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April 2011

Every little hurts? Tesco's tactics to get their way revealed

Friday, April 29, 2011 - 18:38: As Lancaster City Council prepares to consider not one but two supermarket proposals next week, campaigners are again reminding us of how the 'system' works in the favour of some projects getting the green light.

Open house at Melling sheltered housing

Thursday, April 28, 2011 - 16:43: Lancaster City Council is holding an open day at Melling House Sheltered Housing Scheme for people to have a good look round before applying for a place.

Fake DVDs seized from Morecambe Market stall

Thursday, April 28, 2011 - 16:38: PC Rob Brookbanks and PCSO Philip Meeks with some of the counterfeit DVDs seized from a Morecambe Market stall at the weekend. Police seized over 800 counterfeit DVDs from a stall on Morecambe market on Sunday, including copies of recent blockbuster movies, some of which are still only on show in cinemas.

Gillow lands top folk act Gren Bartley for May line-up

Thursday, April 28, 2011 - 11:46: Gren BartleyLancaster's Robert Gillow has lined up more fine folk music for May, and we have the full details. Included in the line up is top act Gren Bartley, a well known musician on both sides of the Atlantic, and the superb Hard Times.

Morecambe Council condemns Heysham Link as "completely inappropriate"

Thursday, April 28, 2011 - 10:15: Geoff Marsland says the proposed M6 Link is "completely inappropriate"Morecambe Town Council has voiced its opposition to the planned Heysham M6 Link, passing a strongly-worded resolution against the proposed road last week. The Council supported a strongly-worded resolution againt the road proposed by Morecambe Bay Independent Geoff Marsland, who is also a City Councillor.

Counting the Cost of 'Big Oil'

Thursday, April 28, 2011 - 08:13: Oil'd from Chris Harmon on Vimeo. Last year's Gulf Oil Spill released 205 million gallons of oil — such a huge amount, it's hard to get your mind around. To help conceptualize it, animator Chris Harmon created this amazing animated infographic - and it's such a salutory lesson in the need for more careful use of resources that we have no qualms about re-posting it here on virtual-lancaster.

People's Picnic Party Planned for Priory Green

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 - 17:33: A People's Picnic Party is planned on the Priory Green (by the Headless Woman statue) for egalitarian fun and frolics this Friday afternoon.

Stone the Crows - It's Wray Festival

Monday, April 25, 2011 - 20:45: Yet again the famous Wray Scarecrow Festival takes over the picturesque village with scarecrows of all sizes, scary, comical and satirical populating the streets, gardens and greens. And during the day you can find delicious refreshments served by enthusiastic volunteers at the Village Institute, as well as at the hospitable pubs and tea rooms.

Remembering Chernobyl: 25 years on

Monday, April 25, 2011 - 18:09: 25 years ago this week I and thousands of others got caught out in the Chernobyl rain that fell on Lancaster and much of Northern Europe and came home with our hair and clothes full of gungy nuclear disaster fallout to a contaminated water supply.

Adult College July Craft Fair - Book stalls now!

Friday, April 22, 2011 - 19:13: A Craft Fair will be held at the Adult College on Saturday 2 July (10am - 3pm) and if local craftspeople would like a stall there they need to get weaving as the closing date for bookings is this Friday 29 April. As well as Arts and Crafts Stalls, Taster courses and free family art sessions will be taking place on the day.

Enter your produce in the Incredible Edibles Awards 2011

Friday, April 22, 2011 - 18:47: The Incredible Edibles Awards aim to champion local food growing and local produce by showcasing the best food growing projects in Lancaster district. Keen on growing your own? Want to show off?

Williamson Park seeks friends

Friday, April 22, 2011 - 17:25: Lancaster City Council is inviting you to become a Friend of Williamson Park. Does Williamson Park hold a special place in your heart? If so, perhaps you’d like to be involved in making it a memorable place to be for others too!

Local ME Group needs friends!

Friday, April 22, 2011 - 16:55: Imagine that you have absolutely no energy, your muscles hurt, your head aches, your vision is blurred, you get dizzy spells and you can’t think straight or remember things properly. Then imagine that, unlike the winter colds and viruses that have been doing the rounds recently, you don’t get to feel any better.

