The Lancaster Guardian Review of 2017 – part 2

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In the second part of our Review of the Year, GAYLE ROUNCIVELL looks back at six months which included ambitious development plans for the city, along with yet more flooding...


Hero neighbours came to the rescue of a grandad who was watching TV unaware of a fire just feet away. Peter Heywood was watching the news when the blaze tore through bis back garden in Ravens Close, Lancaster. Concerned neighbours who had spotted the flames and thick smoke coming from Peter’s back garden banged on his door shouting “get out, your house is on fire”. Peter praised his neighbours and said he wouldn’t be alive if they hadn’t knocked on his door.

Lancaster mum Jade Campbell almost lost her newborn son Max to an infection most pregnant women don’t even realise they are carrying. Jade is among the one in four women who unknowingly carry Group B Strep, which kills a baby every week in the UK. Jade and her partner Phil Watson are now campaigning in a bid to warn expectant mums of the hidden killer infection.

Businesses and MPs are calling for action after a freak storm caused more flooding in Lancaster. Questions are being asked about the effectiveness of drainage in the city centre. A 45 minute deluge left roads, businesses and homes flooded and came as the Met office predicted “unprecedented” downpours over the next decade. Lancashire County Council said it is carrying out a full investigation but just 18 months after Storm Desmond wreaked havoc in the lancaster area, many were wondering why nothing appeared to have been done.


An outpouring of love was shown for “happy and friendly” 12-year-old boy who died after falling through a roof. Leon Hoyle, who went to Central Lancaster High School, passed away after fallimg through a corrugated roof panel at a disused building on Lune Industrial Estate. Marsh Community Centre, where Leon attended, raised £2,000 for the family to help towards funeral costs.

Plans to convert the historic Waring & Gillow building into student flats could be scrapped over a demand for soundproofing tests. Lancaster City Council insisted that any new flats were pre-checked for noise levels and developers said the entire scheme could be under threat unless the council backs down. But lancaster University Students’ Union launched a bid to keep the clause in place.

Lancaster City FC announced they were to rename one of their Giant Axe stands in memory of former captain Neil Marshall, who passed away in Novwember 2016. The North Stand, behind one of the goals and popular with home fans, is to be renamed The Neil Marshall Stand. Former Dolly Blues captain passed away at the age of just 31 after a battle with cancer.


Brand new ultra-modern trains will be calling in at Lancaster from 2019 as Trans Pennine Express gets ready to launch its new fleet. The news was welcomed by Lancaster and Morecambe Rail User Group who said it would relieve pressure on rush hour services between Lancaster and Manchester. The 12 five-carriage trains being introduced along with two other fleets will deliever 13m more seats per year for customers.

Lancaster’s only halal farmer has been given notice to quit his business to make way for housing. Plans have gone in to build up to 75 homes at Ward Field Farm on the A6 at Galgate, where tenant Peter Bartley has sepnt a fortune since setting up his business four years ago. Residents in Galgate are also up in arms over the proposals, which they say will increase the flooding risk to properties that have already faced significant problems over the last two years.

A decision to allow a Lancaster nightclub to open until 6am was met with controversy. Owners of the Dalton Rooms say they will work with neighbours who come to them with any problems regarding noise and anti-social behaviour. The chairman of Lancaster City Centre Residents’ Association, Coun Nick Wilkinson, said residents as far away as Moor Lane could hear the music and noise from the city centre’s late night/early morning drinking culture.


TV presenter Noel Edmonds has backed a Lancaster businessman in his fight with Lancaster City Council over a land deal. The Deal or No Deal star said his experience with the city council over the 1990s Blobbyland fiasco in Morecambe “still hurts me to this day” and that a subsequent investigation was a “cover-up”. His comments come after a story about Lancaster businessman Stephen Loxam who claims the city council still owed him £5m in compensation as part of a deal to buy St George’s Mill on St George’s Quay.

Around 80,000 people attended Lancaster Music Festival – the ninth annual five-day event – with many businesses reporting their best ever takings. The festival will be taking a break in 2018 but will be back in 2019 for its tenth anniversary.

Work could start on a major new development in Lancaster by 2021. The plans for the Canal Corridor site include an arts centre, food and drink establishments and student accommodation, incorporating old and new buildings. Developer British Land is set to invest £100m into the project with a further £80m for arts and £70m for student accommodation.


Neighbours described their “pure hell” as they struggled to live near a flat rife with drug dealing and anti-social behaviour. Peter Kelly’s flat has now been slapped with a closure order – banning visitors to the property – due to the constant torment they cause for neighbours. Local residents had to contend with drug activity, loud music and strangers patrolling the grounds at Arcon House in Heaton Road, Lancaster.

Around 800 jobs could be created as part of a £250m investment into the “Heysham Gateway” following the opening of the M6 link road. A first wave of planning applications are expected shortly, and there is potential for a new truck stop facility near Heysham for port traffic. Both Lancaster City Council and Lancashire County Council have “agreed disposals” of low demand employment sites “attracting around £250m of inward investment and demand from companies seeking to relocate or expand, in turn creating around 800 jobs in the locality.”

Residents called for a stop to more housing in the wake of more devastating floods across the district. Many people are calling for a complete halt on new housing developments – particularly near Galgate and Halton – until current problems are resolved. Between 9am on Wednesday November 22 and 9am the following day, the highest 24-hour rainfall in more than 50 years was recorded at Lancaster University’s weather station – 73.6mm.


Plans to build a huge car park underneath the proposed Canal Corridor site have been revealed by council bosses. The 786-space underground car park would replace the existing spaces on the site, paving the way for retail units, bars and restaurants and a new arts hub to be built in their place. A leaked artist’s impression of the proposed new £250m development shows significant changes in the area between Lancaster Canal, Nelson Street, Moor Lane and Stonewell.

More than 40 years after moving to Lancaster to take on a position at one of the city’s veterinary practices, Richard Bottom said his farewells to a career that has taken him across the country and seen him dubbed a ‘young James Herriot’. Richard retired as chairman of Bay Vets, and now runs a farm and holiday cottages with his wife in the Eden Valley.

The extent of child poverty across the district has led to many youngsters now suffering from rickets, an investigation found. An ITV report showed some families in Morecambe were struggling so much that schools are now helping them to wash clothes and charge mobile phones as well as providing schoolwear for some youngsters. Latest figures from the End Child Poverty coalition show that almost a quarter of children in the Lancaster district are living in poverty.