Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Market Square - Three things of concern

Do they bother you?

First the A frame advertising in amongst the attractive tubs of flowers.

Murray's claim that they need the advertising.

Well I won't be going in if I can avoid it.

Second , the full waste bin. Where is the next lot going?

Lastly the thoughtlessly parked bike.

Next day:

The bin has been emptied but a fresh bag has been deposited next to it full of newspapers and beer cans. This kind of thing is becoming more common. I emptied the contents into the bin - why is it coming here in the first place?

"Everyone else is doing it" -  Is this sign also unacceptable?

They are springing up all over our pavements.

For me the case is different as a useful car park is being indicated. The pavement not overused.

Do we need some rules?

Stan Laurel's influence?

There's something in our water.

It set Stan off on his humourous life - even though he only got a few sips in the eight weeks he was here.(I'm wrong - he was drinking it by the gallon until he was six I understand)

Incredible though it may seem:

The workmen repairing the setts in The Gill, Ulverston, were told last Friday to 'rip there own work up' (to use Evening Mail headline speak) and do it again.

Not that they have done poor work - it was excellent - but because the County Council have now decided to do the whole lot and not just do patches.

This was something that definitely needed doing and my statement, that I would be repairing future damage straight away - and not waiting a whole year as I did this last time, may have influenced them (? - Highly unlikely but you never know).

So this morning when I talked to the workers they were fed up at the thought of digging their work up in order to achieve a uniform and attractive result.

They are starting at one end and working all the way along to reset all the setts.

The Council must be congratulated for making this brave decision.

Monday, 30 August 2010

The Monday Interview - Thursday Market Bookseller

We have strong connections with Literature in the town:

Good bookshop down Market Street,the cafe´below, the stalls, and the Word Festival

Browse through the new and second hand books with a cup of coffee at the Novel Cafe´in in the Market Square if the market is not on. Comfortable chairs access to the Internet upstairs. Arts and crafts on display. Special area upstairs for the kids. An amazing place.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Local businesses taking the initiative

It's good to see the Internet being used more effectively by local cafe´s and shops.

At least they recognise its value.

Well done Poppies.

Illegal repair of the Setts (Cobbles) in The Gill

Photo taken by The Mail a year ago which shows how long the dangerous condition has been left.

Join in the discussion on the Mail site

Was I being responsible to repair the work or should I obey the council and leave it to them?

Which of us is being irresponsible?

Do I now go and do a temporary repair on the cobbles at the junction of Market Street and New Market street?

Where does this kind of action end?

Surely a dialogue needs to be established between the council and Joe Blogs on the street.

This high and mighty attitude is out of date and does not address the financial problems we face at present.

Marie Fallon on your £125,000 salary as corporate director in charge of Highways

Friday, 27 August 2010

Geoff at his spot on the Market Square

Would you trust this guy?

He'll be there with his table in the Market Square from 10:00 till at least 1:00 tomorrow, and then again on the two market days in the next week!

A chance to join 90 people who have already signed a petition to get the Town Council to support Tourism from our rates ( in addition over forty others don't specify how much but definitely want the centre to remain where it is - at the Coro). Our Town Councillors will listen to what the public says when they meet next in just over a week on Monday September 6th in the Town Hall upstairs.

They listen more carefully when fifty people are saying very similar things.

Arrive at 7:15 have your say or listen to others from the public having theirs and just cry "Here, here" or "I agree with the previous speaker". You can leave by 7:45 if you can drag yourself away.

At least one of the councillors is urging the rest of the council to take this matter seriously.

Alternatively you may want to add your name to the list of people at the above table who are volunteering to run the Tourist Information Centre for three hours a week if given the opportunity.

The list has nine people on it already and thirty are needed to run it seven days of the week as is done at Grange.

A surprising number of local people use the TIC to find out what is happening in their own town.

How much proof of global warming do sceptics need?

Let's not take our eye off the ball.

As we rage on about the lack of tourism and the state of our roads . . . . .

How much proof do the deniers need?

This article and its subsequent discussion is worth joining in!

What will focus Ulverstonians minds on the issue?

Another flood in South Ulverston?

Avril Crutchley and her team of volunteers at Pakistan Flood relief have certainly shown great initiative in dealing with the consequences of our inaction in tackling the results of global warming.

But how many of us are still plugging away at a solution?

With all the emphasis on cutbacks, where has this important issue gone?

Those that can think and battle on several fronts at the same time - please step forward.

Is this a female trait I wonder?

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

The state of our roads on BBC Radio Cumbria

On prime time BBC coverage at 07:45 am Radio Cumbria tomorrow when I'm being interviewed about taking action illegally to repair our highway - the setts - in The Gill.

No doubt thousands of you will be tuned in specially

The state of the Setts on Market Street below the Market Cross

Even more serious, because of their location, are the setts or cobbles on Market Street just below the Cross at the junction with New Market Street.

