News items 2012 to 2018

Mince pies & mulled wine
On Monday 3rd December at 7.30pm we will be having a Christmas get together masquerading as a meeting. Items on the agenda include consumption of mince pies and consumption of mulled wine.

The minutes of the October meeting, which did include some genuine business, are available for your infotainment here. The November meeting was cancelled due to the chair’s inability to stop coughing.

Fair result, art result, next meeting
Despite it being the coldest day in recent memory, last weekend’s Summer Fair drew in the crowds, and in the process of feeding and entertaining them we raised an excellent £850 for Triangle funds.

Many thanks to everyone who helped set up and take down, ran stalls, nurtured plants and cake, donated books and tombola prizes, or simply turned up and enjoyed themselves. It wouldn’t happen without you.

Casting our minds back a few weeks, our latest art exhibition was also a great success, and the artists have donated a very welcome £320 to Triangle funds from the proceeds. They are keen to come back with a new show in two year’s time.

All this money won’t spend itself, so we will be having a meeting this Monday 11th June at 7.30pm to discuss priorities and plan a gentle summer work programme. The minutes of the last meeting date back to a time when rain was a thing, and are looking very pale here.

Summer Fair plans
The weather was very kind to our art exhibitors last weekend, and they seemed pleased with how things went. If you didn’t manage to get down for a look, there are some photos on the Gallery, here.

Our next event is our Summer Fair which will be held on Saturday June 2nd, from 12 noon until 4pm. This will feature the classics in the form of the Triangle BBQ, cakes & drinks, children’s games, tombola, plant stall, books/DVDs/games stall, and live acoustic music. Canal arts & crafts will be making a welcome return, and new for this year will be ice-cream!

As usual, we need some help to deliver all this merriment, and we are particularly looking for some volunteers to help on the day with the plant stall and children’s games, as the usual suspects unfortunately have to be elsewhere.

We are also looking for donations of suitable items/unwanted gifts for the tombola, surplus vegetation for the plant stall, pre-enjoyed media for the books/DVDs/games stall, and home-crafted loveliness for the cake stall.

It is helpful (but not essential) to have tombola items and plants in advance, and books etc can also be accommodated if necessary, so please contact Dave (see Contact page) if you have something to pledge, and you will be put through to the correct person.

We will be setting up on the day from 9ish, and packing up at the end, so if you are a gazebo wizard or just enjoy carrying things, please feel free to turn up and join in.

A visit from Mr Fox!
This coming bank holiday weekend we are hosting our second pop-up art exhibition, open 10am til 4pm, Saturday 5th to Monday 7th May. The show is by Emma Grover and John Lambert, who make quirky, original and affordable artwork in a range of media including print, paint, mixed media and photography.
Flying Mr Fox artwork
Emma and John live locally and have been making and exhibiting work for the last 30 years. They teach Art and Design at Lancaster & Morecambe College. Their work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and have won various awards and prizes. Most recently Emma exhibited in the Ulverston ‘Printfest’ and the Sheffield and Manchester Print Fairs. Both artists were selected last year for the Biennial International Mini Print Exhibition (BIMPE X) in Vancouver, Canada where John received an honourable mention for his prints.

John has produced a new series of images, made specifically for this exhibition. This work documents the debris and rubbish washed up on the estuary. Bottles and other discarded objects are transformed into beautiful images that contrast with the true cost of this environmental issue. Alongside this he will be showing a series of mixed media images full of colour that mix photographic imagery and gestural mark-making.

Emma’s images are populated by characters such as Flying Mr Fox, Goose Girl and Helicopter Man who exist in an absurd world of the imagination where strange creatures go about their daily business. The playfulness of the imagery is underpinned by highly refined use of a range of printmaking process, including etching, screenprint, lino and monoprint.

The artists are donating 20% of the proceeds to the Triangle coffers, so do come along, and tell your neighbours, friends, social media chums etc.

Snowdrops, diary dates, next meeting
The first results of our bulb planting session in the autumn are now showing, with a handful of snowdrops in bloom around the birch and the rowan. Hopefully there will be more to come as spring does its thing.

Some dates for your diary over the next six months:

Thu 22nd Feb at 7pm – Fairfield Association (inc Triangle) Volunteers Buffet
An informal gathering held at The Storey for volunteers of all kinds, from cake bakers to raised bed builders. Cost is £10 per person but the food is excellent. Contact us before Feb 15th to book your place.

Sat 5th May to Mon 7th May – Art at the Triangle
The second art exhibition in the workshop. More details nearer the time.

Sat 2nd June – Triangle Summer Fair
BBQ, cake, plants, tombola, games, music, and more!

Our next meeting is this Monday 5th Feb at 7.30pm. The brief minutes of the last meeting / Christmas gathering are here. The mince pie consumption tallies have been redacted to prevent embarrassment to the Chair.

We will have a volunteer session when it warms up a bit.

Mince pies!
We will be having a meeting/festive gathering this Monday 18th December at 7.30pm. We need to talk about about options for replacement doors and when to fit in next year’s fair, but we will aim to move on to the consumption of mince pies in reasonably short order. The minutes of the last meeting are ho-ho-holed up here.
This year we pretty much finished off what we set out to do five years or so ago, and while there is still work to do (most notably on the buttress shelf and the pergola framework), the focus is moving more towards maintenance of the landscaping, finding regular uses for the workshop, and enjoying what we have produced.
Thank you for helping us get there!

Break-in & next meeting
Last week the workshop was broken into via the big doors, and the generator was stolen. Duncan helped provide an emergency repair and Paul the joiner has since installed a robust temporary repair.
Needless to say, security needs to be reviewed and we will be doing this at our next meeting, which is on Monday 20th November at the later than usual time of 8pm as the Chair has an earlier meeting to go to.
The minutes of the last meeting are languishing here.

Bulb planting
This Sunday 15th October starting at 2pm we will be having a bulb and rhizome* planting session. *Rhizomes look like little bits of twig but work on the same principle as bulbs: shove ’em under the ground at the specified depth and in the spring a flower appears. Magic!

Next session & a Light Up Lancaster opportunity
We will be having a volunteer session this Sunday 8th October at 2pm. Tasks will include planting the remaining three mushrooms, replacing the pond with a more suitable water container, filling in holes in the workshop, and a bit more gardening work.
And now the opportunity:
This year’s Light Up Lancaster community production involves a light and sound artist called Dan Fox who is creating an installation in Dallas Rd Gardens. He has been recording some voices and so far has children from Dallas Rd Primary and the Girls Grammar, but is also looking for some adult voices.
Dan would like to record people talking about the local area, what they love about it, the nature, green spaces and wildlife locally. He has a list of questions to get you going. Your voices and comments would then become a part of the installation on the 3rd and 4th of November this year.
Dan is proposing to hold a drop-in session in the Triangle workshop next Wednesday 11th October between 3.30pm and 5.00pm. He would be hoping to record 3-5 people during this session. If you are willing and available could you please as soon as possible so that I can confirm back to him that it is worth coming.

Art at the Triangle
blackout poster
Over the past couple of weeks we have had a few visits from the decorating elves, who have been busy preparing the workshop for our first pop-up art gallery event, to be held at the start of September.
This Wednesday 2nd August at 10.00am we will be having a volunteer session where we will continue to clear and tidy the workshop, and make a start on fixing timber battens to the wall for hanging tools and, occasionally, artwork.
In the meantime, please admire the flyer for the exhibition (click to enlarge), and below that see an invitation from the Dukes to release your inner Thespian as part of a community show about the Storm Desmond flooding. If the latter is of interest contact Alex Summers at asummers at

Sunday session & Monday meeting
We will be having a volunteer session this Sunday 16th July starting at 2pm.
The main task will be preparing the inside of the workshop for a paint job, including getting stuff out of the way wherever possible; removing dirt, cobwebs, loose paint, redundant fixings, etc; filling holes and cracks; and applying stain block over the existing ‘artwork’. There’s a lot to go at, so we’ll have to see how we get on.
Also available, for those that prefer the outdoors, will be hacking back some of the rampant vegetation, pulling weeds out of paths, and general tidying.
The plan was to have a break from meetings over the holiday period, but a few things have come up that mean we could really do with a midsummer meeting, and this will be held on Monday 17th July at 7.30pm.
You may wish to look at a possible design for converting the boat into a bench, which can be found here. Also on the agenda will be anti-social behaviour, a pop-up art event, and the use of the Triangle as a pit-stop for a charity walk.

Sunday sort out
The forecast looks OK, so this Sunday 11th June at 2pm we will have a session that will focus on tidying up and clearing out the workshop. Some of the things in there require bright ideas for how to use them on the Triangle, other items can very much go on the freegle list. We have a tentative new plan for turning the boat into additional seating. The mushrooms might well turn into a fairy ring.

Fair result, an award, next meeting
Once again our Spring Fair was a great success. Many thanks to everyone who prepared, leafleted, helped set-up, donated, cooked, served, entertained, tidied up, showed up, and had fun. Even the rain couldn’t stop us.
The final result is in, and we made an excellent £730.45 to add to Triangle funds. To re-live the moment, or see what you missed, have a look at the photo gallery here.
And now a Special Announcement:

The Fairfield Association has been awarded The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service 2017. This award was created by The Queen in 2002 to mark the occasion of her Golden Jubilee, recognising excellence in voluntary activities carried out by groups in the community. It is the MBE for volunteer groups.

This is an award for all of us as volunteers. It recognises our achievements as a grassroots community in creating more than 50 acres of green space for people to enjoy. This is a great honour and a wonderful way to mark 21 years as a volunteering community.

The Triangle project has only been going for about five years but we are very much part of the Fairfield Association and were very much part of the evidence submission for this award so give yourself a regal pat on the back.

One week to go
We have one week to go until our Spring Fair on Saturday 27th May. A reminder that Gillian is looking for donations for our tombola stall, and it would be a great help to have these in advance if possible. If you can offer something, or if you are not sure whether something is suitable, please contact us and we’ll get back to you.
In the meantime we will be having a final pre-fair tidy up session this Sunday 21st May starting at 2pm. A priority task is to relocate the pile of cobbles to a more discreet location, and we will also be trying to make a bit of space in the workshop, and finishing off some other bits and pieces.
Our water butts are connected and almost full, and the inevitable leaks plugged..

Session, Meeting, Spring Fair
We will be having a volunteer session this Sunday 7th May at 1pm. If we can get hold of the wacker we will be doing some final work to the paths (which now run all the way from one entrance to the other!), with the other priority being to get the water butts plumbed in and complete the irrigation supply pipework.
There is also some work to do at the main entrance to assist Bob with plans to cobble up the gap in the setts, and general tidying in preparation for our Spring Fair event.
We have a meeting on Monday 8th May at 7.30pm. This will mostly be about final planning for the Spring Fair.
In case you hadn’t noticed, we will be having a Spring Fair on Saturday 27th May, which will double up as a celebration of the completion of our Tesco Bags of Help funded project, which has paid for the raised beds, plants, paths, railings, compost bins, water butts, pointing to the top of the wall, and some other bits and pieces that have together made a huge difference to the Triangle.
On offer at the Fair we will have the renowned Triangle cake & drinks stall, the delicious Triangle BBQ, the verdant Triangle plant stall, the captivating Triangle children’s games, the tempting Triangle tombola and a special guest canal art activity, all accompanied by sustained bursts of melody from our visiting musicians.
As always we will be welcoming donations of cakes and savouries for the cake stall; plants for the plants stall; and fancy goods, unloved gifts, or surplus comestibles for the tombola. Baked goods should be brought on the day, but we can make arrangements to receive other items in advance.

