Story shorts - 06/08/12

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A round-up of news in brief from across Lancashire

Blaze on city road

Firefighters were called to a fire on wasteland close to homes in Preston. The crews from the city’s station were called to a patch of wasteland on Syacemore Road in Ribbleton at around 9.30pm on Friday. They found a pile of rubbish had been collected before being set alight and used a jet hose to extinguish it.

Get ready for healthy walk

South Ribble Council will host a health walk at Hurst Grange Park, Penwortham, tomorrow. The free walk starts at 1pm. There is no need to book just meet in the car park.

Get involved with park day

Park It comes to Ribbleton Park this Friday. The scheme is part of a series of free evening activities aimed at diverting young people from anti-social behaviour.

Tycoon seeks to move chalet

The multi-millionaire owner of one of Preston’s biggest homes wants to change plans to extend it. Owen McLaughlin, the former chief executive at Leyland-based support services firm Enterprise, has submitted a new application to the city’s council to move a timber chalet he has permission to build at his home at Greyfriars Hall, on Walker Lane, Fulwood. He has been granted permission to build two further dwellings in the grounds of the property, including two with attached garages and a further two with detached garages. His agent, Sedgwick Associates, submitted a further application last week to resit a timber lodge he proposed to build in the grounds. Mr McLaughlin, who was previously a major shareholder in Preston North End, recently stepped down as a director at Enterprise, in which he is still the majority shareholder.

Would-be taxi driver refused

A man who applied to be a taxi driver in part of Lancashire has been refused a licence because of his “attitude”. Wyre Council’s licensing bosses refused to grant the permit because of the applicant’s “overall attitude and failure to ensure he had the correct documentation and insurance for his vehicle.”

Every park set to be reviewed

Town hall bosses in the Ribble Valley are to review all the borough’s parks, play areas and open spaces. The widespread review may lead to money being spent on upgrading or altering existing facilities – or setting up new ones. The review aims to see if facilities are in the right place.

Health chiefs’ heating funds

Health chiefs have contributed funding to ensure emergency heating can be provided to vulnerable residents in Wyre this winter. The cash has come from North Lancashire Primary Care Trust. It is hoped it will reduce hospital admissions.

Masterchef finalist will visit club

Masterchef finalist and restaurant owner Jay Tinker will visit Preston’s Matsumura Karate Academy later this month. Mr Tinker will visit the club on Wednesday, August 15. He will help with the judging of the club’s annual karate competition. He will also hand over the awards and trophies to the winning participants. Aswell as his cooking skills Mr Tinker is also a martial artist and a former cafe fighter. The competition takes place at Ashton Leisure Centre from 7pm.

Walk for fair trade

People have been invited to join a walk to celebrate 70 years of fair trading. Bruce Crowther, director of The Fig Tree centre in Garstang, the first fair trade town in the world, is inviting people to join the walk along the Heritage Trail from the Wyre town to Keswick in the Lake District. The 88-mile walk starts on Friday, August 24 to raise awareness of the fair trade movement and money for Oxfam. For further details visit

Voters are urged to register in time

People who have not yet registered to vote in Lancaster are being urged to complete and return their annual canvass forms. Daphne Snelson, Lancaster Council’s elections manager, said: “We’ve made it as easy as possible for people to register their details and I would urge people who haven’t already registered to do so as soon as possible. Those using the telephone, internet or SMS registration service need not return their form. Both the telephone and internet systems also accommodate the ‘opt-out’ rules allowing users to add or remove their names from the edited version of the register used by mailing companies, and to request postal vote applications. Visit to re-register online. For further information or for help contact the council on 01524 582905.

Craft work to go on display

Shaw Trust’s Art-Works Project, based at Westfields, West Paddock, Leyland, presents an Exhibition of Craftwork at Mere Sands Woods Visitor Centre, Rufford From August 8 to September 11. The centre is open every day 9.30am - 4.30pm. except for Fridays.

