Qatar signs for Typhoon Jets

After signing a letter of intent in September a contract agreement has been signed by the UK Government and Qatar Government for 24 Typhoon jets and their support, said to be worth £5bn.  The support element will extend the contract work beyond the introduction date which is said to be 2022.

Qatar joins Kuwait, Oman and Saudi Arabia as operators of Typhoon in the Arabian Peninsula.

In the UK the airframes are built at Samlesbury and Warton near Preston using parts delivered from all over the UK and across Europe.

Typhoon is built by the consortium Eurofighter GmbH based in Munich of which BAE Systems is a partner.  A fine example of international co-operation at an industrial and government level.

RAF Typhoon at Blackpool Air Show

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Preston based artist wins Turner Prize

The prestigious Tate Gallery has awarded its prestigious Turner Award 2017 to Lubaina Himid, Professor of Contemporary Art at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), Preston.

The winning work is described on the Tate website as ‘ Inspired by William Hogarth’s Marriage a la Mode 4 (The Countess’s Morning Levee) 1743, this installation features a brightly coloured stage set with a cast of characters taken from Hogarth’s morality tale. Incorporating painting, drawing and collage on cut-outs, the installation relates its historical inspiration to our current climate by including contemporary newspaper headlines and images of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan.

Himid’s satirical approach takes aim at the politics of the time as well as its legacy today. In works such as these, the artist appropriates and interrogates European painters and combines aspects of her African heritage to question the role of visual power.’

The competition was held in Hull, at the Ferens Art Gallery.

Professor Himid has a large piece on permanent display, see below, at the Harris Art Gallery in Preston and will have an exhibition in 2018, 2nd March to 3rd June.

Read more about the exhibition on the Harris website, click here

Lubaina Hibid, Hannibal's Sister 1989 at the Harris Preston

Lubaina Hibid, Hannibal’s Sister 1989 at the Harris Preston

 

Link to the Tate Gallery Turner Prize page

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Potter and Winckley at the Harris

Two displays to catch the eye in the Harris Museum, Art Gallery and Library, Preston.

Winckley Square Inside Out

A display created by the Friends of Winckley Square and Preston Photographic Society.  A set of placards on both sets of stairs from the entrance to the first floor of the Harris Museum.

It featured a display showing the interior of the houses on Winckley Square, the one below being a typical example.  Very interesting.  Winckley Square was looking good on that day with a low winter sun shining on the buildings through the leafless trees.

Harris Museum Winckley Square Inside Out

Harry Potter:  A History of Magic display

The second display is in the Reference Library and has a series of cabinet displays and placards, plus a desk and secret room, describing the history of magic and potions in the World of Harry Potter.  It was very well presented and took longer than expected to cover.

Harry Potter display in the Harris Library

Harry Potter display in the Harris Library

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Booths Supermarket Deal or No Deal

Big surprise that Booths Supermarket, headquartered in Preston, is said to be up for sale.  After last year’s loss some have speculated that a buy out, perhaps by Waitrose, could be on the cards.   The company says it’s one option in a review being carried out by consultants.

That’s Lancashire, the local TV station, have a good YouTube video on the subject.  A speaker from the Grocer Magazine suggests someone like Amazon could take a slice.

Booths have traded for 170 years starting from a store in Blackpool and now with 28 stores.  They had a smart store in Preston where Waterstones is now.  Sometimes the store has appeared a bit old fashioned but they changed tack to move out of town centres and recently closed smaller stores to open brand new smart and modern stores.

Viva Booths!

 

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Electrification Upgrade of Rail between Preston and Manchester 2017 to May 2018

As stated on Network Rail website:

Work has been undertaken on the route to assess bridges and tunnels to ensure that there is sufficient clearance for overhead power cables to be installed. To date, we have rebuilt an aqueduct, 15 road bridges, five footbridges and completed work to enlarge the Farnworth Tunnel in Bolton.

Work is now underway to install overhead line equipment that will provide power to electric trains.

What’s happening?

We are upgrading the railway between Manchester and Preston via Bolton as part of our £1bn+ Great North Rail Project, helping deliver faster, greener, quieter and more reliable journeys in the future.

