On this page ,every now and again we will feature an in depth news story about shap.
shaps £13m sewage works
The old sewage works will be demolished and the area returned to grassland.
shaps lucky escape
13.10 . About 18 miles south of shap over sedbergh three r.a.f aircraft break off in different directions following an exercise in which hawk t1a xx193 of 100 squadron r.a.f leeming was the aggressor aircraft , xx193 headed north following the M6 corridor towards shap . 13.12 .In shap, roadsweeper john lowis looked up to see the jet flying very close to the eastern edge of shap ,nothing strange in low flying planes he thought but this is unusually low, working on a roof on the new parkers croft housing estate keith kelly had just resumed work after dinner and on hearing the jet looked across to the east and immediately recognised the plane as an raf hawk and he too noted how low it was flying (both men were later called as witnessess at the coroners inquest into the crash) At the north end of shap tracy faser is cooking dinner for her young children oblivious to what is about to happen less than twenty yards from her house .13.13 An explosion shook the village and a huge ball of flame and black smoke appeared in the sky above the northern end of the village, a barn adjacent to the unoccupied bleak house which is just a few yards from the west coast mainline railway was completely destroyed by the crash. The most miraculous story was van driver colin murray who was just crossing skew bridge entering shap from the north when his van was enveloped in flames,with the help of keith kelly and his workmates who were first on the scene he fortunately was able to walk away suffering from shock and with just minor burns .Tracey fraser and other terrified local residents run from their houses most unsure of what has just happened ,a scene of devastation awaits them ,tree branches ,rubble and pieces of wreckage from the aircraft litter their gardens and the main A6 road through the village ,a garage across the road has a hole in its concrete wall the size of a fist where a piece of wreckage has gone through ,windows are smashed, the impact such that little of the plane remains . Further south in the village people are asking what was that bang and smoke , john lowis just gets incredulous looks when he tells them a plane has crashed,it just doesn't happen does it ,not here not in shap ,you are joking aren't you? unfortunately he wasn't .
loo'sing all hope
This is the story of eden district councils attempt to close the public toilets at shap and villagers determination to prevent this happening.
A campaign was started by villagers to prevent the closure, led by self styled looman lowis .A petition was started and forms left in the toilets for visitors to sign. The picture to the left shows a sign outside the toilets erected by looman lowis
In late 2003 eden district council undertook a review of all public toilets in the district with a view to closing some toilets and transferring responsibilities for others in an attempt to save money. A scrutiny committee led by councillor fisher ,decided that shap toilets were category 2 ( those which would be offered to local organisations along with a nominal sum of money for upkeep( £800!!) ,it was decided that shap's toilets would be offered to the parish council on the basis that £65,000 would be spent on refurbishment, however as the need to save money and cut costs further, shap's toilets came under a very real threat of closure from eden district council as it was seen as an easier option to close them than spend money on refurbishment.
It was then that a few people led by looman lowis decided to fight for the toilets and in mid 2004 a petition was started to try to save the toilets ,forms were left in the toilets for visitors to sign and the fight began . Over several months visitors signed the petitions left in the toilets by looman lowis and eventually over 11,000 signatures were collected and presented to eden district council in 2005,with people from as far away as the usa and australia putting pen to paper , here are just a few of the 11,000 plus comments - "more than a convenience ,a necessity"-n.johnson ,newcastle, "thank goodness they were here"-kay &colleen kennedy ,iowa u.s.a , "essential facility"-h.green ,bala ,n wales ,most appreciated"-deborah koch-washington u.s.a, "don't close a vital facility"- e.loydall ,sawley ,notts , "very clean and neccessary"-marie pitt,queensland,australia , "vital to walkers "-d.tonge ,bolton, "a tourist who's grateful for public toilets" -m.neilsen ,perth w australia , "public toilets are essential in a civilised society"-s.day,twickenham ,"on c2c,much appreciated & convenient"-vicky austen ,auckland ,nz , "only facilities for miles"-r.totty,southport. As you can see by these comments people from the world over pass through shap, and through the summer months especially, shap is busy with tourists as well as passing motorists, shap is also on the route of wainwrights coast to coast walk and its facilities welcomed by the weary walkers who have just walked over 15 miles to get here,shap is also frequently used as a base by coachloads of walkers who ramble through the local fells and hills .If you are one of the 11,000 + who signed the petition then you deserve a pat on the back ,because thanks to the strength of feeling and support shown ,the toilets have been saved ( for now).
The picture above shows looman lowis with an addition to his sign outside shap toilets,this was after edc admitted they were having second thoughts on the matter
Mr lowis said at the time eden disrict council were full of crap ,but not as full as the streets of shap would be if the toilets were to be closed.
Shap's new toilets .compare this photo with the ones above to see how much smaller the new toilets are.
Work finally began on shap's new toilets on the 7th of July 2008. Although grateful that their toilets have been saved and indeed been refurbished ,local people are annoyed that eden district council ignored local opinion and halved the size of the toilets,from there being 5 cubicles in the ladies now there are two,from three in the gents there is now only one ,eden district council were asked at the time why they were doing this and replied that it was big enough because shap isn't as busy as it used to be!! ( 11,00 signatures + a traffic survey that shows upwards of 20,000 vehicles a week pass through shap !!) .The council also ignored a request from the parish council to face the building with local limestone so that it was in keeping with the surroundings, the result is -over £80,000 spent ,work over running,and a building that looks totally out of place . As some locals have now christened it ""the " wee "wee house"" the emphasis on the wee .It only remains to be seen what happens when the coaches start rolling up and 50 people are wanting to use them at the same time ! "is that it ?"," what have they spent all the money on ?", "there a bit laal aren't they?", "taken em long enough ", "if i'd bought em in a shop i'd tek em back and ask for a refund" are just a few of the comments (the printable ones !!) that have been heard in shap in the last couple of weeks . Rumours in shap that snow white would be opening the new toilets are not true ! locals have been speculating recently that snow white would be opening the new toilets as they are only big enough for seven dwarves,( even that would be pushing it ,just enough room for a couple, i would say) people have also been speculating if one of the dwarves designed the toilets- i'll let you work out which one !!