Legal challenge to proposed Heysham Reactor: studies link to doubled cancer rates

Friday, April 22, 2011 - 12:29: Following on from German government studies showing more than doubled risks of infant leukaemia around every nuclear power station studied, Heysham Anti-Nuclear Alliance (HANA) has launched a legal challenge against Chris Huhne, the Secretary of State for The Department of Energy and Climate Change, for his Justification of new nuclear power stations.

Police appeal after fires on Heysham Barrows

Thursday, April 21, 2011 - 16:12: Police are appealing for information after a number of small fires were started on Heysham Barrows on Monday. It is believed there were around seven or eight separate small fires which were started at around 7.20pm on Monday evening and police are asking for anyone with any information to come forward and contact them.

LitFest brings new storytelling to Lancaster

Thursday, April 21, 2011 - 13:14: Lancaster LitFest is bringing some of the country's most spellbinding storytellers to Litfest in a partnership with London's Crick Crack Club. On offer is the chance of a literary trip around the world, a journey with the Queen of Sheba, and a strange fairytale adventure. LitFest's last storytelling night, Metamorphoses, was a complete sell-out - so don't miss these new events!

Scotforth supermarket plans set for inspection

Thursday, April 21, 2011 - 12:50: A design for Commercial Estates Projects proposed supermarket and hotel complex on the A6, south of Lancaster.Lancaster City Council's Planning and Highways Regulatory Committee will consider separate proposals by Booths and Commercial Estates Properties to build supermarkets on land at Lawsons Bridge, Scotforth at its meeting on Tuesday 3rd May.

Morecambe man convicted of child sex offences

Wednesday, April 20, 2011 - 16:52: Peter Barber was convicted for child abuse last year - but media coverage resulted in more victims coming forwardPeter Barber, a man who groomed four youngsters over a period of 10 years, has been convicted of 19 child sex offences. Barber was found guilty of the charges today after appearing before a jury at Preston Crown Court during an eight-day trial.

Butchers burgled in Morecambe, sausage making equipment taken

Wednesday, April 20, 2011 - 15:54: Police are appealing for witnesses after a J Hunters Butchers was broken into in Morecambe. The incident happened between last weekend at the butchers shop on Glenworth Road West in Morecambe. The offenders have approached the shop and forced open a wooden door to access the premises.

Police appeal after cyclepath robbery

Tuesday, April 19, 2011 - 16:50: Morecambe police are appealing for information after two brothers with learning difficulties had a digital camera and two mobile phones stolen from them on a day trip to the town.

Candidates line up for 5th May

Tuesday, April 19, 2011 - 14:29: (Updated 8/5/11): Here's a list of the candidates for the Lancaster City Council elections taking place on 5th May 2011. This list is sourced from a PDF on the Council web site: post election, addresses have been removed. Since the last boundary changes in 2003, 60 councillors have been elected from 28 wards.

'Keep our NHS Public' say Lancaster protesters

Tuesday, April 19, 2011 - 10:53: Participant report: Lancastrians opposed to the Coalition Government's plans to restructure the National Health Service staged a peaceful demonstration outside the Royal Lancaster Infirmary on Saturday 16th April.

Dogs seized in Lancaster after morning raids

Monday, April 18, 2011 - 15:40: Three dogs have been seized after a number of dangerous dogs warrants were executed at properties in Lancaster.

Campaigners challenge election candidates on M6 Link

Monday, April 18, 2011 - 13:34: Transport Solutions for Lancaster and Morecambe has written to every local election candidate about the controversial and hugely expensive M6 link - and ask them to support instead the package of integrated transport measures they argue the district really needs.

Transition City Lancaster's garden share scheme takes off

Friday, April 15, 2011 - 12:43: Transition City Lancaster's Samagita tells us there are now 8 gardens around Lancaster whose owners are willing to share. This is a chance for people who want to grow veggies and have no garden or allotment to start growing.

Nominations Posted for Lancaster City and Parish Council Elections

Friday, April 15, 2011 - 12:35: Lancaster City Council has published a list of candidates standing for the city council and parish council elections which will take place on Thursday May 5.