 

A huge amount of work has already been carried out on the route between Manchester and Preston and we are grateful to residents and passengers for their ongoing patience while we build a better railway in the north west.

To date, over 20 bridges have been reconstructed to make space for new overhead equipment that is now being installed.

Bolton station upgrade

We’ve got work taking place at Bolton station from Saturday 12 August to get the tracks, platforms and canopies ready for faster, more frequent electric train services.

The work includes reinstating platform 5, which has been out of use since the early 1990s, to allow more trains to run between Manchester and Preston. The existing platforms and canopies need adjusting to accommodate a new track alignment through the station, as well as new overhead equipment which will provide power to electric trains.

This essential work through Bolton means changes to train journeys 12 – 27 August

For 16 days between Saturday 12 August and Sunday 27 August 2017, our orange army will continue work to upgrade Bolton station in time for electric trains to run.

This work will involve restoring an unused platform, modifying existing platforms and canopies as well as remodelling track, upgrading signalling, installing overhead line equipment and building a new footbridge.

Keeping you moving

Our improvement work has been planned to cause as little disruption on the railway as possible and we are committed to keeping passengers moving.

For more information visit our Bolton station page.

Being a considerate neighbour

Some of the work required to electrify the railway can be disruptive to local residents and businesses. We will make every effort to minimise unnecessary noise when working in communities and we will be writing to our neighbours with details of where and when we will be working.

We will also be holding information events at various locations along the route, giving our neighbours the opportunity to meet our project team and to find out about the next phase of work. Keep an eye out for details of future events, which will be published here.

If you’d like to know more or to want to speak to someone about work taking place in your area, you can contact our 24 hour helpline on 03457 11 41 41, or speak to us online.

Download our leaflet to find out more about electrification in the North West.

Lostock station and Rumworth Road

We are installing a new substation to the east of Lostock station. The substation forms a vital part of our plans to enable greener and quieter electric trains to run in the future. To allow our engineers to install the new equipment, a small area of Lostock station’s car park will be temporarily closed between May and November 2017.

In addition to the substation work, we’re also rebuilding part of Rumworth Road railway bridge to make space for the future upgrade of the line between Lostock and Wigan. To enable this work, there will be a road closure from 22 May to November 2017. Pedestrian access will be maintained via a temporary footbridge and diversions for road users will be clearly signposted.

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Preston to Blackpool Rail Closure 11 Nov 2017 to 25 Mar 2018

 

As written on the Network Rail and Northern Rail websites:

Better rail journeys across the north of England are coming – we’re upgrading this key route, paving the way for more reliable journeys with more space for passengers

Changes to train services: 11 November 2017 – 25 March 2018

How will this affect train services?

The improvement work requires the closure of the lines between Blackpool North / South and Preston between 11 November 2017 – 25 March 2018

11 November 2017 – 28 January 2018: Preston to Blackpool North and South closed.

29 January 2018 – 25 March 2018: Route to Blackpool South reopens – Preston to Blackpool North remains closed.

Buses will replace trains so please check before you travel and allow extra time for your journey. For further information visit National Rail Enquiries.

Replacement Bus Service timetables are available here:

https://www.northernrailway.co.uk/news/improvements/1435-preston-to-blackpool-11-november-2017-25-march-2018

Rail Replacement Buses 11th Nov 2017 to 25th March 2018

What’s happening?

We are upgrading the railway between Preston and Blackpool as part of a £1bn+ investment in the north to deliver cleaner, quieter and more reliable journeys by May 2018.

The 17 mile route between Preston and Blackpool North will be fully electrified paving the way for better trains with more seats. We’re also improving the track layout and modernising signalling equipment to reduce delays and improve performance.

Work includes the replacement of 84 signals and moving the signalling control to the Manchester rail operating centre. Blackpool North and Kirkham & Wesham stations will be remodelled as part of our plans to simplify the current layout of the railway.

The Great North Rail Project isn’t just about rail

We are working to deliver modern, faster, more frequent and more comfortable train services across one of the largest rail networks in the country.

When the work is complete, we’ll have done more for the North than just laying tracks.

