Lancashire nostalgia in 2003: Penwortham bypass; freaky face; and a strange hum

Here's a look at some of the stories that were making the headlines back in 2003:

By Naomi Moon
Tuesday, 16th November 2021, 3:45 pm
A second public inquiry may be held to determine the planned completion of Penwortham bypass
A second public inquiry may be held to determine the planned completion of Penwortham bypass

Penwortham bypass - road to nowhere for now

Controversial plans to build a main road through Lancashire countryside are set for a fresh round of delays.

The Highways Agency has revealed plans for a second public inquiry into the planned completion of the Penwortham bypass.

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Tree surgeon Chris Vincent with the freaky wood face

Dozens of objections to the proposals mean a public hearing may be the only way to resolve the row.

As a result, proposed measures to improve safety on the busy road will be put on hold.

Campaigners fighting for the completion of the bypass said they were standing firm with their objections.

They consider that the status of the road has been altered and it is no longer considered a strategic route, a process known as de-trunking.

Should a public inquiry be held, it would be the second one in relation to the A59.

A hearing in 1998 concluded that a new bypass would provide the best route into Preston for thousands of drivers, avoiding Penwortham.

South Ribble MP David Borrow said it was important that the issues were resolved to allow £500,000 of government money to be spent on safety.

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This is how Lancashire looked in 2003

Freak face wows wood men

This face may look a little cross - but his bark’s worse than his bite.

The amazing likeness of a face was discovered in the grain of a 60-year-old sycamore by tree surgeons from Lancashire.

Tree surgeon Paul Crabtree said: “It’s a one in a million chance. You’ll never see anything like it again.

“It’s just the way the wood’s grown. I’ve been doing this for 15 years now and I’ve never seen anything like it before.”

The freak image was first spotted by contractor Chris Vincent as he loaded logs lopped from the trimmed sycamore on to a truck.

After cutting it down to size, the workmen had hacked the branches into manageable lengths for firewood.

At the point where one section of the tree had been cut across, the grain inside formed a curious image of a bad-tempered looking face.

Chris said: “It’s not Elvis or Jesus but it’s still pretty strange.”

He showed it to colleagues and they thought it was so curious they decided to keep it as a souvenir.

Paul, who runs his own firm, Paul Crabtree Tree Felling Specialists, at Tarleton, near Preston, said: “The lads saw it when they were chucking the logs onto the wagon.

“It’s got two eyes and a miserable looking mouth.

“It doesn’t look happy - we think it’s sad because the tree’s been chopped down!”

The curious face was found in a garden in Clifton Drive, Blackpool.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Last week we looked at 2002

Hum perplexes all who hear it

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Well, the truth is that residents in Brookfield, Preston, just don’t know.

A strange droning noise has been plaguing the neighbourhood and residents have been left completely flummoxed.

The noise has been going on for two years and folk are getting buzzed off by the hum.

Even Preston City Council can’t work out what is behind the strange noise.