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March 2010

Animal Care seeks Spring Fair helpers

Tuesday, March 30, 2010 - 16:26: Lancaster's Animal Care charity on Lancaster's Blea Tarn Road is looking for help at its Spring Fair on Friday 9th April 2010 at St Martin of Tours in Westgate, Morecambe. They need people to help run stalls, serve refreshments or bake some cakes for them to sell on the day.

Spring into action to keep criminals at bay

Monday, March 29, 2010 - 16:58: As the weather improves (allegedly), local residents are being urged to ‘Spring into action’ and take special measures to prevent themselves from becoming victims of crime. With the clocks going forward to provide more hours of daylight people may be tempted out into their gardens – and thieves might be tempted to steal things from them.

Appeal after Lancaster taxi driver injured in robbery

Monday, March 29, 2010 - 16:39: Police are appealing for information after a taxi driver was injured during a robbery. The driver had picked up two passengers from outside KFC in Penny Street, Lancaster, shortly before 10.30pm on Monday 22nd March. He took them to the Dolly Blue Tavern near Lancaster football ground, where the men then attacked him.

New Year's Day Rape: Arrest Made

Monday, March 29, 2010 - 15:21: Lancashire Police have arrested a 32-year-old man from Carlisle on suspicion of rape, in connection with an incident in Morecambe on New Year’s Day (where the suspect was wearing ‘pirate’ fancy dress). The man has been released on police bail until 18th June.

Women on Wheels ride around the city coast and countryside

Sunday, March 28, 2010 - 09:59: A Women on Wheels (WoW) cycle ride takes place on Sunday 4th April -- and whether you are beginner or a seasoned pro, everyone is welcome. You can even hire a bike if you don’t have your own.

Council's Cabinet discusses Lancaster Market options, new protest planned

Sunday, March 28, 2010 - 09:49: Lancaster City Council's Cabinet met last week to discuss a public report detailing the findings of the Cabinet Working Group set up to consider the future of Lancaster Indoor Market, which has an annual deficit of over £400,000 a year.

Date announced for Skerton West City Council by-election

Sunday, March 28, 2010 - 09:26: The date for a by-election to elect a new councillor for the Skerton West ward of Lancaster City Council has been announced. Voters in the ward will go to the polls on Thursday 6th May - possibly the same day as the General Election. Anyone who is interested in standing for the vacancy should telephone the elections office on 01524 582905.

Asco faces winding-up petition for £25k unpaid bill

Wednesday, March 24, 2010 - 12:22: The supermarket 'chain' being courted by Lancaster City Council to take over Lancaster's market building, ASCO Stores Ltd has had a winding-up petition lodged against it by Evolve Group who claim Asco has failed to pay a £25,000 bill due three months ago, according to a report by Crains.

Bug Investigations Get Underway At Heysham

Thursday, March 18, 2010 - 14:02: Children in the Morecambe Bay area will become bug investigators this Saturday (20th March) when they take part in the North Lancashire Wildlife Watch group’s latest event at Heysham Nature Reserve. Wildlife Watch is the junior section of the Wildlife Trusts and Watch groups are aimed at children between the ages of 8 and 13 years.

Greens launch bid for Lancaster and Fleetwood seat

Thursday, March 18, 2010 - 13:55: (Updated 28/3/10): Green Party general election candidate Gina Dowding will launch her campaign to win the Lancaster and Fleetwood Constituency next week with a screening of her new campaign video.

Cash in transit robber jailed for 12 years

Thursday, March 18, 2010 - 13:37: John Arstall, a man who threatened security guards with a machete during a cash in transit van robbery in Lancaster has been jailed for 12 years. Around £93,000 was stolen in the raid on the van in Scale Hall Lane, Lancaster, on January 29 2008. Arstall, of Eccles, Manchester, and another offender threatened the guards with machetes before making off with the cash.

TB cases still rising in North West

Wednesday, March 17, 2010 - 13:29: The Health Protection Agency North West, in partnership with NHS North West, is urging people to be aware of the symptoms of TB as new provisional data published this week shows that TB figures remain high in the region.

