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December 2015

After the Floods: Greens Question Lancaster Flood Gate Closure Delays

Thursday, December 31, 2015 - 10:46: Lancaster's Quay during the floods caused by Storm Desmond Green Councillor for Castle Ward Nick Wilkinsonhas written to Sir Phillip Dilley at the Environment Agency asking for an explanation as to why the flood gates along St. George's Quay, Lancaster, were not closed on the Saturday evening of the floods.

Local Cinema Round-Up for the 30th December 2015 to 7th January 2016

Wednesday, December 30, 2015 - 17:12: For up to date local cinema links and day-by-day listings of what's showing on local screens every week visit the Virtual-Lancaster Cinema Page. Read on for the weekly round-up, and reviews. We have just two new releases over the New Year period. There is transexual drama in The Danish Girl (15) and comedy drama with Joy (12A).

Police Warning over Loyn Bridge road closure notice "tampering"

Tuesday, December 29, 2015 - 18:14: Lancaster Police have received several reports of people "tampering" with the road closures at the Loyn Bridge between Hornby and Gressingham. Drivers are being reminded the closures are there for safety reasons, and moving the signs is putting the safety of local residents at risk. Engineers are assessing the damage again today, after the north facing buttress collapsed.

Best of the season to you all!

Thursday, December 24, 2015 - 11:26:

Local Cinema Round-Up for the 23rd to 31st December 2015

Wednesday, December 23, 2015 - 19:40: For up to date local cinema links and day-by-day listings of what's showing on local screens every week visit the Virtual-Lancaster Cinema Page. Read on for the weekly round-up, and reviews. There are two new releases in this pre-Christmas period, the comedy Daddy's Home (12A) and the action/drama In the Heart of the Sea (12A).

Trio wanted after Lancaster robbery on Wyresdale Road

Tuesday, December 22, 2015 - 13:37: Stolen: a red cornet during a mugging on Wyresdale RoadPolice are appealing for information after a teenager was robbed by three men in Lancaster. Around 12.40am on Friday 18th December, a 17-year-old male was walking on Wyresdale Road when he was approached by three men. One of them demanded the teenager hand over his bag while a second man tried to grab the teenager from behind.

Lancaster "blighted" by inaction on Canal Corridor site, says Lancaster Vision

Monday, December 21, 2015 - 16:48: Disused Mitchell's Brewery building Image courtesy British LandWith no news on its development in sight, many fear Lancaster's centre is blighted by the vacant Canal Corridor North site. Now, Lancaster Vision is arguing for a high-quality mixed development on the site: retail, housing and cultural buildings.

Lancaster University Ebola expert helps the World Health Organisation

Monday, December 21, 2015 - 16:23: Dr Derek Gatherer, an expert in Ebola from Lancaster University has hailed “a major step forward” in the diagnosis of the disease after working with the World Health Organisation. The WHO Expert Committee on Biological Standardisation organised an international study to produce a standard test for Ebola virus infection.

Cumbria University staff donate to Lancashire flood fund

Monday, December 21, 2015 - 16:14: Staff at the University of Cumbria have donated £1488.54 to the Lancashire Community Foundation flood recovery appeal to support individuals and families and vital community organisations and resident groups affected by Storm Desmond. The funds were collected at staff Christmas lunches which took place on Tuesday 15, Wednesday 16 and Thursday 17 December.

Woman attacked in Lancaster assault

Monday, December 21, 2015 - 15:57: Detectives are appealing for information after a woman was assaulted in Lancaster. Around 8.00pm on Friday 18th December, a 42-year-old woman was walking on Regent Street when a man approached her, grabbed her and attempted to drag her into an alleyway towards Portland Street and Lindow Square. The woman was pushed to the floor and kicked by the man before he ran back down the passageway.

Flood Recovery Grants Now Available

Friday, December 18, 2015 - 13:25: Central government has announced that local authorities will be provided with Community Grants as part of the Communities and Business Recovery Scheme. This will be equivalent to over £500 per household to help with recovery costs, such as provision of temporary accommodation.

