Friday, 28 November 2014

Appeal for witnesses after man dies in Morecambe

Police are appealing for witnesses after a man died following a night out in Morecambe.
Terence Westbury, 52, collapsed at the junction of Lancaster Road and James Street at about 2.13 a.m. on Tuesday (November 25th) after getting out of a taxi and although he was taken by ambulance to the Royal Lancaster Infirmary he sadly died on Wednesday evening (November 26th).
Mr Westbury had suffered a head injury and his death is currently being treated as unexplained.  Officers are trying to establish how he may have come by his injuries.
A post mortem examination will be carried out to try to establish the exact cause of death.
Mr Westbury, of Morecambe, had been out in the Queen Street area of Morecambe on Tuesday evening and may have visited a number of pubs. Police are appealing for anyone who may have seen him to get in touch so they can try to piece together what happened to him.
Detective Inspector Bev Foster said: “At this stage it isn’t clear how Mr Westbury came by his injuries and while it may be that they have been caused by a fall we cannot rule out the possibility that there is some other cause, an assault for example. I would appeal to anyone who may have seen him out and about on Tuesday evening to get in touch with us.”
Anyone with information should contact police on 101 quoting log number 0133 of Wednesday, November 26th.

County's fracking decision deadlines postponed to 31 January

Farmers objecting to Cuadrilla's fracking applications
hold mass tractor rally through Preston in October

Lancashire County Council has now agreed with Cuadrilla that decisions on two planning applications for shale gas development (fracking) will both be made by 31 January 2015 to allow time for consultation on further details provided as part of the planning process (More about this below).

Lancaster Events
In the meantime Lancaster Climate Action (LCA) and Pirates Against Climate Change (PACC) will host a Pirate benefit gig tomorrow 29 November at the Yorkshire House to raise funds for the defence of the environment. It's £3 entry, completely non-profit. Pirate clothing is encouraged (and we hear that there will be grog for the best dressed pirate), but please no sharp cutlasses or live parrots. There will be cake, snacks and live performers too.

Speakers from Frack Free Lancashire and Friends of the Earth will address a public meeting entitled 'Fracking, fossil fuels and alternatives for Lancashire' at Lancaster Friends Meeting House next door to Lancaster Train Station on Wednesday 3 December from 7.30pm - 9pm. We understand that mince pies & refreshments will be provided to help you keep your strength up.

On Saturday 6th December Lancaster Climate Action (LCA) will be hosting a  workshop with the aim of de-mystifying direct action and sharing useful action skills. This will happen 12 - 6pm somewhere in Lancaster, exact location to be confirmed! The day is free of charge. For more information contact

Planning Applications to Frak
The council has received applications from the energy firm to drill, frack, and test gas flows, with associated separate applications for environmental monitoring, at two sites in Lancashire - Preston New Road at Little Plumpton, and Roseacre Wood at Roseacre. (See previous news items)

Planners had already agreed with Cuadrilla that the Roseacre Wood application would be decided by 31 January and have now also agreed that the application for Preston New Road will be decided by the same date. It had previously been agreed that the Preston New Road application would be decided by New Year's Eve.

The planners have been working since the applications were received in June to consult with the public and other statutory agencies, and assess the applications, to ensure all the information needed to determine them is put before the Development Control Committee.

New Consultation
As part of this process further information on both sites has been provided by Cuadrilla. Evidently they believe that this strategy will negate the thousands of objections lodged already to their applications. Lancashire County Council is now holding a further consultation to allow for representations on the further information to be made.

The new determination date for the Preston New Road site will "allow time for any representations on the further information for both sites to be considered and addressed in the reports to be presented to the Development Control Committee when the applications are determined."

The consultation on the new arguments Cuadrilla have set forth started on Thursday 27 November, and was marked by a vociferous anti-fracking demonstration outside County Hall. It goes on until Friday 19 December and you can find it on the County Council website at

Information will also be made available at libraries in Lytham, St Annes, Ansdell and Kirkham, and at the offices of Fylde Borough Council in Lytham St Annes along with the applications and accompanying Environmental Statements.

Lancaster Uni student rents rise by 2.5%

Lancaster University’s Finance and General Purposes Committee has approved a 2.5% increase in campus rent, and a five per cent increase in tuition fees for postgraduates and overseas students. Efforts by student representatives to postpone the rise, pending wider consultation with students and departments about the potential impacts of these increases, were voted down by the University Council, which ratified the rise last Friday.

