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January 2014

Re-development work starts on Moorlands Hotel?

Moorlands Hotel, Freehold, Lancaster.Freehold residents have been expressing concerns that Mister Properties appears to have begun work on the re-development on the Moorlands Hotel into student flats – even though planning permission has yet to be granted. The Moorlands Hotel in Lancaster's Freehold closed a few months ago and was sold to Mister Capitol Holdings by owners Mitchells.

1200 sign petition to save Lune Valley bus services

Over 1200 local residents in the Lune Valley who will be affected by Lancashire County Council's proposal to cut 72 evening bus and weekend services across the County have signed a petition opposing the plans.

New Bowlers, please! Happy Mount Bowling Competition announced

Lancaster City Council is calling for teams to take part in a crown green bowling competition at Happy Mount Park, Morecambe. The event will take place over three week nights. The initial heats will be on Tuesday 18th and Wednesday 19th March. The finals will take place on Thursday 20th March. Each night will run from 6pm to 8pm and all are welcome.

Number's Up For County Council's 0845 Lines

County Council chiefs have announced the forthcoming introduction of cheaper 0300 numbers to contact its services. The decision by Lancashire County Council to replace its current 0845 numbers with 0300 numbers will make it cheaper to contact the council by phone. The new numbers, to be introduced on Thursday 27th March, will cost the same to call as geographic numbers starting 01 or 02.

Local Cinema Round-Up for 29th January to 6th February 2014 by Peter Clarke

For up to date local cinema links and day-by-day listings every week visit the Virtual-Lancaster Cinema Page. Read on for the weekly round-up, official film links and reviews. A varied selection of new releases this period. War action with Lone Survivor (15), comedy/romance with That Awkward Moment (15) and animation with Mr Peabody Sherman (U).

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Campaigners fight to save First Transpennine train service

Users of the Windermere to Manchester train line are up in arms after First Transpennine they are cancelling a peak time commuter train service from Kendal to Lancaster - leaving a two hour hole in the timetable. The decision means a lot of local people will be unable to continue to commute to work by train.

Campaigners lose Parliamentary "Ping Pong" as "Gagging Bill" gets passed by House of Lords

The government’s plan to clamp down on what charities and campaigning groups and ordinary people can speak out about at elections, backed by local MPs Eric Ollerenshaw and David Morris, is now almost UK law.

Council introduces new traffic rules for Lancaster city centre pedestrain zone

New rules which aim to reduce the amount of vehicle traffic in Lancaster’s pedestrian zone are due to come into force from next Monday (3rd February). As part of the Lancaster Square Routes project, Lancashire County Council is bringing in an Experimental Traffic Regulation Order.

Local Birth Buddy Scheme Launch next Tuesday

Are you expecting? Have you recently given birth? Fed up of hearing horror stories? Lancaster and Morecambe Birth Support Group is about to launch a birth buddy scheme.

Is Lancaster game for sustainable change?

Less is More Game Project Manager Liz Horn with Project Academic Researcher Dr Noel Cass from Lancaster University. A new four-month research project to explore the feasibility of creating a new digital game to promote sustainability across the district has secured £15,000 funding. LESS, a Lancaster-based social enterprise, has secured the money from Lancaster University's Catalyst Project.

Williamson Park Needs Yews!

A number of yew trees are being replaced around the Ashton Memorial in Williamson Park to enhance the historic landmark. Lancaster City Council is removing existing trees from around the outside of the Memorial this week. The project will be completed in line with the recently commissioned Landscape and Woodland Management Plan.

Council considering plans to convert St Leonard’s House into student/young worker accommodation

Lancaster City Council has issued a full statement on its ongoing discussion about the future of St. Leonard's House, confirming that proposals to convert St Leonard’s House in Lancaster into student/young worker accommodation have been given the green light to progress to the next stage.

Christmas Drink Driving in Lancashire shows small fall in positive tests

Over 200 people were caught drink driving in Lancashire during the police’s Christmas drink drive campaign, but the percentage of drunk drivers was down slightly on last year's figures, including in the Lancaster and Morecambe area.

Salt Ayre offers free sport on your doorstep for 13 to 19-year-olds

Lancaster City Council and the University of Cumbria are joining forces to deliver a new Doorstep Sports Club at Salt Ayre Sports Centre. A doorstep sports club provides numerous sports and free coaching to young people aged 13 to 19 and has proved popular across the UK.

Local Cinema Round-up for 22nd to 30th January 2014 by Peter Clarke

For up to date local cinema links and day-by-day listings every week visit the Virtual-Lancaster Cinema Page. Read on for the weekly round-up, official film links and reviews. A good time for action based new releases with the thriller Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (12A), the violent and moving 12 Years a Slave (15), and a clash of monsters with I, Frankenstein (12A).

CCTV released in connection with Morecambe shop burglary

Police released CCTV images of men they would like to speak to after a second hand shop was broken into and burgled in Morecambe last year. Between 12 noon on Friday 29th November 2013 and 7.50am the following morning, somebody broke into The Arcade on Marine Road West.

