Friday, 12 April 2013

Celebrate St George’s Day with Lancaster City Council

Lancaster City Council's Visitor Information Centres are inviting you to celebrate one of the country's most renowned heroes on Tuesday 23rd April.

The date marks St George’s Day, the patron saint of England (and other places, he's quite cosmopolitan). Visitors to Morecambe and Lancaster Visitor Information Centres will be able to pick up a St George’s Day fact sheets, ‘Things you never knew about St George’ and ‘The Legend of St George and the Dragon’  as well as enter a free prize draw to win a hamper full of goodies.

There will be lots of St George’s Day gift ideas - dragons, knights on horseback, castles, magnets, key rings and car flags, and both centres will be dressed for the occasion with traditional flags and banners.

Morecambe Visitor Information Centre will be celebrating the traditional English seaside theme selling the new Wall's bright and bold collections, influenced by the iconic imagery of favourite Wall's lollies such as Twister, Feast and Split.  Items within the range include stoneware bowls and mugs, glasses, canisters, coasters and fridge magnets.

The displays will be in the centres from 23rd April for one week so pop along and find out more about the ‘real’ St George.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Dalton Square move for taxi rank reviewed

Representatives from Lancaster City Council, Lancashire County Council, Lancashire Constabulary and United Utilities recently met with representatives from the district's taxi traders following the first week of United Utilities' major improvement works in the city centre.

The meeting was held as part of the planned review process that had been agreed following the temporary relocation of the bus station taxi rank to Dalton Square, which has provoked concerns from taxi drivers and taxi users alike - and, last week, led to some drivers unoffically using Butterfield Street car park, which is near the bus station, as an unofficial rank.

The Council says the meeting was very constructive and actions were agreed to look at ways of improving traffic movement and safety in Dalton Square and the potential for temporarily increasing taxi rank provision during certain hours at two other city centre locations.

It was also agreed to reconsider a proposal to provide a phone link between the bus station and Dalton Square taxi rank would be revisited.

All parties agreed that the opportunity to review was useful and would continue during the period of works in the city centre.

A number of alternative locations for the bus station rank, which is closed while United Utilities work on the town's sewers is in progress, were considered by the licensing authority. These alternatives were all discussed with the trade and the County Council as highway authority but of the options considered, only Dalton Square was deemed suitable by the County Council. This temporary rank came into action for the first time last week and is being used by the vast majority of hackney carriage drivers.

Separately, a small group of hackney carriage drivers are seeking planning permission for their company to use part of a private car park at Butterfield Street as an alternative private taxi rank. The planning application will require consultation with county highways and the police, and will be considered in due course.  If planning permission is granted then the City Council as licensing authority will consider whether it should be designated as a rank.

Morecambe's TT legend McGuinness honoured

Picture by

Morecambe’s John McGuinness has had his achievements at the Isle of Man TT Races recognised ahead of the 2013 event with a section of the iconic 37 and ¾-mile course named after him.

With 19 wins already to his name, the second highest in total behind Joey Dunlop, the point of the course which will now be known as McGuinness's is at Shoughlaigue, the fast run down from Handley's Corner before the top of Barregarrow.

It’s John’s favourite part of the course and one where he believes he can gain time on his rivals. The corner will now have a new-look sign along with individual artwork to reflect the rider's iconography.

The sign at McGuinness’s features the infamous voodoo artwork that has adorned his helmets for many years.

John first competed on the Isle of Man in 1996 and took his first win in the Lightweight 250cc race three years later, the year he also became British Champion. He has now racked up a staggering 19 race victories, including two at last year’s event, and 36 podiums as well as being the outright lap record holder with a lap of 131.578mph, which he set in 2009.

“It’s an absolute honour," says John of the recognition, "and I was pretty speechless when the organisers told me about the idea.

"It’s the most famous circuit in the world and you grow up watching the greats who go on to have corners named after them and now I‘m sitting here with a corner named after me, it doesn’t get much better than that. I was close to tears when I was standing by the sign today and what’s particularly nice is that it breaks a tradition and honours a current rider.”

