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December 2009

Blue Moon Tonight

Thursday, December 31, 2009 - 08:31: In case you don't know it, there will be a blue moon - the first in 20 years - at 7.15pm tonight which should, cloud cover permitting, be viewable here in the Lancaster area. Not only that, there will be a partial lunar eclipse with the deepest eclipse at 7.22pm. This eclipse of the Moon is partial, so only eight per cent of the Moon will actually be covered by Earth's shadow.

"Help us find our missing puppy" £200 reward.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009 - 13:03: The James family in Skerton are having a sad Christmas as the children's 13 month old puppy, Jazz (see picture) went missing on 11 December. Jazz is a Lhasa Apso / Shitz cross and she has a chip implant and was wearing a name tag when she disappeared. She has had a hair cut since this picture was taken.

Council set to cut funding for volunteer groups?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009 - 13:18: Next month, the City Council will be asking the public about its 2010/11 budget where cuts of £1.053 million are planned (see news story) - and funds for the area's many voluntary organisations will be under close scrutiny to se if savings can be made.

Greens welcome Centros plan rejection

Wednesday, December 23, 2009 - 12:54: North Lancashire Green Party has welcomed the rejection all the Centros planning applications for Lancaster's Canal Corridor, describing it as "a very fine Christmas present." As we reported yesterday, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government John Denham has accepted the report of the Inspector at last summer's planning inquiry into the Centros scheme and rejected all the...

Bank Aid - Do They Loan This Christmas

Wednesday, December 23, 2009 - 12:32: A bunch of Wiltshire celebs turn up at the Frog Lane Studios expecting a free drink. There's not such thing as a free drink! Merry Christmas and a Very Happy New Year to all our readers!

Council, Centros Statement on Canal Corridor

Tuesday, December 22, 2009 - 17:10: Following the announcement that the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government has announced that he has refused planning permission for a major new retail development in Lancaster (see earlier news story), Lancaster City Council has issued the following statement, which indicates Centros will continue to present its development plans for the Canal Corridor: "The refusal...

Centros Development Plans for Lancaster Rejected

Tuesday, December 22, 2009 - 14:12: Plans for a massive shopping development in Lancaster have been thrown out by the Government.

Road Round Up: County Still Pursues White Elephant

Tuesday, December 22, 2009 - 13:20: Despite the opposition of local people and both Lancaster and Morecambe Councils, Lancashire County Council - already set to make swingeing cuts to vital services in the New Year - is pressing on with its plans to build the unwanted, expensive Link Road between the motorway and Heysham.

Lancaster Pubs Fail Teenage Sales Test

Monday, December 21, 2009 - 16:54: Three Lancaster pubs and bars face licence interventions after selling alcohol to 15-year-old girls during a test purchase operation. The teenagers were able to buy alcohol in three of the 17 establishments visited across Lancaster on Friday night.

WAG Launches Exhibition Appeal for Gregson

Monday, December 21, 2009 - 09:28: As part of 2010 International Women’s Day celebrations, Women at the Gregson (WAG) are hosting three art exhibitions to showcase the work of female artists and photographers.

CCTV released following £27,0000 arson

Friday, December 18, 2009 - 12:20: Police have released a CCTV image after a Mercedes van was destroyed in an arson attack. The green Sprinter vehicle, worth £27,000, was parked at Udale Speciality Foods, Schola Green Lane, Morecambe, at 7.00am on 1st November when a fire broke out in its front cab. Police would now like to speak to the man pictured in the CCTV image in order to eliminate him from their inquiries.

BBC's Nigel Jay Headlines Spotlight Club Tonight

Friday, December 18, 2009 - 09:55: Spotlight at the Storey - Lancaster's ace monthly writing and music night - is back this evening (Friday 18th December) with another top line-up of performers, including North West TV's Nigel Jay and musical comedy from Reginald Winters.