Having roads so obviously in need of repair reflects badly on the town as a Tourist destination.

As is obvious , the holes are massive and completely beyond the limits the Highways department set themselves for immediate overnight repair. Yet they remain for months at a time so that a frustrated public just cope.

No that's not true some people with disabilities have stopped coping - they stay away from the town centre for fear of being injured.

One can sympathise and feel that if we care the only solution is to repair these setts ourselves.

Something I'm on the verge of tackling myself - and I don't think it would be too difficult to do a reasonable job in four hours to do the whole of the Market Square and make it safe and acceptable.

Cumbria County's promise of repairs of Setts in the Gill worthless

County Councillor, James Airey, stated that these setts would definitely be repaired within six weeks.

That deadline expired last Friday.

So on the assumption that it could never happen - the setts featured in the Westmorland Gazette

have been repaired by me, regardless of CCC restrictions.

Here's the result

At least the road is safe again. Next time we won't wait a whole year for County Council none action to rectify a potentially dangerous situation.

Preventing Heart Attacks on your own

I've just received a slide show on this subject by email.

Found it on you tube - here it is?

Anyone know if this works?

Would anyone be here to tell us if it didn't?

It's one of those "worth a try" activities when you have nothing else.

Sounds plausible.

Ulverston on the 'Net

Here's a write up to savour.


Monday, 23 August 2010

The Visit Cumbria website

This site was started some 13 years ago - see http://www.visitcumbria.com/sitehistory.htm for a detailed history of the site and a bit about me.

Initially it was a hobby - for my own pleasure - and trying to fill a gap as there was little tourist info for Cumbria in general at that time.

There is no relationship between me and the tourist board who I think see me as opposition rather than a help.

About 3 years ago I decided to try and make some money from this by adding accommodation, places to eat etc, and compiled a list of all I could find - wrote to them all and got an almost zero response for advertising on the site.
I guess junk mail is not the best means - and I didn't have the time to ring around - this is not my main job - so that faltered a bit!

Recently a colleague of mine who has more time and more enthusiasm for telephone use has helped get more businesses to sign up, and is continuing in that effort.

Several other Cumbrian people have contributed photos and text - simply because they like what I am doing and are doing their bit to improve it - same reasons - its a hobby which has a useful end product.

I intend to keep this going as long as I keep going - and at some point will make some form of 'will' to hand it on to someone else should I not be in a position to do so myself. It is a valuable resource -and is improving daily as more and more gets added to it.

One colleague who lives in Kendal has documented the town in enormous detail - see http://www.visitcumbria.com/sl/kendal.htm .

So - should you wish to use this site as a basis for promoting Ulverston - I am happy to help and promote as you see best - expanding on what I have done already. There could be a separate Ulverston Menu - listing and linking to all one wants to know abou the town - a website within a website. This could have its own name if you like - eg www.visitulverston.com which is available - that just links to this section on visitcumbria.

As for businesses - there is an accommodation section on the Ulverston page, and there could be a places to eat list, and a places to shop, and a list of tradespeople. See the Food and Drink, and Trades listing off the top menu. There could be specific ones from the Ulverston page if there were enough entries to make it worthwhile.

I have come up with a price of 86 pounds per year per detailed entry for the accommodation listing, with non payers just getting basic contact details (no weblink or email addess).

See http://www.visitcumbria.com/eat-cockermouth.htm for an example of places to eat in the Cockermouth area. (I am based in Cockermouth).

For businesses - I haven't discussed this yet with my colleague Vanessa who is looking after the marketing and advertising side of this - but there could be a reduced rate perhaps for a halfway type ad for businesses other than accommodation.

The 86 pound ad gets a brief description and pic and higher ranking in the listings, and on the detail page up to 6 pics and (within reason as much text as you want. Every page representing a place of interest -
say Wordsworth House for example - http://www.visitcumbria.com/cm/wordsworth-house.htm
has an option at the bottom for other places nearby -
which lists them, gives a map, and also lists any accommodation providers within the requested area.

Ongoing improvements are taking place all the time to the general appearance and features of the website, as I either have time to do it or funds to pay others to do it.

So - discuss this with your colleagues - and let me know what the outcome is - I'm sure I can offer something which promotes the town and its businesses, for an economic benefit to those businesses.

Best regards - Julian Thurgood.

ps - I am in the process of renaming all the pages and links from them - to give higher rankings in google, and upping the sizes of the pictures - in itself a major task.
see http://www.visitcumbria.com/sl/ulverston.htm

Geoff - further to my previous message - there could be an events section just for Ulverston
- I have just found this - which looks pretty comprehensive - we could just link to that -

And likewise an index of pics of regular events or festivals that take place - assuming someone has some suitable pics of previous events.