Vote with your feet
Students are contemplating action. In the meantime, may we remind the more enterprising of them that it works out significantly cheaper to rent shared houses off-campus.  From what we have seen on facebook etc, there is probably a bit less risk of theft and of sexual harassment too. Your house is your castle.

But perhaps the most obvious difference is the sense of real life. Of living outside the concrete shelter among people of different ages, backgrounds and lifestyles. Of managing your own life and learning the pleasures and pitfalls of householding.

A significant part of the city's population are ex-student or employed at the universities, and there is locally a general sense of protective tolerance towards the students living among us (even if they can be a bit ear-splittingly screechy as they flock together in doorways of a night time).

You will not get a better chance to learn how to run your own home. Students who stay captive in the sheltered housing projects of the institution for the full 3 years of their stay at Lancaster will leave little wiser in these skills and potentially a lot more likely to end up by default living back with their parents.

For myself, I can say that the friends I shared a house with in my second year I got on fine with and we had a lot of fun. But the friends I shared with in my third year I really loved - and still do - and they have remained my close friends across the long-haul distances we ended up living apart during various periods of our lives.

If you fancy taking the plunge next year it's time to start thinking about who you might like to share with. The trick is look at the people you get on easily with and try to imagine that, if you fell out with them, how mean could they get?  You need people who can stay good even in bad times. Also, if they live in squalor on campus, they will bring that squalor with them. And you'll lose your deposit.

In the New Year is a good time to start looking around at areas and places and getting clear what you're looking for. Most rental contracts for next October will be signed by Easter. The Lancaster University Homes section of the Uni's accommodation office has a list of approved tenancies, and you can find a list of local letting agents with searchable websites in the Virtual-Lancaster property pages too.

So, good luck, and maybe we'll see you next year.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Local Cinema Round-Up for 26th November to 4th December 2014 by Peter Clarke

For up to date local cinema links and day-by-day  listings of what's showing on local screens every week visit the Virtual-Lancaster Cinema Page. Read on for the weekly round-up, and reviews.

 There are three new releases during this period. We have family comedy with Paddington (PG); adult comedy with Horrible Bosses 2 (15) and Action/Adventure with the military drama Kajaki. The True Story (15). Excitement next week comes with the release of the concluding trilogy of the Hobbit with The Battle of the Five Armies.

In addition to the new releases, there is chance to see old favourites with the return of Frozen; What We Did on our Holidays; The Hundred Foot Journey and The Unbeatables. However The Maze Runner has been lost and the films The Drop; Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Ouija look like they will soon be dropped.

With the approach of December, family entertainment is well represented with Paddington; Nativity 3: Dude Where's My Donkey; The Book of Life; The Boxtrolls; Frozen; Mary Poppins; The Nut Job and The Unbeatables. This is also a good period for science fiction with screenings of Alien; the classic The Day the Earth Caught Fire and Interstellar.

High culture is represented with Royal Opera House: L' Elisir d'Amore and The Crucible. Also worthy of mention is The Bicycle which looks at cycling and its return to fashion. This film is followed by a film maker Q&A session.


Director: Chris Buck
Certificate PG
Cast Includes Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Josh Gad,Alan Tudyk, Jonathan Groff
This Disney musical animation is loosely based on the fairy tale 'The Snow Queen' who has condemned a kingdom to eternal winter. It is up to Anna (sister to the snow queen) and a loner Kristoff to undertake an epic journey to find the Snow Queen and convince her to lift the icy spell. This is a magical movie destined to become a classic. It will appeal to families and children of all ages and makes an movie for Christmas.

Director: Christopher Nolan
Certificate: 12A
Cast Includes: Matthew McConaughey, Casey Affleck, Anne Hathaway, Wes Bentley, Michael Caine.
The earth is facing environmental disaster. Dust storms are common and crops are failing. Cooper (McConaughey) a farmer, but formerly a top pilot, is recruited by Professor Brand (Caine), to fly a final mission taking a team of specialists through a newly discovered wormhole to find a planet in a far solar system that could be a new home for humanity. This is a big budget very grandiose film full of action and spectacular scenery as the crew search to see if there is a future for mankind. It is however a little low on humour and at times requires some suspension of disbelief but in all it is a great movie.