Next society date now set

Chorley Historical and Archaeological Society will meet on Tuesday August 14 at 7.30pm at Central Library, Union Street, Chorley. The speaker will be Sylvia O’Malley and her talk is entitled ‘Lord Leverhulme’. Entry is members £1, non-members £2.

Committee due to meet

The next meeting of Preston Council’s Guild Committee is due this week. A special meeting of the committee will be held at 10am tomorrow at Preston Town Hall. Agenda items include discussing contingency plans for the Guild.

Julian hunting love at Grand

Camp comic Julian Clary will be searching for love when he comes to Lancaster. The funnyman is at the Grand Theatre with new show, Position Vacant, Apply Within, on Thursday, November 8, promising more of his controversial laughs.

Disgruntled for theatre

An evening of discussion on the future of theatre is coming to Preston. The Devoted and Disgruntled Roadshow goes ahead at the 2012 Guild Festival site on September 5 as part of a national tour. The roadshow, led by the Improbable group in conjunction with London 2012 Festival, will aim to provoke discussion and capture public feeling on arts and theatre. Improbable’s co-artistic director Phelim McDermott says “Devoted and Disgruntled was born out of frustration. I knew things could be better in theatre.” For details, see online at

Hide destroyed at nature site

A bird hide was destroyed after being torched by yobs at a Lancashire nature reserve. Firefighters from Preston station were called to the Brockholes reserve at around 10.30pm on Friday. They received a call from a motorist on the M6 motorway, which runs past the reserve, reporting the fire.

Probe after building blaze

Fire officials are looking into the cause of a blaze at an empty building in Preston. The fire left the building on Moor Lane badly damaged at around 8pm on Friday.

More work at problem road

Motorists have been told to expect further delays as work continues at a congestion black spot. The work will continue at Junction 31a of the M6 throughout this week.

Teens return with medals

A team representing Lancaster in the International Youth Games in Germany has returned with 47 medals. Included in the impressive haul, by the 50 teenagers from high schools throughout the area, were 16 gold, 14 silver and 17 bronze medals. They competed in a range of artistic and sporting events.

Police target Beacon Fell yobs

Troublemakers at Beacon Fell have been targeted in an operation to tackle rural crime and anti-social behaviour. Operation Firecrest was launched as part of a crackdown against illegal and nuisance activities in Broughton, Barton, Goosnargh, Grimsargh and Woodplumpton. One target of the operation was anti-social motorists breaking a police curfew and driving around Beacon Fell at night. Fifteen vehicles on the Fell were stopped by officers with one man, aged 20 and from Preston, receiving a police warning for possession of cannabis. The operation also saw a number of youth referrals for anti-social behaviour in rural areas being issued. And two men were also arrested for being drunk and disorderly. Sgt Richard Terry, of Fulwood Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “We have some problems with anti-social behaviour in our villages and this is something we will continue to tackle.”

City day centre put up for sale by County Hall

A former day centre has been put up for sale by Lancashire County Council. The 1.5-acre site at the former Deepdale Day Centre building on Sir Tom Finney Way in Deepdale, Preston, is available as “a development opportunity.” It has been shut for more than three years after the authority moved staff to more modern facilities. The site is being marketed as suitable for “retail, restaurant and café, public house and hotel”. There is a September deadline for interested parties to come forward.

Elderly couple cut out of car

An elderly couple had to be cut out of their car after an accident on a busy road. The couple were taken to Royal Lancaster Infirmary following the smash outside the Holiday Inn hotel on Caton Road at Lancaster, close to junction to Junction 34 of the M6, at 12.50pm on Saturday. The road was blocked for around 20 minutes while the vehicles were removed.

Hitch brings down phones

Phone lines to the housing association which runs homes in Preston were down at the weekend. The Community Gateway Association said a “technical problem” with its provider, BT, was to blame. The fault took down the helpline on Saturday morning. The lines were down for a number of hours before returning in the afternoon.