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March 2011

Historic Prison HMP Lancaster Castle closes this week.

After 56 years as a category C prison, accommodating between 200-300 prisoners, depending on the policies of the day, HMP Lancaster Castle is closing this week. Conservative Justice Secretary Ken Clarke has plans to reduce the prison population by 3000 over the next 4 years.

City Council backs cut local arts groups

Lancaster City Council has voiced its support for local arts organisations - including those whose funding has been cut by the Arts Council this week (see news story).

Missing Morecambe man could be in Blackpool

Missing: Morecambe man Darren ShentonPolice are appealing for the public to report any sightings of a missing Morecambe man who is believed to be staying in Blackpool. As we previously reported, Darren Shenton, 41, was last seen at his home address on West End Road in Morecambe on Friday morning (25th March) and police and his family are growing increasingly concerned for his welfare.

litfest, Storey Gallery and folly lose Arts Council funding

Lancaster's long-running litfest, the Storey Gallery, the digital arts organisation Folly and LUDUS Dance are among the high profile victims of cuts in funding by Arts Council England, which unveiled its new National portfolio of funded organisations earlier this week.

'Operation Belvedere' action to target theft and driver crime

Police executed warrants, visited second hand shops and carried out checks on vehicles this week as part of an ongoing crack down on serious acquisitive crime. The activity was carried out yesterday (Monday) as part of Operation Belvedere, which is aimed at reducing crime in the north of the county.

Hammerton Hall Lane accident prompts Police clampdown

Police will be clamping down on motorists incorrectly using ‘access only’ roads following a collision involving a car and a motorcyclist. The rider needed surgery to a broken leg after his red and black Vulcan motorcycle was involved in a collision with a green Ford Focus on Hammerton Hall Lane, between Barley Cop Lane and Slyne Road, Skeron, at around 6.32am on Monday 12th March.

Appeal for missing Morecambe man

Missing: Morecambe man Darren ShentonPolice in Morecambe are appealing for information about a man who has gone missing from his home in Morecambe. Darren Shenton, 41, was last seen at his home address on West End Road in Morecambe on Friday morning and police and his family are growing increasingly concerned for his welfare.

Lancastrians In London TUC Anti-Cuts March: Personal Report

They say it was half a million at the Great TUC Anti Cuts Protest March in London last Saturday. Half the march never even made it to Hyde Park. For that to happen it would've had to start off at about 9am, not noon. It was a miracle we made it as far as Trafalgar Square, three and a half hours after the march began. 'Why are you stopping?' asked a copper, kindly.

36 motorists fined during young driver safety clamp down

Local young motorists driving at excessive speed, without tax or while failing to wear a seatbelt have been given fines during a road safety crack down. Throughout March, police officers in the county’s Northern Division, which covers Lancaster, Morecambe and Wyre, have been attempting to raise awareness amongst young drivers about the dangers they face if they drive irresponsibly or illegally.

More businesses leave Lancaster market as Council dithers over fate

(with thanks to various virtual-lancaster readers) As Lancaster City Council continues to ponder the fate of Lancaster Market - one year after councillors voted in droves to stop its closure and local people marched to keep it open - virtual-lancaster has learnt that more tenants are to leave, some fed up with its continued mis-management.

Local MP backs Tory bid to criminalize Squatters

(updated 27/3/11) After our recent coverage of how housing benefit changes will effectively impoverish some of Britain's most vulnerable when changes come into force by the end of 2011, you might be thinking that some will simply turn to squatting rather than pay rent they can't afford.

Local Labour activists launch Save Sure Start petition

Local Labour Party councillors and prospective council candidates have launched a petition against the possible closure of Sure Start Centres in Morecambe. The campaign comes as the Government and Lancashire County Council, both Tory-led, are making cuts to services across the North-West with threats that Sure Start Centres may lose funding.

Government increases money for pothole repairs

Lancashire is to benefit from the doubling of funding available for repairing potholes - which should come as welcome news to local drivers. Transport Secretary Philip Hammond has written to all English local highway authorities to inform them of their share of £200m after the funding increase was announced as part of the Budget earlier in the week.

Teenager assaulted at Lancaster takeaway

Have you seen or do you know this man?Police are appealing for witnesses after a teenager was assaulted at a takeaway in Lancaster earlier in the year. Around 3.40am on Sunday 27th January 2011, a 19-year-old man from the town was repeatedly punched in the face and body as he was waiting to order food at Iky’s on St Leonards Gate.

3Cs challenge issued to would be 'adventurers'

Lancashire Clubs for Young People is once again organising its popular 3C's Challenge - encompassing Caving, Climbing and Cycling - which will raise money to provide activities to underprivilaged young people across the local area. The 3C's Challenge is a different kind of sponsored challenge for 'wannabe' adventurers, with a day full of Caving, Climbing and Cycling challenges.

Take Taekwondo at Trinity

A fun Taekwondo class, suitable for beginners and experienced martial artists begins at the Trinity Community Centre in Lancaster next week. Taekwondo is a South Korean martial art with an emphasis on the kicks which you'll see at the Olympics next year. Lessons include fitness work and stretches whilst teaching you the blocks, strikes and kicks you'll need.

Don’t let registration myths mean you miss your chance to vote

Lancaster City Council is warning people that believing urban myths about electoral registration could mean missing out on the chance to vote in the local elections taking place on 5th May. There are many myths and misconceptions surrounding registration, but it is important to know the real rights and wrongs behind the process.

Bypass goes back to planning despite government funding green light

This week's Lancaster Guardian reports that the proposed M6 Link to Heysham is to be re-submitted for planning approval - despite confirmation of much of the funding for the project from the government in yesterday's budget (see news story).

Budget confirmation for funding of M6 Link for Heysham

The Chancellor George Osborne today announced his Budget, with plans to reform the nation's economy and, he claims, steps to help families with the cost of living. He also confirmed of funding for the hugely controversial link road between the M6 and Heysham.

Adults warned about risks of buying alcohol for children

Adults are being warned about the risks of buying alcohol for underage children after a local man was given an £80 fine for buying booze for teens. The 20 year-old man was given the fine after police were alerted to the fact that he had passed vodka, wine and beer on to a group of youngsters after making a purchase in Halton.