Kajaki. The True Story
Director: Paul Katis
Certificate: 15
Cast Includes: David Elliot, Mark Stanley, Scott Kyle
A dramatisation of events in Afghanistan in 2006. Members of the British Army's Third Battalion, The Parachute Regiment (3 Para) set out to disable a Taliban roadblock. However one of the soldiers steps on an old Soviet landmine which removes his leg. A rescue mission is mounted led by Corporal Mark Wright (Elliot). However as more soldiers enter the unmarked minefield, another stops on a mine and a rescue helicopter which was deployed detonates yet another. The focus remains on the experience of soldiers as the film does not seek to make a political comment. This is a well made though rather harrowing movie which honours the bravery and courage of soldiers on an ill fated mission. It has been released to mark the withdrawal of British Troops from Afghanistan.

Mr Turner
Director: Mike Leigh
Certificate: 15
Cast includes: Timothy Spall, Marion Bailey
A biographical dramatization of the life of English painter J. M. W Turner. The film starts when Turner is aged 51 and working in his London studio. It follows Turner through depressions following his father's death up until the painters own death in 1851 when he was living in Chelsea with his mistress Sophie Booth (Bailey). Spall gives a great performance as Turner, bringing out his humanity and eccentricity. A very enjoyable movie.

Director: Stiles White
Certificate: 15
Cast includes: Olivia Cooke, Douglas Smith, Daren Kagasoff, Shelly Hennig
Debbie (Hennig) confesses to playing with an Ouija board but she is murdered. Her friend Laine (Cooke) decides to investigate her death by using the Ouija board to contact Debbie's spirit and to this end she enlists the help of a group of friends. They hold a seance in Debbie's house. However, they inadvertently connect with a murderous spirit which starts to attack them. The whole is a competent horror film complete with ghosts, unexpected noises and frights for the viewer. Given the film was released just before Halloween, it merits a visit to the cinema.

The Drop
Director: Michael R. Roskam
Certificate: 15
Cast includes: James Gandolfini, Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, John Ortiz
Bob Saginowski (Hardy) works as bartender in his cousins Brooklyn bar. The bar operates as a 'drop' where criminal launder money and one night it is robbed. Bob is witness to the robbery and thus involved in the subsequent crime investigation by Detective Torres (Ortiz). However things turn out to be more complicated than they first seem. The movie is a solid crime thriller with a nice final twist based on the short story "Animal Rescue" by Dennis Lehane. A competent movie worth seeing.

The Hundred-Foot Journey
Director: Lasse Hallstrom
Certificate: PG
Cast Includes: Helen Mirren, Manish Dayal, Om Puri, Charlotte Le Bon
A Walt Disney adaptation of the 2010 novel by Richard C Morais. The Kadam's are an Indian family that were displaced due to political rioting. They arrive at a quaint but rather conservative French Village and decide to open an Indian Restaurant, the Maison Mumbai. However just across the road is a classical, Michelin starred restaurant Le Saule Pleureur run by Madame Mallory (Mirren). This leads to fall-outs and ultimately sabotage between the two institutions. Meanwhile Hassan (Dayal) the master cook of the Indian restaurant begins a flirtation with Marguerite (Le Bon), the sous chef of Mme Mallory's restaurant. This is a well acted and endearing movie with plenty of laughs. Entertaining but lacking suspense.

The Imitation Game
Director: Morten Tyldum
Certificate: 12A
Cast Includes: Benedict Cumberbatch, Rory Kinnear, Keira Knightley
A portrayal of the life of computer genius Alan Turing (Cumberbatch) who masterminded the cracking of the German Enigma code in the second world war and continued to develop computer theory at Manchester University. The film opens in 1951 with a robbery taking place in Turing's house. Thence the film explores Turing's life by flashbacks to his schooling and his life in Bletchley Park. The acting in the film is excellent with Cumberbatch giving a particularly good performance. However the film rather backs away from Turing's homosexuality and his subsequent suicide after his persecution by the British Government.