Lancaster May Day comes early: TUC march on Saturday 30th April

Friday, April 15, 2011 - 11:13: Ahead of its time, as ever, the Lancaster May Day March and Rally 2011, celebrating International Workers' Day, will take place on Saturday 30 April.

NHS Day of Action Protests in Lancaster This Saturday

Friday, April 15, 2011 - 10:52: A series of events is planned tomorrow to mark the national day of action against the proposed restructuring of the NHS.

Police target "Most Burgled" Morecambe

Thursday, April 14, 2011 - 17:17: Police are to concentrate their patrols into streets that have become hot spot areas for burglars targeting insecure homes - and are reminding people to take care when going out not to leave windows and doors unlocked.

Police eppeal after Morecambe assault

Thursday, April 14, 2011 - 16:55: Morecambe police are appealing for witnesses after a man was assaulted after a night out at the weekend. The offence occurred at around 3.00am on Saturday morning (9th April 2011) as the 19 year old man was walking along Back Morecambe Street after a night out.

Footlights takes on Daphne Du Maurier

Wednesday, April 13, 2011 - 13:50: The Grand will be dreaming of Manderlay all week as Lancaster Footlights presents Daphne Du Maurier's Rebecca. In the play, based on the novel first published in 1938 that made du Maurier one of the most popular writers of her time, Maxim de Winter marries a woman half his age only a year after the death of his first wife - the beautiful and accomplished Rebecca.

"House Show" will promote new local talent

Monday, April 11, 2011 - 13:58: On Saturday 16th April future~pizza ( and Mona House ( will present 'House~Show' - an evening of new music from the local area and beyond - at Mona House Gallery in Morecambe. Mona House is an independent community arts collective based in Morecambe.

Lancaster Market seeks new blood with special rates for start ups

Friday, April 8, 2011 - 11:41: Lancaster indoor market is looking to attract new traders by offering special introductory rates for a limited period. This offer is an ideal opportunity for anyone looking to re-locate, expand or start a new retail business - but comes as news breaks that three more businesses are soon to leave.

Dukes Seek Twelve Lancastrians for Knightly Feats

Friday, April 8, 2011 - 01:41: The Dukes is offering 12 men the rare chance to be part of the UK’s biggest outdoor walkabout theatre event. A dozen men are needed to appear, with a cast of professional actors, as The Knights of the Round Table and King Uther Pendragon’s Soldiers in The Dukes' production of Merlin & The Legend of King Arthur which will be performed in Williamson Park this Summer from July 8 - August 13.

Ghost Hunting in Morecambe's Winter Gardens

Thursday, April 7, 2011 - 18:38: Morecambe's Winter Gardens. Photo courtesy How many of our local iconic buildings might be haunted? Lee Roberts reports on a recent 'Ghost Hunt' at Morecambe's Winter Gardens... When I first walked into Morecambe Winter Gardens I was blown away with the beauty of the place.

Spend a little time with Little Voice

Thursday, April 7, 2011 - 14:34: The Dukes is celebrating the birth of a star in Rebecca Hutchinson, who plays the lead role she plays in their current show The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, getting rave reviews. In a four star review, the national Guardian described her performance as remarkable, while audiences have been full of praise for a show which features comedy and song yet has a moving story at its heart.

Spotlight Club headlines Steeve the Poet, Mollie Baxter and great music

Thursday, April 7, 2011 - 14:17: Ace performance poet Steeve the Poet, the marvellous Mollie Baxter and the peculiarly eclectic Pascal Desmond form just part of next week's Spotlight Club at the Storey, compered by Simon Baker.

LitFest Lunchtime Classics: George Eliot

Thursday, April 7, 2011 - 14:01: LitFest hosts another of its Lunchtime Classic talks on Friday, this time focusing on the life and work of acclaimed nineteenth century writer George Eliot. George Eliot was the pen name of Marian Evans, one of the leading literary figures of the Victorian age, and, along with Florence Nightingale and Queen Victoria, one of the three most famous women of Victorian England.