And anything else which is felt to be of interest - if somebody can provide the info - walks in the area, history of the area, etc etc.


I could offer a front page promo for the (still to be created) Ulverston main page - see http://www.visitcumbria.com/
there may be many visitors to this site who have never heard of Ulverston!


The Boxwood Hedge outside the Coro

What does it say?

Here's another clue

The Monday Interview - David Gardner -final

The value of a team, disagreements, flexibility in a family run business.

Will it survive - you can bet your bottom dollar it will - in some form!

"We're not brilliant; just very determined."

Brilliant Fireworks display - Well Done

It was artistic, colourful, great sounds, very varied, just the right length.


Enjoyed every minute.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Blind Football

Just seen on BBC news -

what a great sport and gives us all encouragement as a celebration of the indomitable human spirit.

Do you realise

The Coro

is owned and run by SLDC

Our Town Hall

is owned and run by SLDC

(Grange own their Victoria Hall and charge SLDC rent if they use it)

Our toilets

are owned and run by SLDC

(at a cost of £300 / week)

Our Car Parks

are owned and run by SLDC

(Not true - we (The Town Lands Trust) own the Gill so why the hell do SLDC run it and fix the charge? And do you call what happens at Stockbridge Lane Car Park "being run" - "being left" perhaps)

Our Market - indoor

is owned and run by SLDC

Our Market - outdoor

is run by SLDC

(Settle run their own and thrive)

Our parks

are owned and run by SLDC

Do we own and run anything ourselves?

Hoad Monument?

One thing we do own and run ourselves are

The pottery decorations on Gill Banks,

The planters on Gill Banks

and the picnic tables there.

We're gradually taking over our Mill Dam Park

Our council is threatening to take back the planting of our flower beds to avoid Begonias,
Begonias, Begonias, Begonias

Now there's a start!

So let's go and celebrate the reopening of Hoad Monument.

Where do I find out about it?

The Town Council Web Site -

(great - now there's a splash - in amongst what was going to happen in . . . .2008)

The BBC web site

(Hooray they noticed!)

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Need for a web site

This subject will be discussed at the meeting at 5:30 on Monday 23rd August 2010 in the Lantern House

About me - web sites I designed, when I taught Flash to 6 to 16 year olds: www.tygh.co.uk and www.tygh.co.uk/students

How other towns do their websites:

Thirsk map pop 4,500 Thirsk town - "Car parking is free in for one hour in Thirsk market place,"

Northallerton map pop 15,700 Northallerton town

Skipton pop 16,000 town

Hawick map pop This town has a massive carpark which is free on market day alongside a thriving Market with a wide range of market stalls 14,000 town

Grange over Sands pop 4,000 town attractions and town council site


Ulverston on Google

The following results are very disappointing from the Tourists viewpoint

Ulverston on Wikipedia look at the web site being recommended at the bottom - it's out of date

Discover Ulverston - festivals nothing there

The Ulverston Website - Leisure and Tourism - Ulverston Festivals and The Arts draw your own conclusions

Ulverston Cumbria - link about Ulverston on the whole this is a very encouraging site - check the links to the features being mentioned - they are covered in good detail by far the best site

Ulverston in Cumbria most of the links are out of date

Go Lakes Ulverston Events

Orchard House, Ulverston - local attractions Now this accomodation attracts more business than the owner can handle but look at the "main Ulverston site" - Ulverston.net and you get the Town Council site.

The official web site ulverston.net has now been wound up totally it has been going steadily down hill since is was handed over by Furness Internet who designed it initially

ulverstonuk.co.uk this site was designed by Chris Thorpe who was a lecturer in design when he died last year. It is sadly not being maintained.

The future: -

Blogs like this one?

Twitter like what is being done in Grasmere

Can Youtube be used more effectively like this - Flag festival

Conclusion the sites coming top of Google, do Ulverston and its many features, no favours.

Something needs to be done.

For a long time till last week, ulverston.net came first place on Google thanks to the original skill of Furness Internet. However the web site went steadily down hill in design and content because it was being maintained by someone too busy and lacking the skills to do the job well.The result in 2008 was this reported here on this site.

It had been hoped the the new site for the Town Council would be a great improvement. What happened was a site that concentrated on the Councillors and their business. The promotion of Ulverston and the surrounding area as a serious tourist attraction was neglected and the "Latest News" at present is giving us one item about the re-opening of Hoad in 2010 in amongst what was going to happen in 2008 and 2009.

By comparison I know of no other council that does such a poor job of promoting its town and surroundings in contrast to doing such a good job of promoting its councillors - all at the tax payers expense. Was the expense of this site justified when Ulverston,net was desparate for attention?

I'm convinced the closure of many of our shops in Ulverston is related to the Town having such poor web sites from the tourists viewpoint.Do the councillors care? If so what do they propose?