Sunday session
A brief note to say that we will have a session this Sunday 23rd April commencing at 1pm, but latecomers are always welcome. It’s looking likely that we will have a second batch of herbs to plant in the beds, and we will of course also be doing more path work, and possibly plumbing in the water butts.

Easter Monday
We will be having a short session starting at 10.00am in the morning on Easter Monday. The main priority is to plant out some wild primroses, but there will also be path digging available, irrigation pipework, and general tidying.
Later on in the afternoon, starting at 2pm (I think), it is the Easter Egg Hunt at Fairfield Orchard. If you are minded to work off the chocolate, setting up is from 12 noon, and there will be packing away to do afterwards at 4pm.

A session, a meeting, a celebration!
In recognition of the hard graft put in last weekend, we will have a shorter session this Sunday 2nd April, starting at 2pm. Priorities will be fixing the last of the quarter barrels to the workshop wall, planting up some of the barrels, and working on getting the water butts plumbed in. Digging for paths will also be very much available as a task, but we won’t be laying any this weekend as we won’t have the wacker.
We have a meeting on Monday 3rd April at 7.30pm.One item on the agenda is…
To celebrate the (imminent) completion of our Tesco Bags of Help funded project, we will be holding a Spring Fair on Saturday 27th May. This will feature the usual assortment of cake, drinks, barbecue, games, stalls, music, merriment, and cake. We think we can still fit everything in. Put the date in your diary now, and look out for more information.

A sunny weekend
The forecast for the weekend is looking pretty fab compared to the weather’s recent efforts, giving us an excellent opportunity to bring our Tesco Bags of Help funded project close to completion.
We will have a volunteer session this Saturday 25th March starting at 10.00am and possibly extending into the afternoon (with some form of lunch provided) if there is the will. There are a variety of jobs to do – not just digging – so we can try to pace ourselves.
For those who can’t do Saturday, or are extra keen, I’m proposing also to be around for a session on Sunday 26th March starting at 1.00pm.
As always, it would be useful to know who can come along and when. It is very acceptable to drop in and out to suit your energy levels and other commitments.

Next session
Ric is available to bring a wacker again on Wednesday (15th March), so we will be having a session in the afternoon starting at 1pm. This will mostly involve digging turves and laying paths, although there is also a bit of work to do to protect the buried irrigation supply pipework.

Two volunteering opportunities & a meeting
Stone for the paths is due to arrive tomorrow (Thursday), and we need to get on with laying it. Ric Caunce, who helped us start the raised beds and is going to help us get going on the paths, can’t do weekends, but is available this Friday afternoon.
So… with apologies for the short notice, there will be a session this Friday 3rd March commencing at 1pm to do some digging and laying of paths, so that we know what we are doing when we have our next weekend session.
Our next weekend session will be this weekend on Sunday 5th March, again commencing at 1pm, when we will continue digging and laying paths, subject to the current weather forecast being reasonably accurate.
Our next meeting is on Monday 6th March at 7.30pm. The new railings are due to be installed imminently.

Next session
Our next volunteer session will be this Sunday 20th February starting at 1pm. The priority tasks are shifting some more topsoil to top up the raised beds, transporting some oak tubs and bags of strulch from my house to site, planting two vines, more digging for new paths, and continuing the irrigation link pipework. It is also time to think about pruning the buddleia.

An auction, a session, and a meeting
You may have noticed that an auction board has been erected on the Triangle. Don’t panic! The Canal & River Trust who own the land want to sell it as a ‘ground rent investment opportunity’. This means that any new buyer would receive the rent that our landlord, Lancaster City Council, currently pay the Canal & River Trust to lease the site. This should have no effect on our sub-lease of the site, which doesn’t expire until 2043, and is registered with the Land Registry. The City Council’s lease doesn’t expire until 2070.
The guide price for the Triangle is £70,000, which is a lot of money for less than 1/3 of an acre. It is based on an approx 5% annual return on investment at the current level of rent that the City Council pays. The Fairfield Association were offered the opportunity to directly purchase the land at this price a few months ago, but resolved that even if we could raise the money, it would not represent good value to pay £70,000 for a site that we already occupy until 2043 for £1/year (prepaid in full).
If you have any questions about this please contact me and I will do my best to answer them.
In other news, weather permitting we will have a volunteer session this Sunday 5th February at 1pm. We will continue to progress water butt installation and irrigation pipework, and do some digging for paths, with the possibility of some more planting, workshop tidying, and very final touches to the compost bins.
On Monday 6th February at 7.30 we have a meeting.

Happy new year!
This time last year we had just submitted a bid to Tesco Bags of Help for £8000 for paths and raised beds, and were crossing our fingers for a good result. This time this year we have built our raised beds, installed compost bins, finished pointing the towpath wall, and have until the end of March to finish spending the £10,000 we were awarded.
So… this Sunday 22nd January at 1pm we will be getting on with it! Jobs will probably include: fixing the compost bins lid to the wall, getting water butts into position in the workshop, planting some fruit bushes, and marking out for paths.
Some of you may have noticed that the website disappeared over Christmas and Triangle email addresses weren’t working. This was due to a short notice requirement to move to another web server, which resulted in a transfer that went a bit wrong. We are now back up and running, however, with no further problems anticipated.

Last session of the year
We just have time to fit in one last session this year, which will be this Sunday 18th December at 1pm. We will continue work on compost bin and water butt installations, and there will also be some leaves to rake up.
Many thanks for your involvement this year, enjoy the break, and best wishes for the new year to come. There won’t be a January meeting, but weather permitting we’ll be aiming to get some initial planting done sooner rather than later, so watch this space.

Next session & meeting
We will have a session this Sunday 4th December commencing at 1pm, when we will work on getting the compost bins and water butts installed.
Our next meeting is on Monday 5th December at 7.30pm.

The big soil shift
The forecast is looking hopeful, and quite a few of us seem to be available this Friday 25th November, so we will carpe that diem and get on with it. The soil will be arriving at or before 8am, after which I propose to have some breakfast, so I suggest that we commence no earlier that 9am, and indeed feel free to turn up at a time you consider to be civilised. If you have a barrow and/or a shovel please bring it/them with you as we will need plenty.
Assuming that we’re not all done by lunchtime, we will provide the chip shop with some much needed business (in times of roadworks) on the Triangle account, to keep ourselves fuelled.

Topsoil alert!
The topsoil for the beds is on order and will be arriving early next Friday 25th November. There will be about 7 tonnes of it to shift from bulk bags near the entrance into the raised beds. We will achieve this feat on Friday 25th, Saturday 26th, or Sunday 27th (or over more than one day) depending on the weather, but with a preference for doing it sooner rather than later. If you would only be able to help on a particular day that would be useful to know.
Before we start we need to install a geotextile separation layer over the rubble fill, and the plan was to cover this with our readily available supply of fallen leaves. With apologies to those intending to do full justice to Liz’s party, we could have a short session commencing at 11am on Sunday morning to ensure that at least one bed is ready for immediate filling when the time comes.

Next volunteer session + LUL gallery
We will be having a volunteer session this Sunday 13th November starting at 1pm. The priority tasks are finishing the top layer of the square raised bed and bedding the pond liner in, and fixing the final crosspieces and galvanised steel mesh on to the arches. As well as that there is some post-LUL rejigging to do in the workshop, and further preparations for installing the compost bins and water butts.
Following this we should be ready to order the topsoil for the beds, which means that sometime soonish we will need to have a chain gang session to shift several tonnes of soil from one end of the Triangle to the other. This will give you a good excuse to have extra helpings of Christmas pudding when the time comes, so actually we are doing you a favour.
For anyone that missed Light Up Lancaster at the Triangle, or would like to re-enjoy it somewhere warmer, there is now a gallery of photos on the website here.

A few things…
First up, a volunteer session this Sunday 30th October, at the usual time of 2pm. Top priority for this session is a serious tidy up of the workshop in readiness for Light Up Lancaster. There is potential to achieve some of this by doing some other works (e.g. top layer of the square bed, final pergola bits). As the boat has a performing role in LUL we should also check how awkward it is to get it in position now that the raised beds are in place.
For Light Up Lancaster itself, we will almost certainly need to offer some assistance with setting up on the Friday, as a minimum by putting the temporary roof on in the morning, and possibly also with shifting the boat around. Please contact us if you can be available to help, and we’ll coordinate a time when we have firm plans from the Dukes technicians.
The Dukes would like us to provide a Friends of the Triangle presence on both evenings while the event is running (i.e. Friday 5pm – 9pm, Saturday 5pm – 7.30pm) to talk to visitors if they want to know more about the history of the Triangle and the transformation project. If you’d like to fill a slot or two on a rota for this, please contact us with your availability.
Otherwise, please come along and enjoy the spectacle!
Following the festivities, our next meeting is on Monday 7th November at 7.30pm. We will mostly be talking about plans for completing the Tesco Bags of Help funded work, including soiling and planting the beds, and installing paths.

This Sunday’s session
Last Sunday we removed some graffiti, erected an arch (mostly thanks to a superb effort from Matt), shifted a few tonnes of rubble, got most of the way to getting the raised beds ready for soil, and levelled up areas of the site in readiness for Light Up Lancaster.
This Sunday 16th October we need to get the second arch up, finish the rubble layer in the beds, and shift as much of the remaining rubble in the cobbled area as we can into appropriate areas of the site, for which Frances has a cunning plan.
We will have an afternoon-only session but start at the earlier than normal time of 1pm and hopefully we will be finished or thereabouts by our usual knocking-off time.
Work has now started on finishing the pointing of the altered sections of the towpath boundary wall in lime mortar, and is looking good.

A sesh, a talk, an event!
First up, this Sunday 9th October we will be having a long volunteer session starting at 10am and continuing til 4ish. Lunch will be provided at a suitable midway point. The plan is to finish filling the bottom of the beds with rubble, fill the remaining low areas with similar, erect the timber arches, get the pond in place and finish the small bed, and remove the graffiti from the owl. A skip full of graded rubble will arrive on Saturday morning.
Secondly, the talk: Jane and Mike are doing a presentation for the Marsh History Group on the history of the Triangle on Thursday 20th October at 2pm at the St Thomas More Centre on St Thomas More Walk, off Willow Lane. All are welcome.
Finally, as many of you will already know, on the 4th and 5th of November the Triangle is hosting a Light Up Lancaster event in association with The Dukes Centre for Creative Learning, Global Link, Dallas Road School and Dallas Road Boys’ & Girls’ Club. Two local artists are creating a large lit sculpture on the canal based on a series of workshops with schoolchildren. The Triangle will feature a backlit window display in the workshop, music, the boat, and various other items of interest. The event is running 5pm – 9pm on the Friday and 5pm – 7.30pm on the Saturday. If you weren’t at our last meeting but would like to be involved in some way please let me know.

This week’s session
This Sunday 18th September at 2pm it’s our scheduled 3rd Sunday of the month volunteer session. We crossed one and a half items off the list last week, and the missing timber for the arches has now arrived, so there is plenty to go at.
In other news, there will be an opportunity to admire a working raised bed in a local garden on Wednesday 21st September at 5pm. Places are limited so please contact us if you would like to come along.