What We Did on Our Holidays
Director: Andy Hamilton, Guy Jenkins
Certificate: 12A
Cast Includes: Rosamund Pike, David Tennant, Billy Connolly
Doug (Tennant) and Abi (Pike) are a married couple on the cusp of a divorce. Despite this, they decide to take their three children to Scotland to attend a family gathering to celebrate the 75th birthday of Gordie (Connolly), Doug's father. In conversation, the children let slip to the wider family the details of their life in London and the parents arguments. Hence tension and family feuds ensue. The characters of the film are based on the TV series 'Outnumbered' and the film is in part comedy sitcom and in part an emotional 'roller-coaster'. Despite fine acting (with Connolly in particular fine form) the final third of the film seemed a little flat.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

The Mad Hatters return for another Tea Party

The Mad Hatter's Tea Party - Lancaster's user-led alternative to Mental Health Week -  is back with a series of events which are actually worth going to. The week is put together by  the SHARP (Self Help Art and Recovery) Project and Lancaster District Peer Support due to popular demand.

It's the user-led alternative that grew out of cuts and closures to services for people with severe and enduring mental health difficulties (and they can call it what they like :-). The plan is to offer useful and interesting stuff rather than simply generating worthy headlines aimed at making deteriorating services look better than they are.

The Programme of Events (All welcome)

Tuesday 25 November 7pm at the Gregson
 Talk: 'An Introduction to Narrative Therapy' by Helena Rose
(in the Olive Bar)
Cost: Free but donations towards room hire appreciated.
Narrative Therapy was developed in Australia and New Zealand in the 1980's by Michael White and David Epston. It is essentially viewed as a non-pathologizing approach that does not locate the problem in the individual but collaboratively works with individuals in the context of the stories that they tell (or do not tell), including cultural stories.  It can help an individual build a better sense of their own identity and develop greater self-compassion and you can find out more about it at too.

Thursday  27 November, 11am-3pm  United Reform Church, Sefton Rd, Morecambe
Lancaster & Morecambe Peer Support* Open Day / Mad Hatter's Tea PartyThere will be tea, cakes, crafts, gifts, information and bargains.
Peer Support Contact Tel: 07506963549

Friday 28 November, 11am-3pm Trinity Centre, Middle Street, Lancaster
Lancaster & Morecambe Peer Support* Open Day / Mad Hatter's Tea Party
As above but moved on to Lancaster
Peer Support Contact Tel: 07506963549

Friday 28 November at the Gregson
(organised by SHARP, Peer Support, and Lancaster & Morecambe Service User's Forum).
(Doors open 7.30pm)
Featuring Musicians, Vocalists, Poetry & Open Mic Spots.
And hats!
Tickets £4/ £3 cons on Door.

Lancaster South A6 'most dangerous UK road for cyclists and pedestrians'. CM Rally Friday

The A6 between the south Lancaster motorway junction and Lancaster is now officially the most dangerous road in the whole country for cyclists and pedestrians, according to the recent   Road Safety Foundation report.

The Lancaster 'Critical Mass' cycling awareness campaign is keen to draw public attention to this as part of a more focused campaign to get the road modified to include a safe cycling lane and is planning a bicycle rally demonstration this Friday evening, 28 November 2014.

The Critical Mass (CM) cycle rides are about raising awareness of cyclists on the roads, particularly at busy times, and so take place at many locations globally on the last Friday of the month. Lancaster in particular has a history of being a Cycling Demonstration Town in more ways than one.

This Friday will see a 'pre-Mass' group of cyclists start out from Lancaster University's Alexandra Square at 5.45 and head sedately down the A6 into town, arriving at Dalton Square no later than 6.15pm to join more local cyclists. There will be the CM sound system and riders are encouraged to wear bike-friendly costumes and have flags, hooters etc.

The Mass will set off again from Dalton Sq at 6.30pm as usual, to cycle slowly as a bloc around the city's one-way system.  Riders will also be giving out leaflets with the usual CM info on one side and detail of the Safety Foundation report on the other side.

Organisers remind all riders taking part to wear their high vis if they have it and of course their lights. However they ask everyone (drivers and cyclists both) to remember that the terrible accident rate is about poor road design, and not what cyclists wear, so everyone needs to be extra-aware there.

Two Lancashire Volunteer Police Cadets become #iwill ambassadors as part of the national ‘Step Up To Serve’ campaign

The Patron of Step Up To Serve and the #iwill campaign, HRH The Prince of Wales and the Prime Minister David Cameron addressed young people involved in social action yesterday at an event in London to celebrate the first anniversary of the campaign. 

