Friday, 17 July 2015

Morecambe's MP seeks answers on investment for the town - and third Heysham reactor

David Morris
Morecambe MP David Morris has again been pushing for new nuclear development, along with an appeal for White Lund Industrial Estate to qualify for an enterprise zone application and for Morecambe to be considered for coastal communities investment this week.

The MP is keen to capitalise further on what he claimed was the "£1 billion" Morecambe received in funding under the last government during a parliamentary debate on the budget, which strikes as either an error in the Hansard record, or someone's stuffed a lot of the money down the back of a sofa.

Established in 2012, Enterprise Zones are at the heart of the government’s long term economic plan according to the official site, supporting businesses to grow. Since their start in April 2012 they have been set up in 24 areas across the UK, attracting over 430 businesses and securing over £2 billion pounds of private sector investment, creating over 12,500 jobs.

Greg Clark, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, told Mr Morris he would welcome an application for Morecambe not just for an enterprise zone, but for the Coastal Communities Fund  Announcements were made on both in the Budget and Mr Clark added that both initiatives presented" big opportunity for [MPs] to work with the council and business leaders in their area to put forward a compelling bid for funds and, indeed, the devolution arrangements".

Launched in 2012, the Coastal Communities Fund has already invested nearly £119 million on 211 projects local infrastructure and economic projects across the UK. The Chancellor announced that the Fund was to be extended to 2020/2021, and at least a further £90 million would be on offer to "unlock the economic potential of coastal communities."

The Morecambe Bay Partnership has received £297,000 to improve visitor facilities at Morecambe Bay, including a new visitor hub and cycling infrastructure under the Fund so far, creating 10 jobs. (That's still nowhere near £1 billion...)

Later in the week he asked the Andrea Leadsom, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, whether she has taken steps to approve new forms of nuclear build, power plants and technology to facilitate new nuclear build in the UK, He is of course a fervent supporter of nuclear power (and tunnels under Morecambe Bay, of which it seems government ministers are more than aware).

Responding, Andrea Leadsom would not be drawn on specifics - such as the much-pushed build of a third nuclear reactor at Heysham - but told Mr Morris the Government sees new nuclear power stations as an important part of the low-carbon energy mix needed to secure energy supplies and meet international obligations to reduce carbon emissions.

"We will continue to ensure through Electricity Market Reform," she said, "the planning system for major infrastructure projects and independent regulation of reactor technologies that we encourage companies to bring forward successful applications to build new nuclear power stations.

"The Government also maintains an interest in future and emerging technologies. In particular, following a feasibility study on Small Modular Reactors, we are undertaking a deeper financial and technical analysis to establish a robust evidence base to inform policy decisions."

Man assaulted in Heysham cemetery

Police are appealing for witnesses to a serious assault at Hale Carr Cemetery in Heysham.

The incident happened at around 1.30pm on Friday 10 July at Hale Carr Cemetery. The victim, a 49 year old man, was on his way to visit his mother’s grave when he was assaulted by an unknown offender. The victim received serious head and facial injuries which required hospital treatment.

Detective Inspector Phil Jones of Lancaster CID said: “This appears to have been an unprovoked attack on a man who was due to pay his respects at his mother’s grave. The victim sustained shocking facial injuries as a result and it is only luck that the injuries did not cause more permanent damage.

“I would appeal to anyone who witnessed what happened to contact us. I am particularly interested to hear from any members of the public who may have any information regarding two men who were seen arguing at the cemetery at around the same time the incident took place.”

• Anyone with information should contact police on 101 quoting log number 0727 of 10th July or Crimestoppers, anonymously on 0800 555 111

Galgate dog owner fined for barking dogs

A Galgate dog owner has been ordered to pay a total of £520 for allowing his dogs to cause a noise nuisance by excessive and prolonged barking on at least two occasions after being served with a Noise Abatement Notice by Lancaster City Council.

Mark Dodd, of Beech Avenue in Galgate, had allowed his dogs to cause a noise nuisance to his neighbours by leaving them in his garden whilst he was out at work where they barked for long periods of time.

A Noise Abatement Notice was served by the city council, requiring Dodd to take all necessary steps to abate the nuisance.

After a council officer witnessed two breaches of the notice, Dodd was subsequently summoned to appear in court on Monday, when he pleaded guilty to the two offences and was fined £290 and ordered to pay £200 towards costs and a £30 victim surcharge.

Councillor Karen Leytham, Cabinet member with responsibility for environmental health, said: “Dogs barking for long periods of time can not only be extremely annoying and irritating but can over time have significant effect on people’s health and their enjoyment of their homes.”