We’ll be creating new jobs, and connecting more people to more jobs. We’re closing the gaps between major cities. Making not only travel, but also trade, easier throughout the North. The work we’re doing will make the

region more desirable. For investment. For business. For everyone.

Why we’re upgrading

From May 2018 modern, greener, cleaner and quieter trains will run between Blackpool and Preston. The upgrade tackles overcrowding and reduces running costs, as well as providing a reliable and sustainable railway for generations to come.

To upgrade the railway, we have to carry out the following engineering work:

  • Upgrading bridges and structures.
  • Strengthening railway embankments.
  • Assessing level crossings.
  • Clearing overgrown vegetation.
  • Installing masts and wires.
  • Install a new modern signalling system.
  • Improving the track layout at several locations
  • Upgrading key sections of the railway track.

We’re carrying out ecological surveys and environmental impact assessments to minimise impact on the natural environment. Any protected species or nesting birds are relocated where necessary. 

When the work’s done you’ll benefit from

  • More reliable services

Improvements to the track and signalling reduces delays of trains running in and out of Blackpool.

  • More seats

The modern trains will be more spacious than the current ones. So, there’s more seating space available for passengers on each service.

  • Smoother journeys

Modern trains running on an improved railway makes journeys smoother and quieter. So, your journey will be more comfortable.

  • Greener trains

The modern trains will create lower carbon emissions in comparison to the current trains.

This helps to improve air quality in pollution hot spots and makes it cleaner and quieter for people living near the railway.

Keeping you moving

Our improvement work has been planned to affect rail transport in and out of Blackpool as little as possible and we are committed to keeping passengers moving.

Changes to train services: 11 November 2017 – 25 March 2018

As part of our Great North Rail Project, we’re improving rail journeys on the Blackpool to Preston line. We are temporarily closing the line to deliver quieter and more reliable journeys from 2018, alongside investment in better journeys right across the region.

  • 11 November 2017 – 28 January 2018: Preston to Blackpool North and South closed.
  • 29 January 2018 – 25 March 2018: Route to Blackpool South reopens – Preston to Blackpool North remains closed.

Buses will replace trains so please check before you travel and allow extra time for your journey. For further information visit National Rail Enquiries.

We are working closely with Northern and Virgin Trains so that when we do close the railway, passengers are informed about changes to train services. Please check before you travel at National Rail Enquiries.

Keeping you informed

In early 2017, engineers worked round the clock during 10 weekend closures between Preston and Blackpool stations. New drainage to improve reliability was installed in Poulton-le-Fylde before tracks were realigned beneath a number of road bridges near the station. Improvements to the tracks were also made near Salwick station.

Work has also started on the route to install foundations for new equipment that will enable greener and quieter electric trains to run from May 2018. For safety reasons, the work is being undertaken overnight when trains aren’t running.

Did you know? Over 450,000 components will be used in the overhead equipment on the Preston to Blackpool North route.

Being a considerate neighbour

Some of the work required to electrify the railway can be disruptive to local residents and businesses.

We will have been holding information events at various locations thoughout September and into October along the route, giving our neighbours the opportunity to meet our project team and to find out about the next phase of work.

The final events are taking place on:

  • Monday 2 October 16:00-19:00 at Kirkham community Centre, Mill Street, Kirkham, PR4 2AN
  • Monday 9 October 16:00-19:00 at Poulton Civic Centre, Breck Road, Poulton-le-Fylde, FY6 7PU
  • Tuesday 24 October 16.00-19.00 at St Walburges Church Hall, Weston St, Preston PR2 2QE
  • Monday 30 October 14.00-18.00 at Blackpool North station, Talbot Road, Blackpool, FY1 2AB

To keep the railway moving, we try to cause the least disruption to train services. And for safety reasons, we do most of the improvement work over night, or during carefully planned closures of the railway. Plus, we want to minimise the impact our work has on our neighbours. If we’re planning work close to your property we will write to you to let you know.

Disruptions may include:

  • Noise from engineering trains and railway vehicles.
  • Temporary flood lighting and head torches.
  • Safety alarm sounds to indicate reversing vehicles.
  • Engineering work including digging, moving railway stone and other heavy materials.
  • Noise from installing piled foundations, for the masts and gantries that will carry electrified wires along the railway.