Do they intend to become better informed on the subject of the use of the Internet to promote towns, thus making better equipped to make important decisions regarding the town's future.

With no known proposal to continue the TIC in the Coro, the state of our web sites, and the lack of forward looking initiative being shown by our council (in regaining control of our car parks, toilets and market), there are some businessmen here who believe that Ulverston is going to become a ghost town.

Does this possibility occur to you?

Setts in the Gill

Job done - in a small way!

More to be done!

If a source of setts were available, an even better job could be done.

Tourist Information Centre - dotting the "i"s

Someone pointed out that this topic needs clarification.

The statement that the Tourist Information Centre is closingin March is accurate.

However this closure would not result in their being any TIC in Ulverston. The field is wide open and anyone can put in a bid to run a centre.

If you are a private business you stand to gain by attracting tourists to your establishment.

The question for me is would we be happy having anyone doing this and doing it anywhere?

The people I speak to are very pleased with the set up at present and want to preserve it. They see it as ideally located and run by capable people.

Grange has managed to preserve its previous set up of operating out of its Town Hall on the high street. However only one of the original people behind the counter remain and then only three days a week.

The questions that concerns me are :

Would we be happy with anyone running this facility?

Is not its location important when we are in fact selling the Town to others?

Isn't the friendliness and competence of the people doing the job extremely important?

How would we feel that the choice was made entirely on a financial basis?

How would people feel for instance if it was run out of a house, shop with an axe to grind - religious, ethical (gambling) ?

Surely a service like this needs to stay under our direct control ?

At the moment:

Who will be making the decision about our TICs future?

Faceless people in Kendal.

What do they know about what we want?

Is there an alternative to the Town Council being our overseer?

The many people signing our petition certainly believe they want the existing TIC kept where it is and run on similar lines and they are ready to pay for it.

Pakistan Flood Relief

It was great to see a group of volunteers have set up a centre next to Oxfam in the town centre to raise funds for this cause.

Ulverston have always had a great tradition in supporting others who face disaster.

Many years ago The Hope and Anchor organised the filling and the driving of a lorry to Bosnia to provide relief.

Of course you can go on line to make donations to a reliable organisation. There is a desperate need for drinking water.

Talking to the Tourism Community

A morning spent yesterday visiting the businesses on Ulverston high streets showed a lot of support for the meeting to be held with the councillors next Monday at 5:30pm at The Lantern House. Many people are making a big effort to make sure that their opinions are heard by the councillors.

In addition to the concerns about the lack of a tourist web site and the future of the TIC, the hot topic is car parking.

After the first two topics have been dealt with to the satisfaction of the meeting we will look briefly at possible ways of solving the car parking problem.

One solution being discussed is the buying back of the running of the car parks by the Ulverston Town Council. This would mean that the Town undertook to pay SLDC so much a year in order to be independent and fix the charges themselves in the belief that they could be more businesslike and generate more cash than the present high charges that lead to many car owners to park on our streets.

This would allow the Town to decide if and when it wanted to provide free car parking.

It is worth noting that the Ulverston Town Lands Trust already own the Gill car park.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Fantastic to read of people taking action themselves

It sounds like a lot of hard work - 43 bags of rubbish filled by eight people in two and a half hours.

But very satisfying and far less frustrating than getting others - officials and councillors to get the job done.

Well done.

Shame on the system of local government that can't cope with this kind of happening.

However intervention by local people will surely be more effective than officials in shaming those that made the mess into not doing it again.

If you were promoting Ulverston to the tourist

What would you feature?

Here's a start on a religious theme - in no particular order of preference.

Cistercian Way

Conishead Priory Buddhist Centre

Stone Circle on Birkrigg and here

Leper hole or Hagioscope at Aldingham Church and here

Swarthmoor Hall

Furness Abbey

Low Furness

There are loads more places of interest.

What are your favourites ?

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Campaigning table at the market today gets excellent reception

I joined the Breastfeeding group beside the post box on the market square in order to get direct feedback from the public with a fact finding form.

It was surprising how many people feel that the council isn't doing a good job of supporting tourism without any prompting from me. We had one against and about fifty in favour and two unwilling to cough up to provide the Town Council with extra funds for support of a TIC and a web site focussing on attracting tourists to Ulverston to the tune of £5 pounds per year on the rates which is equivalent to about £20,000 to £25,000 per year.

I was surprised to find how disappointed people are with our councillors and the latter's inability to face tough decisions and how important an issue was being raised.

People in the town clearly value their TIC - even using it themselves. Many were also well aware what a shambles we have in the web sites that come top of google and how serous opportunities to promote many features of Ulverston are being missed.