If a dog is constantly barking in your street and is causing a nuisance, there are laws to address this issue. However, few people take pleasure in upsetting their neighbours wherever possible and most would wish to take a ‘diplomatic’ approach to the problem first without resorting to legal action. Direct contact with the neighbour is one approach to find a solution; then report the matter to the Council's Environmental Health Department if it's not resolved.

This page on the "Problem Neighbours" web site offers advice on the issue

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Local Cinema Round-Up for the 15th to 23rd July 2015

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.

This week sees a healthy six new film being released to the local screens. There is science fiction action in Ant-Man (12A) & Self/Less (12A); action and adventure with the western Slow West (15) and horror with The Gallows (15). In addition there is family animation with Thomas & Friend: Sodor's legend of the Lost Treasure (U) and international drama with West (15).

The movies San Andreas and Spy have vanished from our screens and it looks likely that Entourage is coming to the end of its screening. However Far from the Madding Crowd is making a return appearance for just one night.

There is a good range of science fiction adventure on the screens during this week.  Jurassic World provides the dinosaurs; Terminator Genisys the cyborgs and we have new releases with Ant-Man and the thought provoking Self/Less.

For more subdued drama Mr. Holmes is worth a view, as is Orson Welles Touch of Evil.

High culture this week comes with RSC: The Merchant of VeniceGlyndebourne: Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail and Andre Rieu's 2015 Maastrich Concert.

Movies that will make it to this region later this month include the animation Inside Out and the drama Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation.

Finally on Sunday 19th July, the Dukes are holding another Film Quiz.


Director: Peyton Reed
Certificate: 12A
Cast Includes: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Hayley Atwell, Michael Douglas, Corey Stoll
Ant-Man is the latest super-hero in the Marvel pantheon to make it to the screen. Scott Lang (Rudd) used be a systems engineer but is now a petty criminal, trying to go straight. He acquires a suit developed by Dr. Hank Pym (Douglas) and Dr Pym becomes something of his mentor. The suit allows Lang to become ant man as he shrink in size, increase his strength and has the power of communicating with insects. Together Pym and ant-man must overcome the ambitions of Darren Cross (Stoll) who has a militarised version of the suit. Ant man was only a minor Marvel super-hero but nonetheless this is an entertaining movie. The characters are given chance to develop and the film provides both wit and plenty of gags. An entertaining movie.

Jurassic World
Director: Colin Trevorrow
Certificate: 12A
Cast includes: Bryce Dallas Howard, Irrfan Khan, B.D. Wong, Chris Pratt
This is the fourth instalment in the Jurassic Park series and the best of the sequels. Jurassic World is a theme park in Costa Rica that has been open for some two decades. However visitors are starting to get bored with the sight of tame dinosaurs. Hence, their lab has been using genetic techniques to create a real monster dinosaur, Indominus Rex, to rekindle interest. The park is managed by Claire Dearing (Howard) and Owen Grady (Pratt) is an animal behaviourist working with the Dinosaurs. On the day that Claire brings her two nephews to the park the Indominus Rex escapes. She must work with Owen to save her nephews and save the day. The movie has number of fine action pieces though the action gets in the way of character development. Also there is a romance element between Claire and Owen. The dialogue in not always believable, but there are jokes and the film pays homage to the original Jurassic Park. For an audience not yet jaded by dinosaur action, this is an entertaining action film.

Director: Pierre Coffin, Kyle Balda
Certificate: U
Cast Includes: Sandra Bullock, Michael Keaton, Steve Coogan, Jennifer Saunders.
The film is both a spin off and a prequel to the Despicable Me franchise. The Minions have always existed on earth and the movie begins by tracing their evolution. They have the purpose of serving the most despicable of masters though not very successfully. The race finally retired to the Antarctic where they fare badly. Hence Minions Kevin, Stuart and Bob decide to seek a new master for their race to work for. In a villain convention in Orlando they decide to serve the supervillain Scarlet Overkill (Bullock) who is planning to overthrow the Queen of England. The film, using skits and Musical numbers expands on this plot. The Minions were the best part of the Despicable Me franchise and so it is fitting that they have their own film. The movie is very entertaining, inoffensive and funny and will delight all ages. However this reviewer would have liked more minions and fewer supervillains.

