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2/5/03: The Lancaster Guardian has reported that the city's market may be re-modelled, divided up or closed altogether in an attempt to improve the building's flagging fortunes.
"Alternative uses" for the market will be discussed unless ways can be found to reduce a £250,000 budget deficit.
Talks will begin this year between the city council and the market's new owners London-based Edinburgh House Estates, who bought it late last year as part of a £17.25 million pound freehold purchase of the Marketgate shopping centre. The entire centre currently generates annual rents of £1.4 million. Property Week reports that Edinburgh House Estates was established in March 2001 and has created a directly owned shopping centre portfolio of £110m. It has also formed a £30m joint venture with Anglian Water Group.
Some of the shopping centres owned by EHE in other parts of the country, such as Waterborne Walk in Leighton Buzzard, are highly-prized properties, typically in the £7m-£15m value range. Many are anchored by the large stores chains such as of Kwik Save, Wilkinson or Iceland.
Many locals have long feared the market would always be closed in favour of another major department store and the design was condemned during the planning stages, with the two-tier design regarded as a major factor which dissuades use.
Now, the council's corporate director of regeneration, John Donnellon has acknowledged the poor design. "Most of the traders are happy with the way things are progressing and more stalls have been occupied," he told the Guardian. "It is not the best designed building for a market and by the end of 2003, we should have spoken to the new owners and discussed various options." He says these could include using only part of the building as a smaller market, re-designing it to get more stalls in or using whole or part of the building for alternative retail uses.
The original Lancaster Market was almost entirely on one floor and one of the most popular trading centres in the area until it burnt down in the early 1980s.

• We think it would a disaster if Lancaster Market was to close and urge everyone to write to your councillors opposing any plan to further erode its viability. You could also write to EHE to express your views to: Edinburgh House Estates, Edinburgh House First Floor, 40 Great Portland Street, London W1W 7LZ.

• Full Lancaster Guardian story online: Go
Property Week report on purchase of market (free registration required): Go
• Read our feature on Lancaster Market: Go

Dagenham 2 - Morecambe 1
2/5/03: Morecambe lost the first leg of the play-offs away at Dagenham and Redbridge, last night, despite being more than a match for the home team. The official Morecambe FC web site reports that Dagenham went one up in after seven minutes to a very decidedly but none the less well taken goal by Mark Stein and then Morecambe hit back in style with a ball off the post from captain Stewart Drummond and shortly after a goal which rebounded off the captains nose to level the score.
In the second half Morecambe seemed much the brighter team until Dagenham were awarded a suspect penalty which the referee only gave Stewart Drummond a yellow card for despite him being the last man with the player through on goal.
Shrimp supporters - including several Labour activists at last night's count, not to mention most of our local newspaper reporters - still think the players look more than capable of putting two past Dagenham in the second leg at Christie Park on Bank Holiday Monday.

Match details: Monday 5 May 3.30pm
Morecambe v Dagenham & Redbridge
Currently the game is all-ticket for home fans. Ticket prices are the same as for normal Conference games £9 for adults and discounted concessions for pensioners, children and students. Tickets can be purchased by calling the club on 01524 411797 and using credit or debit cards with tickets posted out. Alternatively call into the club shop on Lancaster Road. The game is strictly segregated. Morecambe FC web site match report:

2/5/03: The Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal is running a programme of British short films this week, selected from Kino Film ­ the Manchester Short Film and Video Festival ­ which in 2003 celebrates its 10th anniversary.

2/5/03: A group of Lancaster based actors will be presenting a free rehearsed reading from The Gulf Between Us by Trevor Griffiths in the Dukes Studio on Thursday 15 May.
First produced in 1992, The Gulf Between Us is a damning indictment of the invasion and counter invasion of Kuwait in the first Gulf War, 'To murder a quarter of a million people, at the most conservative estimate, to consign another one or two million people to death in the aftermath and to bomb the country back five thousand years, very nearly, seems to me a pretty unpromising and unpropitious way of trying to create a new world order.' Trevor Griffiths is one of Britain's most politically incisive television dramatists. Her has combined television and filmwriting with a highly regarded theatre career so as to reach the maximum possible audience with his Socialist values.
Well-known local actors Sarah Thurstan, Stephen Tomlin, Mark Alexander, Ronan Paterson and Nick Camm will be reading from the script to bring the words alive at this pertinent time.
The reading, which starts at 7.30pm, will be followed by an informal discussion on the issues raised in the play.
This event is free and all are welcome ­ please call the Dukes for more information on 01524 598500.

Animal Care has just received a donation of several bags of young trees, and now they need planting as soon as possible!
Treesponsibility have already planted a hedge for them with over 500 trees, but with this donation the folks up at Animal Care are planning a small woodland to be a wildlife sanctuary and windbreak for the whole site.
If you fancy planting a few trees (and it's not difficult or too strenuous, but is immensely satisfying), then go along on absolutely any day and get stuck in! Animal Care are really keen for people to come and help them out with this.
Organise your friends, give Animal Care a ring to let them know you're coming - ask for Steve, 01524 65495, and turn up!
Animal Care is on Blea Tarn Rd - just go up to the top of Hala Hill and turn right to go over the motorway bridge. On the other side go in the drive on the left, and the sanctuary is at the back. It's easier to find than it sounds, and the folks up there are really nice! (thanks to rhiannon for this item).