I plan to be back on Saturday though I am booked elsewhere 10:30 till 12:30 pm.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Toursim - the views of some of our councillors

Mayor Phil Lister, Multi Councillor, James Airey (Town, District and County Councils) and Cllr Judy Pickthall who has been active regarding the TIC and the Town Market issues are all attending the meeting with the Tourism Community at the Lantern House next Monday at 5:30 pm

On Tuesday August 10th the day after my plea to the Council- From Town Councillor Colin Williams:

Hi Geoff, I thought you made some valid points last night. It's just so frustrating that we can't debate these issues brought up by the public at the time they are raised. I agree that the town needs to keep it's website up to date, otherwise there is no point in having a link to news, if the news is as old as you say. David Parrat has been updating pictures of the progress of the monument but you have to dig to know where these are.
The truth of the matter is that we don't have a person dedicated, or paid to gather all the touristy info together and then post it onto our site. DP is probably snowed under with other council stuff, especially whilst the monument has been ongoing.

If you have any ideas of how we could do things better then I'ld be happy to listen to them.


Cllr Col

To which I immediately replied:

Cllr Colin Williams,

Thanks Colin, for your feedback. I'm encouraged that you thought that
I had made some valid points and that you regretted that there wasn't
an opportunity to debate the issues in the meeting.

I suggest that it would be a good thing to make sure that the topic
"The Town Council Support of Tourism in the Ulverston area" goes on
the agenda for the next Town Council meeting on Sept 4th.

I am finding that there is a lot of interest from those who benefit
from tourism - shops, restaurants and those providing accommodation.
Many of these will be attending this meeting to express their concerns.

They believe that The Town Council should do everything they can to
promote this important industry in the town.

There are two main concerns : the absence of a good web site and the
imminent withdrawal of SLDC support for our TIC.
I'm sure that those concerned will want to put their arguments forward
in writing before the meeting as well as emphasising their main points
at the beginning of the council meeting.

Can I assume that you will see that this item will be placed on the


Thursday 12 August Colin Williams replies:

Hi Geoff, I think that Ulverston community Partnership which is chaired by
Paul Jarvis have already been looking at a strategy for the future of
As for your suggestion that I place your topic on the agenda for Sept 4th I
won't be doing that.
Yes I know you believe it is important but your asking me to bring an item
to the meeting I know very little about, and asking the council to support
tourism is a bit fluffy. I'm sure they all support tourism.
I'll have a think about this, chat to colleagues, and see if there is a more
constructive motion that we could discuss.
I'll also check out what UCP has been up to.


I have not heard anything further from Cllr Colin Williams

The role of the Town Council from one of the Town's successful traders

We have to get the message over that the council must deliver an effective & thriving town fit for both tourism and the local community.

It can only do this with the right criteria in place.

  • Good, clean and safe access -- well sign posted
  • Easy & cheap parking
  • Good variety for festivals well advertised
  • Good quality and variety of shopping
  • A bustling market - both indoor & outdoor
  • Responsible opening times from traders ( not shut 1/2 day wed)
  • Important tourist information available to as wide an audience as possible

The traders cannot deliver all the above without the council making a commitment to deliver what the elected representatives have been charged to do.

ie Make Ulverston a town worthy of a visit on a regular basis.

We have to be also aware that there are a number of landlords in this town who are stubornly holding rents at restrictive levels and making it unattractive for new comers to the retail world.
I am unaware what can be done but council presence may prove worthwhile.

We need to ask the high street big hitters like HSBC, TSB, Bargain Booze - what exactly do U contribute to the town in supporting all the above criteria.Should this include even the edge of town garages who seem to profit regardless of any other issue.

Should we also demand more from our residents, charity groups, local clubs & pubs?

Gavin Knott

Monday, 16 August 2010

Murray is on a roll

Not only does he thrash Nadal 6-4 6-3 but beats Federer in two sets to win for the second time in Canada.

With tennis like this -

Who needs football?

And the women are doing well to boot.

And not a stroke to be seen on tele -


The Monday Interview - David Gardner continued

The familiar face of David - our friendly gardening consultant.

We think of him as living down the road but in fact it takes him an hour and twenty minutes to get here.

So how come he chose Ulverston market to trade at?

Are there many others like him?

Or is this quiet unassuming man part of a well honed team and a real expert at survival?

A quick look at the range of plants on offer.

Who needs a flash garden centre when the quality , range and price are all in our favour when we shop at David's stall.

Worth a trip to Ulverston on a Thursday or Saturday just to buy here, don't you think?

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Flier for the Tourism Meeting next Monday

A flier has been designed and distributed on Monday to all the businesses that could be found in Ulverston concerning the need for our Town Council to be more supportive of the Tourist Industry in the town.

Please feel free to download this flier (as a word document) and distribute it by email or as a paper print out to all those interested.

A meeting is to be held

Monday 23rd August 5:30pm - The Lantern House.

to review the present situation regarding the imminent closure of the Tourist Information Centre and the lack of a good web site promoting the town to potential tourists.