Mr Holmes
Director: Bill Condon
Certificate: PC
Cast includes: Ian McKellen, Laura Linney, Milo Parker.
Director: Bill Condon
Certificate: PC
Cast includes: Ian McKellen, Laura Linney, Milo Parker.
A Sherlock Holmes film that is loosely based on Mitch Cullin's 2005 novel 'A slight trick of the Mind'. Holmes is aged 93 and has retired to the Devon coast where he lives with a housekeeper Mrs Munro (Linney) and her son Roger (Parker). His passion is now bee keeping. His memory is fading and Holmes suspects he is succumbing to dementia. He is unhappy with the way he has been portrayed in Watson's accounts of his famous adventures and wishes to address this by writing his own account of one of his cases. The film is much slower than the portrayal of Holmes in recent TV series and Holmes himself has a more fragile and human character. Much of the sequences in the film are flashbacks and McKellen makes a superb Sherlock Holmes. An excellent film.

Ted 2
Director: Seth MacFarlane
Certificate: 15
Cast Includes: Seth MacFarlane, Jessica Barth, Morgan Freeman, Mark Wahlberg
The movie is a sequel to the highly successful 2012 original. Ted is a teddybear with human actions and emotions who has married his (human) girlfriend Tami-Lynn (Barth). Yet the marriage is having problems so Ted and Tami-Lynn decide to have a child to save their relationship. They try to adopt, but this leads to their marriage being annulled and Ted ruled as property and not a person. To resolve this Ted must go to court to prove he is human. The film provides adult humour in abundance and makes a worthy sequel the original. See it if you are not easily offended.

Terminator Genisys
Director: Alan Taylor
Certificate: 12A
Cast Includes: Jason Clarke, Emilia Clarke, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jai Courtney
The movie is an attempt to recover from the less that impressive sequel 'Salvation' and it strives to capture the appeal of the original. Again machines rule the future and they are trying to kill Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke) before she can give birth to John Connor (Jason Clarke). Again a future John Connor sends Kyle Reese (Courtney) back to 1984 to protect his mother. However Reese finds the time line has become altered. Now there is a Guardian cyborg (Schwarzenegger) who becomes Reese's ally. The plot provides a heroic effort to breath some life into the terminator franchise and to maintain what made the first movie such a classic. However the 12A certificate means the battle scenes are not as impressive and in parts the movie seems more of a parody of the original. A watchable film, but not a classic.

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Actress Sarah Lancashire In the spotlight at The Dukes on Friday

BAFTA Award-winning actor, Sarah Lancashire will be talking about her career and answering questions from the audience at The Dukes this Friday.

Sarah, who is one of the Lancaster theatre’s Honorary Patrons, will be taking part in an Actor’s Studio during The Dukes Youth Forum Summer Takeover.

Sarah, who rose to national television fame as Coronation Street barmaid Raquel in the 1990s, won a BAFTA Television Award for her role in Last Tango In Halifax last year and was recently BAFTA nominated for her performance in the gritty police drama, Happy Valley. 

She’s among the starstudded cast of the new film version of Dad’s Army which will be released in 2016 and appears alongside Anthony Hopkins and Ian McKellen in a BBC2 version of The Dresser later this year.

This will be Sarah’s second visit to The Dukes since she became an Honorary Patron in 2014. She will also attend a special reception in Lancaster’s Ashton Memorial before Friday’s performance of Oliver Twist in Williamson Park along with the theatre’s other two Honorary Patrons, Cherylee Houston and Christine Mackie.

The Actor’s Studio is a highlight of an exciting weekend of activities and events organised by The Dukes Youth Forum which also include films, drama, and music.

Throughout the weekend, there’s a bar menu inspired by the movies, featuring a popcorn stand and movie themed mocktails, and a fancy dress photo booth for red carpet pictures.

• The Sarah Lancashire event, which takes place from 4.30pm, will be hosted by the Youth Forum but is open to everyone. Tickets are £4 and can be booked by calling The Dukes box office on 01524 598500 or

• Follow Sarah Lancashire on Twitter @sarahlancs_

• For more information on the Takeover, contact

Monday, 13 July 2015

Police appeal after fatal Caton crash

Police are appealing for witnesses after a Lancaster man died following a collision in Caton.

The incident happened last night (13th July) at around 11.25pm on Low Road. It is thought that a silver Honda Civic with a driver, aged 27 and front passenger inside, also 27 from Lancaster, has lost control on a slight left hand bend resulting in it colliding with a stone wall.

The 27-year-old driver, who can be named as Martin Stables, sadly died at the scene. A 27-year-old passenger was taken to Royal Lancaster Infirmary in a serious condition where he remains.

Road policing officer Sgt 1915 Sean Cunningham said: “This is a tragic incident where a man had sadly lost his life and our thoughts remain with his family at this terribly sad time.

“If you witnessed this incident or have any information about it at all, please get in contact with us. Similarly, if you saw a silver Honda car in the area in the time just before 11.25pm, please call us.”

• Anyone with information can contact Sgt 1915 Sean Cunningham on 101 quoting incident reference 1642 of July 12th. You can also call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at