What was happening around the district five, 10 and 25 years ago this week.
Five years ago
Lancaster market could still be saved after councillors agreed to examine three options for the building’s future. Refurbishing the indoor market was one of the options being looked at by councillors. They could also decide to hand the premises over to a single retailer to take over the whole of the market hall.
Construction of the £139m Heysham-M6 link could be delayed by at least four months. A second public inquiry into the controversial road had been due to take place in Lancaster some time in June. It was called by the Department for Transport after legal orders sparked 18 statutory objections. But Government Office North East, responsible for arranging the hearing with the Planning Inspectorate, said there were no inspectors available until October.
Plans to close a mental health day centre in Lancaster was branded “ridiculous” by its members. Elm House, in Meeting House Lane, had been providing services for people with long term mental health issues for 24 years. But NHS North Lancashire were looking to close the day centre and instead provide a drop-in centre, which members said would be entirely inadequate for their needs.
Ten years ago
Greaves Park Nursery School would close its doors for the last time in the summer – after more than six decades of service to the children of Lancaster. There was a unanimous vote by Lancashire’s Schools Organisation Committee to back county council plans to shut Greaves Park and Willow Lane nurseries. A new school – comprising extra, if unspecified services – was to open on the Willow Lane site in September.
Residents in Arnside were warning lives could be lost in Morecambe Bay if the tidal warning siren was stopped by South Lakeland District Council (SLDC). The warning siren, which alerted members of the public to the incoming tide, was in doubt as SLDC looked to save themselves £5,000 a year. The siren had been sounding across Arnside since 1966.
Campaigners against an O2 phone mast claimed a “great victory” after the mobile phone giants agreed to take it down. O2 erected the 50ft structure behind Kitchen Design near Slyne Road without planning permission, arguing it qualified as acceptable development. Residents reacted angrily and Lancaster City Council slapped an enforcement notice on the company. O2 revealed it would not appeal against the notice.
Twenty-five years ago
Seventy Lancaster jobs had been saved in a last-minute reprieve for the city’s K Shoe factory, which was seriously threatened with closure a week earlier. Shock among the workforce at the expected job losses turned to relief when management announced a deal which would keep the Bulk Road factory in production and its employees in their jobs. Management briefed workers of their plan to start proceedings to close the factory at Easter, staff expecting the statutory 30-day redundancy notice. But no sooner had negotiations with the workforce started than the factory was given the ‘11th hour’ reprieve, K Shoes reaching an agreement with its sister company, Clarks Shoes Limited, to manufacture children’s shoe uppers.
Lancaster’s own Army regiment was to be given a fresh lease of life when it moved into brand new headquarters. And the TA centre being built in Caton Road was to have a royal opening by Princess Alexandra, Colonel-in-Chief of the King’s Own Royal Border Regiment, who would name it Alexandra Barracks.
A pub alert scheme was launched to try and combat violence and make pubs a safer place to enjoy an evening out. The scheme was to work on an early warning system whereby any licensee having trouble in his pub would notify other pubs in the area, thereby warning them.