Step Up To Serve aims to engage young people in social action through uniform youth groups such as the Volunteer Police Cadets. 

The aim is that all young people should be a member of a uniformed youth group that engages in social action and that as adults they continue to volunteer in their communities.

The campaign seeks to expand the capacity of uniformed youth groups, especially those that can directly impact on community resilience and wellbeing. 

As a national leader in the development of Volunteer Police Cadets and out of hundreds who applied, two of our cadets were invited to the event to receive awards.  

Pictured in London are Lancashire Volunteer Police Cadets, and sisters, Sky 16, and Emma Roberts, 14, both from Lancaster, along with Ed Sherry the National VPC Programme Director and Mr Rob Jarmen, Trustee of the National VPC Charity.

Since joining Lancashire VPC, at the Lancaster Unit, Sky and Emma have both got involved as volunteers at a care home for the elderly and at a homeless centre.  Both did a sponsored walk for Leukaemia Research earlier this year raising much needed funds.  

The Cadets organisation are now hoping for great things for their younger brother Jake who has also just become a Cadet.  With another eight brothers and sisters we are hoping for a whole generation of good work and social action in the future.

Chief Inspector Ian Sewart who leads Lancashire Volunteer Police Cadets said ‘My sincere thanks and best wishes must go to Sky and Emma who have represented Lancashire Constabulary so well and have truly upheld our Lancashire Cadet motto of ‘Let’s get out there and do some good’.  

PC Kath Bromilow, who is seconded to the National VPC team and who nominated both sisters must, along with all the Cadet Leaders at our Lancaster Unit, be congratulated for raising our profile at a national level and facilitating our Cadets who just want to do good in their local community.  Well done for making us proud.’

Their stories and many more will be featured in an up and coming BBC documentary.


Nearly half North West’s construction sites fail spot checks

The construction industry is being urged to ensure basic health and safety measures are in place after a month long inspection initiative found nearly half of sites are failing to properly protect workers.  

The Health and Safety Executive found unacceptable conditions and dangerous practices at 45 per cent of the 156 repair and refurbishment sites visited by inspectors in the North West, with one in four sites so poor that formal enforcement action was required.  

Inspectors issued 29 Prohibition Notices, stopping work immediately, and 27 Improvement Notices, requiring changes to working practices, at 41 of the sites they visited.  

Many of the issues found could have been easily prevented with simple, straightforward management and planning.  

The initiative focused on the management of health and safety risks, such as working at height, temporary work, general housekeeping, failure to control exposure to harmful dusts including silica and asbestos, noise and vibration, and inadequate welfare.  

Failure to provide basic safety measures for people working at height was once again the most common issue found by inspectors across Great Britain.  

“These results show that whilst the majority of employers in the refurbishment sector are getting it right, a significant part of the industry is seriously failing its workers," said  Neil Jamieson, HSE Principal Inspector for Construction in the North West. “The inability to properly plan working at height continues to be a major issue, despite well-known safety measures being straightforward to implement.   

“We also find health is often overlooked as its implications are not immediately visible. However, the effects of uncontrolled exposure to deadly dusts such as asbestos and silica can be irreversible.   

“We are urging the industry to ensure the most basic of measures, such as protective equipment and dust suppression methods are put in place, to help protect the future health of workers.”   

The Health and Safety Executive ( is Britain's national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health, through research, information and advice; promoting training; new or revised regulations and codes of practice; and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement.    

• For more on the Safersites campaign, visit:

Red Rose County to become first White Ribbon county

Jennifer Mein (centre) with White Ribbon Ambassadors from participating organisations.
Participating councils are: Hyndburn Borough Council, Rossendale Borough Council,
Lancaster City Council, Preston City Council, South Ribble Borough Council,
 Borough Council, Ribble Valley Borough Council and Fylde Borough Council.

Organisations from across Lancashire are uniting against violence towards women. Today (25th November) is White Ribbon Day, which marks an international campaign to help stop domestic violence against women.

Lancashire joins a campaign that was launched by a group of men in Canada in 1991 after the mass shooting of 14 female students at the University of Montreal. There are now White Ribbon Campaigns operating in many countries around the world. 