2/5/03: New night club Toast has gotten into some hot water for screening what it calls soft porn videos in the mens toilets. Whether they need a license to screen these is open to question ­ and Toast management are determined to continue.
Disregarding the manager's protests, our intrepid female reporter braved the possibility of total corruption and tells us that the videos on screen are far from soft porn ­ "they're seedy, raddled, grainy and cheap­ and it demeans men.
"I don't have a problem with porn ­ it puts a wedge between men and women by outing it in the mens' toilets. If they want to screen it why don't they show it on the dance floor and be open about it?"
The City Council's Licensing Office is not sure what legal position is. They say they have had a number of complaints. The number of complaints they get will have an affect on the view that the Licensing Committee takes when they're considering the Public Entertainment License Toast has.
You can contact the Licensing Office by e-mailing: or you can also write to Licensing Section, Legal Services, the Town Hall, Lancaster

2/5/03: After a long count lasting until 3.00am, the elections for Lancaster City Council saw Council lead Tricia Heath lose her seat to 23-year-old Labour Party candidate Rebekah Gerrard in Morecambe's Poulton Ward. (Jump straight to full results)
Overall, Labour bucked what appeared a national mid term trend by gaining seats at independents expense, as did other political parties. The Conservatives (who nationwide have so far gained over 540 seats) only gained one seat.
The Libreal Democrats took both seats in the University Ward, to the delight of candidate Stuart Langhorn. "This is a clear message to Labour that their education policies are wrong," he told Virtual-Lancaster.
One of the most celebrated victories of the evening was for the Green Party's John Whitelegg, who won a seat in Bulk Ward - which has been a Labour stronghold since 1969.
"The Green Party have had a major breakthrough," declared John. "I'm looking forward to more of the same."
Although pleased with Labour's overall gains, Ian Barker said they felt antiwar sentiment in the Ward has definitely been a factor in the result.
Read our full Election Night Report
• The election results in full: Go

1/5/03: A new glossy leisure and listings magazine for Lancaster and Morecambe hits the streets this weekend.
Called Rapscallion it features music, technology, film, theatre, clubbing, photography, satire and dedicated listings pages, the latter created in association with
The magazine will be out each month and contributions are welcomed.
One of the creators of Rapscallion, said: "This first issue gives you an idea of the where we are coming from but this is just a start. There's nothing locally which is of any real interest to a large section of the local community and we set out to make Rapscallion radically different form the rest. It's full of contributions from local people and hopefully lots of individuals will submit artciles and photographs which have plenty of reader interest. I hope people enjoy it. We had a hoot making it and we are determined to make it a success."
The magazine will be distributed to more than 100 outlets in Lancaster and Morecambe plus Lancaster University, St Martin's College and L&M College. The magazine is FREE to a good home!
For more details email:

28/4/03: Thursday 1 May -- Election Day! Every local party, including the Independent "alliance", have kindly responded to our questions on local issues -- and have offered their views on how matters such as council tax rates, street cleaning, crime and local transport. Click here to read their opinions and make your own mind up who to vote for!

Craig Mawson celebrates as Morecambe record their first victory over Dagenham & Redbridge and book their place in the play-offs. Photo © Brian Sheldon
Craig Mawson celebrates as Morecambe record their first victory over Dagenham & Redbridge and book their place in the play-offs. Photo © Brian Sheldon


28/4/03: Morecambe Football Club's regular season concluded on Saturday with a handsome 5-0 win over Burton Albion, reports Michael Gibson. The result confirms Morecambe's second place in the Nationwide Conference -- the highest ever finish in the club's history.
The result also confirms the line-up for the play-offs. Morecambe will meet Dagenham & Redbridge with the winners facing either Doncaster Rovers or Chester City at the Britannia Stadium in Stoke for a place in Division Three.
Dagenham & Redbridge were, until recently, a bogey team with no victories for the Shrimps in seven encounters. However, a brilliant performance earlier this month saw Morecambe break the run with goals from Adriano Rigoglioso and, top scorer, Wayne Curtis in front of over 2,000 at Christie Park.
The Daggers, like Morecambe, play fast, open and attacking football and are no soft touch. They've reached the FA Cup 3rd round three years in a row and almost overcame Premiership side Charlton Athletic two seasons ago. They recently established a new Conference record of 11 consecutive victories with ex-Chelsea striker Mark Stein on form. And they've also got a lot to prove. Last year they were pipped at the post by Boston United for the title amidst highly controversial circumstances. Boston United, plus their then chairman and manager, were found guilty of player contractual irregularities and impeding investigations that led to large fines and points deductions held over to Division Three. The bad taste hasn't left East London and they will be determined to get to the final.
Morecambe though go into the match in peak form with just two defeats in 18 matches. The Shrimps have also been beaten just the once at home and that was by run-away champions Yeovil Town. The team have no injury worries and Adriano Rigoglioso returns from suspension for the opening match.
This season Morecambe FC have done the town and district proud by playing exciting football that has resulted in record points, record goals and a solid defensive record. Together with a 3rd round FA Cup game at Ipswich Town this season has seen crowds at Christie Park not seen since the 1960's with numbers growing all the time. As a result anticipation is growing and tickets have been selling fast for the second leg at 'Fortress Christie' with the club expecting a sell-out 6,000 plus crowd.

Match Details

Thursday 1 May KO 8pm
Play-off semi-final 1st leg
Dagenham & Redbridge v Morecambe

Monday 5 May 3.30pm
Morecambe v Dagenham & Redbridge

Currently the game is all-ticket for home fans. Ticket prices are the same as for normal Conference games £9 for adults and discounted concessions for pensioners, children and students. Tickets can be purchased by calling the club on 01524 411797 and using credit or debit cards with tickets posted out. Alternatively call into the club shop on Lancaster Road. The game is strictly segregated.

For more information visit:

Last Week's News Items: Go

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