Lancaster Market: Who are ASCO and who backs it?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010 - 11:57: Just before the full Lancaster City Council meeting that discussed the future of Lancaster Market, Asco Stores Ltd finally confirmed via the Morecambe Visitor what had long been rumoured: that it had been approached by the Council to take over the building, whose costs are rapidly becoming prohibitive.

Future of Lancaster Market discussed

Wednesday, March 17, 2010 - 11:47: After the decision at Council earlier this month, members of Lancaster City Council’s Cabinet have met with local market traders, representatives of the National Federation of Market Traders, and other experts as part of Cabinet’s discussion on the future of Lancaster Market.

New ideas needed for Lancaster Market, say Greens

Wednesday, March 17, 2010 - 10:38: Green Party councillor John Whitelegg is calling on the Council to look at fresh ideas to improve Lancaster Market - including the introduction of a local currency scheme that could benefit all the area's small businesses.

Salt Ayre Sports Centre closed for works over Easter

Tuesday, March 16, 2010 - 12:40: Lancaster City Council is taking advantage of the Easter bank holiday weekend to programme elements of its annual maintenance schedule at Salt Ayre Sports Centre. Salt Ayre is a facility that operates the best part of 50 plus weeks per year, and as such it is always a challenge to find the best time to schedule planned maintenance works.

Liberal Democrats: Closing the Market not our idea

Tuesday, March 16, 2010 - 12:32: Above: Coun Stuart Langhorn accepts a petition protesting against Lancaster Market's closure earlier this month Local Liberal Democrat leader Stuart Langhorn has hit back at suggestions that his party is to blame for plans to close Lancaster Market.

Moorside School takes stand against intruders

Tuesday, March 16, 2010 - 12:00: Parents from Lancaster's Moorside Primary School have formed a campaign group to mobilise support for plans to protect school grounds from dog dirt and unwanted intrusions.

Local heroin dealer jailed for 30 months

Sunday, March 14, 2010 - 09:11: Tina Ghorst, a drug dealer who sold heroin to undercover police officers has been jailed for 30 months. Ghorst appeared at Preston Crown Court charged with seven counts of supplying class A drugs and one count of being concerned in the supply of class A drugs following a lengthy investigation by officers from Lancashire Police.

Could Lancaster Market be run by its traders?

Sunday, March 14, 2010 - 08:55: Roger Mace, leader of Lancaster City Council's Conservative group, has joined others voicing concern that the end of March deadline for negotiating the future of Lancaster Market may hamper, not help, find a solution to the problems the expensive building is causing the local authority. He has also suggested the Market could be run by the Traders themselves, not the Council.

Lancaster Market: Traders voice concerns

Friday, March 12, 2010 - 17:49: With the future of Lancaster Market still in the balance, virtual-lancaster understands the latest meeting between City Council and traders did not go well last night, again prompting renewed concerns over its future.

NWDA welcomes High Speed Rail link plan

Thursday, March 11, 2010 - 15:09: The North West Development Agency has welcomed the news of plans for a High Speed Rail network in the UK, which the organisation says will benefit Lancaster and the rest of the North West when it is completed in the 2020s.

More bogus callers steal cash from elderly

Thursday, March 11, 2010 - 13:16: After an elderly couple were robbed by a bogus official earlier this week (see news story) police are now appealing for information about more heartless thieves who stole from three elderly women in Lancaster on Wednesday, using similar tactics.

Student dies after road collision

Wednesday, March 10, 2010 - 11:37: Police have re-issued an appeal for witnesses to a serious road collision on Cable Street, Lancaster, last week, which has resulted in the death of the pedestrian involved. The victim, 20-year-old Akta Patel was originally from London but was a student in Lancaster.

Burglars steal cash from elderly Lancaster couple

Wednesday, March 10, 2010 - 10:25: Two men posing as builders stole over £800 from an elderly couple after tricking their way into their Lancaster home. The elderly home owner had noticed the males walking along Halton Road, late last Thursday morning (4th March). One of the men had beckoned him to the front door and then said that they were carrying out some work on a nearby property and needed to check the water supply.

£5000 of suspected cocaine seized in Carnforth

Tuesday, March 9, 2010 - 15:07: Police seized suspected cocaine with an estimated street value of £5,600 after finding it in a car bound for Carnforth. Officers from Morecambe’s targeting team stopped the car close to the M6’s Carnforth junction on Friday night as part of an ongoing operation to tackle anti-social behaviour in the town caused by cocaine abuse.