The appearance of the railway and surrounding area changes with this upgrade too. Steel masts run along the railway to support the overhead power lines. We try to put these in places that cause the least visual impact to our neighbours.

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Redundancies at BAE Systems

It was announced that 750 posts will go at the Warton and Samlesbury sites of BAE Systems in Lancashire.   Work on Typhoon and Hawk is decreasing.   Contracts with Saudi Arabia and Qatar continue to be discussed.

400 jobs will also be lost at Brough in East Yorkshire which has worked mainly on the Hawk.  In total 1915 jobs will go including jobs at RAF bases, as Tornado leaves service in 2019, and some in the ships business.

At the same time BAE announced that work on the F35 Lightning II at Samlesbury will be stable from 2020 for many years.  BAE makes 10% of the aircraft which is attracting orders from all over the world.

BAE also announced organisation changes which will make the aircraft business a single focus, separate from ships and land, among other changes.

How the redundancies will effect the workforce is to be announced but volunteers and early retirement are often used.  Also if the job losses are spread over a few years there will be new jobs and unfilled jobs to be met.  BAE has sites all over the UK and overseas.  Things start to get uncomfortable when compulsory redundancies are necessary.

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Preston’s Streets Get Fully Dressed at the Harris

Street’s of Change and Preston Street Style are the names of two of the autumn exhibitions at the Harris Museum & Art Gallery in Preston.

Both exhibitions were officially opened at 5pm on Wednesday 11th  October and on the same day at 6pm leading expert on Horrocks Fashions, Dr Christine Boydell,  gave a talk.

Preston Street Style Oct 2017

Preston Street Style Oct 2017

Before the talk the speaker and guests joined the curator for a walk around the Preston Street Style exhibition which includes some Horrocks dresses.  It relates to who wore what where and when through time in Preston.   The Harris does good textile exhibitions and has a big collection.

Meanwhile refreshments were being served and the curators were on hand to answer queries about the Streets of Change Exhibition which features the Beattie paintings of Victorian Preston and some new works.  As well as a memories board and colouring area.  I particularly liked the Old Preston/New Preston map overlay using tracing paper.  There’s also an app that does a selfie over a Beattie scene.

Streets of Change Official Launch 11th October 2017

Streets of Change Official Launch 11th October 2017

Streets of Change: Olivia Keith,  Savick Brook, ink and pastel on an Ordnance Survey map backing.

Streets of Change at the Harris Preston

Streets of Change at the Harris Preston

Launch of Events refreshment 11th October 2017

Launch of Events refreshment 11th October 2017

There was a good turn out and it gave an opportunity to view the new cafe on the ground floor which closes at 5pm before the event.

New Cafe at the Harris Museum Preston

New Cafe at the Harris Museum Preston

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Big Transport Upgrades Around Preston

Transport matters have heated up around Preston with both road and rail having big upgrades.

On the train the electrification to Manchester and Blackpool is going into its final phase in November with the closure of the line to Blackpool until November while Blackpool North Station is remodelled.  The track to Manchester has had big works at Farnworth Tunnel, Bolton and Chorley.   The completion of electrification is due in March and new, refurbished anyway, trains will be running on the summer timetable from May.  This complements the electrification already completed between Wigan and Liverpool and Wigan to Manchester.

Preston Station October 2017

Preston Station October 2017

On the road the Broughton by-pass opened in October from the M55 junction to north of Broughton.   Plans for another link from the M55 to the Blackpool Road junction of Riversway via Bartle are being finalised and a major stretch of new housing along the route is already well underway.   Plans are also finalised for the Penwortham by-pass to the A59 west of Penwortham.    All that’s needed now is a western crossing of the Ribble to create a circle around Preston.

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Lytham 1940s Weekend – 19/20 August 2017 – Saturday Report

Following from the Lytham Festival is the Lytham 1940s Weekend.  The Green taken over by the event, plus the shops getting into the mood with staff dressed in the style.

