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December 2012

New Year's Eve power cut affects Halton and other areas

(Updated 1824) This afternoon's power cut affecting Halton and other local areas looks as though it may mar New Year celebrations for some locals. The outage - caused by what Lancaster Guardian staff on Twitter report is due to high voltage fault at a Carnforth substation - means over 1400 homes in the Halton area and beyond.

In the Spotlight: Lancaster and District Male Voice Choir

In the first of an occasional quick 'spotlight' on a local group. we spotlight Lancaster and District Male Voice Choir ... Who or What: Lancaster and District Male Voice Choir is one of the longest established in the district being founded in 1899. Members come from Lancaster, Morecambe and the surrounding area.

Andy Serkis Returns To The Dukes

Andy Serkis, centre, as Lysander in A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Dukes first outdoor promenade production in 1987Andy Serkis, the actor and Lancaster University graduate who trod The Dukes boards during his early career, returns to the big screen there in January.

British Land explains offshore companies

In our recent post "British Land: our taxes are REIT" we asked about the large number of British Land-owned companies registered in offshore tax havens, which were mentioned in an Action Aid report about corporate structuring and offshore registrations. British Land tell us: "British Land has 143 Jersey and 16 Luxembourg companies covering its UK and overseas operations.

City Council considers options after £170,000 cut announced in funding

Councillor Abbott Bryning says the recently-announced Local Government Finance Settlement is another blow to the Council's finances There was grim news for Lancaster City Council just before Christmas, after the government announced it would have to make a further £170,000 in budget cuts next year.

Christmas Trees collected

St John’s Hospice will once again be collecting and recycling Christmas trees on Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th January 2013, for a minimum donation of £5 per tree. Trees will be collected from the following postcode areas: LA1, LA2, LA3, LA4, LA5. To arrange a collection visit the St John's Hospice tree collection page.

Police crackdown on local drink drivers continues

Over 100 motorists in Lancashire have already been found to have been drink driving this Christmas - 21 in the area covered by the Northern division which is assigned with the policing of Lancastewr, Morecambe, Heysham and the Wyre area. The figures come just three weeks into the campaign and officers are reminding people of the dangers and consequences of drink driving.

Getting expensive presents for Christmas? Immobilise thieves!

People receiving expensive presents for Christmas are being advised to take a few simple crime prevention measures to avoid being targeted by thieves. At this time of year burglars are even more aware of the fact that people will have expensive items in their homes.

The Duo get set for Golden Lion date

Need something different, perhaps a little more relaxing, between Christmas and New Year? Yes, I thought so. Well…. The Duo – from folk to Floyd will be playing at the Golden Lion (Moor Lane, Lancaster) on Saturday 29th December 2012. They’ll start, as usual, shortly after 9.00pm and perform two sets of songs, ending at some little time after 11.00pm.

Appeal following Lancaster house fire

Police are appealing for information following a house fire in Lancaster which police believe may have been started deliberately. On the evening of the 24th November, a fire started behind the front door of a house on Holden Way, which is off Ashton Road - and police are appealing for information to try and establish the circumstances.

Royal Lancaster Infirmary closes to visitors during Noro outbreak

All visitors have been banned from the Royal Lancaster Infirmary because of an outbreak of the winter vomiting bug Norovirus. At least 140 patients and 20 staff have caught the highly contagious norovirus, which causes nausea and diarrhoea. Every ward will be shut for at least the next two days, butEmergency cases are still being taken in AE.

Lancashire ex-Forces mentors to start work in the New Year

The next phase of Lancashire County Council's £3m project to recruit ex-service personnel as mentors in the county's schools is under way. The mentors, who will take up their posts on 7th January 2013, will provide support to pupils between the age of 14 and 16 to improve their achievement in class and their attendance at school, and to reduce the number of pupils who are excluded.

Report of sexual assault in Lancaster

Detectives are appealing for information following a report of a sexual assault outside The Lounge bar on Penny Street, Lancaster – but the person attack left the scene during the investigation and police are anxious to find them. Around 5.30am on Sunday 16th December 2012, a woman was sat on the floor at the side of the pub when a man sat beside her and attempted to touch her inappropriately.

Penny Street assault prompts police witness appeal

Police are appealing for witnesses after a man was assaulted in an unprovoked attack in Lancaster last week. Around 9.45pm on Tuesday 11th December 2012, two men approached a 42-year-old man on Penny Street outside Lush.

Car owners warned after catalytic converter thefts on the Vale and White Lund

Car owners are being asked to store vehicles away at night where possible following a series of catalytic converter thefts in Lancaster and Morecambe. A number of vehicles parked on the Vale estate and the White Lund Industrial Estate have been targeted for the metallic items, with thieves cutting them out from underneath vehicles.

Lancaster pensioner dies after Barton Road accident

We're sorry to report that 68-year-old Peter Kellett sadly died on Friday afternoon (14th Dec) at Royal Preston Hospital following a serious accident on Barton Road in Scoforth, Lancaster on 4th December. As we previously reported, Mr Kellett was hit by a white Mercedes Vito Van as he was crossing Barton Road near to the junction with Wakefield Drive shortly before 5.00pm.

British Land: our taxes are REIT.

HMRCFurther to our previous story regarding British Land and its offshore company registrations, (read it here) Virtual-Lancaster was pleasantly surprised to receive the following statement from BL about the structure under which the company operates: "British Land is a UK Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT).

Lancaster Vision 2020 sees Castle on horizon

The rainbow's end? Lancaster Castle viewed from AldcliffeLancaster Civic Society has launched a new group looking to encourage Lancaster to capitalise on the opening of the Castle. to be called Lancaster Vision 2020 (LV2020). It is intended to include residents.

County Council calls for tighter regulation on 'fracking'

Lancashire County Council has welcomed new controls on the extraction of shale gas but called upon the government to introduce industry specific regulation of hydraulic fracturing.

The Really Heavy Greatcoat Review of the Year 2012

The Really Heavy Greatcoat by myself and Lancaster-based artist Nick Miller was published fairly regularly for about 20 years, last featuring in the comics news magazine Comics International in 2009. The strip was published for many years in alternative Lancaster titles such as On The Beat and Off the Beat and online on and