Story Shorts 02/12/11

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A round up of news in brief from across Lancshire

Antiobiotic use plea

Medics in Lancashire are urging people not to take unprescribed antibiotics as it can cause bacteria to become resistant to treatment. Dr Jim Gardner, NHS Lancashire medical director, said: “Antibiotics are a crucial part of our armoury against bacterial infection. We need to use antibiotics carefully because like any medicine they can cause serious side-effects if used incorrectly. “Their over-use leads to bacterial resistance which renders them less effective when they are really needed.”

Villagers win funding boost

A war memorial, social club and allotment will be improved thanks to a cash boost from a £10,000 pot. County Coun Mike Otter, parish champion at the county council, has given a £200 grant to Barton, Bilsborrow and Myerscough parish councils to fund improvements to the war memorial. He has donated £250 to Longton Parish Council to support the sports and social club in providing community activities, and £400 has gone to Waddington Parish Council to fund a water supply to the allotments. He said: “Parish councils do a lot of hard work at grassroots level to improve local people’s quality of life. These may only seem like smaller projects, but they can make a big difference to people’s lives. Any parish councils looking for support for their services should contact me and I’ll be happy to help.” Parish councils or community groups can contact Coun Otter by emailing or calling 01772 423 623.

Charity calls in new support

A Preston charity has landed support to get it online from BT. Disability Equality North West, which is based on Church Street, is among 36 North West groups which will get support through the telecomms giant’s Community Connections scheme. Regional director Mike Blackburn said: “Many of the people we are supporting are from disadvantaged areas and will benefit from free broadband.”

City firm lands new contract

A firm has landed a contract to sell parts for one of the world’s biggest car specialists. Ribblesdale Auto Electrics, which is based on Marsh Lane, in Preston, has been named as a main distributor of parts of cars, coaches, buses and motorhomes supplied by international group, Webasto. Sales director Steve Powell said: “Ribblesdale is the sort of firm we are looking for.”

Museum visits soar at opening

The revamped Museum of Lancashire attracted hundreds of visitors in its first weekend, bosses said today. The attraction in Preston reopened last weekend following a £1.7m regeneration project. Its new galleries attracted nearly 700 visitors on Saturday and Sunday. Among the guests were schoolchildren who won prizes in a My Lancashire photography competition. Charlotte Steels, museum manager, said: “We’re off to a great start and we really couldn’t be happier. The visitor numbers are outstanding and we’re thrilled by all of the positive comments. “Judging by what they tell us, visitors think the new-look museum is amazing so all our hard work has been worthwhile.”

Fir trees take root

A new Christmas shop will open today in a Preston shopping mall. Down2Earth is selling real Christmas trees from a temporary shop near the vacant TJ Hughes branch in the Fishergate centre. Keith Mitchell, centre manager, said he hoped the shop would help bring in more festive trade to the mall’s outlets. He said: “Christmas has truly arrived when you see and smell all the wonderful fresh fir trees. We are delighted to be able to offer shoppers this service.”

Volunteer to help this Christmas

A children’s charity is looking for festive fundraisers in Lancashire this Christmas. Barnardo’s is looking for people to carry out activities including running Christmas quizzes, raffling a cuddly Christmas bear or organising mince pie sales. Volunteers will be home-based but will benefit from a wide range of support from the charity. To volunteer, call Samantha Howarth on 01457 762 694.

Medical event has worldwide appeal

A kidney ultrasound course at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals attracted an international audience. The Preston basic renal ultrasound course hosted its fourth annual renal ultrasound course and was attended by kidney specialists and trainees from Malaysia, South Africa, Cyprus, Malta, Belgium, and Ireland, as well as from elsewhere in the UK. The two day course was organised by Dr Alex Woywodt, consultant nephrologist, and Tracy Butcher, consultant sonographer, with a faculty of speakers from Preston, Liverpool, and Birmingham. The course, which was the first of its kind in the UK, is approved by the Royal College of Physicians and the European Renal Association. Its main purpose is to teach renal registrars a basic knowledge of kidney ultrasound and trainees can perform kidney biopsies. The course also features a purpose-built simulator for kidney biopsy.

‘Too many takeaways’, say planners

Proposals for a takeaway in Leyland look set to be rejected after planners said there were too many already in the area. A businessman has applied for planning permission to turn a shop in Preston Road, Farington, into a hot food outlet. However, planners have recommended refusal as there are already Chinese, Indian and pizza takeaways in the district centre. A new report says: “Retail facilities in the district centre of Farington are limited, with a large proportion of the shops in the immediate vicinity already being hot food takeaways. The proposal would also create noise, disturbance and odour problems to the residents of the first floor flat.” South Ribble Council’s planning committee will decide on the proposals on Wednesday December 7.

Cash pot to protect area of natural beauty

The Forest of Bowland has largely escaped government budget cuts, it emerged today. A plan has been drawn up to protect the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (ANOB) for the next four years, including a £396,300 cash pot. Defra’s grant is estimated to be £240,300, down from £254,000 for 2011/12, while Lancashire County Council’s contribution is estimated to be £40,800 plus a £60,800 “in kind” contribution reflecting the county’s role as “host” authority. The estimated contribution for each of the six district councils and North Yorkshire County Council is £6,800 each per year. The Forest became an ANOB in 1964, covering more than 803 square kilometres of moorland, fringe farmland, woodland, rivers and reservoirs including Beacon Fell Country Park and the River Brock valley, near Preston.

Help for stroke victims

Daredevils are being recruited to do a skydive to raise money for charity. The Stroke Association wants 150 people to jump out of planes at the same time all over the country. Lancaster airfield is taking part in the challenge on Saturday March 17 which will see participants freefall at more than 120mph from two miles high, attached to a professional instructor. For an information pack, email: or ring 0115 871 2471. Applications close on February 4.

Residents and shoppers can now use toilets in shops and restaurants thanks to a new scheme, already popular in London.

Numerous shops and businesses across the rural borough are making their toilet facilities available to the general public without the need to make a purchase. The ‘Community Toilet Scheme’ facilities will be signposted and promoted, so that they can be easily found or located. It was launched at Maxwell’s Café Bar, Clitheroe, by Mayor Simon Hore.

People are being asked for their views on how a popular park can be improved.

The event, organised by Lancaster City Council, Lancashire County Council and Lancaster University, takes place on Saturday, December 10, from 12pm to 3pm at the bandstand, Ryelands Park. It it is hoped a ‘Friends of Ryelands Park’ group can be established to come up with new ideas for the park.