Here are some of our photos from the first part of Saturday:

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Ribble Steam Railway trains at Easter

Ribble Steam Railway on Preston Docks will be running steam-diesel trains on Good Friday, Saturday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday from 11am.  Trains every 45 minutes or thereabouts.

Museum and Workshop, Shop and Cafe to enjoy as well.

Ribble Steam Railway at Easter 2017

Ribble Steam Railway at Easter 2017

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Preston North End 8th in the Championship

After 40 games out of 46 on the 6th April PNE are within striking distance of the play-offs. Let’s record this position as a sign of a good season and well done to the players, manager and owner. 

Three of the remaining games are against clubs above them in the league so it seems the play-offs is a big ask.  PNE will need to get 100% or 18 points if 6th placed Sheffield get 13 points.   Post script: PNE’s defeat at Leeds means they need 15pts if Sheffield get 10pts.

PNE 8th in the Championship

PNE 8th in the Championship

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Preston’s Building Year

2016 has been quite a year for the centre of Preston.  The biggest thing to be noticed is that Fishergate looks a lot more attractive.  As a pedestrian it’s now a pleasing place to be.

Winckley Square has been re-modelled and has an attractive heritage feature in the middle highlighting points of interest.

The Victorian Market Canopies have been refurbished and look very smart.

The Guild Hall is having a makeover and at the front looks a lot more attractive.

The proposals for the Harris Building are being drafted and as a Grade 1 listed building this needs to be done very sympathetically.

The entrance to the Bus Station Car Park is being rebuilt at the Ringway end.

The Trampower light railway has built some test track and the council gave approval for trials.

Work continued at UCLan around the demolished Fylde Building and Adelphi roundabout.

Primark have submitted plans to extend their shop front.

A new traffic flow round St John’s and the Covered Market is proposed.

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Fulwood Barracks to be closed

Fulwood Barracks, Preston

Fulwood Barracks, Preston

Grade 2 listed Fulwood Barracks, one of the few intact from its time, is to be closed as a barracks.   This follows a property revue by the Ministry of Defence who are to close several other older and smaller barracks.

The barracks was completed in 1848 after the Chartist riots and now holds the 42nd Infantry Brigade who will be moved to Weeton Barracks near Blackpool.

What will happen to the Infantry Museum on site is another matter.  The Museum of Lancashire is currently closed and has a similar collection.

What will become of the site is a bigger matter.  It certainly is an interesting looking building made of large blocks of stone and with the old quarters still in place.  The Ministry is suggesting they are creating building land.  If that is to be the case let’s hope it’s a sympathetic plan and that some interesting use can be made of the barracks.

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Victorian Slum

In October on BBC2 a four part re-enactment of life in an East London Victorian Slum through 1860 to 1890.  Hard to believe this was only 120 years ago.  Living hand-to-mouth with no income for no work and no health provision. The whole family working at home doing piece work up to 20 hours a day.  Being turned out for not paying the rent and moving to the doss house with a choice of coffin bed or hang-over rope. Eating bread dipped in fat for a meal. Next down was to do a runner or head for the workhouse.  The population of London was rising fast and immigration, largely of Irish, was keeping wages down.

How did it compare to Preston?  It is known that conditions in the mills were hard with people working long shifts from an early age in noisy and dangerous conditions.  Yet it was warmer and dry and the terraced houses gave at least a small area of ‘castle’.   Watching the programme it seemed those Londoners would have been better moving north.  Although comparing Preston to life in London is perhaps unfair as big cities, including Manchester, have a much broader range of poverty and wealth.

It might be wondered how we got from there to where we are 120 years later.  Whether there was a time that was better than now for more people.  What we have now is amazing, the NHS has equipment and drugs costing millions of pounds available to every individual without charge at use.  Schools and libraries have banks of computers available to every family without charge at use.

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Museum of Lancashire On Ice

The Museum of Lancashire in Stanley Street closes on the 30th September except for school visits.  Negotiations are underway with a group who could re-open it in the new year.

Other Lancashire County Council operated museums in a similar situation are Fleetwood Museum, Queen Street Mill Burnley, Helmshore Cotton Museum, Lancaster Judges Lodgings.  We’ve been to all these and they’re all very good.   They’re all in areas that need tourist attractions and jobs.

