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Damning Ofsted SEND report criticises County Council Leadership

Children playing
19/1/18: A damning Special Educational Needs and Disability inspection report by Ofsted cited 'significant turbulence and unrest in Lancs County Council leadership arrangements in past years' that had 'diverted Leaders' attention'. The Council promises improvements to its service.

County agrees increase to library fees and to step up Friends' Groups

19/1/18: Lancashire County Council's cabinet has agreed to increase charges in libraries, museums and archives, and also to change the Friends of Lancashire Libraries Constitution and Guidance to emphasise the role of Friends groups in supporting the service.

Special Offers at the Dukes provide opportunities for all

Become a Dukes Champion
19/1/18: The Dukes is offering great ticket deals and treats for people who sign up as Friends, Champions, Patrons and Guardians. Thanks to Dukes' Supporters in 2017 more than 6,700 people joined The Dukes community programmes and 4,680 people participated in dementia-friendly activities.

Work to prepare for repairs to Lancaster's Greyhound Bridge gathers pace

17/1/18: Lancashire County Council is alerting people to changes being made to roads in Lancaster to get ready for major repairs to the Greyhound Bridge, which will be closed from Monday 29 January for 6 months. See new traffic routes

Lost and Found: Police appeal to reunite medals with their owners

Lost and Found Medals
17/1/18: Police are appealing for the public’s help in reuniting a number of WW1 medals of great sentimental value with their owners.

Cat Smith announces labour challenge

12/1/18: Our congratulations to Lancaster & Fleetwood MP Cat Smith and her husband Ben Soffa who have delightedly announced they are expecting their first child this summer.

Anti-frackers gear up for April Public Inquiry. 'The Bentley Effect' at Dukes next week

The three routes proposed by Cuadrilla. Click to enlarge
12/1/18: Fracking company Cuadrilla's new Roseacre Wood traffic management plan for April's Public Inquiry will be assessed by the Fylde planning committee next Thursday. On Tuesday and Wednesday Lancaster Fights Fracking will be screening 'The Bentley Effect' in the Dukes Gallery

Labour MPs join forces on winter NHS as local hospitals "60 beds short"

Cat Smith MP, Lancaster & Fleetwood Labour
12/1/18: Lancaster MP Cat Smith and her Furness counterpart John Woodcock have joined forces to demand government action on the scale of local bed shortages during the winter NHS crisis.

Preesall Gas Storage Plans Halted?

No Gas Storage Campaign Logo
12/1/18: Labour candidate and anti-gas storage campaigner Nic Fogg has revealed Halite is rumoured to be delaying its £660 million pound development in Preesall for up to a year, believd to be because of concerns about the impact of the 19,000 tons of brine due to be pumped into the sea off Rossall.

Lancashire County Council considers more spending cuts

10/1/18: Lancashire County Council's cabinet is set to consider further savings of more than £11m when it meets next week.

Lancaster & Preston Junction Railway revisited for Civic Society event tonight

Penny Street Station re-imagined by David Vale
10/1/18: Lancaster Civic Society are hosting a talk on the Lancaster & Preston Junction Railway in the 1830s by Andrew White tonight (Wednesday 10th January 2018) at 7.30pm at Lancaster Town Hall.

Police appeal to trace dog owner after sheep attack in Warton

Sheep attack - dog owner sought, Click to enlarge
10/1/18: Police are appealing to trace the owner of a dog following the death of a sheep in Warton, Carnforth.

Police witness appeal after serious Caton Road crash

29/12/17: Police are appealing for information after a man was seriously injured in a collision on Caton Road, Lancaster on Wednesday (27th December 2017), an accident which has led to part of the road being closed until the New Year.

Aldcliffe Hall Drive: PC to apply for 'restricted byway' status

Google aerial image of Aldcliffe Hall Drive, Lancaster (with additional labelling)
22/12/17: Aldcliffe-with-Stodday PC has resolved to apply to Lancs County Council to have Aldcliffe Hall Drive identified as a 'restricted byway' on the definitive map under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. They received 105 submissions of the 11-page evidence form from the public in support.

Lancaster City Council approves its Local Plan for publication

Lancaster Local Plan Land Allocations Map from March 2017. Click to enlarge
22/12/17: Lancaster City Council has agreed a six-week formal publication period of its new Local Plan, from early February, to allow for final representations on whether the proposed plan is ‘legally compliant and sound’ before it is submitted for independent examination by a government appointed inspector

Season's Greetings from Virtual-Lancaster!