Come and help us make our beds!
We made excellent progress with raised bed construction today, and all four beds have at least two layers in place. We will have a rain-soaked day of rest on Saturday, and reconvene on Sunday morning at 10.00am (or whenever you are ready) to finish the job. A plan for lunch is being cooked up as I write.
A brief reminder also that our next meeting is on Monday 5th September at 7.30pm.

Good news and… suboptimal news
The good news is that our friendly contractor Ric has been to do some concrete cutting and breaking ready for the raised bed construction, and that the sleepers are definitely coming in time for next Friday’s session.
The suboptimal news is that contrary to their original suggestion that they would arrange delivery to suit us, the sleeper supplier is now saying that they are coming on Tuesday or we wait two to three weeks for the next wagon heading our way which also won’t be on a day of our choosing. And no we can’t pay extra to have them on Friday instead.
So the sleepers are coming on Tuesday, about mid day they reckon. We probably don’t want to leave them on pallets by the side of the road for three days, so I’m afraid that we are going to need to shift them.
On Tuesday afternoon (and evening if necessary) we will therefore be having a free outdoor gym session to transport 160 sleepers part of the way to their final resting place. Please come along if you can, and if you are willing to be door knocked or phoned with a summons once they have arrived please let me know.

Late summer fun programme
We are in for a busy few weeks, but hopefully by the end of them the Triangle will be looking noticeably different, and we will be well on our way to delivering our Tesco Bags of Help funded works.
This Sunday 21st August we will be shoehorning a scheduled third Sunday of the month volunteer session in between all the unscheduled ones. Sadly the weather doesn’t seem to have received the message about these but there is still some hope of seeing the sun this time, and potential for some work inside the workshop if necessary.
On Friday 2nd September starting bright and early (or as early as you can make it) we will be having a special full day session where we will be constructing raised beds, with expert assistance from a local contractor who has done it before.
The sleepers are on order and the ideal scenario is that they will arrive first thing that morning so that we only have to shift most of them once. This will be an ‘all hands on deck’ operation so please come if you can, and wear boots with steel toecaps if you have them. If it rains, we will have to get wet, but we’ll aim to get the temporary roof up on the timber structure for shelter. Lunch will be provided.
It is likely that we will then select either the Saturday or Sunday of the same weekend to carry on with the job, and give those who can’t make it on Friday a chance to lift heavy sleepers around. It would be really useful to know who can and can’t make it on the Friday or the weekend as it is fairly critical that we have enough person power available to shift the sleepers.
Our next meeting falls on Monday 5th September, and the plan will be to keep it brief.

Volunteer Session Sunday 19th June
A reminder that there is a volunteer session this Sunday – 19th June at 2pm.
The potential list of jobs:
  • Upgrade tree protection
  • See how boat looks in proposed position
  • Filling gaps in the setts near the entrance
  • Trial holes in areas of new paths, raised beds, and boat
  • Remove remaining ivy on corner of back wall
  • Locate and seal former toilet waste
  • Think about putting the mushrooms in the ground
It looks like a busy day so here’s hoping for good weather.

Fair Debrief, Volunteer Session, Next Meeting
What a lovely day we had last Saturday! The rather regrettable mix up with the weather order the week before barely ruffled our stride, and our delayed fair raised a phenomenal £756! Huge thanks to the core Triangle team who are getting very slick at running these events, and to everyone who brought cake / books / toys / raffle prizes / plants / instruments / themselves / etc and contributed to the fun.
To celebrate our success we will be having a short volunteer session on Saturday morning (4th June) at 10.00am to relocate the much reduced pile of walling stone to somewhere more tidy, and remove undesirable elements (e.g. brick and broken slate) to a skip on Regent Street. Rumour has it that the housing across the canal is going to be completed, and they’ll probably want their temporary fencing back.
We are due a meeting on Monday 6th June, at 7.30pm. We haven’t done one al fresco for a while, so assuming the weather is still on side we will meet on site at the Triangle.

Spring Fair is Go!
A quick reminder (as if you needed it) that the delayed 12.00 – 4.00pm BBQ & Cake service at Aldcliffe Road Triangle is confirmed for this Saturday 28th May. Friends of the Triangle would like to apologise for the delay to this service which is running approximately 10,080 minutes late.
We will be setting up from 9am and person power will be required to erect the marquee and gazebos, shift the boat, arrange tables and chairs etcetera, so please come and join us for an early shift if you can. As usual we will be taking donations of books, raffle prizes, and cake from late morning, by which time we will hopefully have somewhere to put them.
Most importantly, come and join the merriment!

Funding news, fair warning, and volunteer session
First up… fantastic news! We came second in the Tesco Bags of Help vote which means £10,000 will be coming our way at some point soonish. This will pay for paths, raised beds, soil and plants, plus £2000 worth of something else yet to be agreed. That should keep us busy over the summer.
Also coming up is our Spring Fair, which will be held on Saturday 21st May, and will feature the usual mix of cake, burgers, music, books, info, games, and cake. Please put the date in your calendar now, and we’ll issue some more details and pleas for help nearer the time.
In the meantime we will have a volunteer session this Sunday 20th March at 2pm, where among other tasks we will be measuring up for a potential boat.
The next meeting is on Monday 4th April at 7.30pm.

Bags of news
There is a volunteer session at the Triangle this Sunday (21st February 2016) weather permitting. If the weather is too dreadful we will retire somewhere dry to discuss the news below.
Tesco has teamed up with Groundwork to launch its Bags of Help initiative across England and Wales. The scheme will see three community groups and projects awarded grants of £12,000, £10,000 and £8,000 – all raised from the 5p bag charge. Bags of Help offers community groups and projects in each of Tesco’s 390 regions across the UK a share of revenue generated from the five pence charge levied on single-use carrier bags. The public will now vote in store from 27 February until 6 March on who should receive the £12,000, £10,000 and £8,000 awards.
We put in a bid for the Triangle, which was successful! We are intending to use the money for raised beds, liners, several tonnes of topsoil, trees and plants, steps and paths. Members of the public are asked to vote for us in the Tesco local store in King Street from Saturday 27 February to Sunday 6 March.

New Year’s Meeting
Happy New Year Trianglers!
Following the stymying of our last meeting by a prolonged power cut, we will be having another attempt on Monday 11th January at 7.30pm.
If it ever stops raining for long enough we will also have a volunteer session, provisionally on Sunday 10th January at 2pm.

Next meeting
This is somewhat late confirmation that we will be having a meeting this Monday 7th December at 7.30pm.

Next Volunteer Session
Just a brief note to say that we will be having a volunteer session this Sunday 1st November at 2pm. On the to-do list will be general tidying up, deconstructing the remaining pile of wood chippings, and attempting to mark out the position of potential raised beds.

Time for a catch-up
We have had a short pause in activity for a variety of reasons, but now it is time to catch up, and we will be having a meeting this Monday 19th October, at the usual time of 7.30.
Recent(ish) events of note include the long-awaited installation of our rustic bench recycled from the main stem of the goat willow, and the violent removal of a window pane from the workshop – not by us of course, and presumably to facilitate a break-in, although nothing appeared to have been taken.

This last week we have been visited by a camper, but hopefully between the City Council’s homeless prevention team and the police, they will shortly be found alternative accommodation.

Bench ahoy!
We will have our next volunteer session this Sunday 6th September at 2.00pm with the chief aim of installing the carved goat willow bench into its selected resting place. If that isn’t enough to keep all of us warm, we could also work on bashing up some inconveniently located concrete.

Our normal schedule says that we are due a meeting on Monday, but there appears to be a lack of business and things to report on since the last one, so we will postpone it for now, and catch up at the volunteer session instead.

Next volunteer session
We will be having a volunteer session this Sunday 9th August in the usual 2pm slot, when there will allegedly be a break in the rain. Tasks will include the final application of woodcare product to the bench, further dissuasion of stumps in inappropriate places, relocating the concrete wheel (subject to presence of musclebound volunteers), and whatever else we come up with on the day.

Summer Fair: The Result
Two weeks ago we raised an astonishing £888.51, nearly double our previous best! We attracted more people than ever before on yet another beautiful (if slightly breezy) day, and it is clear that our efforts to improve the Triangle are really getting noticed.

A lot of work went into this fantastic achievement, and we owe huge thanks to our fabulous volunteers who cleared & tidied, lifted & hefted, rigged & de-rigged, baked & barbecued, sliced & served, brewed & poured, raffled & vended, designed & printed, played & trilled, entertained & supervised, and did various other things that aren’t so easy to describe in mini couplets.

Many thanks also to the Mayor, Cllr Jon Barry, for judging our slate chalking competition and drawing the raffle; Rolande Chainsaw Carver for donating the carved owl for our star prize; Jon and Heather from the RSPB for providing some additional children’s activities; and Paul from Lancaster Building Contractors for clearing site just in time for the big event.

Special thanks to the Tordoffs, descendants of Joe Johnson, for visiting us again to see the Triangle in full swing, and extra special thanks to Geoffrey (Lord) Tordoff and also to his sister Barbara, for very generous donations, not included in the figure above.

A set of photos from the day are now available here. Thanks as always to Mike for ensuring that our activities are recorded for posterity.

As we have now had a whole two weeks of rest, it is time to look ahead to future activities. Next Sunday 26th July at 2pm we’ll have a catch-up meeting at the Triangle which may or may not morph into a volunteer session, depending on how much we need to talk about.

More Preparations
Whilst we managed to shift about 4 tonnes of rubble last weekend, we didn’t get on to clearing the workshop, which is essential for the Summer Fair, so there will be another session this Saturday 27th at 10.00am with workshop clearing as the top priority.

Summer Fair & Other News
Our Summer Fair will be happening a week on Saturday on the 4th of July, so it is time both to preview the fun, and to ask for a little assistance in generating it.

From 12 noon until about 4pm there will be the traditional Triangle barbecue including veggie and halal beef burgers; teas, coffees and cold drinks; cakes and savouries; children’s games; a bring & buy book and DVD stall; a raffle; Triangle project information and history display; live music performances; and general conviviality.

To achieve all this we are looking for…
help with:
  • setting up from circa 9.30am and clearing up afterwards
  • running games, cake and book stalls, selling raffle tickets
loans of:
  • Garden tables (but probably not chairs – we have plenty in the workshop)
  • Bins and/or recycling boxes for rubbish and recycling
donations of:
  • Cakes and savouries (bring on the day)
  • Books and DVDs (bring on the day, or deliver in advance, early evening any day between now and the fair)
help with:
  • setting up from circa 9.30am and clearing up afterwards
  • running games, cake and book stalls, selling raffle tickets
  • Raffle prizes e.g. unwanted Christmas presents (deliver in advance, as above)
Please contact us if you have any questions.

In other news:
  • Anyone that has passed the Triangle recently will have noticed that the walling work is progressing nicely with the main length of towpath wall now repaired and reduced in height, a historic opening re-formed near the owl, and another historic opening re-opened to form an additional entrance near the bridge end. The waller is going to have a break for a week, and then do some work to reduce the height of the section next to the bridge that used to be the lean-to wall. The length that has been done has yet to be properly pointed, and it may be that we will have to find the money to get this done.
  • A couple of weeks ago we were visited by three generations of descendants of Joe Johnson (who used the Triangle as his builder’s yard at the end of the 19th century and well into the 20th) and Anne Fox (who lived in the building with the curved external stair just over the canal bridge). They married, and the rest is history that will be appearing on a display at the Summer Fair and is already on our website, along with new photos of the Triangle in times past kindly provided by their great-grandchildren. We are very grateful that the family assembled from various parts of the North-West and Yorkshire to meet us.
There will almost certainly be another tidy-up session before the Summer Fair, so watch out for further announcements, but that is all for now.