Our website contains reports on visits to them all, except our visit to the Judges Lodgings.

http://www.madeinpreston.co.uk/General/MuseumofLancashire.html

http://www.madeinpreston.co.uk/Cotton/QueenStreetMillTextileMuseumBurnley.html

http://www.madeinpreston.co.uk/Cotton/HelmshoreMillTextileMuseum.html

http://www.madeinpreston.co.uk/1hrAway/fleetwood.html

 

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Winckley Square Restoration Visit

Winckley Square is being restored and work is well underway.  Paths are being resurfaced and a direction marker will be placed in the centre pointing to items of historical interest around the square.  The Peel statue will be cleaned and an illuminated walkway across the square created.

Until the work is completed Groundworks are running a guided tour at 12noon every Friday from the Winckley Street entrance.

More information about the Winckley Square area is on our website including some sketches of lost buildings.

http://www.madeinpreston.co.uk/Built/WinckleySq.html

Winckley Square restoration work

Winckley Square restoration work

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Winckley Square, Covered Market and Harris Museum

Several interesting projects are moving ahead in Preston as reported only 2 months ago and now we have 3 more with progress to report.

Work has started to restore Winckley Square which will have as its main feature a lit walkway from the Peel Statue to a central area and then straight across to the other side. Barton Grange, known best for their top quality garden centre, are doing the work.

Also the council approved the covered market proposal which will create an indoor market inside the larger canopy and a market made of containers under the smaller one.   As the canopies are listed buildings and their full extent is one of their major features care is being taken to ensure they can be appreciated, we hope.

Also Hemingway Design have been been appointed to interpret the public interface of the Harris Museum, Library and Art Gallery along with Purcell to be architects.  It will be interesting to discover what is being proposed.

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Heritage Open Days in Preston 2016 – 8 places

In 2016 Heritage Open Days are Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th September.   Here is the list of Preston venues:

Lancashire Conservation Studios,  Saturday 10th September, Tours 10.30am, 12.30pm, 2.30pm.

Harris Museum & Art Gallery,  Saturday 10th September, 10am to 5pm. Architectural Gem Tour 12noon.  Egyptian Balcony 1pm t0 3pm.  Virtual Egyptian Balcony Tour 1pm and 2pm.

Haslam Park & Local Nature Reserve,  Saturday 10th, Sunday 11th walks at 11am and 2pm.

Hidden Art Nouveau, 1&2 Lune Street,  Saturday 10th September, 10am to 5pm.  Sunday 11th September 11am to 3pm.

Lancashire Archives,  Saturday 10th September,  10am to 4pm

Museum of Lancashire, Saturday 10th September tours at 11am, 12noon, 1.30pm, 2.30pm.

Preston Playhouse, Sunday 11th September, 10am to 4pm.

Winckley Square Gardens,  Saturday 10th September and Sunday 11th September, tours 11am, 1pm, 3pm.

For full information and any booking details where necessary, download the pdf that is on our website click on this link:

http://www.madeinpreston.co.uk/Built/PrestonHeritageOpenDays2016.pdf

 

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Preston pipped by Lancaster for the highest EU Remain Vote in Lancashire

In the EU Referendum all 14 Lancashire areas voted to leave.   By percentage votes it went Preston 53/47 for leave,  Lancaster 51/49 for leave.  Highest leave was Blackpool 67/33 with Burnley next 66/34.

Preston and Lancaster have large student populations which are said to swing the vote towards Remain.  Whereas areas with big retired populations or higher unemployment are said to vote to Leave.

Nigel Evans MP for Ribble Valley was probably the most prominent MP of this area on television at the results, and was overjoyed.

Some £200 million is said by the Lancashire Evening Post to be allocated by the EU to Lancashire in the next few years.  Many would say it is money we’ve already paid to the EU.   However it was said in the campaign that all UK funding to the EU including an extra sum to cover the unpaid rebate will be allocated to the NHS,  so this Lancashire funding perhaps won’t go beyond the leaving date currently potentially September 2018.

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