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December 2012

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

Monday, December 31, 2012 - 18:20: (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

Monday, December 31, 2012 - 14:02: 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

Monday, December 31, 2012 - 13:18: 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

Friday, December 28, 2012 - 13:32: 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

Friday, December 28, 2012 - 11:02: 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

Friday, December 28, 2012 - 09:06: 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

Friday, December 21, 2012 - 14:52: 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!

Friday, December 21, 2012 - 11:11: 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

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 - 20:01: 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

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 - 19:18: 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

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 - 17:21: 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

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 - 15:30: 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

Tuesday, December 18, 2012 - 16:44: 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

Monday, December 17, 2012 - 23:34: 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

Monday, December 17, 2012 - 17:13: 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

Monday, December 17, 2012 - 10:15: 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.

Friday, December 14, 2012 - 14:23: 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

Friday, December 14, 2012 - 12:19: 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'

Friday, December 14, 2012 - 10:41: 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

Thursday, December 13, 2012 - 17:40: 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

Creative deadline for Storey Gallery Company

Thursday, December 13, 2012 - 17:17: The Storey Gallery spaceLancaster City Council is taking a 'tough love' approach with thepublicly-funded Storey Art Gallery Company, underwriting the rent for its office space at the Storey building until the end of February 2013 but closing the gallery space. As we reported in March 2011, Arts Council funding for the Gallery was cut after 2011/2012.

In Review: 'Deck the Hall' at Lancaster Castle

Thursday, December 13, 2012 - 12:26: Amy Worth in Deck the Hall 2011 Review – Deck The Hall With Boughs Of Holly Performed by Demi~Paradise Productions Produced by Steve Tomlin devised and compiled by Sue McCormick directed by Sue McCormick and Sarah Thurston music by Five in a Bar, directed by Jude Glendinning The Shire Hall, Lancaster Castle Wednesday 12 – Saturday 15 December 2012 at 7.30pm Adults £13/ Children £6.50 Reviewed...

Four charged over alleged mistreatment at local care home

Thursday, December 13, 2012 - 12:23: After consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service four people have today (Thursday, December 13th) been charged with offences under the Mental Capacity Act 2005. After a number of arrests earlier in the year, The charges are the result of a complex investigation by Lancashire Constabulary into alleged mistreatment of vulnerable adults at Hillcroft Nursing Home in Slyne-with-Hest, Lancaster.

Eat out with confidence this Christmas

Thursday, December 13, 2012 - 12:19: Residents in the Lancaster district who are planning to go out for a meal this Christmas are being encouraged to download a new smartphone application. With Christmas fast approaching, Lancaster City Council advises that when checking out the menu it’s wise to check out the food hygiene rating of restaurants before you eat.

Campaign aims to prevent sexual assaults over festive period

Thursday, December 13, 2012 - 11:42: A hard hitting campaign aimed at people out celebrating the festive period has been launched in order to cut the number of sexual assaults that occur over Christmas. A significant number of rapes and sexual assaults involve alcohol and there can be a rise in reports during December due to more people going out drinking.

Get ready for Panto!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - 10:39: ITV have released this behind-the-scenes promotional image for Panto!, a festive comedy dram airing on Boxing Day, shot in and around Lancaster recently. Liverpool comedian John Bishop and Sheridan Smith lead an all-star cast in Panto!.

Councillors fury at Morecambe MP David Morris over Chatsworth Gardens EDM

Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - 14:26: Local councillors have challenged Morecambe MP to withdraw his Early Day Motion presented to the House of Commons over the future of Chatsworth Gardens. The councillors argue what the wording of the controversial EDM is largely based on his failure to meet with councillors about the project.

Morecambe man jailed after 6,000 indecent images found on computer

Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - 14:22: A man who worked with the local Boys Brigades who kept over 6,000 images of children on his home computer has been jailed. 36-year-old Steven Watt, of Ashton Road, Morecambe, was arrested in January after concerns were raised about material in his possession. Officers found a significant number of images, of varying degrees of indecency, on his computer and on DVDs seized from his home.

Dion Lee, Head of international crime gang jailed for drugs and firearms offences

Monday, December 10, 2012 - 22:54: Dion Lee The former Lancaster man responsible for organising a major drugs supply chain spanning the UK, Europe and South America was jailed for 24 years earlier. 36-year-old Dion Lee was arrested in Lagos, Nigeria in September 2011, under the power of an international arrest warrant after three years on the run from police.

More Music Morecambe hosts new Paris photography exhibition

Monday, December 10, 2012 - 12:11: Paris,Winter, a new photographic exhibition by Jill Abbott, has just opened at More Music in Morecambe. A collection of candid street photography and pictorial views of Paris taken on an unusually cold and snowy January in the French capital, the images are showing upstairs at More Music in Morecambe until 18th January 2013.

"Big Local" initiative brings Lottery boost for Morecambe’s West End

Monday, December 10, 2012 - 11:23: The West End of Morecambe is to benefit from a £1 million boost to help improve the area and pull together local residents, businesses and community groups plan to make their community an even better place to live in the future. And the power will be directly in the hands of the community as it will be up to the people of the area to identify where the money should be spent.

Police issue warning to mum’s on the school run

Monday, December 10, 2012 - 11:20: Police are issuing a warning to Mums on the school run to think about what they have drunk the night before. Lancashire Constabulary’s annual Christmas Drink Drive campaign kicked off on December 1st and checkpoints are carried out across the county everyday.

Lancaster Comedy Club Line Up announced

Monday, December 10, 2012 - 10:37: Comedian Dan Nightingale, at Lancaster's Comedy Club in JanuaryHere's a quick lost of the Comedy Club dates at the Borough Club coming up in the next weeks and months. The line up looks as lively as ever and many of these events have been known to sell out fast, so book early!