Motorists get Parking warning

Tuesday, March 9, 2010 - 14:54: Motorists who leave their vehicles on Lancaster’s Ashton Road are being reminded they will be fined if they park illegally. Police have received a number of letters from drivers given tickets after parking on a section of the road that is now covered by a solid white line system However, the fines have been upheld.

Fake Oscar-nominated films seized in Morecambe

Monday, March 8, 2010 - 15:51: Local Trading Standards and police officers seized over 800 counterfeit DVDs at a Morecambe market last month – including several Oscar nominated titles.   Members of Morecambe’s Poulton neighbourhood police team also assisted Trading Standards in seizing around 250 items of fake designer clothing in the raid at the Sunday car boot-style market, held in the town on 28th February.

LibDems Shadow Minister rejects Heysham Bypass Plans for Rail

Monday, March 8, 2010 - 09:43: Norman Baker, the Liberal Democrat Shadow Secretary of State for Transport, is no supporter of costly, ineffective and environmentally damaging new roads like the proposed Heysham M6 Link -- and he has written to local transport campaign group Transport Solutions for Lancaster and Morecambe to tell them just that. Mr.

CCTV appeal after shopper subjected to abuse

Friday, March 5, 2010 - 10:38: Police are appealing for information after a shopper was verbally abused in a supermarket. The victim was shopping with friends at Asda on Ovangle Road Lancaster at 10.30pm on 12th February 2010 when a group of males who were stood behind him started making homophobic references towards him. The victim challenged one of the group, who then became aggressive and threw a lime at the victim.

In Review: Oh! What a Lovely War

Friday, March 5, 2010 - 08:43: Oh! What a Lovely War The Dukes Review by Jane Sunderland Steeped in irony, Joan Littlewood's Oh! What a Lovely War, a musical dramatisation of the events and development of World War 1, provides a shocking reminder about why we should always, always question the declaration of a war, its execution, and its continuation.

Dukes funding restored at budget Council meeting

Thursday, March 4, 2010 - 17:28: At the annual budget meeting of Lancaster City Council yesterday Labour Councillors Tina Clifford and Robert Redfern successfully proposed motions supporting The Dukes, childrens playgrounds and the service provided by the quick response vehicles.

Local PubWatch scheme warning over ‘Bubble’

Thursday, March 4, 2010 - 16:26: Members of Lancaster’s PubWatch scheme are warning drinkers about the consequences of bringing new drug ‘Bubble’ into the city’s bars, clubs and pubs. As we've previously reported, Bubble is street slang for the substance mephedrone – more commonly used as plant fertilizer. It is also known as Meow Meow or MMCAT.

Lancaster Market: City Council Statement

Thursday, March 4, 2010 - 16:11: The City Council has issued the following statement on Lancaster Market: Lancaster City Council has deferred a decision on Lancaster Market pending the consideration of alternative options for the future of the site.

Lancaster Market debacle nets another casualty

Thursday, March 4, 2010 - 11:22: Above: Lancaster City Council Leader Stuart Langhorn accepts the 13,000-strong petition against Market closure from Market Trader Peter Corker on the steps of Morecambe Town Hall.

March to Save Lancaster Market

Wednesday, March 3, 2010 - 17:35: Over 100 people, including Market traders, Green councillors and Gina Dowding, Green Party Parliamentary Candidate for Lancaster and Fleetwood, marched on Morecambe Town Hall earlier today, part of a wider bid to save Lancaster Market from closure.

Council joins the 'Big Swap' for Fairtrade Fortnight

Wednesday, March 3, 2010 - 11:43: Lancaster City Council, along with retailers and businesses throughout Lancaster district, are taking part in ‘The Big Swap’ for Fairtrade Fortnight 2010 (22 February 7th March). Employees at Lancaster City Council are joining ‘The Big Swap’ by swapping their usual hot drinks for Fairtrade tea and coffee throughout Fairtrade Fortnight.

