the station through offering their ideas and support and when we’re broadcasting, their praise and criticisms as appropriate. We want this to be a true community station where local people feel they have real input.”

There is a website in development which will launch in December and this will broadcast some taster programmes over the internet so people can get an idea of the types of shows and material on offer in the future.

In the meantime if anyone wishes to contact Beyond Radio to offer financial support, no matter how small, or wants to know about website advertising, sponsorship or another aspect of the station they can e-mail or call 07855 696924.