Summer Fair Appetiser
Details of the menu for our Summer Fair will be issued very soon, but in the meantime we can announce a little appetiser event to amuse your bouches:

Sunday 21st June at 2pm

Soup of the Day: ‘Chunky Rubble & Woodcare Product’
– served with an empty skip and timber substrate.

(Please be aware that those volunteering for this starter are also likely to experience some clearance of the workshop, or in rare cases difficulty removing stumps).


Whilst the sun shines
The sun is due to shine, so this weekend we will be making hay, or rather more literally: hanging out at the Triangle for a couple of hours clearing, tidying, and gunking. There may also be some plotting and scheming regarding the siting of a bench and some mushrooms. Assembly time is 2pm on Sunday 7th.

More work & a meeting
The Summer Fair is creeping ever closer, and there is plenty of work to do in readiness, so we will be having a volunteer session this Saturday 30th May commencing at 10.00am. Tasks will include applying more gunk to carved tree bits, attacking sprouting stumps in the hope that they will decease, removing extraneous materials from the workshop, and green binning the remaining piles of rakings.

The next meeting is on the evening of Monday 1st June, either inside or just outside the Triangle workshop depending on the weather, and will focus on cobbling together some sort of plan for Saturday 4th July.

Following last meeting’s debacle of the Chair having to be reminded to attend, it is unfortunate to have to report that this time the Chair has a partially clashing mandatory training session, and the Secretary will be on holiday. We will therefore be starting at the later time of 8.00pm, and crossing our fingers that a stand-in secretary will turn up to record our assembled wisdom.

Another volunteer session
A brief note to say that there will be a volunteer session this Saturday 16th May, commencing at 10am, with the priority being the application of non-toxic wood preserving substances to our stump carvings, rustic bench, and newly arrived mushrooms. The substances should be arriving tomorrow, but we will need brushes and suitable decanting vessels to allow multiple items to be treated simultaneously. Other tasks may be available. See you there!

Next volunteer session
On Monday there should be a break in the bank holiday rain, so we will have another volunteer session, commencing at 10.00am. The primary aim will be to get the last bollard in the ground, but there are various other jobs that need doing including more ivy work, tidying, and preparing the fascia boards of the future pergola for a coat of paint.

There will also be the opportunity to admire not just the carved owl throne, kingfisher, and the ongoing repair works to the boundary wall, but also the beautiful rustic bench that Rolande delivered last week, which is hiding in the workshop. We need to have a think about where to site the bench, and prepare it for being concreted in.

See you there!

Next volunteer session
We have two more bollards to install, two small piles of ivy to get rid of, and two piles of wood to process, so we will be having another session this Saturday 18th April commencing at 10.00am.

In non-volunteering news: works to the towpath wall are due to start imminently, and our chainsaw carver should be on site next week to work on the stumps.

The next meeting is this Monday 20th April at 7.30pm at the Triangle.

Easter News Update
We have truly sprung back into action now, and as Easter approaches there is quite a lot of news:

Trees & Wood

We coppiced the hazel last weekend and our tree surgeon felled the goat willow and the rowan in the week. It is sad to see the latter two trees go, but expert advice was that both were near end of life and were preventing healthy development of the longer living trees. The beech and the oak should now begin to spread, and the hazel will start growing back either this season or next.

You may have noticed that the rowan and goat willow stumps have been left at head height so that they can be turned into sculptures by a chainsaw carver. We are also planning to reuse as much of the wood and chippings as possible, as natural play features for example, so will need to have a good sort though, which brings us on to the…

Next Volunteer Session + Picnic

The bollards for the cobbled area will be arriving this week, so we will have a volunteer session on Easter Saturday 4th April starting at 10.00am to start (and maybe even finish) installing them. We will also be sorting and tidying the piles of wood, and clearing any ivy still remaining after the last session. Assuming the weather behaves, please bring along some food and we’ll enjoy a picnic lunch, open to admirers and well-wishers as well as volunteers.

Towpath Wall

Meetings with the Bloc/H20 (the developer) and CPUK (the main contractor) of the new housing development across the canal have resulted in a very generous offer to carry out our planned works to the towpath wall as a joint donation. We are meeting them next week to agree the details, and they have indicated that they are ready to start work straight away, so watch that space!

Hospital Car Park

The RLI are planning to build a multi-storey staff car-park on part of their existing staff car-park, just across the canal from the Triangle, behind the new houses. There was a small consultation at the RLI last Monday night, to which not very many people were invited, but Mike took photos of the various plans which you can view by clicking the links below:

At the time of the consultation the RLI were expecting to submit a planning application within two weeks.

Next Meetings +

Following the normal ‘first Monday of the month’ schedule, the next two meetings clash with Easter Monday and May Day bank holidays, and we will therefore have our next meeting on Monday 20th April at 7.30pm at the Triangle workshop, skip the May meeting, and resume as normal on Monday 1st June.

Fun Day

And finally, a reminder that we will be having an event on the Triangle on Saturday 4th July. This seems a long way off but we will only have two meetings between now and then, so please start working on bright ideas as soon as possible.

At last, a volunteer session!
We’ll be having a volunteer session this Sunday, 22nd March at 2pm. Tasks will include coppicing the hazel, clearing up the ivy below the back wall, and erecting a bat box that has been donated. Any available green bins would therefore be most useful.

In other news, we are expecting our tree surgeon on Tuesday to come and fell the rowan and the goat willow. Together with the coppicing of the hazel this will make quite a dramatic difference to the Triangle, but this needs to happen to protect the health of the best trees (the beech and the oak), and to enable the wall to be repaired.

Bollards and sockets are on order, so the next volunteer session after this one will involve sticking them in the ground.

More Funding Success, Sunlight, and Next Meeting
Following last year’s funding for our landscape design work, the Lancaster University Wind Turbine Community Fund invited us to apply again for this year’s round, and we have had further success!

This time they are paying for a set of bollards so that we can finally have control of the cobbled entrance area, which will also significantly improve safety and visibility for pedestrians and cyclists at the towpath access / crossing point on Aldcliffe Road.

In other news, we now have a solar panel on the workshop roof which is busy charging a battery that will power new LED lighting in the workshop. We will be putting this to the test in April when it should be warm enough to move our meetings back to the Triangle.

Assuming this works well, the next stage would be investment in additional capacity and an inverter, enabling the use of power tools for a fully authentic off-grid workshop experience.

Our March meeting is this coming Monday 2nd at 7.30 upstairs at the Robert Gillow.

And now, a date for your diary:

This year it’s our turn to do something in the Fairfield Fun Day slot, so please scribble something in for Saturday 4th July, cancel any inconveniently clashing holidays etc, and start dreaming about cake and burgers. Mmmm.

The Year of the Triangle?
Happy new year Trianglers!

The cold is still very much with us but it is time to wake up for a bit and nip out for some nuts to keep us going until spring. What that means in non-badsquirrelmetaphorese is that we have a volunteer session and a meeting coming up.

Despite the dubious weather forecast we will convene this Sunday 25th Jan at 2.00, and at the very least transfer the remaining bags of rubbish in the workshop to a skip half way up Regent St. We’ll also see what else we can move out of the workshop in preparation for the solar lighting installation work.

Our next meeting will be on Monday 2nd Feb at 7.30, and we are back in our normal winter venue of the upstairs room in the Robert Gillow unless someone who is more familiar with the booking system calls back to say we’re not. There will be updates on our planning status and meetings with the developer and contractor over the canal, plus a new idea for using the two trees that are to be felled.

In other news, at the end of February there will be a hedge laying event on the cycle path between Carr House Lane and Sylvester Street (i.e. alongside the Girls Grammar School playing fields), complete with cash prizes for the most improved teams! All training and tools are provided, so we could aim to field a Triangle team on at least one of the two days. Some more information can be found on this poster.

November News Roundup
We’re heading into hibernation season, but things are still happening, and we’ll kick off with news of more funding success!

The United Utilities Community Fund has given us £500 for materials for a solar panel and LED lighting for the workshop building, meaning that we will be able to run lights off a battery and not have to pay standing charges for a grid connection. This will hopefully be installed in the next couple of months.

In the next few weeks it is likely that the developers of the housing across the canal will be doing some work to the bridge approach retaining wall at the back of the Triangle. Passers-by will have noticed that a section of stone wall on Aldcliffe Rd has collapsed, and it is feared that the rest of the wall is in similarly poor condition.

The proposed solution to stabilise ‘our’ section of wall involves continuous flight auger piles bored on the bridge side of the wall, plus drilling and grouting in tie bars into the concrete piles from the Triangle side to fix the stone retaining wall back to them. To do the works they will need to remove the ivy from the wall, but the good news is that the end result should be a wall that we don’t have to worry about at all.

We had already started a dialogue with the developers about how they might be able to help with the works to improve the Triangle, and the initial response has been positive, so watch this space…

It’s about time we had another volunteer session, so anyone not wanting to enjoy the spectacle of the Christmas lights being turned on in town may wish to join us this Sunday 23rd at 2.00pm.

Finally, our next meeting is on Monday 1st December 7.30pm upstairs at the Robert Gillow.

The lovely people from the Lancaster University Wind Turbine Community Fund who have given us £720 to pay for our landscape design would like to take a photo or two for their publicity. They are visiting the Triangle at 11.30am tomorrow (Thursday) for this purpose, and would like some smiling Trianglers to be present. Please do come if you can.

On Saturday morning from 9.30 we will have a volunteer session featuring a mix of workshop clearing, rubble sifting, stump attacking, head scratching, and tool admiration.

Yesterday we shifted at least ten tonnes of bricks, and cleaned six or seven hundred, but despite these valiant efforts and a full skip, we didn’t manage to finish.

So the previously advertised rest will be slightly delayed, and the new plan is as follows:
  • From 10am to 1pm tomorrow (Bank Holiday Monday), we will be completing the brick cleaning and stacking operation so that the reclamation yard can come and pick them up in the week.
  • From 9am on Friday 29th we will be barrowing the remainder of the broken/uncleanable bricks and associated rubble into a skip, just in time to off-hire the fencing panels. [UPDATE: this session has been brought forward to Thursday 28th at 4pm.]
Funding success comes in the form of £450 from Green Partnerships to buy some some much needed tools for the ongoing works. Well done to Peter for another successful grant application.

Finally, we will be having a meeting on Monday 1st September, at 7.30pm at the Triangle. No need to bring a chair this time thanks to Gillian who secured a donation of a set of perfectly usable chairs that would otherwise have gone in a skip!

With a bit of luck we’ll have a revised landscape design drawing to look at, and can start hatching plans for knocking the Triangle back into shape.

As promised the former lean-tos have now been converted into a number of piles currently distributed around various parts of the Triangle, except for the scrap metal which has already gone to be recycled. Timber is available for collection by anyone that would like some.

This Saturday we will be finishing off the clear-up operation, commencing at the earlier time of 8am because we have a skip coming for the broken bricks, and hopefully completing by mid afternoon. Lunch will be provided.