Cast for a Ryelands Park play area

Wednesday, April 6, 2011 - 15:50: A plan to develop the play area in Lancaster's Ryelands Park has been shortlisted to receive £15,000 from the ‘Parents for Playgrounds’ campaign and is relying on your votes to make it happen. Local parents are seeking funds to develop a small play area in the park into an accessible play area for the district.

Lancaster University gets go ahead for Wind Turbine

Tuesday, April 5, 2011 - 12:48: (Updated 6/4/11): Lancaster University's planning application to build a wind turbine was yesterday granted approval by the City Council's planning committee, following impassioned arguments both for and against from members of the public. After a three-hour discussion, the committee voted 12-7 in favour of the project, with Green and Labour councillors voting in favour of the project.

Alternative Voting: What on earth is it?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011 - 11:13: A public meeting on the Alternative Vote referendum will be held in Lancaster on Wednesday to discuss the future of Britian's voting system. On 5th May, UK voters will be given the chance to decide whether the current first-past-the-post electoral system should be replaced by an Alternative Vote system.

Child Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme rolled out in Lancashire

Tuesday, April 5, 2011 - 09:24: The Child Sex Offender Disclosure (CSOD) scheme has been launched in Lancashire as part of the national roll out. The scheme means that anyone can ask the police to check whether an individual who has access to children has committed any child sexual offences.

Lancaster man jailed for a year for ear bite assault

Monday, April 4, 2011 - 13:11: George AtkinsA man who bit off part of another man’s ear during an attack outside a pub has been jailed for 12 months. George Austin was ejected from Ma Murphy’s pub in Morecambe on Christmas Day 2009 after assaulting an elderly customer. Once outside, he assaulted a second man and bit off a section of his ear.

Ludus Dance: Positive in face of 70% funding cut.

Monday, April 4, 2011 - 12:40: The outcome of the National Portfolio Funding process has resulted in a 70% cut to Ludus Dance funding from Arts Council England. The remaining funding is to be earmarked to support ‘community dance activity focussed in Lancashire’.

Drooling Banjos and John Harper hit Lancaster's Gillow

Monday, April 4, 2011 - 11:00: Top folk musician John Harper returns to Lancaster's Robert Gillow later this month There's a great line up of folk music at the Robert Gillow this month, kicking off on Thursday with the Drooling Banjos and the welcome return of top act John Harper on 21st April.

Skerton's John O' Gaunt - Gone!

Sunday, April 3, 2011 - 09:23:

Police seize vehicles in Morecambe crime crackdown

Friday, April 1, 2011 - 17:09: Police placed what they termed "a ring of steel" around Morecambe on Wednesday, to crack down on offenders coming in to the town to commit crime. Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology was used on the roads into the town so that officers could use intelligence to target travelling criminals. The lockdown lead to 42 vehicles being stopped and checked over by police.

Litfest calls for support after Arts Council funding loss

Friday, April 1, 2011 - 15:38: Lancaster litfest director Andy Darby has issued a more detailed statement on its loss of Arts Council funding (see news story), which we publish in full below. "In October, Arts Council England (ACE) had its budget cut by £100m. Yesterday they announced which organisations they would continue to fund. Sadly, Litfest was one of over 200 organisations which was not offered funding after 2012.

Grey Striped Tabby Cat Twiggy Missing From Regent Street

Friday, April 1, 2011 - 12:36: Updated: 4/4/11. Readers will be pleased to know that Twiggy has been safely returned. Thanks for your help! ********************* Have you seen Twiggy? She is a small grey striped tabby cat who has been missing from her home in Regent Street, Lancaster, since Wednesday. Twiggy was a rescue kitten nursed back to health by her lifetime sidekick Jeff, who is worried sick about her.

Idiot Johnson Interviewed by Tom Bramhall

Friday, April 1, 2011 - 00:36: Idiot Johnson is the stage name of Mr Jonathan Tansley, Lancaster based singer / songwriter and general music lover responsible for 2010's debut CD Girl On A Train. In preparation for his Yorkshire House show on Sunday 10 April with Lancaster’s New Zealand Story and my own po)))nies, I interviewed Jonathan and spoke about writing and recording, listening to pop records.