From the Guardian Files

The former Lancaster Moor Hospital.
The former Lancaster Moor Hospital.

We take a look back at what was happening this week – 25, 10 and five years ago.

25 years ago

Local registration for the Community Charge was to start as planned later in the month in spite of the High Court injunction halting nationwide distribution of a Government information leaflet on the controversial new levy.

Kitchens at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary were to have a total refit, costing £800,000, as advance works to the district’s Phase Three programme. There was to be a total modernisation creating an enlarged catering department, required for when all acute services were centralised on the RLI site.

Public rights of way in Lancaster could have been under serious threat following the creation of new walkways by developers in the £70 million shopping scheme. The Government Inspector heard evidence from Lancaster Plan Action Group that walkways maintained by the developer were no substitute for the statutory rights of way which had existed in Chancery Lane and Anchor Lane.

10 years ago

Nightingale Hall Farm was likely to be shut for two weeks following a major blaze at the animal rendering plant. Security officers spotted the fire in one of the industrial cookers. They alerted the fire brigade and at the height of the blaze 45 firefighters from six crews attended. Within two hours the fire had been put out but it was believed the damage caused was extensive.

Customers of Newton Post Office in Lancaster braved unpredictable weather and predictably heavy traffic to demonstrated why it should not be axed. Led by the Bulk ward councillor the group walked from Newton Port Office to the Stonewell branch. Senior post office managers, who had suggested Stonewell was a reasonable alternative, were also invited along. None were willing to put their feet where there mouth was.

A set of naughty gnomes had been stolen from the front garden of a home. The dozen pottery gnomes – some peeing in the bushes, female ones showing their bums and others on a toilet – were taken from the garden of a detached house.

Health bosses in Morecambe Bay had defended their decision to employ private-sector firms to carry out routine operations. The Nuffield Hospital in Lancaster was one of a number of contractors in the region who would perform hip and knee replacements alongside other surgery.

A Slyne vicar was to make history in Blackburn Cathedral by becoming the first woman priest to celebrate holy communion there. Rev Rachel Simper, Vicar of St Luke’s Church, was one of the first 13 women to be ordained priest in the Blackburn Diocese 10 years earlier.

5 years ago

The Lancaster economy was given a boost with news that fashion and homeware store TK Maxx was to move into the city. The chain was to take over the former Woolworths site in Market Square and would create more than 50 jobs. Woolworths had closed on January 2 with the loss of 41 full and part-time jobs.

A spokesman for TK Maxx, then the largest cut-price retailer in the world, said they hoped to move into the property by the end of the summer.

Plans for 440 new homes on Lancaster’s former Moor Hospital site remained on track – despite being delayed by the recession. The scheme received outline planning permission from Lancaster City Council in December 2007. A preferred developer had been chosen and negotiations were progressing towards a final agreement.

The 40-acre site off Quernmore Road was one of several former hospitals acquired by the Government in 2004. The Grade II listed annexe building was to be converted into apartments and townhouses, while adjoining land would accommodate a range of housing to meet local needs.