Eric Ollerenshaw column: We must work together to build on our potential

Eric Ollerenshaw MP
Eric Ollerenshaw MP

Last week I attended an event which was organised by Kevin Sanderson, the manager of Handlesbanken here in Lancaster, to meet with some of the major businesses in our area.

Obviously it is important for me to know the concerns of local business particularly at this critical time for our economy. Clearly there were concerns regarding taxation and the burden of regulation but I was pleased to hear that they felt the economy is starting to move in the right direction.

Their clear message though was on the need to move our own local area on and build on the advantages that we possess in terms of the university, excellent local schools and environment.

This together with speeding up things like the link road, the castle development, Centros and the University Innovations Park were all things that clearly would give us an edge both regionally and nationally.

The key is the need for me as the local MP, the city and county councils, the university and Chamber of Commerce to really work together to exploit and build on this potential for further growth, jobs and prosperity for our city.

In terms of the developing attraction of the castle it was great on Friday to watch the events that are commemorating the Pendle Witch Trials that took place here in Lancaster 401 years ago.

It was a very interesting and thought-provoking evening with the castle towers used as the staging. Watch out for the next event at the castle on the weekend of September 28 and 29 with a Harvest Festival.

On the subject of witchcraft, it is important to remember that over 400 years on from these witch trials, far from being a thing of the past, this fear and superstition still does untold harm and damage both here and abroad.

This issue was brought to my attention by a local Lancaster-based organisation, The Witchcraft and Human Rights Information Network (WHRIN) who I met up with the other week. This organisation was set up in response to violations of human rights that take place around the world and even here in the UK due to beliefs in witchcraft and spirit possession.

Their aim is to provide comprehensive training in tackling what can often be a very sensitive issue with an aim to finally putting an end to these practises. If you would like further information please visit

As always, please contact me if I can be of any help. I represent everyone who lives in Lancaster regardless of how or whether you vote. My contact details are below.

Email: Phone: 0207 219 7096 or 01995 672975

Write: House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA or 59 High Street, Great Eccleston, Lancs, PR3 0YB. Web:’