Brick cleaning and stacking is still the number one activity, but we will also be barrowing broken bricks and mortar into the skip, and sawing up the remaining large timbers. If there is room in the skip we might even attack some of the uneven concrete in the area of the former toilet.

Then we can all have a rest for a bit.

Some of our regulars will be missing so please do come if you can.

We made good progress on the demolition last Saturday, and another day’s work should see the lean-tos reduced to piles of their constituent parts. Unless the forecast changes dramatically, that day will be this Saturday, and we will be commencing at 9am.

The deferred egg butties will be putting in an appearance at lunchtime, and Duncan has generously agreed to reprise his barbecuing skills in the evening.

Tasks will be much the same as last Saturday, with the addition of a fair bit of wood sawing, to get the rafters etc into manageable sizes for people to take home for their wood burning stoves.

See you there.

As promised, some more detail on plans for the demolition, this weekend:

  • On Saturday we will be starting at 9am, finishing by 6pm at the latest.
  • On Sunday we will be starting at 10am and finishing when we’ve had enough.
Food and Drink
  • On Saturday lunchtime we will be serving flatbreads from Filberts Bakery (e.g. pesto & cheese, olives & feta, roast onion & peppers).
  • On Saturday evening there will be a BBQ and we will be serving beef burgers & veggie burgers, but if you want to bring something else then we’ll cook it.
  • On Sunday lunchtime we will be serving fried egg butties.
  • We will have an urn with hot water for serving hot drinks.
  • Please bring cold drinks & other snacks as required.
What To Bring
  • Wear safety boots with steel toe-caps if you have them.
  • Good work gloves & hard hats if you have them, or we will supply.
  • A wheelbarrow if you have one.
  • Good strong rope if you have any.
  • Claw- lump- and sledge-hammers, chisels, crowbars, shovels if you have any.
  • We have a detailed Health & Safety Plan, which can be read here.
  • Matt Dower is taking charge of the demolition works and responsibility for safety on site so will be deemed the highest authority for the relevant activities.
  • We will be fencing off the demolition area, but even so the Triangle will not be a particularly child-friendly place this weekend (except at BBQ time).
  • Highly physical jobs will include erecting fencing, stripping roofs, wielding sledgehammers, and carrying heavy things around.
  • Less muscular jobs will include cleaning mortar off bricks, carrying lighter things around, sorting slates, and sawing up wood.
  • Low intensity jobs will include clearing vegetation, helping with food & drink, keeping watch on the towpath during some activities.
  • The weather is looking, erm, variable, but not disastrous. We will have undercover areas plus ample seating to wait out any showers. If we do have to abandon activities due to poor weather then we will need to ensure the site is left in a safe and secure state, and will try again next weekend.
If you have any questions please send an email to Dave – see Contact page.

This is a brief advance notice of our next volunteer session, which weather permitting will be the weekend of the 9th and 10th August.

Yep, that’s not being vague, that is a full weekend session, which is at least as long as we’ll need to demolish the lean-tos and tidy up afterwards. There will of course be breaks, freedom to drop in/out, and hopefully food.

More details next week, but there will be jobs for all abilities. It would be helpful to know who can be there and when, so please send an email to Dave – see Contact page.

This week we have had notice of funding success in the form of a grant from the Lancaster University Wind Turbine Community Fund to pay for our landscape architect’s detailed design work, which is great news.

To celebrate, we are having a visit to Greaves Forage Garden this weekend, to see how local Incredible Edible people have transformed another small area of Lancaster. Meet at the Triangle on Sunday 29th at 2pm sharp, and we’ll walk over together. Prospective latecomers might like to know that it is located somewhere off Dorrington Road.

Our next meeting will be on Monday 7th July at the Triangle, either inside the workshop or al fresco as the weather sees fit.

Finally, a reminder that it is Fairfield Fun Day on Saturday 5th July. We’ll be setting up in the morning from fairly early on and extra hands are always welcome, so please come along if you can and be rewarded with a healthy appetite for the burger & cake stalls.

Somehow more than a week has passed since our lovely BBQ, and the cake-melting heat has moved on, but it’s not too late to celebrate another successful community event which raised a very useful £345 for the Triangle funds.

One attendee enjoyed himself so much that he put out a surprise press release which can be found here on the Virtual Lancaster blog. Merrie England, indeed.

Big thanks to our organising team including Martin & Gillian for devising and running the Treasure Trail; Duncan, Liz and apprentice Daniel for the BBQ; Mike and Jane for organising drinks and Ruth, Sheila, and Wendy for serving them. Other roles were performed by the cast.

Thanks also to our two sets of musicians for entertaining us magnificently, our multitude of bakers for supplying yummy treats, and all who came along for food, fun, and fiendish pursuits.

Extra special thanks to the brave soul who signed a Faustian pact with the weather to deliver yet another unfeasibly perfect day. It was a noble sacrifice.

Those of you that couldn’t join us might like to know that the adult and junior versions of the treasure trail are available on our website here, as are the answers, but do try it first and see if you can beat the scores of the winners on the day.

And finally… thanks to a just-in-time delivery system we had our landscape architect’s proposed design on display in the workshop, which attracted some useful comments, but it would be good to have more.

Please do have a look and contact us with your thoughts (positive or negative, we won’t be offended), or come along to our next meeting on Monday 2nd June, 7.30pm, upstairs at the Robert Gillow, where it will be the main item on the agenda.

Our noticeboard has arrived and we need to put it up, which we will be doing as the main focus of a bank holiday bonus volunteer session tomorrow (Monday) from 10am.

This is just in time to put an advert in it for our Triangle Treasure Trail & BBQ, which goes something like this:
Test your observation skills on our cryptic canalside treasure trail (adult & kids versions on same route), finishing back at the Triangle for…

Burgers ~ Home-made cakes & savouries ~
Hot & cold drinks ~ Live music ~
Latest information on the Triangle project

Saturday 17th May
Treasure Trail from 11 am
BBQ 12 – 4pm

At the Aldcliffe Road Triangle (next to the canal, opposite junction with Regent Street)
As ever we will be needing a bit of help on the day with setting up (from 10am), selling cake and drinks, and clearing up afterwards. We will also be needing lots of cake or other baked goods to sell (just bring on the day from 11ish), and loan of outdoor tables and chairs would be very welcome.

See you there!

At our last meeting we agreed to commission Georgina Peacock of Peacock Design to produce a detailed landscape design for us, which will both satisfy our planning conditions, and give us something inspiring to show potential funders.

Georgina will be visiting the Triangle at 7pm on Thursday 24th April to take photos and discuss our requirements. All are welcome to come along.

On Sunday 27th at 2pm we will be holding our next monthly meeting 8 days earlier than normal and at the Triangle instead of the pub. The main topic of discussion will be plans for our next community event on May 17th.

Assuming plans are running smoothly the meeting may well morph into a volunteer session. We are expecting delivery of our noticeboard imminently so one obvious task would be to stick it in the ground.

Thanks to a grant from Lancaster Green Spaces, and successful negotiations with the planners, we now have a noticeboard on order. It will be made by local craftspersons, and erected by our capable volunteers hopefully in just a few weeks’ time.

But before then, we have other work to do. This Sunday 23rd March at 2pm we will be removing three small trees that sadly cannot stay, preparing the ground for replacement planting, and continuing to spruce up the inside of the workshop.

Assuming all goes well there will probably be a follow up session the week after to get a new tree in the ground whilst it is still planting season.

Our next meeting will be on Monday 7th April at 7.30 upstairs at the Robert Gillow as usual.

And finally, advance warning that we will be having a fundraising event on Saturday 17th May. Eyes are still being crossed and teas have yet to be dotted, but there’s a strong likelihood that cake will be involved.

We will be having a volunteer session this coming Sunday 2nd March, where the main focus will be moving the bricks and steel sheets from the workshop (where they were previously stashed for future use), into the lean-to buildings (where they will be much less in the way). Please bring a wheelbarrow if you have one. Also on offer will be removing the last bit of evidence of the former toilet by chiselling render off the stone boundary wall, and removing the sycamore on the retaining wall buttress if permission from the Tree Officer arrives in time.

Not for the first time the meeting will follow shortly after, on Monday 3rd March, 7.30, upstairs at the Gillow. Amongst other things we will be discussing the notice board, which we are now at last in a position to get on with thanks to successful negotiations with the planners.

Well, it is still January at least. The weather has been rather offputting recently, but this Sunday 2nd Feb at 2pm we will be aiming for a gap in the showers, rolling up our sleeves, and then rolling them back down again because it is still blooming cold. Nevertheless, progress will undoubtedly be made on digging up redundant pipes, more clearing out of the workshop, and carting the unwanted results to a skip most of the way up Regent St.

These exertions will be closely followed by the more reflective activity of a meeting in the comfortable environs of the upstairs room at the Robert Gillow pub on the evening of Monday 3rd Feb at 7.30 pm.

This is a reminder that we have a meeting tomorrow night (or tonight if you’re reading this on Monday), upstairs at the Robert Gillow from 7.30 until we’re kicked out by the quiz team.

The latest cunning idea for the Triangle: a brick bread oven for community baking events. This will almost certainly be the hot topic tomorrow.

All are welcome.

We have planning permission! It comes with quite a few conditions attached which mean we can’t get on with anything much until we’ve agreed the details with the planners, but having planning in place means we can apply to some of the larger funders for the dosh we need to transform the site.

This is a great excuse for a celebration, and Liz & Duncan have invited us to partake of hot drinks and cake at 47 Regent Street immediately following the next work session, which will be on Sunday 17th at 2pm. We will probably be concentrating on the workshop, but we also need to try to find the end of a clay drainage pipe, and there’s the odd stump or two to further dissuade.

All are welcome.

Lots to report this month. Here’s a summary:
  1. We have completed on the lease, and are now responsible for the Triangle for the next 30 years!
  2. Following the installation of a new door and gutters, the works to the exterior of the workshop are now very nearly complete, and our Take Pride funding is all spent. There’s a bit of making good still to do around the door and windows, and a few coats of paint to go on the double doors, and then our attention will turn to the interior.
  3. Arty things are afoot, and a local student has produced a concept design for an artwork/seating installation that we can hopefully turn into a reality.
  4. We have submitted a planning application for change of use of the land, demolition of the lean-tos, works to the towpath boundary wall, hard & soft landscaping, and a solar panel on the workshop roof. With a fair wind we should have a result before Christmas.
  5. The Fairfield Association has been offered £2000 to celebrate its spaces by one of the Fauna funders, so we are throwing a Party in the Paddock on Saturday October 5th from 3pm, with a range of Apple Day activities in the orchard, followed by a nosh up and a band in a marquee in the early evening. It’s not often that funders insist their money is spent on having a good time, so please come along and make the most of it, and bring a salad or cake to share if you can.
We will be having a volunteer session on Sunday 29th September at 2pm. Stumps are still on the menu, although we’re starting to run low, as is removal of small trees growing on the buttress shelf. We also really need to get the workshop cleared out so that we can get on with works inside.

Until then, enjoy the return of some warmth next week!

This message has been delayed in the hope that there might be a special announcement, but sadly whilst we put some signatures on a lease a couple of weeks ago, we are still waiting to complete. It can’t be long now, but let’s not kick our heels – there’s other stuff to be getting on with!