Future plans for St Leonards House go before Cabinet today

Lancaster City Council's Cabinet is meeting today and will consider the future of St Leonard's House on St Leonardgate.

Latest stage of "Square Routes" project gets under way in March (and the horseshoe will be back!)

£1 million of investment is set to pave the way towards reviving the heart of Lancaster city centre with improvement works beginning in early March 2014.

Number One Writer Alexander McCall Smith at the Grand in February

Alexander McCall SmithThere's the opportunity to meet bestselling author Alexander McCall Smith, creator of the Number One Ladies' Detective Agency books and one of the world's most prolific and most popular authors, at the Grand Theatre, Lancaster, on Tuesday 4th February.

Appeal for missing Skerton man

Police are appealing for information to try and find a man who has been reported missing from home. 33 year old Gareth Parker has not been seen since the 15th January when he left his home address on Barley Cop Lane in Lancaster at around 10.00pm that evening.

Transport Solutions winds up but new group to rise from ashes

Supporters at last week's Transport Solutions for Lancaster and Morecambe Information Night and Review of the Year congratulated the campaign group for battling to the end to prevent the destructive waste that will be the Heysham M6 Link road. The meeting of the local campaign group at the Vale of Lune Rugby Club on Wednesday heard that the arguments against the road were as strong as ever.

University researchers win grant to help protect snow leopard population

Image courtesy Snow Leopard NetworkThe future of the snow leopard may seem far removed from life in rainy Britain, but researchers at the University of Cumbria have just secured a grant for research to help preserve the species in southern Kazakhstan.

CCTV appeal after woman is touched inappropriately by man in Morecambe

Police are appealing for information after an 18 year old Preston woman was touched inappropriately by a man as she walked to her friends’ house in Morecambe. The incident took place around 7.00pm on Monday 13th January when a man riding his bicycle has approached the victim as she walked along Westgate near to the football club in company with a friend and a young child in a pram.

Latest First Friday art events announced - storyteller Daniel Morden, singer Evie Plumb head for Lancaster

Litfest present Tree of Leaf Flame Tales from the Mabinogi at The Storey on February First FridayFebruary’s First Friday promises a feast of music, poetry, storytelling and theatre. The First Fridays promote Lancaster Arts City by encouraging residents and visitors to try something new on the district’s cultural scene on the First Friday of each month.

Morecambe retailers warned about high pressure sales tactics

Cold callers are using fire safety risk assessments to pressurise retailers in Morecambe into parting with large amounts of cash. The alert comes after small independent retailers in the Morecambe area reported being targeted by a salesman offering to produce a fire safety risk assessment for the premise.

Lancaster Footlights to stage Arthur Miller's "A View from the Bridge"

“He was a good man, as he had to be, in a life that was hard and even.” Lancaster Footlights is to present Arthur Miller's iconic play A View from the Bridge at The Grand, Lancaster, in February. First produced in 1955, this is the story where Arthur Miller confronts the great American dream.

Local Cinema Round-up for 15th to 23rd January 2014 by Peter Clarke

For up to date local cinema links and day-by-day listings every week visit the Virtual-Lancaster Cinema Page. Read on for the weekly round-up, official film links and reviews. The period is marked by two new releases, horror with Devil's Due (15) and drama with The Wolf of Wall Street (18). There remains a good range of films available.

Lancaster MP releases full text of his objection to County Council bus cuts

Lancaster MP Eric Ollerenshaw has released the full text of his formal submission to the Consultation on Subsidised Bus Services being carried out by Lancashire County Council.

Academic’s drawings acquired by the Henry Moore Institute

The Henry Moore Institute at Leeds has acquired a series of drawings by the University of Cumbria’s Professor of Fine Art, Robert Williams as part of an archive documenting American artist Mark Dion’s Tasting Garden project at the Storey Gallery in Lancaster.

Morecambe MP backs buses campaigners

David MorrisFollowing up on our stories about the proposals from Lancashire County Council to cut subsidies to all night buses across the County, Morecambe and Lunsedale MP David Morris has now confirmed he is also backing campaigns to save the vital services. "I strongly object to these proposals and have already written a letter to the County Council urging them to reconsider," he says.

Witch Out! Lancashire Children's Author launches new writing workshops for schools

Lancashire-based children's author Gianna Hartwright (the pen name for the award-winning PR expert Jane Hunt) has launched a new Creative Writing Workshops for schools and private groups of children, which she hopes will enthuse young writers, stimulate their imagination and encourage them to write better stories.

Lancaster MP backs campaigns to save bus services, Labour candidate petitions government

Lancaster MP Eric OllerenshawIt would seem that both side of the political divide are taking their own steps to keep the issue of night bus cuts in Lancashire in the public eye as protest mounts over the proposal from the Labour-led County Council.