“The corner I chose is one that always gives me a special thrill when I ride my bike through it. You never see many people watching there and some people might not even have given it much thought but it’s part of the course I love to ride through. It’s a high speed, 6th gear corner, and probably 180 mph on a Superbike, which, when you go through it in a car, you wouldn’t think would be possible. It’s a fantastic sequence of bends and the last left opens up lovely so you can get a good run down to Barregarrow. It’s a bit of a childhood dream to have part of the course named after you and for generations to come it will always be called McGuinness’s.”

Fellow TT competitor Dave Molyneux has also had a corner named after him, the Manxman having won 16 sidecar races since his debut in 1985. This is the highest total recorded by a sidecar competitor and the third overall behind Dunlop and McGuinness. The newly named corner, the fast right-hander at the end of Cronk-y-Voddy straight, will now be called Molyneux's.

The pair join other great names from motorcycling history in having sections of the course named after them, including Giacomo Agostini, Geoff Duke, Jimmy Guthrie, Mike Hailwood and Dunlop.

• TT2013 begins on 25th May on the Isle of Man and runs until 7th June. Official web site:

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Mother and son found dead in Bolton-le-Sands named

Lisa Clay and her six year old boy Joseph Chadwick

Police can now name the mother and son found dead at an address on Lowlands Road in Bolton-le-Sands yesterday morning.

They are 41 year old Lisa Clay and her six year old boy Joseph Chadwick.

A Home Office post mortem examination carried out last night on both bodies revealed that they both died as a result of receiving multiple stab wounds.

The investigation continues and a 34 year old man remains in a serious condition at the Royal Preston Hospital. He is under arrest on suspicion of murder.

Lune Valley residents battle Wind Farm plans, question motives of backers

Lune Valley residents are fighting another Wind Farm proposal, despite plans from Cheshire based company Community Windpower being thrown out before.

Community Windpower is has now submitted plans for a third time to erect 10 massive wind turbines, high up on the moor above the Lune Valley, near Lancaster, which residents say will ruin the wild beauty of the moors.

If the plans are approved, the new turbines would be built adjacent to the existing wind farm on Caton Moor.

"The new turbines would be much taller than the existing eight turbines on Caton Moor," says Lune Valley resident Steve Anthony. "They will also be sited on much higher land at the top of the moor and will be significantly more prominent in the Lune Valley and the surrounding villages.

"If the proposed application went ahead it would be a desecration of the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty."

Locals are objecting to the plans because they feel the development is of an inappropriate scale given its location within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Countryside Area, and that the development would have an adverse visual impact upon the landscape.

They also argue the development would have an adverse cumulative impact upon the environment affecting the area's biodiversity and hydrology , including within the Biological Heritage Sites, which has not been adequately assessed, so appropriate mitigation against and/or compensation for the development cannot be identified.

"The development would be overbearing, dominant and intrusive on a number of nearby residential properties," says Steve.

The campaigners also question the motivation behind the scheme - which it's felt by some are hardly "community friendly".

"Wind Farms generate very large profits for the Wind Farm Energy companies themselves and landowners from subsidies. Over £5 million a year, just in subsidy payments, This subsidy is paid for by us, the public - and is concealed in our electricity bills."

"The Lancaster and Morecambe area has already contributed considerably towards UK energy requirements via Heysham Power Station, the Morecambe Gas Field and the existing Caton Moor Wind Farm," Steve feels. "We don't deserve to be penalised by having our beautiful environment being scarred for another 25 years – all for the sake of donating even more money to wealthy landowners and greedy energy companies."

Community Windpower is offering the local community benefits to gain support for its plans, comprising of a Community Trust Fund of £1,000 per MW per year for 25 years, as guided by the RenewableUK Community Benefit Protocol.

The company says the Trust Fund for this project, based on an installed capacity of 23MW, would be £23,000 per annum for the lifetime of the project (25 years). Applications for funding would be open to community groups, charities, events and other parties from within the parishes of Caton-with-Littledale, Claughton, Hornby-with-Farleton and Roeburndale.

