A look back at stories from July to December

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The year 2012 has been a varied and interesting time for news and stories from around the district.

The Visitor reported that a new superstore was being mooted for land next to Morecambe Football Club, the Seaside Festival of 2012 was the busiest event in the resort for more than a decade and a girl had to have her stomach removed after drinking a cocktail containing liquid nitrogen. Reporter Michelle Blade looks at stories hitting the headlines from July to December.

JULY

*PASSERS-BY started an online campaign to highlight the plight of a horse tethered by the side of the road on Westgate.

#savethewestgatehorse became a popular hashtag on social networking site Twitter as users complained the horse could run out into the road near White Lund Road, Morecambe.

The horse subsequently disappeared from the side of the road and its whereabouts are unknown.

*FURIOUS home owners said properties next to houses featured in a popular TV series had been left to rot.

The homes on Albert Road in Morecambe’s West End featured on BBC2’s Turn Back Time depicted three families experiencing different eras.

But residents said that Lancaster City Council had allowed many nearby properties to fall into a derelict state since they were bought as part of a regeneration project.

Councillors have since agreed to spend £1.9 million on regenerating the houses.

*SLATES the size of paving slabs threatened to decapitate pedestrians on Morecambe’s seafront.

Steve Blane, who manages The Crown hotel and restaurant near the Eric Morecambe statue, said the jumbo slates could easily have killed someone.

Glass and slates were coming loose in the wind.

*A SUSPICIOUS package found in a skip was gunpowder, police said.

Workers at Salt Ayre Household Waste Centre reported that a worker had found a package.

A 100-metre cordon was set up and staff were evacuated from the area while the package was examined.

The Fire Service removed the package from the site and disposed of it safely.

*ANIMALS were being put at risk of death by mystery attackers.

The owners of the animals couldn’t understand why anyone would want to throw glass into paddocks, poison chickens with slug pellets, cut electric fences, put glass in a dog run and empty water troughs.

Police investigated the attacks, which took place in fields and stables owned by two women near Overton.

AUGUST

*A NEW superstore was being mooted for land next to Morecambe Football Club.

Property consultants GL Hearn had written to Lancaster City Council making enquiries about “ a new superstore with associated access, parking, servicing and landscaping” on “land adjacent Globe Arena, Christie Way.”

In March, Morecambe FC sold land in front of the Globe to Marston’s, who have since received permission for a pub/restaurant.

*ANGRY traders said plans to turn an entire street into a 24-hour taxi rank would kill off their businesses.

Lancaster City Council had put forward proposals from the hackney carriage trade to have a 12-car rank on Queen Street in Morecambe.

But traders said this could result in up to 600 shoppers’ vehicles per week being prevented from parking on the street. The plan was later abandoned after the licensing committee decided against the proposals.

*A NEW brewery was set up in a small village in north Lancashire. The Old School Brewery in Warton, near Carnforth, aimed to produce up to 200 casks of high quality beer every week to sell to businesses in the local area.

The Old School Brewery was being run by Ren Wallbank and Ian Walsh.

*BOXING returned to Morecambe’s Winter Gardens for the first time in 48 years.

Coastal Boxing Promotions held a 17-fight ‘white collar’ show at the famous promenade theatre.

The card would be headlined by the return to the ring of Morecambe fighter Marcus Duncan.

SEPTEMBER

*THE SEASIDE festival of 2012 was the busiest event in Morecambe for almost a decade. Over 25,000 people flocked to Morecambe promenade for a two-day party culminating in brilliant sunshine. The Red Arrows were the biggest crowd pleaser, pulling in huge numbers of onlookers.

*DEVELOPERS Urban Splash pledged their commitment to Morecambe’s central promenade area -despite fears they might go bust.

The company’s latest accounts reported pre-tax losses of £9.3m and debts of £234.4m.

This led to the company’s auditors Deloitte to say there was “material uncertainty” over the Manchester-based firm’s ability to continue operating because £213m of the debt was immediately repayable. But Urban Splash, who restored and reopened Morecambe’s Midland Hotel in 2008, were in talks to restructure payments on their debt.

*TOURISM champions said plans to revitalise Lancaster Castle as a prison-themed museum and four-star boutique hotel could be a game-changer for Lancaster, Morecambe and the entire district.

