From the Guardian files

Lancaster Priory.
Lancaster Priory.

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

Five years ago

May 28 2010

The flag of St George was to fly at Lancaster Priory in support of England’s World Cup bid. Many spectators looked on as a massive crane was used to replace the flagpole – which doubled as a mobile phone mast – and upgraded some technical equipment which was stored in the church tower. Rev Chris Newlands said it was his idea to fly the flag in support of England’s squad in South Africa.

A hotly contested under 17s football match in Lancaster descended into a brawl following the final whistle. A sending off near the end of Morecambe Academy Youth team’s 3-2 win over AFC Liverpool sparked ugly scenes on the pitch at Lancaster and Morecambe College. Three AFC Liverpool players were sentenced to community orders at Lancaster Crown Court after admitting affray.

The roof fell in on plans for a £55 million hotel and retail scheme in Lancaster after a hotel chain pulled out. The Lawson’s Quay development, on land between Caton Road and Bulk Road, included a 120-bed landmark hotel as well as shops, offices and a multi-storey car park.

Plans for two new supermarkets on the A6 near Lancaster sparked more than 60 objections and criticism from council officers. Both Booths and Commercial Estates Projects – which was yet to announce the supermarket involved – applied for planning permission for the developments on separate sites at Lawson’s Bridge.

Ten years ago

May 27 2005

A new chapter in Lancaster’s history was announced as it was officially named as the leading historic city in Lancashire. The title came from the North West Development Agency and English Heritage, both cash-rich grant-awarding bodies, at an event at Lancaster’s Ashton Memorial. The title meant that Lancaster would receive support to develop their tourism potential to benefit the whole city.

The YMCA had applied to build nine self-contained homes in Lancaster city centre. The organisation, based in Fleet Square, New Road, were looking to demolish the one and two storey garages at the side of the YMCA main building and erecting a three storey building on the site.

Campaigners fighting to save Piccadilly Garden at Scotforth complained that the government was keeping them in the dark. The NHS-site was transferred out of John Prescott’s political control to English Partnerships, a development quango. But no-one told Piccadilly Garden, which provided training for 50 people with learning disabilities.

A gastronomic treat awaited Lancaster shoppers when the popular Continental Market arrived back in town. The market took place in Market Square, Market Street, Church Street and Cheapside.

Plans for a B&Q store to be built near Asda were turned down by councillors amid fears it would increase traffic problems in the area.

Twenty five years ago

May 25 1990

Collecting and administering the Government’s controversial Poll Tax in the Lancaster district was condemned as “a monstrous nightmare”, swallowing up nearly 20 per cent of the city council’s budget. Councillors reluctantly approved an extra £155,000 in overtime, shift working and the employment of additional staff – on top of the £2.2 million it was originally expected to cost to run the revenues and benefits service in the first year of the Community Charge. Only half of what should have been collected in Poll Tax and business rates was paid by April 27, forcing the council to borrow £2.5 million, although the fund was back in credit in the first week of May.

Tonnes of sandstone were lifted by helicopter to the southern slope of Ingleborough as part of the continuing five year, £800,000 experimental programme to combat the erosion caused by 120,000 annual pairs of walkers’ boots.

A city centre shop in Lancaster was to close with the loss of three jobs. The Sock Shop in Cheapside was one of 52 stores nationally that would close due to a rationalisation programme for the company.

A new survey had slammed the quality of the city’s student housing and the author expected the situation to get worse as Lancaster University expanded over the next decade. In the damning survey of 90 student houses in Lancaster 32 per cent suffered from slug infestation, 20 per cent had inadequate bath facilities and 17 per cent of respondents thought their houses were structurally unsound.