Based on a standard capacity factor of 30%, the company says the wind farm would generate electricity for over 13,000 local homes and displace around 25,990 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year (equivalent to 649,750 tonnes of carbon dioxide over the 25 year life of the wind farm).

• The planning application and accompanying documents can be viewed via the Council's online planning portal by searching for the application reference number which is 13/00128/FUL.

• A copy of the Non-Technical Summary can be downloaded here.

• To comment on this application,  submit your comments to Lancaster Council. Send an email to re planning application reference 13/00128/FUL with your reasons why the application should be rejected.

Community Windpower Project Page

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Woman and boy found dead in Bolton-le-Sands

An investigation is underway following the deaths of a woman and a boy in Bolton-le-Sands.

Around 11.40am today (Tuesday 9th April), police were called to an address on Lowlands Road.

On arrival they found a woman and a boy deceased and a man suffering from stab wounds. He has been arrested on suspicion of murder and has been airlifted to the Royal Preston Hospital where he is described as being in a serious condition.

A cordon is in place at the scene and a murder investigation has been launched.

Post mortem examinations to establish the causes of death will be carried out in due course.

Detective Superintendent Paul Withers, who is leading the investigation, said: “We are still in the very early stages of this investigation, but we are conducting a number of enquiries in order to establish the exact circumstances surrounding the deaths.

“This is being treated as a murder inquiry. If anybody has any information which they believe could assist our investigation I would urge them to contact police.”

Anybody with any information can contact police on 101 or 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.

Nominees published for Lancashire County Council elections

The full list of candidates has been published for the Lancashire County Council elections on Thursday 2nd May 2013.

On the website you can get more information about the elections and register to get results once the votes have been counted.

Candidates have until noon on Wednesday 10th April (tomorrow) to withdraw their nomination.

The nominations in the Lancaster and Morecambe area are as follows:

Ken Brown - Conservatives
Nigel Brown - UK Independence Party
Geoff Knight - Independent
Margaret Pattison - Labour
Gisela Christine Renolds - Green Party

Lancaster Central
Gina Dowding - Green Party
Colin Hartley - Labour
Peter Lloyd Jewell - Independent
Steve Metcalfe - Trade Unionists and Socialists Against the Cuts
Michael John Mumford - Liberal Democrats
Sally Patricia Thornton - UK Independence Party
Janet Walton - Conservatives

Lancaster East
Billy Hill - Conservatives
Richard John Newman-Thompson - Labour
Edward Oldfield - Independent
Sam Riches - Green Party

Lancaster Rural East
Susie Charles - Conservatives
Chris Coates - Green Party
Stuart Langhorn - Liberal Democrats
Frederick McGlade - UK Independence Party
Joyce Pritchard - Liberal Democrats

Lancaster Rural North
Matthew David Hood - Labour
Alycia Jayne James - Conservatives
Mark Robert Nelson - UK Independence Party
Mark Westcombe - Green Party

Lancaster South East
Jack Filmore - Green Party
Chris Henig - Labour
Joan Jackson - Conservatives
Janie Elizabeth Kikman - Liberal Democrats
Peter Tolulope Okenla - Trade Unionists and Socialists Against the Cuts
Alexander James Woolf - UK Independence Party

Morecambe North
Tony Anderson  - Independent
Tony Jones - Conservatives
Abi Mills - Green Party
Stephen Charles Wheeler - Labour

Morecambe South
Daniel Clifford - Labour
Roger Dennison - Independent
Michael Gradwell - Liberal Democrats
Harris Kaloudis - Green Party
Gina Loxam - UK Independence Party
Barry John Maguire - Socialist Labour Party
Susan Sykes - Conservatives

Morecambe West
Harry Philip Armistead - Leberal Democrats
David Gallagher - Conservatives
Janice Hanson - Labour
Steven Thomas Ogden - UK Independence Party
Catriona Stamp - Green Party
Geoff Walker - Independent

David Charles Fleet - Green Party
Nigel Goodrich - Conservatives
Niki Penney - Labour

For a full list of nominees, visit the county council's elections page -

Monday, 8 April 2013

New local Public Health Director has eye on outcomes

Public Health England (PHE) – a new national body covering the Cumbria and Lancashire area,  is an executive agency of the Department of Health, from 1 April, 2013.