While the campaign is aimed at men, women can also support the campaign by choosing to wear a ribbon, and encouraging the men in their lives to support the campaign

 The campaign encourages men of all ages to take a pledge never to commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women, and to make their commitment public by wearing a white ribbon for 16 days. To help make Lancashire the first White Ribbon county, organisations are being called upon to pledge their support. 

 Leading the way are Lancashire County Council, a number of district councils, Lancashire Police, and the office of the Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner, who have all committed to become White Ribbon Campaign organisations. 

The adoptionof the campaign comes after reports of high-risk domestic abuse in Lancashire have increased steadily over the past three years. The vast majority of these incidents are carried out by men against women, and figures confirm that since April 2009 more than 87% of perpetrators were male. 

Jennifer Mein, Leader of Lancashire County Council, said: "I'm very proud that we are working towards becoming the first White Ribbon county by encouraging other major organisations in Lancashire to sign up. 

"Ten organisations have already joined us, and it would be an outstanding achievement for all local authorities and public sector organisations to attain White Ribbon Campaign status. 

"If men wear a white ribbon, including on a coat or jacket so that it's visible outdoors, it shows a clear commitment to the pri! nciples of the campaign and to becoming a part of the solution to the continuing problem of male violence against women – something that should have no place in our society." 

"I am committed to tackling domestic abuse through my role as Police and Crime Commissioner," commented Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw, "and have put funding into raising awareness and supporting services for victims. 

"But organisations alone cannot bring an end to violence against women – society needs to ensure this behaviour is seen as totally unacceptable, and condemn those who commit abuse. That is why the White Ribbon campaign is so important, and why it continues to have my full support. 

 "It is a public condemnation of abuse, and I hope others across Lancashire will join me in pledging their commitment to it." 

 Chris Green from the White ribbon Campaign organisation said: "Engaging men and boys in m! aking the pledge taps into a fantastic resource to reduce violence and abuse towards women. We fully support the work ongoing in Lancashire and seeing their projects in action and improving the lives of those at risk of violence. 

 "Increasing the public’s knowledge and understanding of domestic violence will help to guide people who are experiencing domestic abuse to safe and appropriate support." 

Men can also show their support for the White Ribbon Day by following @menantiviolence on Twitter or by liking the Facebook page: 

White Ribbon Day coincides with the United Nations International Day for the Eradication of Violence Against Women. For more details visit

Monday, 24 November 2014

Storey to host Handmade and Vintage Festive Market

A Handmade and Vintage Festive Market will take place at The Storey in Lancaster on Saturday 6th December.

The beautiful Victorian rooms will burst open with artists, makers and vintage traders between 11.00am and 5.00pm, selling an eclectic array of handmade, pop and vintage influenced gifts, beautifully crafted goodies and curiosities. 

Over 40 stalls will fill the first flooor of the building, providing a special festive shopping experience in one of the most historic and majestic buildings in Lancaster. Up and coming artists designers and makers from across the North West will sell original affordable gifts. 

This special festive event will offers both festive fun and the chance to support small local businesses whilst ticking off those gifts on the christmas shopping list.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Council's Cabinet to discuss Charter Market layout, consider 'radical' options next month

The results of a recent consultation into the future of Lancaster’s Charter Market will be presented to the city council’s Cabinet on Tuesday 2nd December.

Cabinet members will be asked to consider the results and the options for the layout of the market following the completion of the city centre improvement works.

Two potential layouts will be presented for consideration.

The first option is based on the current footprint of the market and would see existing permanent traders continuing to trade from Market Street, Market Square and Cheapside.

New traders would be allocated pitches on Church Street and New Street, with existing traders being given the option to relocate for a rent free period.

The second option would alter the existing footprint of the market so there would only be pitches on one side of Cheapside, meaning some existing permanent traders would relocate to Church Street.

In both options traders would be asked for their views on where they are located.

In addition to being asked for their preferred layout, Cabinet members will be asked if a more fundamental overhaul of the Charter Market is needed, raising again the ideas that both traders and angry locals have resisted and protested at.

Mark Davies, Chief Officer (Environment) said: “The city council wants to see a thriving Charter Market because of the contribution it makes to Lancaster and the local economy.

“The recent consultation provoked much healthy debate between market traders, shop based businesses, shoppers, the Chamber and Business Improvement District.

