From the Guardian files

Heysham Power Station
Heysham Power Station

What was happening around the district five, 10 and 25 years ago this week.

Five years ago

January 8 2010

Much of the Lancaster district ground to a standstill after four days of snow caused chaos. Severe weather warnings were issued throughout the week after temperatures plummeted as low as minus 9.7 degrees Celsius on New Year’s Day. Emergency services and motorists struggled to cope with the icy weather with the district seeing the largest amount of snowfall for 30 years. Police reported more than 50 road accidents caused by the road conditions. In rural areas, Bowland Pennine Mountain Rescue team helped out the ambulance service with the use of its 4x4 Land Rover.

New plans to rejuvenate part of St George’s Quay were in the pipeline – but development of another section of Lancaster’s quayside remained stalled by the recession. Countryside properties was given permission in 2008 to build 178 flats and 175 houses – 20 per cent of which would be ‘affordable’ – industrial and commercial premises and a neighbourhood centre at the former Williamson’s site at Luneside West. But Countryside confirmed it had been unable to strike a deal to buy the 26-acre site from the owners. Redrow Homes and Barratt Homes had jointly expressed an interest in the site consisting solely of family housing.

Skerton Primary School had moved a step nearer to closure after a 1,500-signature petition and 104 objections failed to spark a change of heart from education chiefs. Lancashire County Council cited falling rolls and poor Year 6 test results as reasons for closing the Lancaster school the following summer. An eight-week consultation produced only five expressions of support for the proposal.

Ten years ago

January 7 2005

More than £20,000 had been donated in Lancaster district in a week for the survivors of the Asian tsunami. One of the biggest recipients of donations had been the Booths chain of supermarkets, which raised more than £6,500. Oxfam, one of the 12 national charities making up the Disaster Emergency Committee, has also been totting up the public’s goodwill. The Lancaster branch on Penny Street had taken more than £8,000 in the six days the shop had been open since the tragedy happened.

A 50-foot high mobile phone mast in Skerton was at the heart of a legal row. Angry councillors, worried residents and a concerned school head teacher all believed it should never had been put up. Lancaster City Council was seeking legal advice on the mast on land near the junction of Slyne Road and Alderley Heights. Relevant legislation was complex and needed interpretation, said a spokesman.

Major changes had been made at Nightingale Hall Farm in a bid to end the long-running smell problem. More anti-odour improvements could also be on the way at the Lancaster plant. Changes made so far included new systems designed to attack odours at source. The news emerged with publication of the official application by the owners for a new operating permit for the plant.

Twenty-five years ago

January 5 1990

Nurses appealed to MP Mr Mark Lennox-Boyd to press the Government for extra funds to cover the costs of the flue epidemic. In a letter to the MP, Royal College of Nursing branch convenor said the district was highly populated with elderly people, who had easily succumbed to the flu. As nurses and support staff had been affected, this had caused great problems. Some wards had been temporarily closed and staff relocated.

Job prospects in 1990 for unemployed people looked gloomy according to a survey, but city leaders and commercial experts were pinning their hopes on small developments.

Job losses had been announced among permanent staff at Heysham One Power Station, while vacancies were to go unfilled at Heysham Tow. It was thought to be the first time the CEGB staff at Heysham had been hit by cutbacks. They were brought about by a slimming down exercise prior to privatisation of the power station.

Sleeping rough in stairwells, car parks and bus shelters around Lancaster and Morecambe was becoming a feature of life for increasing numbers of single people who didn’t qualify as homeless. Christmas and New Year highlighted a growing problems, with more than 20 people taking refuge from the cold at a temporary night shelter set up in Lancaster by volunteers who found them sleeping out under cardboard.