As part of the changes across the health service to a system of new local Clinical Commissioning Groups, PHE's role is supporting and enabling local government, the NHS and the public to protect and improve health and wellbeing and reduce inequalities.

The new organisation has taken on the responsibilities of a number of existing bodies which were abolished on 31 March 2013. They include the Health Protection Agency, the National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse, the nine Public Health Observatories, the UK National Screening Committee and NHS cancer and non-cancer screening programmes, the Cancer Registries, Quality Assurance Reference Centres, public health functions from Strategic Health Authorities, Specialised Commissioners and parts of the Department of Health, including Public Health Marketing. They are in the process of migrating their websites.

The setting up of Public Health England comes alongside the move of local Directors of Public Health and their teams from NHS Primary Care Trusts, also being abolished, into local councils, who will take the lead in the future for public health.

As well as national centres of particular expertise, PHE will have four regions – North, Midlands and East, London and South – and 15 centres around the country – including a centre in Cumbria & Lancashire.

Each centre will have a director and teams of specialist staff and will work with local government, the new Clinical Commissioning Groups and NHS England and the wider NHS, to tailor PHE’s services to their local wishes and needs.

The four regions, meanwhile, will be keeping an overview of the whole health system’s progress, in their area, at implementing the new national public health outcomes framework – which sets out what needs to be achieved nationally to protect and improve health.

Duncan Selbie, chief executive of PHE, said:
“Smoking, high blood pressure, obesity, physical inactivity and alcohol are five main risk factors for ill-health and many of the major causes of premature death. Poor mental health, substance abuse and musculoskeletal disorders such as back pain, are among the main drivers for disability. The reality is that nearly all of these conditions are either preventable or can have less of an impact when diagnosed early. PHE has the opportunity to make a substantial difference to people’s lives, and reduce the tremendous psycho-social and economic burden of poor health on our society."

"PHE is in a unique position in that it can take a wide overview of public health and the causes of ill health. We will work alongside local authorities and the NHS to ensure national and local resources are directed towards the areas where attention is needed most and the biggest improvements can be made to meet the needs of our demographically changing population.” (Read his full statement here)

In a PHE press release issued today, Dr Jane Rossini, who has been appointed Centre Director for the Chorley-based Cumbria & Lancashire PHE Centre, said:
“We know that smoking, high blood pressure, obesity, physical inactivity and alcohol are five main risk factors for ill-health and many of the major causes of premature death. Poor mental health, substance abuse and musculoskeletal disorders such as back pain, are among the main drivers for disability. The reality is that nearly all of these conditions are either preventable or can have less of an impact when diagnosed early. PHE has the opportunity to make a substantial difference to people’s lives, and reduce the tremendous psycho-social and economic burden of poor health on our society.

"PHE is in a unique position in that it can take a wide overview of public health and the causes of ill health. We will work alongside local authorities and the NHS to ensure national and local resources are directed towards the areas where attention is needed most and the biggest improvements can be made to meet the needs of our demographically changing population."  

Dr Rossini was previously joint Borough Director of Public Health at Heywood, Middleton & Rochdale, a post she took up in November 2010. Prior to that she spent six years as Deputy Director of Public Health for Stockport.

The Cumbria & Lancashire PHE Centre can be contacted on 0844 225 0602.

To find out more visit their website:, which is still evolving, or follow them on Twitter @PHE_uk

Come Dine With Me seek local contestants

Come Dine with Me, the Channel 4 show are again looking for local people to take part in the show in Lancaster, Morecambe, and the surrounding areas.

The show looking for people with personality who are great cooks. "It's the primetime show," says Steven Perrins, who works for the show, "so we're looking for four people to take part."

Anyone who is interested in taking part should email or call 02071574208. They're filming the week of 20th May 2013.