Several councillors including our mayor , Phil Lister, and multi councillor, James Airey (Town, District and County) have said they will be there.

For more information on this topic click here

Cumbria County beware

We're about to illegally attack your highway.

In a recent email on the 9th July, James Airey stated :

"The setts on the Gill were looked at by Highways on Wednesday after I chased them again, a works order has been placed and the work will be done within 6 weeks. Hopefully as soon as possible but no longer than 6 weeks."

These six weeks expire on August 20th at 24:00.

Picks and shovels are at the ready.

We will not put up with this mess any longer.

Future tourists

As the Chinese increase in wealth, they are touring the world in increasing numbers.

We are eager to buy their products and make them rich; it follows that we should encourage them to spend their money here in Ulverston.

We in Ulverston could be one of the first to promote their visits to us.

How about starting to work on this right now - we have Chinese translators in our midst.

Lets set about making them welcome now.

Cameron is promoting the idea let's put him to the test.

Saturday, 14 August 2010

SLDC financial support for a Tourist Information Centre

David Phillips, who is charge of the present TICs in South Lakeland has provided the following information:

£375,000 is available over the next four years to cover five centres including Ulverston,starting with £150,ooo in the first year.

He agreed that a likely split was that the amount available would diminish by a third each year and that Ulverston could get £25,000 to £30,000 in the first year falling to £8,000 to £10,000 in the fourth and final year.

The other TICs to be supported were : Kendal, Windermere, Broughton and Ambleside.

Then he states that Grange and Coniston's grant will be decided at a special grant panel meeting in October.

Tourism concerns

A meeting to enable the Tourism Community in the town to discuss amongst themselves and with Town Councillors has been organised for :

Monday 23rd August at 5:30 pm at The Lantern House - coffee provided

The main topics are:

  • The closure of the Tourism Information Centre in March 2011 and the financing of its replacement
  • The importance of a dedicated web site for Ulverston Tourism
Other topics like the need and solutions for the town to be in charge of its own car parks and market need to be addressed in the future. This requires our South Lakeland District Councillors to work with other councillors from outlying areas that are not aligned to Kendal - a difficult but not impossible task. We need to buy back control of our car parks - I'm sure a deal could be struck to our mutual benefit.

The results of these discussions will then be presented to the Town Council at their meeting on Monday 6th September when it is hoped these concerns will be discussed by the council.

Flowers await picking

At Mill Dam Park

Friday, 13 August 2010

Another festival comes to Ulverston next week

Monday 16th-Sunday 22nd August 2010

The Breast Feeding Festival has it's own site and starts in Ford Park
at 10 am with a "Workshop on the Breastfeeding Manifesto, in the Coach House "

Followed by " a huge people-picture of a mother feeding her baby. Inspired by Art for the Sky" in the afternoon.

On Saturday 21st August, 1:30pm-4:30pm, there's a Breastfeeding Fair in the Supper Room in the Coronation Hall.

And many many more activities at different times and places throughout the week.

The Lantern House send us an invitation:

We hope you can join us for this great free event to celebrate the unveiling of the Sir John Barrow monument...

Click on the image to enlarge.


A great reminder

It helps being brought down to earth now and again -

Thanks Jack

Thursday, 12 August 2010

The attitude of the Town Council drives me close to tears

A very subdued Geoff Dellow presented the case for the council to support the tourist industry , here in Ulverston.

Deaf ears were what I expected.

I wasn't disappointed.

So now I'm out talking to the business community in the town and getting quite the opposite reception.

There is keen interest in making a bold statement to our Council by attendance en masse at their next meeting on one Monday 6th September at 7:15.

Cllr Colin Williams, who regretted privately the lack of an opportunity to debate the issue at the last meeting, has been asked to table an item for the agenda of this next meeting:

"The Town Council Support of Tourism in the Ulverston area"

A pre-meeting of those who benefit from tourism with interested councilors is being organised.

It will focus on two issues:

The imminent closure of the Ulverston Tourist Information Centre in the Coronation Hall next March 20011.

The failure over the past four years for the council to provide an attractive web site for those researching a holiday in the Ulverston area using the internet. The contrast with Grange over Sands is dramatic.

Those interested in this issue should approach me using gd at tygh.co.uk to be informed directly - otherwise continue to use this blog.

In a subsequent development, the Evening Mail has picked up on my plea to the council last Monday with an article that embellished their story to create a good head line with a statement about putting 80p on the council tax. All I did was highlight Grange's Town Council different attitude whereby they have made a 2.5 % rise in their rates to help with their Tourist Information Centre and their web site.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Closing the West Road along Thirlmere to cars

One could argue that this has little to do with Ulverston, however many of us do visit this spot for recreation.

It is argued that closing the west road would encourage this area to be used by families wishing to cycle thus providing a flat area not easily found in the Lake District.