Morecambe MP Welcomes Government Funding confirmed to help all who have been affected by flooding

Thursday, December 17, 2015 - 07:51: The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Greg Clark MP has announced measures to ensure that all who have been affected by flooding are supported in the recovery process.

Local Cinema Round-Up for the 16th to 24th December 2015

Wednesday, December 16, 2015 - 19:40: For up to date local cinema links and day-by-day listings of what's showing on local screens every week visit the Virtual-Lancaster Cinema Page. Read on for the weekly round-up, and reviews. Only one new film has been released this period, the long awaited science fiction adventure sequel Star Wars: The Force Awakens (12A).

Market Square Trees Decision to go before full Council Cabinet early next year

Tuesday, December 15, 2015 - 17:01: Lancaster Market Square. Photo: John FreemanAfter outcry over a proposal to remove the trees from Lancaster's Market Square - and the possibility that the decision would be made by just one councillor - it seems there has been a change of heart, at least as far as the decision making goes.

United Utilities bill amnesty for flooded customers

Tuesday, December 15, 2015 - 08:01: Water bills will be suspended for customers who have been forced from their homes due to storm Desmond, United Utilities confirmed last week. The North West company will suspend all charges for those who have to move out of flood hit properties, until customers are able to move back in.

The Really Heavy Greatcoat Review of the Year 2015

Saturday, December 12, 2015 - 07:14: The Really Heavy Greatcoatby Virtual-lancaster's John Freeman and Lancaster-based artistNick Millerwas published fairly regularly for about 20 years in alternative Lancaster print titles such asOn The BeatandOff the Beatand online on

Spotlight Club Celebrates 20th Anniversary Tonight - And Renewed Arts Council Funding

Friday, December 11, 2015 - 12:23: Steeve the Poet at Spotlight back in 2008. Photo: John FreemanIt’s Open Mic night at tonight’s 20th Anniversary Spotlight Club at The Storey, which has just received the great news that it has successfully been granted two years funding from Arts Council England.

ENW's Goodwill Payment Scheme - and why power cut residents should claim it

Thursday, December 10, 2015 - 23:18: If you lost power for more than 24 hours (which a lot of us in the Lancaster and Morecambe did) you can claim a one off payment from Electricity North West of £70. You need to fill in a claim form called a goodwill payment from here.

Work to switch customers back to the power grid begins tomorrow

Thursday, December 10, 2015 - 22:56: Work to switch around 23,000 customers in Lancaster and surrounding areas back to the power grid tomorrow (Friday 11th December) - but there will be short power cuts in the process. More than 70 generators have been providing power to customers in the area since the River Lune burst its banks and flooded the main substation.

St Michael's Residents Meeting Tonight after flooding disaster

Thursday, December 10, 2015 - 15:15: Flood defences at St. Michaels. Photo: Environment Agency North West via Twitter There will be a residents’ meeting held at The Grapes public house in St Michael's village centre at 6pm this evening (Thursday 10th December).

Lancaster & Morecambe Floods: Advice for insurance claims

Thursday, December 10, 2015 - 14:06: The Queen's message to those living in areasaffected by the recent flooding in the United Kingdom The British Insurance Brokers' Association has published advice for those affected by the recent floods and (as we previously reported) Lancaster City Council has set up a Business Recovery Centre in CityLab.

Lancashire Flood Recovery Fund Appeal launched

Thursday, December 10, 2015 - 12:57: Photo by Lancaster MP Cat Smith(via Twitter)A Lancashire Flood Recovery Fund Appeal has been launched by the Community Foundation for Lancashire. The Recovery Fund’s Appeal will raise funds to contribute to clean-up costs, emergency repairs, clothing, food and drink, heating and heating equipment, childcare equipment and basic furniture, especially in North Lancashire.