22/12/17: Virtual-Lancaster wishes all our readers a very merry festive season and a happy and peaceful New Year. Live long and prosper!

Lancaster University launches new Health Innovation Campus

Site of the new Health Innovations Campus at Bailrigg
22/12/17: Lancaster University has announced a major investment that they are hoping will help improve advances in health care and significantly contribute to the regional economy.

Get A Taste For Great Drama At The Dukes

Private Lives at The Dukes
14/12/17: From the sophistication of a Noel Coward comedy to a play served with a fish and chip supper, The Dukes new visiting drama season for early 2018 has it all.

Fury as Morecambe’s MP questions TV reports highlighting poverty in his constituency, blocks critics online

David Morris. Official Parliamentary photograph by Chris McAndrew
14/12/17: Morecambe and Lunesdale MP David Morris is coming under increasing fire for his treatment of his own constituents affected by poverty - and mass blocking concerned voters who contacted him on social media, after two TV news reports highlighted the issue in Morecambe

Green Party spills the beans on risky Canal Corridor leases

Current layout of the Canal Corridor North site (from the BL website)
12/12/17: The Green Party have published a damning exposé of the financial risks to the City Council from British Land's Canal Corridor plans, claiming the Labour Council is negotiating a lease on the same upward-only terms that cost Lancaster its £500kpa-losing Indoor Market - and £13m+ to get out of.

Witness appeal launched after fatal collision

8/12/17: Police are continuing to appeal for witnesses after a 46-year-old man from Milnthorpe died following a road traffic collision close to Burton-in-Kendal.

Can you volunteer for a 4-hour shift helping at the Christmas Shelter?

LDHAS Christmas Shelter group photo
8/12/17: Fancy doing something a bit different this Christmas? Want to get in touch with that real Christmas spirit? Lancaster & District Homeless Action Service are looking for volunteers to help with 4 hour shifts during the Christmas Shelter at St Thomas' from 24 - 29 December.

£18,000 fund for Community Groups in Lancaster and Morecambe cut by Tory-run County Council

County Councillor Erica Lewis
8/12/17: Lancashire County Council has now stopped funding directly to community groups in Lancashire through the Local Members Grant, including groups in Lancaster and Morecambe, to the dismay of opposition groups.

Lancashire County Council Cabinet agrees proposals for community libraries, community centres, and Heysham swimming pool

8/12/17: Lancashire County Council's cabinet has agreed to transfer ownership of five buildings to local groups, which will see two independent community-run libraries being established, as well as a range of other services.

Gritting crews in action as snow expected to hit Lancashire

Photo courtesy Lancashire County Council
7/12/17: Lancashire's gritting crews are ready for action over the coming days following forecasts for sleet, snow and icy conditions to hit the county.

Angry flood victim meetings explain causes - and plan opposition to Local Plan's Garden Village

Flood Meeting at Bowerham
7/12/17: Multi-agency meetings about the recent floods heard residents' accounts of what happened - and why. Angry residents launch objections to the Local Plan's Bailrigg Garden Village scheme for 5000 new homes right in the middle of it all, to be debated by Council on 20th December.

Borough Brewery's Rory Walker earns CAMRA Award

Rory Walker of Borough Brewery is presented with his CAMRA Award
4/12/17: The Lunesdale Branch of the Campaign for Real Ale has presented Rory Walker of Borough Brewery with a special award for “Outstanding Services to Real Ale”.

The Dukes' Christmas Show - Aladdin - Review

Aladdin and the Princess take a magic carpet ride
4/12/17: Aladdin is the Dukes' Christmas Show for 2017. It's a ripping fairytale of magic and love, betrayal and loyalty, rags to riches, with exuberant musical numbers, staged in the friendly intimacy of The Round.

Over 100 guns handed in to Police Amnesty

Police Sup. Julian Platt & Police & Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw
1/12/17: 115 firearms and several hundred rounds of ammunition were handed into Lancashire Constabulary during a two-week surrender, where police forces across the country urged people to ‘give up the gun’. A WW1 machine gun and 41 pin fire rounds were also amongst the haul handed in by members of the public

Greyhound Bridge Closure Info Meetings Announced.

The Greyhound Bridge, Lancaster
1/12/17: Lancashire County Council is holding a number of drop-in sessions in the Lancaster area next week for people to find out more about major repairs planned for Greyhound Bridge.