Conservative Candidate backs saving Lancaster Market

Wednesday, March 3, 2010 - 11:30: Eric Ollerenshaw, Lancaster and Fleetwood's Conservative prospective parliamentary candidate, has backed the campaign to save Lancaster Market. Proposals to close the Market and relocate stallholders elsewhere in the District will be discussed later today by Full Council.

Brewery Malthouse gets listed

Wednesday, March 3, 2010 - 10:36: The Secretary of State has listed the malthouse of the old Brewery on Lancaster - a derelict complex threatened with demolition by owners, Mitchells, last year.

Victim of knife point robbery receives jail apology from attacker

Wednesday, March 3, 2010 - 10:28: A local woman who was robbed at knifepoint has visited her attacker in prison to receive an apology from him as part of a restorative justice project. Police offered 26-year-old Zoe Harrison the opportunity to meet 18-year-old Aaron Burns at Lancaster Farms prison in a bid to help her gain closure following her ordeal.

Labour councillors back saving Lancaster Market

Tuesday, March 2, 2010 - 15:08: Labour councillors will not back the proposal to close Lancaster Market at tomorrow's Full Council meeting, where plans to offer the building to a single retailer and relocate stallholders is to be discussed - along with many other proposed cuts to Lancaster and Morecambe services.

Honey Bee workshop aims to cut losses

Tuesday, March 2, 2010 - 14:52: North West beekeepers are being urged to attend a free day long seminar organised by the Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera) in a bid to reduce the rate of honey bee colony looses. Up to a third of colonies are being lost every year in the region, with the figure for parts of Cumbria probably nearer 50 per cent.

Man assaulted on Lancaster Canal towpath

Tuesday, March 2, 2010 - 14:35: Lancaster Police report that a local man was assaulted on the canal towpath at the weekend. The 30-year-old man, who the Lancaster Guardian reports is now being treated in Royal Lancaster Infirmary, was attacked near Penny Street bridge (near the Water Witch pub) between 4.30am and 5.00am on Sunday. His injuries are said to be serious but not life-threatening.

City Council's Chief Exec explains secrecy on Market plans

Tuesday, March 2, 2010 - 13:02: Lancaster City Council has just issued a new statement about Lancaster Market, clarifying its position on keeping some details of the plans confidential, clearly concerned that leaks about the plans may damage its relationship with private business.

Local election "Waste" condemned by Liberal candidate

Tuesday, March 2, 2010 - 10:25: Harry Armistead, the Liberal Democrat candidate for John O'Gaunt in the upcoming City Council by-election, has criticised the Greens for demanding it be held separately to the general election, describing it as costly to both the environment and local taxpayer. "The local by-election is on the 1st April 2010, only five weeks from the widely anticipated general election," he notes on his blog.

Greens push for revamped, smaller Lancaster Market

Tuesday, March 2, 2010 - 10:08: Green councillors will argue that Lancaster Market should not be closed tomorrow when a cabinet proposal is put to Full Council - arguing it should continue, albeit as a smaller operation in partnership with a new single retailer.

The Lancaster Market Story - In Video

Monday, March 1, 2010 - 20:56: virtual-lancaster urges everyone to support the Stallholders of Lancaster Market.

Conservative Quits City Cabinet over Market Closure Plan

Monday, March 1, 2010 - 20:46: Conservative Councillor Malcolm Thomas has submitted his resignation from the Cabinet of Lancaster City Council, earlier today in protest at the handling of a proposal to close Lancaster Market that will be put before Full Council on Wednesday. "I am resigning from the Cabinet," says Coun Thomas, who held the position of Cabinet Member and Portfolio Holder for Finance.

Gone for a Burton...

Monday, March 1, 2010 - 11:57: Lancaster's Burton store is the latest Arcadia-owned store to close in the city, despite having seven months left on its lease. Last year, another Arcadia store, Wallis, closed on Penny Street but the business moved into space in the BHS store on Market Street. The nearest Burton is now in Preston.

Straw Poll on fate of Lancaster Market

Monday, March 1, 2010 - 11:08: virtual-lancaster has asked every City Councillor with a valid email address if they support the closure of Lancaster Market. The responses are being published as a GoogleDoc here. If you have already know how your local councillor has said they will vote in the Full Council meeting on Wednesday, please let us know via - thanks!