But at least shap has got a public toilet ,and at long last facilities for the disabled ,and for that we must be grateful, there are a lot of places in the area who are not as fortunate .
November 01 /2008
The recently finished toilets complete with moat!!
march 2009 It is now several months since the opening of the new toilets and problems persist,not only have they been run into by a large vehicle ,but problems with standing water both inside and out continue,as you can see from the above photo ,levels were not correctly sorted before tarmacing and look at the result ,inside the gents toilets two pools of water stand constantly because of design faults with the toilets and urinal.
the 2001 foot and mouth crisis
The first case was discovered on February 19th at cheale meats abbatoir in Essex in 28 pigs.
2 days later the european commission banned all british milk,meat and livestock exports from the uk
A brief timeline of the crisis as it unfolded -
19th February - first case discovered
20-23 Feb - more cases in Essex
21 Feb - eu bans uk exports
23 Feb -outbreak spreads to Northumberland
24 Feb -Devon and Wales affected
26 Feb -Wilts ,Herefordshire ,Tyne and wear affected
27 Feb -Lancashire affected
28 Feb - Leicestershire affected
1 march - foot and mouth hits Cumbria with the slaughter of over 9,000 sheep and cattle near Penrith
Numbers of animals slaughtered in Cumbria, 2001
Cattle Sheep Pigs Goats
March - 71964 283087 31458 158
April - 86128 671618 8837 325
May - 16828 62945 103 40
June - 13200 53449 21 66
July - 8583 62125 14 52
August - 9879 36966 90 24
September - 2200 18439 0 14
October - 324 342 0 0
November - 0 543 0 0
December - 0 1 0 0
Totals - 209,106 1,189,515 40,523 679
By the end of the foot and mouth crisis 6 million animals were dead and the rural areas of britain on the brink of ruin.
The ministry of agriculture,fisheries and food ( MAFF) were accused of incompetence and arrogance in it's mishandling of the whole affair. (a local phrase summed it up -if you have maffed something up in shap then you have made a right mess of it !!)
Brigadier Alex Birtwistle who was in charge of the army's handling of the crisis in Cumbria criticised the government's handling of the affair.
Agriculture minister Nick Brown was criticised
The cost to the farming industry was put at as much as £3bn and the cost to tourism as much as £3bn.
"That outbreak was the worst experienced by Britain since proper records began and involved 2030 cases spread across the country. Some 6 million animals were culled (4.9 million sheep, 0.7 million cattle and 0.4 million pigs), which resulted in losses of some £3.1 billion to agriculture and the food chain. Some £2.5 billion was paid by the Government in compensation for slaughtered animals and payments for disposal and clean up costs. About 4 million of the animals were culled as part of disease control (1.3 million on infected premises, 1.5 million on farms defined as dangerous contacts not contiguous with the infected premises, and 1.2 million on contiguous premises, many of which were also defined as dangerous contacts). The others died under various types of 'welfare cull'. At one stage, it was suggested that in addition to the six million animals mentioned above there could have been up to 4 million further young animals killed 'at foot' (i.e. slaughtered but not counted). Defra believe that these estimates of additional 'at foot' animals are, however, likely to be high, because at least some of these young animals were included in their original figures. The foot-and-mouth outbreak had serious consequences upon tourism-in both city and country-and other rural industries." (The Royal Society - Infectious Diseases in Livestock, 2002.)
the following poem was written during the foot and mouth crisis of 2001,and might give you an insight into what it was like living amongst it .
A LAKELAND LAMENT
A shepherd stands ,crook in hand,
gazing down ,on windswept land ,
a furrowed brow ,on weathered face ,
contemplates, this national disgrace.
the fields are hushed, and empty now,
no bleat of sheep, or bellow of cow ,
no lambs crying out ,for their attentive mothers ,
or frolicking in meadows ,with sisters and brothers.
The shepherds gaze, turns to the village below,
down in the valley ,almost hidden from show,
the pubs lie empty ,for money is tight ,
hotels too ,not a tourist in sight;
,the shops tick over ,for people must eat ,
and on the street corners ,old farmers still meet ,
the talk is the same ,of times past ,
and how much longer, farming can last.
A lifetimes work ,of blood sweat and tears ,
gone in an instant,left with just fears ,
what happens now ? the futures uncertain,
for many its surely ,the final curtain,
farms handed down, from father to son ,
not any more ,the farms are all gone,
can't diversify ,on barren fell ,
where grass does grow,but not very well,
not here your crops ,of veg and wheat,
where the summer sun ,gives little heat,
and winters grip ,is like a vice,
two foot thick snow ,coated with ice,
the land recovers ,in time for spring,
but what kind of respite ,does that bring,
the land untended ,grows wild and free ,
a mass of heather,shrub, bush and tree,
and what of the walkers, with no footpaths to tread?
they have gone too ,now the countrysides dead .
j.lowis june 2001
Shap farms are highlighted in red.