Justice at last for Carnforth road death victim?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009 - 15:56: Some five years after his death, a road maintenance company has been fined £65,000 after a motorist was killed on the M6 near Carnforth a victim of various safety failures. Graham Campbell, who was travelling north at about 11.30pm on 8th May 2004, died after hitting an unlit contractor’s vehicle parked on the hard shoulder of the M6, just past junction 35 near Carnforth.

Have your say on council spending

Tuesday, December 15, 2009 - 15:39: Lancaster City Council is inviting people to get involved and have their say on how it spends its money for the next few years. The council has already set its priorities for the next three years, focusing on the social, economic and environmental issues of our district.

Lancaster Vigil Message to World Leaders: Make a 'Real Deal' for the World on Climate Change

Monday, December 14, 2009 - 17:12: A group of over 30 people held a vigil on the steps of Lancaster's old Town Hall on Saturday evening. Nearly 100 passers-by added their candles to send thoughts and hopes for a Real Deal on climate action in Copenhagen.

Astrophysicist and world-leading economist awarded Honorary Degrees

Monday, December 14, 2009 - 16:44: Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, one of Britain's most distinguished female scientists and a high-profile economist have been awarded honorary degrees by Lancaster University.

Greens Condemn New Nuke Plans for Heysham

Monday, December 14, 2009 - 15:36: It should come as no surprise to learn that Lancaster's Greens have condemned plans for a third nuclear power station at Heysham - and indeed, any new nuclear build in the UK.

Flood Charity Pop Video Has a Local Bite!

Monday, December 14, 2009 - 10:36: University of Cumbria film maker Russell Cherrington has joined forces with eighties chart-toppers It Bites to try and help victims of the recent devastating floods in Cumbria. The band, who are from Egremont, have recruited stars from the rock and pop world to record a new version of their classic hit Calling All The Heroes.

The Really Heavy Greatcoat Review of the Year 2009

Sunday, December 13, 2009 - 09:26: Yes - a new Really Heavy Greatcoat! Longtime virtual-lancaster readers will know the Greatcoat strip was the joint creation of VL contributor John Freeman and top local cartoonist Nick Miller back in 1987 (more info here), and has featured in several print publications, local and international down the years.

Changes to Christmas Refuse Collections

Friday, December 11, 2009 - 11:20: Lancaster City Council is suspending collections of green garden waste for the week of 21 - 26 December and will be collecting non-recyclable waste instead. The change is being made to help cope with the extra non-recyclable waste that households produce at Christmas. Your collection dates may change to fit around the holiday (read on for new dates).

Conservation Area Conservation Consultation delayed

Thursday, December 10, 2009 - 11:24: Lancaster City Council has decided to delay the start of its planned boundary review consultation for local conservation areas following legal proceedings brought by SAVE Britain's Heritage against Lancaster City Council, the Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government and Mitchells of Lancaster (see news stories here and here).

Morecambe Town Council Condemns Link Road Plans

Thursday, December 10, 2009 - 11:07: Morecambe Town Council has overwhelmingly objected to link road orders issued by Lancashire County Council as it continues its plans to press ahead with the controversial and increasingly hugely expensive road scheme that would see a new road built between the motorway and Heysham port.

Coastline Plan Consultation Begins

Thursday, December 10, 2009 - 10:47: Lancaster City Council has begun a consultation on management plans for the local coastline, working with North West England and North Wales Coastal Group, the Environment Agency and other organisations.

Warning over alarm company claiming to be working with police

Thursday, December 10, 2009 - 10:37: Local residents are being warned about an alarm company currently cold calling in the Lancaster and Morecambe area. Sales staff are contacting householders by telephone and falsely claiming to be working with the police, while offering numerous free gifts such as security marking pens.

Link road planners sail into deep water

Tuesday, December 8, 2009 - 17:17: Lancashire County Council (LCC) planners have completely missed out an important step in the statutory planning process required for their Heysham M6 Link road plans meaning they will have to go back to the drawing board - literally - to come up with new plans, adding further cost to the much criticised scheme.