Lancaster City Council to decide on combined authority

Thursday, December 10, 2015 - 11:26: Lancaster City Council will decide whether it wants to join forces with other local authorities to create a Lancashire Combined Authority at a council meeting on Wednesday December 16. Councillors will be asked to note the progress made so far and decide on whether they want to agree in principle to the Combined Authority and take part in a public consultation early in the New Year.

Local Cinema Round-Up for the 9th to 17th December 2015

Wednesday, December 9, 2015 - 17:06: For up to date local cinema links and day-by-day listings of what's showing on local screens every week visit the Virtual-Lancaster Cinema Page. Read on for the weekly round-up, and reviews. As a consequence of the recent storm and floods, the Vue is closed today (9th December), with the possibility of opening from tomorrow onwards.

Christmas at the Castle offers some festive cheer

Wednesday, December 9, 2015 - 17:04: It's been a turbulent time for people in the Lancaster / Morecambe area and further into the North West. But Lancaster Castle will definitely be open for a community celebration of 'Christmas at the Castle' This weekend 11th - 13th December 2015.

Business Recovery Centre set up after Lancaster floods

Wednesday, December 9, 2015 - 16:29: Getting QSF ready to reopen on Thursday #StormDesmond #lancasterfloods #WeWontStop #ourteamrocks #christmasparties— Quite Simply French (@QSFLancaster) December 8, 2015 ABusinessRecovery Centre has been set up to provide help and advice to flood hit businesses in Lancaster.

Morecambe's MP hits back at critics after floods

Wednesday, December 9, 2015 - 06:24: Morecambe and Lunesdale MP David Morris has responded to critics of his work during this week's floods, who claimed he was nowhere in evidence during the disaster. Some Skerton residents derided his perceived lack of presence online, pointing to Lancaster MP Cat Smith's work in her constituency. Some also emailed him direct to challenge his actions, while others sprang to his defence.

Power Restored to Most, But Residents Asked to Save Energy Where Possible

Tuesday, December 8, 2015 - 11:14: Engineers from Electricity North West have restored power to all areas of Lancaster affected by flooding to the area's main substation. Some local faults affecting a handful of properties may mean that a number of customers remain off supply. The University of Lancaster, four commercial properties and a handful of homes are still without power.

Lancaster Police latest on Lancaster Flooding

Tuesday, December 8, 2015 - 08:05: Here's the latest from Lancaster Police on the situation in and around the town after the flooding. So everybody is aware additional police officers remain on the ground in the Lancaster area to provide support to those affected by the power cuts and flooding.

Lancaster Floods Latest - Useful Links and Information Points

Tuesday, December 8, 2015 - 07:12: #lancasterfloods Mobile networks down Back to the future. Queues for phones Desperate measures for desperate times — Paul Egglestone (@digitaldocs) December 7, 2015 Here's a list of hopefully useful links and information points for those of you affected by the flooding that has disrupted Lancaster and Morecambe over the past few days.

Lancaster Power Cuts: Latest News

Tuesday, December 8, 2015 - 05:50: Control room staff have been working hard through the night to help restore power to our customers #StormDesmond— ElectricityNorthWest (@ElectricityNW) December 8, 2015 Electricity North West say they have been working hard to restore power to Lancaster homes through the night and if your supply is now back on they seem confident it will not go off again.

Lancaster Power back by 0800 tomorrow?

Monday, December 7, 2015 - 22:10: Plans are in place to restore supplies to customers in Lancaster after supply went off again this afternoon. Having assessed the damage caused by flooding that has resulted in further loss of supply at Lancaster, Electricity North West engineers have plans in place to begin the restoration of supplies from approximately 0800 on 8th December.

Unforeseen flood damage causes power loss to Lancaster and surrounding areas

Monday, December 7, 2015 - 19:28: Electricity North West have issued another update on the power situation, after supply to 42,000 customers in Lancaster, Morecambe and Carnforth was lost at 4.00pm this afternoon.

