What was happening around the district five, 10 and 25 years ago this week.
Five years ago
June 18 2010
Work on the controversial Heysham-M6 link had been shelved by highways bosses after the public inquiry scheduled for October was postponed due to uncertainties over funding. Lancashire County Council had budgeted to spend £1.5 million on external design and preparation work for the £139 million road in 2010/11 after agreeing a deal with Berkshire contractor Costain. Just four weeks earlier the council said it was “business as usual” – despite a Department for Transport warning that funding could be at risk as the new government bids to slash the country’s financial deficit.
A Lancaster after-school club with a difference had received a county council windfall. Unique Kidz & Co at Loyne Specialist School was the first Ofsted-registered after-school and holiday club in the county aimed specifically at children with disabilities and additional needs. County Coun Susie Charles, cabinet member for children and schools, visited the club to present a £38,000 grant cheque.
Carnforth High teacher and Premier League referee Jeremy Simpson enjoyed a celebrity-filled night when he took part in a Soccer Aid match. Mr Simpson was an assistant referee for the England v Rest of the World charity match at Old Trafford, giving him the chance to mix with football legends including Kenny Dalglish, Zinedine Zidane and Luis Figo as well as celebrities such as Robbie Williams, Michael Sheen and Woody Harrelson.
Ten years ago
June 17 2005
Students taking exams at Lancaster University complained about the noise from the ongoing building work. The second and final year students were annoyed that building work continued while they sat their vital exams in the hall next door. They voiced their concerns at not being able to concentrate due to loud machinery and believed the disruption could affect their grades.
The controversial £4 million regeneration of Ryelands estate was complete – and residents said it was a resounding success. Although a pressure group was originally set up to fight the plans to demolish about 30 houses on the Lancaster estate, young and old were saying it was the making of the area. The centrepiece of the four-year regeneration project was a traditional play area complete with swings, slides, climbing frames and a double skate bowl. The up-to-date skating facility was attracting enthusiasts from as far afield as Bolton.
Campaigners fighting plans to erect a mobile phone mast in Scale Hall handed more than 150 letters of objection to Lancaster City Council and would soon find out whether the council would move to prevent telecommunications giant O2 building the mast on land at the corner of West Drive and Scale Hall Lane. The O2 application exploited a quirk in British planning law by asking for ‘prior approval’. To block the plan, the council had to object on the grounds that the mast represented an unwarranted visual intrusion.
Twenty five years ago
June 15 1990
The shock cost of upgrading Lancaster Town Hall to cope with the extra staff and workload largely created by the Community Charge would be almost £1 million. It was reported at the Estates Service Group meeting that 70 extra staff would have to be accommodated to administer the Poll Tax and more staff could be needed.
Lancaster’s highly successful sportswear company, Reebok UK, was on the move after another record year – with the future expansion of its 250-strong workforce on the horizon. The company had outgrown their existing converted warehouse premises on St George’s Quay and were hoping to move to Moor Lane Mills, alongside the Lancaster Canal.
Lancaster Girls’ Grammar School’s application to opt out of local education authority control was sent to Secretary of State for Education, Mr John MacGregor, after parents voted by a 65 majority to go for grant maintained status. It seemed the opt out move was not a foregone conclusion, with Mr MacGregor refusing 12 applications for grant maintained status and a number of parents, along with the county council, considering lodging objections to the ballot result.
Plans to relocate Lancaster’s Tourist Information Centre in the Storey Institute were enthusiastically received by city councillors. The suggestion for the new TIC came hot on the heels of other proposals to turn the rest of the listed building into an arts centre.