The proposers go on to say that for those that want to tour by car there are many alternatives - going alongside Ullswater for instance provides many attractive stopping places along this lake.

The closure makes sense to me and the area created would appeal to the less physically adventurous - leaving other places free from them or encouraging more diverse use of our National Park.

Chris Stevens has prepared a letter and argument below that you may wish to present to the Nation Park Committee by writing to Ben Murray.


July 2010

Ben Murray
Cumbria Highways
Joseph Noble Road
Lillyhall Industrial Estate
CA14 4JH

Dear Mr Murray

Re: Thirlmere Proposal - family friendly cycle route

I have become aware that there has recently been a consultation exercise into the closure of the central section of the west shore road around Thirlmere Reservoir. We realise that the consultation period has ended, but would request that this letter of support is presented to the relevant committee.

Cumbria in general, and the Lake District in particular, suffers from a lack of easy grade cycling where families in particular can ride in safety in a traffic free situation. This was recognised by research conducted in 2004 on behalf of Cumbria Tourism. This research was corroborated by a public consultation in 2006 for the Cumbria Rights of Way Improvement Plan. The public response was that a priority for cycling should be easy grade, family friendly routes. The suggestion for a round Thirlmere Cycleway came directly from this public consultation.

It is widely recognised that separating cars and cycles, especially on routes promoted for use by all abilities and families, is very desirable for both safety and to enhance the user experience. The west road of Thirlmere is ideal for this purpose. It is the flattest five miles in the Lake District, and possibly the county, as it was purpose built during the construction of the reservoir. It is a ‘new’ road in that sense – there was no through road on that side of the valley before the reservoir and apart from Steel End at the very southern end of the road (which is not affected by the proposal anyway) it does not serve any houses or other residences. It’s only current function therefore is to provide a sightseeing drive for visitors. We believe that closing the central 2.5 mile section of this road will not have a detrimental effect on the driving public. Cumbria has 4,784 miles of roads so the section in question represents 0.05% of the highway network. There are almost limitless opportunities for scenic driving in Cumbria but very little for recreational cycling.

As a whole, the cycleway will help to address both the sustainable transport and health agendas. A traffic free section in the middle of the west road will encourage families and young children to cycle and although they may drive there to start with, once their confidence and abilities improve, next time they visit they could cycle from Keswick and Grasmere. This is reflected in the key themes for the Local Transport Plan (LTP3) due in 2011:

• Economy – the cycleway has the potential to bring in new businesses to the area in the form of cycle hire or shuttle buses and invigorate existing businesses such as accommodation providers and hotels/pubs.

• Environment – encouraging people to use more sustainable forms of transport and closing the central section of the west road will help reduce vehicle emissions and the Lake District’s contribution to climate change.

• Active Health – a high quality, purpose built cycleway will help the people of Cumbria to lead healthier lifestyles and to encourage people to walk and cycle more on their regular journeys and for leisure.

• Safe Roads – Closure of the central section of the west road will provide a traffic free environment and will make peoples lives safer

Periodic closure of the road should also be considered. The road could be closed at weekends and school holidays, its usage monitored and feedback sought from all users.

The Sustainable Transport Framework has been endorsed by both the County Council and the LDNPA. It has been developed because of an identified need for a strategic and agreed approach to traffic and transport. It consists of the following core principles;

• A transport network based on fewer cars, more pedestrians, cyclists and greater use of lake borne and rail transport

• Reduced traffic and movement between the distinct areas of the National Park identified in the Local Development Framework

• Priority for pedestrians in all towns and villages

• The encouragement of cycling on the rural network from transport hubs

• The development of passenger transport services along key routes between transport hubs with adequate car parking supported by sustainable travel opportunities

The Thirlmere Cycleway will address all these issues and we urge the Committee to make a bold and progressive decision to endorse the road closure. We would be prepared to see periodic closure of the road as a first step. It could be closed at weekends and school holidays, as has been done in the Peak District where part of a road around Derwent Reservoir is closed every Sunday.

Yours sincerely,

Sunday, 8 August 2010

The Monday Interview - The Egg Man introduced by David Gardner

David talks about the future of Ulverston Market in this last part of an impressive interview.

Next week we'll have the first part of David's interview. We all think of David as being a local man - well the next town at least - but just how far does he come:

from 10 miles; 20 miles; 40; 80; or maybe even 160 miles away ? You may be surprised!

Now, a little about someone who has marketing flare though some might think his eggs aren't quite what they appear- brown they certainly are.

To see our other Monday Interviews click here or on the "interview" label below.

Seed bombs - I love it!




Third world

Here :

have the seeds

have the compost

have the clay

- Ulverston, next stop!

Grateful thanks to John Davitt's tweet

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Visitors to this blog over the past month

Click on the image to get more detail.