Last chance to comment on bus changes

Lancashire County Council is reminding people they have until Friday (17th January) to respond to a consultation on possible changes to public transport.

Lancashire County Council weighs up job cut proposals

Lancashire County councillors will meet to agree how to approach making significant reductions to the authority's workforce, in response to the latest Government funding cuts. The council expects to have to save around £300m from its annual budget in the next four years and is striving to avoid making compulsory redundancies.

"REFINED" exhibtion opens at Lancaster's Gallery 23

Eleanor Bennett - a local freelance Artist, Musician and Arts and Health Practitioner – is one of sveral Lancashire artists currently exhibiting at Gallery 23 in Lancaster's Brock Street.

Local Breastfeeding Network Star Buddies want to know grandmothers’ views

The Breastfeeding Network Star Buddies are holding a discussion session for grandmothers about breastfeeding on Friday 7th February from 9.30 till 12.30 at Firbank Children's Centre in Lancaster.

Lancashire Labour's proposed bus cuts continue to confound

As we reported earlier, Lancashire's Labour-led County Council is "consulting" on cuts to night bus service subsidies, arguing it has to find £300 million in savings from its budget.

Halton Centre to host Bon Giovi Tribute Show

The Centre @Halton is continuing its successful events programme with a great Bon Giovi Tribute Show on Saturday 29th March. The performer is Andrea Oggiano from Italy who has a fantastic reputation as a tribute act and tickets will sell fast. The show will start at 7.30pm and continue till midnight and this year local band Stopwatch Wilson will also be performing.

Lancaster & Morecambe Athletics Club's 3 Bridges 10k race returns

Lancaster Morecambe Athletics Club is now accepting entries for their annual 3 Bridges 10k running race which will be held from the Clubhouse at Salt Ayre Sports Centre at 11.00am on Sunday 6th April. This is always a popular race with runners from all over the north -west taking part, often as a fast preparation for London and other spring marathons and other longer races.

Anyone for Tennis? Exciting year ahead for local club planned

International player Tiero, from the Philippines, at Lancaster Tennis Club. Photo: Lancaster Tennis Club Lancaster Tennis Club in Lune Road (is launching its new tennis season with an Open Day on Saturday 29th March for anyone interested in trying out tennis and maybe becoming the next Andy Murray.

Campaign to save local night buses as fury mounts over Labour-led County Council's bus cut plans

Original image via Stagecoach (Mash-Up via Internet) Campaigners have begun a fight back against Lancashire County Council proposals to stop all evening and Sunday services between Lancaster and Kirkby Lonsdale as well as on several other routes around Lancaster and Morecambe.

Slyne Care Workers Sentenced for ill treatment

Darren SmithFour care workers have been sentenced for abusing elderly and vulnerable residents in their care at a North Lancashire nursing home. Darren Smith, 35, of Howgill Avenue, Lancaster was sentenced to eight months today (Friday 10 January 2014) at Preston Crown Court.

Junction 33 Roadworks start next week

Work to install four of the latest giant electronic message signs near Junction 33 of the M6 will start on Monday 13th January for two months. The signs will give drivers better warnings of incidents and other information about the motorway such as weather conditions.

Fees and charges to be considered by Cabinet, future of St Leonards House to be debated

Lancaster City Council’s Cabinet will discuss fees and charges across a range of council services at its next meeting on 21st January, which will include price rises for charges for facilities at Salt Ayre Sports Centre, Community Pools, Williamson Park, the area's Parks and Recreation Grounds.

Lancaster University student develops way to transfer computer files with your eyes

Image via Lancaster UniversityA new way of dragging and dropping files has been developed by Lancaster University student Jayson Turner. The system, called EyeDrop, enables the user to move items on screen by gazing at the object through an eye tracker. This automatically selects the object which can then be transferred to a tablet or smart phone via the touchscreen.

County Council consults on plans to combat future flooding

Lancashire County Council and Blackpool Council have launched a new plan aimed at reducing the risk of floods causing damage to property or threat to life in the future. A special event about the proposals will take place at Lancaster Library in early February.

Volunteers needed to create Nature Park near Lune Aqueduct

The Lancaster Canal Trust is seeking volunteers to help create a Community Nature Park near the Lune Aqueduct, Lancaster. It is anticipated that work will run from January to end of March. You can contribute as much or as little time as you can spare. Just contact David Hennessey on 07500 606030 or email david.hennessey@canalrivertrust.org.uk.

Creative Classes in Williamson Park

If you are looking to become more creative in the New Year, why not join artist Janet Mary Robinson for her weekly classes at Williamson Park, Lancaster. The courses are perfect for beginners and experienced artists. They start on Wednesday 15th January and take place every week costing £10 per session.

Lancashire County Council Launches Budget Consultation, council tax rise to save services?

Lancashire County Council has announced the beginning of a consultation on proposals for its budget for 2014/15. As part of the consultation, the council is asking for views on a proposed 1.99% increase in council tax for the coming financial year.

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