CCTV released after theft from car at country club

Tuesday, December 8, 2009 - 14:01: Police have released a CCTV image after valuables were stolen from a car parked outside Thurnham Hall Country Club at 2.40pm on Friday 13th November, when its window was smashed. Among the items stolen, worth over £1,500, were two cameras, an Ipod Nano and various books and DVDs.

Morecambe landlady fined for flytip offence

Tuesday, December 8, 2009 - 13:50: A Morecambe landlady has been fined after rubbish was illegally dumped in a quiet country lane in Lancaster. Susan Stewart, the licensee of the Royal Hotel, Morecambe, was prosecuted by Lancaster City Council following a fly tipping incident in Green Lane, also known as Back Castle Lane, in March this year.

Christmas Club Cash Stolen

Monday, December 7, 2009 - 14:51: Local police are appealing for information after thieves stole packets of money destined for members of a Christmas club. At around 1.25pm on Saturday, 5th December, a substantial amount of cash was stolen from a vehicle parked in Laureston Avenue, Heysham. The money was contained in 25 separate large brown envelopes, which were inside a blue plastic tray.

Make Sure Santa is Your Only Intruder at Christmas

Monday, December 7, 2009 - 12:05: Home owners are being given crime prevention tips to make sure they don’t fall victim to crime this Christmas. At this time of year, expensive presents are starting to be placed around trees – and can prove tempting to passing thieves.

Is This Your Cat?

Monday, December 7, 2009 - 12:00: Details of this cat were submitted to on 1st December 2009. The cat was found in Gloucester Avenue, Lancaster on around 16th November 2009.

Naked Ambition? Your Opportunity to be Part of Hit Theatre Show

Saturday, December 5, 2009 - 16:03: A hit at the 2009 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Nic Green’s Trilogy is coming to the Nuffield Theatre on Saturday 30th January - but to make it a success, Nic needs local women willing to bare all and join her in this celebration of womanhood. Trilogy is a celebratory venture into modern-day feminism.

Mitchells Issues Statement on Brewery

Friday, December 4, 2009 - 16:35: Local company Mitchells has issued a full statement via its web site and in notices posted at the Brewery itself on its reasons for wanting to demolish the old Brewery, outlining its support for the proposed Centros development. We publish the statement in full here: comment is of course more than welcome.

Injunction Served To Try to Save Old Brewery

Friday, December 4, 2009 - 16:03: In a dramatic turn of events yesterday the High Court in London agreed to the request of Save Britian's Heritage to issue an injunction against Lancaster City Council and Mitchells brewery to prevent demolition of the old brewery on Lancaster's Brewery Lane. As we reported earlier, contractors had already begun clearance work on the site, the dismay of campaigners.

Attempted Lancaster ATM Robbery - CCTV Released

Friday, December 4, 2009 - 15:38: Police have released CCTV images after raiders caused £900 damage to a shop while trying to steal cash from an ATM machine in Lancaster.

Nuclear "Smoke and Mirrors" in Lancaster

Friday, December 4, 2009 - 15:33: Lancaster Town Hall recently played host to some very clever nuclear smoke and mirrors from the Department of Energy and Climate Change in the form of a slick travelling exhibition promoting extensive new nuclear build at Heysham.

"Operation Nimrod" Success

Friday, December 4, 2009 - 14:53: The recent Operation Nimrod drugs raids across Lancashire have been hailed a success by officers, councillors and the communities in which they took place. In the past four weeks, over 100 officers from across Lancashire Constabulary have been involved in eight ‘strike’ days, carrying out drugs raids in Lancaster, Morecambe, Heysham, Bolton-le-Sands and Burnley.

Injunction Brought Against Mitchell's Demolition

Thursday, December 3, 2009 - 14:11: (Updated 8/12/09 to include Council statement): In a dramatic turn of events this morning the heritage group SAVE went to the High Court and obtained an injunction against the immediate demolition of the Mitchell's brewery building on Lancaster City Council and Mitchell's of Lancaster (Brewers) Ltd.