The visitors yesterday spent an average 3 min 37 sec looking at the information here. A total of some 2 1/4 hours .

Thanks for visiting.

Friday, 6 August 2010

New creative additions to our market

This lovely bright addition to the Thursday Market sells olives.

And this great idea - A Hen hut on wheels selling eggs at 30 for £1.50

What a bargain!

Next thing we'll have chickens feeding from seed in between the cobbles!

Mr DNA - rest assured.

This is what started it all - for me a red rag to a bull - when this sign was left over three months without repair in our main square.

I'm finally informed that the DNA samples and other evidence in connection with my 'Straighten that Sign' activity, have now been destroyed.

And that's without hassling them.

However they've certainly taken their time - for which the Data Protection and Freedom of Information Officer writes:

"I apologise to you again for the delay in dealing with your request"

So that's sorted, let's move on to the Tomlinson case and get that sorted in the limelight and not brush it under the carpet.

Allan Wilson's August photos

Taken at Canal Foot

Sweet Peas awaiting picking by the public

These plants at Mill Dam Park will benefit from having their flowers picked.

The recipients will be able to enjoy their fragrance !

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Look - Hoad has lost its skirt

Latest piano

Being creative - in this case with a piano can be very rewarding and a great relaxation.

Here I sit down and make up some music: something I've never played before and made up on the spur of the moment.

And here's someone, way ahead of me.

A bit repetitive perhaps?

Pottery exhibition

Last weekend there was a gathering of one hundred of the top potters in Europe at Potfest in the Park near Penrith.

Here is a slide show of some of the pots that were there.

This weekend there is a similar exhibition at Potfest in the Pens (the Penrith Cattle Market venue)

This event is open to any potter willing to pay for a stall.

Starts Friday, continues Saturday and Sunday. Takes one hour to get there.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

A business making a go of it

It's good to see this old mill building being adapted so successfully.

A really tastefully and attractive venue with and adventurous approach to exploring many possibilities for this fascinating building - one a group of us tried to buy when it was on the market for £11,000 in about 1976 as part of "The Town Mill Project".

We raised enough to purchase it but would have had nothing left to convert it into the community centre that we were proposing!

Ulverston TIC - An important issue ?

Well, Grange-over-Sands has seen it this way. . . and dealt with it.

The future of their Tourist Information Centre was put under threat over a year ago with a dead line of September 2009. (Our dead line is March 2011.)

Since then their organisation has totally changed.

There has been a strong response from their Town Council and local people to run an effective TIC - and it has happened.

30 volunteers man 14, 3 hour shifts to cover the full 7 day week, 10 am till 4 pm.

They are supported by a paid former information officer from the previous set up; by several Town Council office staff as required who oversee the general wellbeing of the Centre. They take care of the servicing of the web site, the bookings of the Hall and one imagines the provision of sales and leaflets in the office.

Grange, unlike Ulverston, has the strength that it owns its Victoria Hall where the TIC, council offices, Council Chamber and Halls are situated.

The TIC has strong backing from:

the Councillors who authorised an increase in the precept (included in the rates) which helps to support the TIC costs.

the office staff as well as the accounting and web site maintenance roles also support fundraising activities such as a recent Cross Bay Walk in their own free time.

the public supply a reliable group of volunteers.

there's a tremendous community team spirit that is impressive from every level of the operation.

Well done Grange.

A survey of the town early last year found that the town residents were strongly behind the concept of promoting tourism in Grange. A situation that may not be echoed in Ulverston though many are proud to see themselves as The Festival Town of Cumbria.

Our Ulverston Town Council do not appear as involved as their counterparts in Grange. They prefer to hand over the task to the Ulverston Community Partnership (UCP)- this is not to say that the Town Council are opting out and could still be very supportive.

The comparison with Grange indicates that the UCP have a mountain to climb:

1. They will not own the offices in the Coro.

2. Finding 30 volunteers remains to be seen - volunteering may be already stretched with all the charities already operating in the town. Grange may have a higher proportion of retired people with time on their hands.

3. Is the town council willing to increase the precept?

4. The proximity and availability of Town Council office staff could be a problem.

Interesting and important times ahead.

Monday, 2 August 2010

The Monday Interview - Nigel Potter

Nigel discusses the effects of the melting of masses of ice and its effect on sea levels.

Nigel now talks with optimism about humans pulling together to deal with a crisis. The mix of cultural backgrounds in The States will be more positive than the mono culture of the Chinese. Men and society would benefit by them having more testosterone which together with exercise will help to counter the increasing anxiety in our society by encouraging more risk taking.

Thanks Nigel. It's good to listen to someone who spends time thinking about what is happening around us.

Give the driver a break

'Linear walks' using public transport.

Promoted by the Lake District National Park and Friends of the Lake District.

A chance to meet similarly minded people and make long term friends?