The city’s most famous landmark could become a modern ‘urban quarter’ housing a museum, a 75-room luxury hotel with restaurant, spa and gym, artists’ studios and workshops, public art displays, outdoor performances, international conferences and festivals.

*THE Visitor pledged to ‘Support our Shops’ with the launch of a #SOSMorecambe campaign.

The campaign pledged to champion independent retail businesses throughout the area, lobby local authorities and the Government for help for local independent shops, update readers about various projects in the town and encourage consumers to visit Morecambe’s array of small independent shops.

OCTOBER

*A LARGE tree root fractured a water main at Lancaster and Morecambe College.

Students and staff were sent home and all evening classes were cancelled whilst repairs were made to the water main.

The college reopened as normal the day after.

*A CLUBGOER celebrating her 18th birthday nearly died after drinking a cocktail containing liquid nitrogen.

Gaby Scanlon, 18, from Heysham, was taken ill on a night out in Lancaster.

She reported feeling breathless after drinking a cocktail and developed severe stomach pains.

Doctors had to remove her stomach to save her life.

*A MUM and dad were celebrating the safe arrival of baby number 16.

Noel and Sue Radford from Morecambe now have seven daughters and nine sons following the birth of baby Casper on October 3.

Casper will be doted on by his 15 brothers and sisters.

*X FACTOR winner James Arthur had played a live gig in The Joiners Arms in Morecambe before entering the competition, it was revealed.

James, whose Morecambe-based brother Neil plays darts for the pub team, performed for nearly three hours but had to stop when a couple of strings on his guitar broke.

James won the competition and received a lucrative recording contract.

NOVEMBER

*A LANDMARK site was to be redeveloped into new homes in a deal worth £67.8 million.

Lancaster Moor Hospital, a Grade II listed building, was to be converted and there would be 440 homes created on the 15.76hectare site.

The PJ Livesey Group and Story Homes were chosen by The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) to develop the site.

*A STOP-start plan to renovate West End houses made famous by a TV programme was back on the agenda.

The £1.9m scheme to improve empty homes in the West End, including Albert Road houses used in the hit BBC1 programme ‘Turn Back Time’was due to be announced.

But David Morris, MP for Morecambe and Lancaster, launched a scathing attack on Lancaster City Council over their handling of the Chatsworth Gardens project, accusing them of a ‘plot’ to abandon the scheme.

Andrew Dobson, head of regeneration and policy, said they always intended to spend the money on Chatsworth Gardens.

The scheme was eventually approved by councillors.

*LABOUR candidate Clive Grunshaw was named as the new police and crime commissioner for Lancashire following elections across the county.

Mr Grunshaw said: “This is a new era for policing in Lancashire.”

Apathy reigned at the elections, with turnout for the Lancaster and Morecambe district at 14.3 per cent, compared to a county average of 15.5 per cent.

*A MUM of two was dumbfounded when she arrived home to find her house covered in scaffolding she hadn’t asked for.

Lian Harris was then forced to put up with the unwanted eyesore on the front of her three-storey terrace for three days until workmen finally came and took it down.

It turned out they had fixed the metal poles and planks to the wrong house.

DECEMBER

*A VOLUNTEER NHS driver was billed £120 for failing to pay a congestion charge while taking a sick baby to Great Ormond Street hospital.

James Quinn, of Lines Street in Morecambe, was hit with the fine days after driving a 10-month old baby girl to the leading London hospital for a brain operation. Mr Quinn contacted Morecambe MP David Morris who raised the issue in Parliament.

The charge was eventually waived.

*HORRIFIED visitors to an MP’s website saw a video of executions - after it was hacked by Islamic extremists.

Morecambe and Lunesdale MP David Morris was left “shocked” following the attack by the “Freedom for the Mujahideen” group, who, he said “stole his website.”

*MORECAMBE’S Pigeon Man was given an ASBO banning him from feeding the birds at his house.

John Wilkinson - dubbed Pigeon Man - was a well known figure around the resort with his trolley and bags of bird seed.

But under the conditions of his two year Anti-Social Behaviour Order his feeding would be severely restricted.