Firstly, we’ll have a volunteer session on Sunday 1st September, at 2.00pm. We still have door painting, channel clearing and stump removal on the list, as last session we devoted all our time to opening up and clearing out large amounts of rubbish from the lean-to buildings. There are some post clean-up photos of the inside of the buildings in our Gallery.

And secondly, we have a meeting next Monday 02 September, at 7.30pm upstairs at the Gillow pub.

What a fantastic Summer Fair we had! The sun shone, the burgers sizzled, the cakes flowed, the Triangle filled, the music played, and a good time was had by all. As a very welcome side effect of all this merriment, a really excellent £460 was transferred to the Triangle coffers.

Supreme thanks to our wonderful events team for organising it all; our information team for the plans, history, and questionnaires; and all the setter-uppers, barbecuers, bakers, musicians, stall-manners, furniture suppliers, and punters for making it such a great event. Also, a special mention for Speights fruit & veg wholesalers on Queen St who generously donated loads of salad.

It is surely safe to announce that we’ll do this again at some point.

In the meantime, to keep your spirits up, we can offer a nice big list of stuff to get done at volunteer sessions, the next of which will be this Sunday 21st July at 2pm. It’ll be a hot one, but nevertheless we can hopefully manage some of the following:

Workshop building
  • Second coat of paint on the fascias & verge board
  • Sand, fill holes, and paint the double doors
  • Clear out rubbish from interior
  • De-nail the rafters
Site generally
  • Grub up tree stumps
  • Remove trees growing out of Aldcliffe Rd boundary wall
  • Clear out the workshop building drainage channel
  • Investigate the toilet drainage
Paint will be provided but other decorating paraphernalia would be most useful.

Best wishes

There’s quite a lot to say in this update, so please focus.

The next meeting will be on Monday 1st July at 7.30 upstairs at the Gillow as usual. All welcome.

You may have noticed that works have now started on the workshop building. Lintels have been replaced over two of the windows and the single door, and the brickwork has been repointed. Tomorrow should see the double doors being repaired, and in the next week or so we should have new windows and a re-roof, just in time for our Summer Fair.

We still have plenty to do ourselves, not least of which is making sure the site is tidy ready for the Summer Fair, so we will be having a volunteer session this Sunday 23rd June at 2pm. For those of you with strimmers, now is the time to act!

Mike has been working on drawings for a planning application, which we have on display for comment at the Summer Fair, along with a really interesting piece of art/design from Sara Haynes, the Myerscough student who offered to help us.

Plans are well under way for the Summer Fair on July 6th, 12 noon til 4pm, but we will need your help to recreate last autumn’s Cake Sales success. We will definitely need lots of cake (just bring on the day from 11ish), and lots of people to take turns to stand behind a table and sell it. Help is also needed for setting up in the morning, and packing away from 4ish. Loan of outdoor tables and chairs would be very welcome. Further requests may follow.

Meanwhile, Duncan is having a dress rehearsal and we’re all invited!

_*No. 47 Regent Street – Summer Party*_

Dear friends,

please come to our Summer party!

When? Sunday 30th June from 6:00 pm (not Saturday, the 29th of June as previously advertised)

Where? Number 47, Regent Street

Who? Duncan, Liz and Roman Bell, Trianglers, other Friends and Neighbours.

What to bring? If you have a favourite thing you like to eat, please feel free to contribute to the buffet! We’ll have a BBQ!

RSVP! Email:

And that’s it. Well done for making it to the end. Did I mention the Summer Fair?

Best wishes

Here’s news of two further opportunities for some wholesome outdoor exercise, one of which isn’t on a Sunday afternoon!

Following our successful demolition of the workshop building porch last weekend, we will be having another session this Sunday 26th May at 2pm with the main objective of demolishing the toilet building. Other tasks available will be carefully knocking off the remains of the render around the door, more filling in holes, and tidying up the few small piles of rubble at the bottom end of the site. A wheelbarrow or two would be very useful.

Then the following Saturday (1st June), we will arrange for a skip to turn up first thing, and have an early morning volunteer session from 8am ish to fill it up. This means that we’ll also need to cone off the parking area from Thursday evening to ensure that there is somewhere to put the skip.

Hope to see you there.

Of particular note are plans to hold a summer fundraising event at the Triangle on Saturday 6th July. This will certainly include the tried and tested tea and cake stalls, but we’re hoping to expand our offer to include a barbecue and sideshow attractions borrowed from Fairfield Fun Day, which is having a year off. We will need lots of cake and lots of help, so please put the date in your diary right now!

We’ll be having another volunteer session this coming Sunday 19th May at 2pm. Tasks will include tidying up mounds and filling in holes in readiness for the public, a first attempt at removing the defective porch roof slab, and if that succeeds, some serious cogitation about how to tackle the toilet building.

This month there are a number of things to report, so you’re getting headings in lieu of an attempt to string things together fluently:


The next meeting is on Monday 6th May at 7.30pm, upstairs at the Robert Gillow.

Workshop Building / Volunteer Session(s)
Subject to a photo survey which should happen in the next few days, we now have all the necessary permissions in place to get on with repair works to the workshop building, so we will be making a start at a volunteer session on Sunday 28th April at 2pm. This will include removing the entertainment system (which needs a lift to the tip), stripping out rusty conduit and other defunct items, erecting Duncan’s scaffold tower, and making a start on taking down the plasterboard ceiling. Assuming we don’t finish, which seems like a fair assumption, we will be carrying on the following weekend, date and time to be announced.

Contamination Survey

We have now had the results of our Contamination Survey. The suboptimal but not entirely unexpected headline is that we do have some contamination in the form of elevated levels of hydrocarbons in the made ground (ie hardcore). The likely implication of this is that most of the site will need to be covered in a ‘no-dig barrier’ geotextile (bright orange woven plastic sheet) which can then be topsoiled or paved over. We’re awaiting a verdict on what the trees will make of this, but if they can cope with it then this is a setback but not a disaster.

Other Stuff

Work on the lease is chugging along at a legal pace. Work on a planning application currently involves discovering that we have even more forms to fill in than previously thought. Work on a landscape design is happening but isn’t finished yet. Work on major funding applications is pretty much contingent on the previous stuff being complete.

End Best wishes, Dave

In keeping with the extended winter, we don’t have any flowering successes to report this month, but are busy nurturing our various shoots in the hope of soon seeing some buds. In particular we are busy sorting out legal stuff on the lease, getting permissions for the workshop building repairs, scoping up and getting prices for the workshop building repairs, drafting planning application forms, and eagerly awaiting our contamination survey results.

Whilst we wait, and seeing how the weather has improved ever so slightly, we’ll have another volunteer session on Sunday 7th April at 2pm. This will probably include some tidying up, measuring up, pulling up, and cutting up, and we might even test how difficult it will be to grub up the tarmac patch using hand tools. Please come along and join in the fun.

The next meeting is on Monday 1st April as previously advertised.

We now have a tree survey and a bat inspection report, neither of which give any cause for concern, and both of which will be useful for our planning application.

We have instructed solicitors on the lease – which will almost certainly take a long time to resolve – but in the meantime have signed a license with the City Council that will enable us to progress with the works that we have funding for, once details have been sorted out with the Canal & River Trust, Conservation Officer, and contractors.

Soil Environment Services will be coming to site on Thursday 21 March to carry out a contamination survey. They want to be able to get a vehicle on to the site, which means we need a strategy for not having parked cars blocking the access from about 7.45 in the morning. If you can assist with this in any way, please get in touch.

A date for another volunteer session will hopefully follow soon.

The main highlight is that we have secured £3000 in funding from Lancashire County Council for a desktop study and contamination survey, which we will be getting on with asap. Things are starting to hot up, so the next meeting will be at 7.30 on Monday 4th March, and the upstairs room at the Gillow is also booked for Monday 1st April (seriously).

We’ll have another work session on Sunday 24th February at the usual time of 2pm. Tasks might include removing ground ivy, grubbing around in the mud to remove rubbish, and using the key we now have to unlock the workshop building and have a good poke around.

Hope to see you there.

* Actually Peter is away for the March meeting, so please please please consider volunteering for one-off minute-taking.

Herewith news of three meetings (one historical) and a volunteer session, rearranged into chronological order for your convenience:

1. The City Council’s Cabinet met last Tuesday and, amongst other things, accepted a recommendation to lease the Triangle to us (ie the Fairfield Association). This means that we should soon be able to accept our Take Pride funding offer and get on with legal stuff and firming up quotes from contractors.

2. Roy Halliday from the County Council’s Environmental Projects team, and Helen Ryan who is the City Council’s Public Realm Officer are coming to look at the Triangle site on Thursday 31st Jan at 2.30. Both will hopefully provide lots of useful advice, and maybe help with securing funding too.

  • 2a. Weather permitting we’ll have a volunteer session on Sunday 3rd Feb at 2pm. The main priority is finding out what is under the topsoil in some of the unexplored areas, but there will almost certainly be plenty of other things to do.

3. Our next Friends of the Triangle subgroup meeting is on Monday 4th Feb at 7.30pm upstairs at the Robert Gillow. As ever, an agenda will appear a bit nearer the time.

Happy New Year Trianglers!

We rounded off 2012 with a funding offer of nearly £10,000 from the City Council’s Take Pride fund, and a wedding with the Fairfield Association.

At that meeting it was (correctly) predicted that there wouldn’t be anything new to talk about at an early January meeting, so we’re skipping it, and will convene again on Monday 4th February. In the meantime, the City Council’s Cabinet are due to make a decision about leasing the Triangle to us, which is necessary for us to spend the aforementioned money.

Talking of resolutions: if you haven’t done so already, now would be an excellent time to join the Fairfield Association. This confers no benefits other than occasional news direct to your inbox, and the lovely warm glow inside that comes from supporting your local environmental charity, but is nevertheless a bargain at £5 per adult or £10 per family for annual membership. Here’s a membership form to fill in, and also a gift aid declaration.

That’s all for now, but there will be volunteer session news soonish.

Since the last update we have been busy sorting out where we stand with the Fairfield Association (FA), waiting for the City Council to send final notification of the Take Pride funding award, and trying to get the City Council to make progress on a lease so that we will actually be able to spend the money.

As agreed at our last meeting, Peter, Geoff and myself met with Andrew and Mick from the FA for a powwow, out of which came a request that we produce a document setting out information on the history, objectives, current status and risks associated with the Triangle project, which was duly produced and can be found here. The good news is that at their subsequent meeting on November 21st the FA formally agreed to accept Friends of the Triangle as a subgroup and support our plans to lease the Triangle. This is especially good news because the FA is a registered charity, and we recently found out that registered charities are the only type of voluntary organisation that can legally buy or lease land. Terms of Reference have been drawn up, which can be found here, and assuming that we ratify these at our next meeting (see below), we will be the Fairfield Association’s Friends of the Triangle subgroup.

The other good news is that we received an offer letter from the City Council’s Take Pride fund at the weekend. The not so good news is that it is currently uncertain whether the Council will make a formal decision on whether to lease us the land in time for us to deliver the funded works, which need to be complete by end of March 2013.

It is time for another volunteer session, almost certainly the last of the year (unless there is demand for a Christmas special), which will be on Sunday 2nd December at 2pm. The usual assortment of digging, cutting, and tidying up will be available.

