From the Guardian files

Skerton Primary School.
Skerton Primary School.

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

Five years ago

January 22 2010

A community-led masterplan would produce the best scheme to develop Lancaster, campaigners claimed. The proposal came in the light of the Secretary of State’s decision to reject £150 million retail-led plans by developers Centros for the city’s canal corridor north site. But while Centros emphasised they were still interested in developing the site, residents’ group It’s Our City insisted the way forward was to work together as a community.

Councillors failed to come up with a solution to a city centre parking conundrum at a meeting. Around 70 residents from the Regent Street, Brook Street and Dallas Road areas of Lancaster attended the Lancashire Locals meeting to air their views on proposed changes to parking in the area.

Heroic firefighters from Lancaster district played a crucial role in rescuing survivors from the rubble in earthquake hit Haiti. The men flew out to Haiti to help with the rescue mission in the county’s capital Port-au-Prince.

Five county councillors launched a bid to rescue Skerton Primary School. The quintet, led by Morecambe West member Janice Hanson, asked the children and young people’s overview and scrutiny committee to ‘call-in’ a decision to publish a notice formally advertising the closure proposals. It was due to meet to decide whether to ask cabinet member for schools County Coun Susie Charles to reconsider the decision.

Ten years ago

January 21 2005

The Yorkshire Ripper visited Arnside to see where his father’s ashes had been scattered. Peter Sutcliffe was on his first day release from Broadmoor Prison since he was locked up in 1981 for murdering 13 women. Broadmoor bosses were said to have allowed the day visit after fearing Sutcliffe was “depressed” and so he could have “closure”.

Plans to build a wind farm at Arkholme were unveiled. Three 98-metre high turbines were planned for land at Cragg Lot, one mile west of Arkholme village centre. A public consultation was to take place.

A motorist had a narrow escape at Silverdale level crossing after warning lights failed moments before a train approached. The car was about to cross the track when the barrier came down, forcing it to swerve.

A vandal used blood-red paint to daub a message on the newly-improved facade of St Thomas CE Church, Lancaster. The words ‘Help Me’ were found daubed across one of the church’s three new doors – fitted at a cost of £4,500. And although the message was scrubbed off, the handsome coachwork-painted doors still showed the scars of the attack.

The Highways Agency was helping to prevent pollution of a picturesque Carnforth stream with the construction of a new £210,000 drainage system. White Beck, running parallel to the M6 motorway at Tewitfield, was a haven for wildlife in unspoilt countryside.

Twenty five years ago

January 19 1990

A Swordfish torpedo bomber, similar to ones that helped win World War Two, was beaten by the British weather when – being transported by road – it was forced to take shelter at Burton-in-Kendal services on the M6 because of high winds. The following day it resumed its journey to Prestwick where it was taking part in a display to mark the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Taranto.

Easing of Lancaster’s notorious smell problem – from which many residents suffered for years – was forecast by the new Environment Secretary, Mr Chris Patten. The Minister was under pressure from residents affected to include better protection against such nuisances in his Green Bill. The issue of the smell from the animal waste processing plant at Nightingale Hall Farm was brought on to the floor of the Commons by MP Dame Elaine Kellett-Bowman after she met city environmental services councillors.

Disappointment was expressed by Lancaster police over the Home Office decision not to allow the random breath-testing of motorists.

Links between Lancaster and Britain’s leading submarine makers, VSEL of Barrow, were marked when a model of a nuclear-powered submarine was presented to the city’s Maritime Museum. The all-black model of HMS Trafalgar, linked with the city, was to be put on display in the museum.