What was happening around the district five, 10 and 25 years ago this week.
Five years ago
April 16 2010
Skerton Primary School would close in the summer following a final decision by Lancashire County Council. Staff, governors, parents and pupils had fought to save the Lancaster school after the proposals were announced the previous autumn amid falling rolls and poor Year 6 test results. More than 1,500 people signed petitions during a public consultation and there were 104 objection letters. Education chiefs were urged to re-think their plans after Ofsted inspectors declared the school ‘satisfactory’ and early years provision ‘good’, stating pupils who had been off track were then making the progress.
Vandals who attacked five police cars and a fire engine were warned they were putting lives at risk. A fire engine leaving the scene of a small blaze at a skatepark off Dee Road, Ryelands, came under attack by youths. A stone was thrown at the front near side locker. The crew manager of Lancaster Fire Station said that for the immediate future two fire engines would attend incidents in the area accompanied by a police escort.
Debt-stricken University of Cumbria bosses had to be given a cash advance to pay staff wages. The Higher Education Funding Council for England agreed to advance money from the following year’s allowance to ensure staff were paid. And it was revealed that 290 jobs were to go across the university, which was £30 million in debt.
Ten years ago
April 15 2005
It was the end of the road for a bus service between Carnforth and Kirkby Lonsdale. The Carnforth Connect Line 2 service was to end. The service was being withdrawn due to under use. Efforts were made to look at ways of encouraging more people to use the service but most passengers from the Lune Valley area travelled to Lancaster rather than Carnforth.
Market Square’s equine visitor left the city after an extended stay. The sculpture by Sophie Ryder, named Conversation, had been on loan to Lancaster in connection with a successful exhibition by the artist at the storey Gallery the previous year. Although initially planned for a six-month stint in Lancaster, the sculpture remained for almost 12 months due to its popularity. It was to be returned to Sophie at her home in the Cotswolds. It was the first time a piece of contemporary art had been placed in Market Square, but it was an experiment which proved very successful, with hundreds of people having taken photographs of their friends and family standing in front of it, and even, sitting on top of it.
There was a buzz in the air in Burton-in-Lonsdale – and it was all thanks to the return of the village shop. The heart of the community had been restored with the opening of the store and post office after months of hard work by villagers determined to bring the shop back. Residents rescued the vital community resource by clubbing together to buy it themselves.
Twenty five years ago
April 13 1990
Radiation from the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant had reached Lancaster by the River Lune and was endangering the city’s population said Friends of the Earth (FoE). Contamination levels four times higher than the recommended safety limit had been found along the River Lune in Lancaster and FoE revealed new statistics which they said showed the people of Lancaster could be in danger of contracting cancer from radiation emanating from Sellafield.
A labour councillor and more than 200 local people ripped up or burned their Poll Tax bills in Lancaster’s Market Square.
With just over a week before the start of the new season Lancaster Cricket Club were still searching for a professional after a last minute injury scuppered their plans to bring in a South African to fill the key job at Lune Road. Club officials thought the deal to bring 21-year-old right arm, fast bowler Rudi Edin Bryson from Eastern Province was all sewn up, when he phoned the secretary to report that he was having to go into hospital for an operation on a loose ankle bone.
Pressure for Lancaster Girls’ Grammar School to opt out of local authority control increased after 150 parents signed a petition calling for a ballot to be held on the issue. The petition was presented to governors and would go to the Electoral Reform Society who were conducting the ballot after verifying the authenticity of the signatures.