“What was absolutely clear is that there is a wide spectrum of views and respondents were polarised in how they think the market should be delivered.

“Cabinet will therefore be asked, in addition to their preferred new layout, whether a more radical overhaul is required so many of the questions raised during the consultation can be addressed.”

LitFest announces First Friday "Pass On A Poem" event

A LitFest-organised event next nonth will offer Lancastrians the chance to share a poem that means something to them in a friendly and relaxed environment...

Pass on a Poem, a national initiative, aims to entertain and to create enthusiasm for poetry. It brings people together to read out loud poems which have a special personal significance and to explain, briefly, why.

Pass on a Poem readings open and reopen people's eyes, ears and hearts to the power of poetry, and to the experiences, feelings and thoughts of others. A remarkable range of subject matter, style and form emerges from the poems chosen. People of all backgrounds and ages take part.

No previous experience of reading out loud is necessary. Anybody is welcome to submit a poem they would like to share. Or you can simply come and enjoy the range of poetry on offer.

• If you would like to be among the first to Pass On A Poem in Lancaster, email with your choice of poem, and a brief explanation of why it is important to you.

• Pass On. poem - Friday 5th December, 6.00pm, Lancaster Library - Your chance to share your favourite poem. Book in advance via  Part of Lancaster Arts City's First Fridays

Bridge sections delivered safely to site as work continues on the newLink Road to the M6

Bridge sections that will form the new bridge structure known as Folly Railway Bridge, part of the £123 milkion M6 Link scheme to Heysham, have been delivered to the Costain construction site off Barley Cop Lane.

Eight deliveries, each 21 metres long, were delivered to the site last week over two nights after 11.00pm with little fuss and avoiding peak traffic.

The County Council says work is well on the way to weld the sections together so that they form four “pairs” of beams 42 metres in length. They will then be dressed with permanent formwork on the ground to make a lift weight of 157 tonnes.

The lifts of the bridge sections will take place as part of overnight railway possessions on the 22nd and 29th November subject to weather conditions. Engineers will be on site from 8.00pm to 8.00am Sunday morning, to oversee the operations.

A Sarens Liebherr LG1550 crane with Lattice Jib capable of lifting 250 tonnes has arrived on site to lift the bridge sections in over the vacant West Coast railway line.

“The aim on each night is to lift in two 42m sections and then join them together with the cross bracing," explained Costain Project Director Andrew Langley. "Weather plays a big part in the success of these operations.

"I’d like to thank the residents of Barley Cop Lane for their co-operation in allowing us to get these extremely large sections delivered to site without any notable problems. Barley Cop Lane was the only available route and residents rallied to keep one side of the road clear for the oversized vehicles carrying the sections.”

Costain will set up a viewing area for interested parties to the south of the bridge and east of the railway line, just off Barley Cop Lane. Sensible observers are very welcome to come see the operations on the night, and they’re encouraged to bring a thermos!

On completion, the Heysham to M6 Link Road will be a 4.8km dual carriageway connecting the Heysham and Morecambe peninsula directly to the M6 motorway via a newly-configured junction 34.

The County Council claims the benefits of the scheme include:

• Improved access to existing industrial areas and development sites, providing a boost to the local economy. Principal industrial sites include the Port of Heysham, a hub for services to Ireland and the supply base for major offshore gas field and wind farms, and the Heysham power stations

• Lancaster will experience reduced congestion, better air quality, and improvements to bus, cycling and walking facilities. A new park and ride scheme at junction 34 will link to the city

• Regeneration for the region during and after construction of the road – the Council now claims construction alone will employ over 3,000 people. This includes a minimum of 100 local unemployed people being trained and employed

• A net gain in biodiversity. While the road has carved its way through green fields, the Council says the road has been designed to sit sympathetically in the landscape, with environmental schemes to protect existing wildlife, create new habitats and extend the length of hedges and watercourses. (And, of course, potentially enable new building along its route which would soon put paid to those dubious 'gains' for the environment)

The estimated cost of the project is £123m. The Department for Transport has contributed £111m and Lancashire County Council is funding the remaining £12m. (Whether this will be the final cost for the much challenged benefit claims remains to be seen, but let’s hope it’s all worth it...)

• For more information on the project visit or follow it on Twitter @Heysham_Link