Power Out Again For Battered Lancastrians

Monday, December 7, 2015 - 17:04: The power supply to 42,000 customers in Lancaster, Morecambe, Carnforth has been lost at 4.00pm this afternoon. Power was restored to all customers this morning after floodwater breached flood defences at Lancaster's main substation just before 11.00pm on Saturday, cutting power to 55,000 properties.

Lancaster Police Issue Floods Update as foot bridges open but town shops remain closed

Monday, December 7, 2015 - 08:27: Photo: Morecambe Police Lancaster Police are still working with all of their partner agencies to assist all affected by the weekend's flooding issues. "At present shops in Lancaster City Centre remain closed with both Greyhound and Skerton Bridge closed to allow an inspection at low tide for damage caused by the floods", they say in a statement issued this morning.

Power restored to homes after Lancaster floods - and other updates and useful links

Monday, December 7, 2015 - 07:08: #lancasterfloods view from Carlisle bridge earlier thanks to @TheBayOfficial for excellent coverage today— Banks Lyon Jewellers (@bankslyon) December 6, 2015 Engineers from Electricity North West have restored power to 45,000 homes in Lancaster, Morecambe and the surrounding area and are continuing efforts to restore the remaining 10,000 later this morning.

Green Party set to Challenge Council's Plans for New Housing

Sunday, December 6, 2015 - 07:45: Photo: Lancaster City CouncilDoes Turley's report on the Lancaster district's housing requirements – suggesting the area needs 13,000 - 14000 new homes between 2011 and 2031 - provide a compelling argument or do we need a truly independent review of its findings?

Lancaster MP Backs Small Business Saturday

Saturday, December 5, 2015 - 07:19: Cat Smith, MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood, and Julie Ward, MEP for the North West of England, have joined Shadow Business Secretary Angela Eagle MP in celebrating the contribution of small firms in Lancaster as part of this year’s Small Business Saturday today, December 5th.

Cat Smith: Syrian Air Strikes A Mistake

Thursday, December 3, 2015 - 06:14: Cat Smith. Photo: Ben SoffaLancaster MP Cat Smith has outlined her opposition to British air strikes in Syria in a series of tweets. She voted with the majority of Labour MPs against the motion to begin air strikes in Parliament last night. "I voted against government motion to bomb," she said. "It won't make for a secure Syria and too many questions left unanswered by Cameron on [his] plan.

Morecambe MP backs Air Attacks on Syria

Thursday, December 3, 2015 - 06:01: Despite growing public concern at further war in the Middle East, Morecambe MP David Morris voted in favour of British air attacks on Syria in Parliament last night. Mr Morris believes RAF weapons are so accurate they will only kill Islamic State militants.

Local Cinema Round-Up for the 2nd to 10th December 2015

Wednesday, December 2, 2015 - 18:46: For up to date local cinema links and day-by-day listings of what's showing on local screens every week visit the Virtual-Lancaster Cinema Page. Read on for the weekly round-up, and reviews. There are eight new releases for early December, all but two being comedies. There is comedy drama with Christmas with the Coopers (12A); Dad's Army and Ricki and the Flash (12A).

City Council Bin Collection and Other Christmas and New Year Information

Wednesday, December 2, 2015 - 12:39: There will be a number of changes to the availability of council services and facilities this Christmas. Closure of public buildings Lancaster and Morecambe town halls and the council's housing office on Cable Street, Lancaster will close for Christmas at 3pm on Christmas Eve and re-open at 9am on Tuesday December 29.

Greens Condemn Proposals to Remove all Trees from Lancaster's Market Square

Wednesday, December 2, 2015 - 08:41: Lancaster Market Square. Photo: John Freeman Green councillors have condemned a City Council report to recommending removal of all seven mature lime trees from Market Square, a decision that will be in the hands of just one single Labour member of cabinet - presumably either Janice Hansen or David Smith.