Finally, a reminder that we have a meeting at 7.30 on Monday December 3rd upstairs at the Robert Gillow. The Agenda is here [now deleted], and, as an aid to the ‘what to do with the land’ discussion, it would be helpful if you could have a look through the list of ideas gathered from the consultation questionnaires (which can be found here), come up with a list of your five priorities, and either bring them to the meeting or email us. (see Contact page)

Note: all documents referenced here are on the Documents page.

Apologies for the delay in issuing these, which is entirely down to me being busy and feeling grotty with a cold, and not a reflection of Peter’s typing speed.

In funding news, our bid to the City Council’s Take Pride fund has been recommended for approval! Assuming that recommendations are accepted, we should get final written confirmation in just over a week’s time. We discovered at Expression of Interest stage that green space works were unlikely to be successful, so the bid was for repairing the workshop building plus costs of taking out a lease for the site.

Finally, weather permitting, we’ll have another volunteer session next Sunday (11th November) at 2pm, featuring the usual vegetation clearance plus some more trial pit digging.

Green bins have been emptied, and we have a big pile of chopped foliage on the Triangle, so there will be another session this Saturday (20th) at 2pm. As ever, please bring a bin if you have one; loppers, secateurs and saws would also be good; and a spade if you really fancy some exercise.

A quick reminder that we have a meeting tomorrow, Monday 15 October at 7.30, upstairs at the Gillow pub on Meeting House Lane. Please see the Agenda [now deleted] and the Consultation results and bring along copies of these if you want to refer to them.

(These documents have been deposited on the Documents page for future reference.)

Hope to see you there.

The next volunteer session will be Saturday 20th October at 2pm.

A few things:

1. Don’t be alarmed if you’ve had an email saying that I’ve deleted the Triangle mailing list. Due to the influx from the cake sale we’ve exceeded the maximum number of subscribers to use EmailDodo for free, so we’re now on MailChimp, where we can have up to 2000, which should do for the time being…

2. A reminder for old subscribers, or somewhat late notice for new, that we have a volunteer session this Sunday 7th October at 2pm. We’ll be removing unsuitable small trees, pruning ivy, and uncovering cobbles. Please bring green bins, loppers, trowels etc if you have them.

3. I have now received a Heritage Assessment for the site produced by the Canal & River Trust’s Heritage Advisor.

4. In funding news, we have got through to the second stage of the Take Pride bid process, but then so did all the other applicants. They have informed us that works to green spaces don’t really fit the funding criteria, so I’m looking at reworking the bid to focus on repairs to the workshop building. The deadline looms.

A report on the questionnaire results will follow soonish.

With the notable exception of some pruning by Lindsay, the idea of doing some work on the site during last Sunday’s event proved to be excessively optimistic, but I’m sure everyone is itching to get on with it, so we’ll have another session on Sunday 7th October at 2pm. Works will include uncovering more cobbles, unblocking the drainage channel so that it drains, removing inappropriately located small trees, and pruning ivy.

In the meantime, there’s:

Apple Day – Saturday, September 29th, 2.00-5.00pm, Fairfield Community Orchard:

Requested donation: £2 Adults, £1 Children (for the upkeep of the Fairfield Orchard)

Children’s games & craft activities

Apple Pressing and tasting

Drinks and homemade cakes

Come and help dress an apple tree!


Baking Competition –

Adults: Best Apple Pie

Children: Best Apple muffin
Bring to apple tent before 2.30pm [names on the bottom of the, preferably foil, plate] for judging at 3pm, they will then be auctioned off for the Orchard Upkeep Fund. Prizes for the winners of each category.

All Children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian

This includes an opportunity to flex your cake muscles once again – just take them along on the day. There tends to be an appley theme although I’m sure no cake will be refused! Setting up commences at 11.30 meeting at the garage of Appledore, Sunnyside Close. Other volunteering opportunities are available – offers should be made to Eleanor Bulman, 07851 606577 or .

Today we raised an excellent £239.70!

Huge thanks to Will for organising everything; Mike for producing the posters and questionnaires, and Jane for the history posters and sourcebook; Uschi for designing the flyers, Martin for delivering them; Mick & The Fairfield Association for gazebos and display boards; Liz & Duncan for the tent; Lindsay, Geoff, Sheila, Martin & Gillian for tables and chairs; Sheila, Liz and Gillian for cake serving; Will and Uschi for drinks making and serving; Uschi for collating the questionnaires, Duncan and the visiting musicians for music; everyone for making and consuming large quantities of yummy cake, filling out questionnaires, and making it a really lovely event. Plus all those who contributed in all sorts of ways, helping, offering things and ideas to make everything go smoothly, and talking and explaining about the Triangle to visitors. Well done the weather for holding back the rain until it was all over.

I think we’ll probably do it again in the spring.

Preparations for Sunday’s cake & consultation event are in good order. We’ll be setting up from 1pm so please wander down if you are able to help, and we will hopefully be in a position to receive cake deliveries by 1.45. Assistance with tidying up at 4pm will also be much appreciated. In between times, as well as the wonderful opportunity to consume cake and fill in a questionnaire, there will be a chance to do some work of the usual vegetation clearing and cobble uncovering variety.

In other news, we have received a letter of support from the Canal & River Trust, together with an offer of the advice and assistance of David Hennessey, their project manager on the recently completed refurbishment of the Lune Aqueduct. I’m meeting him on site at 2pm on Monday, and as usual you are welcome to join me.

I have submitted an ‘expression of interest’ (also known as a three page application form) for grant funding of just under £10,000 to Lancaster City Council’s Take Pride fund. This is intended to cover the costs of gaining planning permission (including all necessary survey work), obtaining a lease, tree surgery, demolition, and roof repair and access works to the workshop building. We should find out next week whether we are through to the second stage.

Last Friday we also had a visit from Andy Lee of Bowland Tree Services, who provided some extremely useful advice about which are the best trees on the land, and which we should be looking to remove, as well as quotes for the arboricultural survey that we will need for the planning application, and for removing/coppicing/crown lifting trees that are too big for us to deal with in volunteer sessions.

He explained that trees are scored on their condition and on their likely future lifespan: those that have a good long life ahead of them are definite keepers, those that are damaged, approaching the end of their life, or growing in such a way that they are unlikely to make it to maturity can/should be removed, especially if they are otherwise going to cause structural damage. The larger trees on the site are all 35-40 years old, which would coincide with the time that the City Council gained the lease.

Summary recommendations are as follows:


Large sycamore – keep & possibly crown lift

Hazel – coppice (will provide more space for the oak, and allow us to reach the nuts!)

Oak – keep

Large goat willow – remove (damaged and near end of life; a short lived ‘weed’ species)

Beech – keep & possibly crown lift

Rowan – remove (fire damaged, crowding the beech, short lived species)


Large sycamore on buttress shelf – remove (as per structural engineer’s requirements, will cause structural damage to bridge retaining wall)

Sycamore & goat willow saplings on shelf and ground – remove

Large sycamore in NE corner – keep but remove ivy, may need to be removed in future

Ivy on wall – remove or severely prune (weight of high level stuff at major risk of damaging wall in high winds)


Silver birch – keep

Small goat willow against wall – remove

Small ash against wall – remove

Small goat willow against building – remove (as per structural engineer’s recommendation, low value ‘weed’ species, will damage building)

Small silver birch near building – remove (as per structural engineer’s recommendation, roots are on top of cobbles and tree is poorly anchored)

Trees growing out of wall behind toilet – remove

We will get all this with proper scoring and full documentation etc when we have some money to pay for the arboricultural survey. It does seem like quite a lot of removal, but we will of course have the opportunity to plant new trees in more sustainable locations, and indeed may be required to as part of any Conservation Area Consent to do the removals (all trees with greater than a 6″/150mm stem diameter at 1m above ground level will require consent).

And that concludes the reports from last week’s visits.

Last Friday, Ian Grace from Graham Schofield Associates (structural engineers) came to site to look at potential structural issues. His comments are attached below, and I’m pleased to report that we are not going to be charged for this advice.

A couple of extra points:

Firstly, an omission from Part 1: Neil Emery from Property Services confirmed what we suspected about the low level wall/shelf at the bridge end of the site, which does indeed continue through/inside the lean-to buildings right across to the towpath wall.

Secondly, the steel lintel over the sheeted-up door of the smaller lean-to (the one that forms part of the towpath boundary), is in a very poor delaminated condition, and has caused a large crack to form between the brickwork and stonework due to basically pushing parts of the structure apart as it expands and rotates. This emphasises the point that there would be a significant cost involved in retaining these buildings in a safe condition, and reinforces the proposal that the lean-tos should be demolished.


Further to my visit to the Aldcliffe Road Triangle site on Friday 7 September 2012, I confirm the following items as discussed.

1. The single storey ‘lean-to’ building which was built against the canal bridge abutment and is scheduled to be demolished: This building was constructed much later than the canal bridge and has been built over the lower section of wider bridge abutment. There is therefore no reason why this cannot simply be removed so long as the original stepped abutment wall to the bridge is retained. Adjacent to the existing building it was noted that sycamore tree saplings are growing in the bridge abutment stonework – it is recommended that these are cut down and the root systems killed by suitable specialist treatment (attempting to remove all the roots would damage the stone retaining wall).

2. The small workshop building which is to be retained is in a safe and stable condition although water ingress may well be causing some damage internally. Steps should be taken to repair the roof to make the building watertight again as soon as possible. There are two trees growing very close to the side wall – it is recommended that these are removed to prevent them damaging the foundations and drains.

3. The boundary wall between the site and the canal towpath is leaning and has a number of gaps in it where trees have grown. The proposals to reduce the height of the wall and create more distinct openings linking the site with the canal towpath are welcome. In particular there is concern that over time sections of the wall could become unstable. If at all possible it is recommended that the height of the wall is reduced within the next twelve months to ensure that it does not become a hazard.

I hope the above comments are helpful. If you need any further advice on the site please let me know.

Ian Grace

On behalf of

Graham Schofield Associates

Consulting Civil and Structural Engineers

Last Wednesday Neil Emery from Property Services unlocked the building we are proposing to keep (please send suggestions for a briefer name) so that we could have a look inside and get an idea of how bad a condition it is in. A set of photos from this are on the Gallery page of the website.

The good news is that it does appear to be structurally sound, and the hole in the roof doesn’t appear to have affected the roof timbers particularly badly, although it would still be good to get it patched up as soon as possible. It is a bit of a mess inside, but a volunteer session or two and a skip should be adequate for an initial clean-up. It does feel like a nice open workshop space inside, and will be pleasantly light with the windows uncovered.

One point of note is that the existing steel door is designed for security, and not really for use as a door. It is braced into the opening with unistrut, and probably isn’t suitable for being refixed as an operational door. To do anything with the building it is therefore necessary to replace the door with a ‘proper’ one, and this will go in the ‘Phase 1’ funding bid.

Parts 2 & 3 are to follow.

We had a good turnout for the last meeting and the venue proved convivial, so we will be meeting there again at 7.30 on Monday 15th October. For those that were present, please note that this is a date change, as the room was already booked for the previously agreed date. Also for info we have a letter of support from the police (referred to in the minutes), which will be very useful when putting in funding bids.

Will has kindly agreed to organise a tea, cake, and have your say event at the Triangle on Sunday 23rd September (really quite soon) between 2pm and 4pm. This will serve the dual purpose of fund raising and first stage consultation, and we’ll probably also do a bit of volunteer session type activity at the same time to enable people to have guilt free triple helpings. Offers of gazebos, tables & chairs, help setting up and taking down, and most importantly of course CAKE, should be emailed to Will ( ) asap.