Santa Needs Stewards!

Monday, December 10, 2012 - 10:21: On Saturday 15th December the Gregson Festival Group has organised for Santa to visit the streets of Freehold and Ridge on a float to give out lollies to local children. His elves will be collecting money to go toward future community events as well. The float will set off from the Corner Shop on Ullswater Road at 6.30pm.

Lancaster Athletics Club announce April date for Three Bridges Race

Monday, December 10, 2012 - 09:42: Lancaster and Morecambe Athletics Club is accepting entries for their annual 3 Bridges 10k running race which will be start from their Clubhouse at Salt Ayre Sports Centre at 11.00am on Sunday 28th April. This is always a popular race with runners from all over the north west taking part, often as a fast preparation for spring marathon races.

New book offers fresh perspective on Lancaster's "Letters"

Sunday, December 9, 2012 - 08:45: Local publisher Fastfoot Press have recently released A Lancaster Alphabet: Letterforms from the Stones of the City, which offers a take on Lancaster's architecture that may have offer readers a new perspective on buildings you might simply walk past every day without a second glance.

Lancaster gets leading tax avoider on Action Aid blacklist

Friday, December 7, 2012 - 10:58: The laboured story of the Lancaster Canal Corridor development site took yet another twist around the block as members of the local Green party noted this week that Lancaster is again being wooed by offshore tax avoiders, in this case British Land.

Lancaster adds ITV's Panto! to growing list of local film and TV shoots

Friday, December 7, 2012 - 10:33: John Bishop and Williamson Park Operations Manager Will Griffith, snapped during a break in recording for Panto! Photo courtesy Lancaster City CouncilAnother prime time TV production has been filmed in Lancaster over the past weeks – one of several shoots supported by Lancaster City Council, which it hopes will boost interest in the area.

Get yourself ready for winter, county council urges

Friday, December 7, 2012 - 10:02: Lancashire County Council is urging everyone to be ready for the arrival of freezing weather this winter. Despite the milder weather last winter, in recent years Lancashire has been hit by some of the most severe winter weather conditions for decades affecting services, residents and businesses.

Government promises more jobs for nuclear industry, Heysham 1's "life" to be extended

Thursday, December 6, 2012 - 16:48: The Government has just published its Nuclear Supply Chain and Skills Action Plan which has been developed by Government in partnership with developers, professional bodies, trade associations and industry.

Action to prevent the spread of measles in Lancashire as cases rise

Thursday, December 6, 2012 - 16:22: Parents throughout Lancashire and Cumbria are being urged to ensure that their children are fully protected by MMR vaccine as measles cases continue to be reported in the two counties. 91 cases have been confirmed so far this year, compared to just six in 2011. “There’s a lot of measles around at present," says Dr.

Christmas Market at Lancaster Castle

Thursday, December 6, 2012 - 15:33: The Witches Tower Lancaster CastleLancaster's traditional Charter Market is hosting a festive Christmas Market in the courtyard of the magnificent Lancaster Castle on Thursday, December 20.

Safer sleep for baby

Thursday, December 6, 2012 - 11:02: A new campaign to help keep babies safe while they sleep has been launched. Promoted by the Lancashire Safeguarding Children Board, it's called 'Safer Sleep for Baby' and offers six simple steps that parents can use to reduce the risks of their child dying in its sleep.

Festive cheer from the Long Lost Band

Thursday, December 6, 2012 - 09:51: Ace local muscians the Long Lost Band have just released "Twelfth Night", a wonderful Christmas single, and are promoting it with a video that was shot entirely in Lancaster. Locations include Moor Lane's Golden Lion pub and Castle Hill.

Animal ban for teenage ASBO cousins

Thursday, December 6, 2012 - 08:00: Jordan PriceTwo young cousins who mistreated pets have been banned from being in possession of animals under the terms the anti-social behaviour orders they have been given. Under the terms of the ASBOs, Jordan Price and Jay Price, both 15, have also been banned from sections of Lancaster’s Ryelands estate after making life a misery for residents there.

Hangman's tale and outlaw deeds part of Dukes 2013 spring season

Wednesday, December 5, 2012 - 18:30: Albert Pierrepoint - the focus of a new drama at The DukesFamous names past and present play their part in The Dukes forthcoming season – and outlaw Robin Hood and England’s most famous hangman, Albert Pierrepoint, are central characters in two 2013 Dukes productions.

Moorgate hold up men sought by police

Wednesday, December 5, 2012 - 16:19: Police are appealing for witnesses following an attempted robbery of a Lancaster newsagent by two men late last month, one brandishing a meat cleaver. The incident happened at Moorgate Shop, Lancaster on Tuesday 27th November at around 9.00pm. Two men, wearing gloves and balaclavas entered the store.

Quartet screening beams into The Dukes

Wednesday, December 5, 2012 - 16:02: Lancaster’s Dukes cinema is to present a preview screening of Quartet, Dustin Hoffman’s directorial debut, on Tuesday 11th December. This special screening at 6.45pm will be followed by a live satellite question and answer session with members of the film’s cast and crew including Billy Connolly, Sheridan Smith and Tom Courtenay plus screenwriter Ronald Harwood.

Last chance to have your say on draft Local Development Plan

Wednesday, December 5, 2012 - 14:05: Lancaster City Council’s consultation on a new draft Local Development Plan for the district is due to end on Friday 14th December.

Gathering aims to demystify social media for local businesses

Wednesday, December 5, 2012 - 13:22: As part of a national initiative, Lancaster now has a free monthly Social Media Surgery for community groups, NFPs and startup businesses.