I hope to see you there!

This is a reminder that we have a meeting on Monday September 3rd at 7.30pm upstairs at the Gillow pub on Meeting House Lane. I’ll bring a few agendas to share but please print off and bring your own copy if you want one in front of you.

I’m planning to devote a fair bit of time to looking at the two designs that the French students have done, establishing what elements of these we like and don’t like, and recording any other ideas (feel free to come bristling with them), so that we can try to boil down what we want, and update the design brief that I quickly cobbled together to get the students going.

If you can’t make it to the meeting please look out for the minutes, as there is plenty of news to report. I know I’ve received a few apologies over the last couple of months, but if you’d like these to be officially recorded on the minutes please send them again!


I’m told that there are still places to fill on the previously advertised Green Spaces conference, so please sign up if you fancy it:


The conference will be 9.30-2.00 on Saturday Sept 22nd 2012, at the Friends Meeting House, Lancaster. A free lunch will be served at 1.00.

To register your place, please complete the on-line survey at:

And there’s more! In the afternoon you have a choice of:

  • A guided walk through Lancaster city centre identifying opportunities for green enhancements, ending at Scotch Quarry Park where there is a family funday and the Lancaster Sustainability Partnership Incredible Edible awards 2012
  • Staying at the Friends Meeting House for the local creative enterprises fair
  • Joining in the ‘ Beyond the Castle’ co-design process up the hill

I’ve arranged to meet Paul and Pierre-Charles, the French landscape design students, at 4.00pm on Monday at the White Cross pub, where they will be going through the designs that they have produced for the Triangle. They have apparently done one each, which should be really helpful in terms of giving us something to debate at the forthcoming meeting, by which time I’m hoping to have some drawings printed off. Anyone that is available is welcome to join us, and if we happen to have a competent French speaker in our number that would be very handy, as the students’ English is only slightly better than my French.

I’ll be sorting out an agenda for the meeting soonish, so if you have anything to report, or that you want to raise, please let me know.

We’ll have another volunteer session on Sunday 26th at 2pm. Duncan has strimmed and we’re approaching the end of the vegetation clearance, but towards the end of the last session a channel and some nice looking cobbles were uncovered alongside the central building, so one task is to get busy with spades and see what the extent of the cobbles is.

The Triangle has had another visit from rough sleepers this weekend, although they were quickly moved on after Aldcliffe Stores called the police because of a theft from the shop. They have left a bit of a mess though, and it makes sense to get it tidied up as soon as possible so…

We’ll have another volunteer session this Saturday August 4th at 2pm, including the usual tasks of removing rubbish and unwanted vegetation.

As it is still quite a while to the next meeting (3rd Sept), here’s a brief update on progress since the last one, in no particular order:

1. The City Council Contaminated Land Officer has been to site and provided some basic advice, including a list of companies that can carry out desktop studies and contamination surveys. He suggested that this might cost in the region of £1500, which is more than previously thought, but not insurmountable.

2. Property Services have provided a boundary drawing which shows that the cobbled area currently used as free parking spaces is part of the land that they lease from British Waterways.

3. Property Services have agreed to meet on site to let us in to the main building to have a look at its general condition and take photos etc, although no date has been set for this yet. A former City Council building surveyor has agreed to come along if he is available.

4. Jennifer Lauruol from Carpe Diem Gardens brought her two French landscape design students to look at the site at a couple of weeks ago at very short notice (otherwise an invitation to join us would have gone out). They seemed very keen, and offered to produce quantities and costings as well as an outline design for the site. They are here until the end of August, so we should have something to look at by the time of the meeting on 3rd September.

5. Work parties have made good progress with huge amounts of rubbish now removed, and the site is beginning to feel lighter and more welcoming following the thinning out of undesirable (eg sycamore) and poor quality sapling trees.

The next volunteer session will be on Saturday 21st July, at 2pm. We’ll continue removing unwanted saplings, clearing rubbish and detritus, reducing the ivy, etc and we’ll also have a go at removing the damaged and redundant guttering from the timber framework structure. As always, green bins, loppers, saws, and secateurs would be useful things to bring along.

The date for the next meeting is included within, although I’ll put out a reminder email nearer the time. We thought we would try using the upstairs room at the Gillow pub (on Meeting House Lane) as it is free of charge and will allow us to partake of refreshment, but I’m conscious that it is not fully accessible so am happy to find an alternative venue if anyone is going to find it difficult.

Please note that the next volunteer session will be on Sunday 1st July at 2pm, and will consist of more of the same, so please bring green bins, secateurs, loppers etc if you have them.

I met the City Council’s Community Safety Partnership Officer on Wednesday – unsurprisingly it is unlikely that the CSP would be able to provide any funding, but we will almost certainly be able to get a letter of support out of them referencing the history of anti-social behaviour on the site, which should be useful for funding applications.

Finally, I’m meeting the City Council’s Contamination Officer on site on Wednesday 27th at approx 4.30pm – if you’d like to join us please let me know: .

Most of you will have had a letter with details of the meeting, but for those outside the drop zone, it is at 7.30pm in Room 1 of the Friends Meeting House, which is on Meeting House Lane next to Lancaster train station. Room 1 is off the back corridor, so from the entrance hall go straight on through the door at the back, and look for a door that hopefully says ‘Room 1’ on it.

In the meantime, please have a look at the agenda [now deleted] and have a think about whether you would like to be nominated for a particular role, or can assist with one or more of the tasks listed (website design is already in progress). We also need an advance volunteer to take minutes of this first meeting and type up afterwards.

Weeks are passing in a blur at the moment, so it must be time for another volunteer session! We’ll go for next Sunday afternoon (10th June) starting at 2pm. Current plans include a bit of rubbish clearance, weeding some more sycamore saplings, and digging some shallow trial holes to see what is below the weedy surface, so cutting tools and spades would be useful things to bring along.

Also… we have booked a room in the Friends Meeting House on the evening of Monday 18th June for a public meeting to constitute ourselves as an organisation and start divvying up jobs. Full details will follow shortly.

With apologies for the shortish notice, we’ll have another volunteer session this coming Saturday 19th May at 2pm, or if the weather is completely awful we’ll defer til Sunday at the same time.

We got the vast majority of the rubbish last time, but there is still probably a bit to clear up. There is plenty of ivy to go at, plus other unwanted vegetation, and we need to do something with the big pile of cuttings from last time, so please bring secateurs/loppers and green bins in you have them. We could also dig a few shallow trial holes to see what is below the current green surface.

To clarify a question that came up last time, as the site is within a conservation area we are only allowed to prune, lop, or remove trees with a trunk diameter less than 75mm (3 inches) at 1.5 metres above ground level. We need to give six weeks notification to the Tree Officer to deal with any trees larger than this – perhaps something to be discussed on Saturday.

As the Lancaster Guardian photographer didn’t turn up to the volunteer session I sent them our group photo from the day (thanks to Jon Barry) and they have run a story this week based on the Duke’s Ward Green View article.

Following meetings with Property Services, British Waterways & H20 (their developers), and the City Council Conservation Officer, plus an informal discussion with senior planners, this is the state of play:

1. Property Services are happy with the principle of sub-letting the land and buildings to a residents group for a peppercorn rent (eg £1 per annum), for a term to be agreed. It should be a relatively straightforward process to get this approved.

2. British Waterways indicated that they would have no objections to the sub-let. We would need approval from them to do any works to the buildings and the boundary walls, and this would need to be checked over by their heritage people, but they thought objections would be unlikely. They are keen for the site to be improved as it will be overlooked by their housing development on the other side of the canal.

3. The developer was interested in the site’s potential for housing, but Property Services indicated that planners had rejected this in the past (for reasons including the poor access and proximity to existing houses), and this was reiterated by the Conservation Officer this afternoon, so it is a non-starter.

4. The Conservation Officer is happy with the proposal to lower the towpath wall, keen to retain the middle building (minus the porch), and would much prefer that the lean-to buildings against the bridge be demolished. He was very happy that we had already removed some ivy from the walls at the back of the site, and encouraged us to keep going until it was all gone.

5. Planners would be likely to support our proposals. They advised that due to the nature of the site Environmental Health would probably require soil contamination testing to be carried out as part of a change of use planning application, and in any case this is something we need to know about before taking on the site due to the potential expense of dealing with it.

Subject perhaps to getting something in writing from Waterways, it is probably now time to be establishing a formal organisation to take this forward, and we will be in touch again soon on this subject, plus a date for the next volunteer session.

The Lancaster Guardian want to send a photographer round at 1.30 on Saturday (28th April) afternoon, so we’ll have our first volunteer session to fit it with this, commencing at 1pm so we have some nice full bags for the photo.

There isn’t a massive amount of rubbish on the site, but we could also do a bit of vegetation clearance, including uprooting the brambles that are starting to appear. The City Council will supply some bags, litter grabbers, gloves etc, but feel free to bring anything that seems appropriate.

1. Property Services have said that they don’t have any building surveyor resources, but have provided a Schedule of Dilapidations from November 2004, which identifies a number of essential repairs to the buildings and boundary walls, adding up to an estimated cost of just over £10,000. It is of course likely that there will have been further deterioration since then.

2. Based on past comments provided to Property Services, Planners would be likely to support the use of the site for green space / community garden. Planning permission for change of use will be required.

3. Next Monday afternoon we have a joint meeting with Property Services, British Waterways, and H2O (the joint developer with British Waterways of the land on the opposite side of the canal) to discuss our proposals in principle.

4. The site is part of the Aldcliffe Rd Conservation Area, and the Conservation Officer is keen for it to be improved. We are hoping to meet him on site in advance of the above meeting.

5. A local resident has kindly offered to carry out a topographical survey free of charge for use as part of a planning application.

6. The campers appear to have moved on. Provisional date for a clean up session is Saturday 28th April, time to be confirmed.

As promised a second street letter has now gone out to local residents detailing the revised outline proposals, progress on a meeting with landowners, and plans to establish a ‘Friends of’ organisation.

We are aware of the appearance of a tent on the land, as are the Police and the City Council. The Police have visited and spoken to the campers, but they are unable to move them on because it is private land, and the City Council will therefore need to formally evict them.

It is probably safest to wait for this to be resolved before we organise a volunteer session.

Progress on other matters has been delayed slightly due to a protracted bout of lurgy, but we have now asked Property Services to arrange a meeting with British Waterways to discuss the future of the land, and also asked Property Services if they can provide a building surveyor to carry out a condition report on the buildings.

More soon.

Many thanks for coming to the meeting last week. Your feedback and suggestions were very welcome, and we now have a much improved plan.

In summary, we settled on the following:

– Lower the canal boundary wall and reuse copings, leaving gaps for access off the towpath.

– Retain the building and wall on Aldcliffe Rd boundary, and seek to bring the building back into use as eg workshop/studio for craftsperson/artist or icecream/butty shop.

– Adapt the existing timber structure for use as an arbor with suitable vine planting.

– Improve the green areas as public/community amenity space, including planting eg bulbs, fruit bushes, fruit trees.
– Use volunteer input as far as possible to minimise cost.

Please shout if we have missed anything.

What Next?

We will write to all local residents detailing the above proposals.

We will establish a ‘Friends of’ type organisation to do funding bids etc.

We will organise a volunteer session to do an initial tidy up of the site and remove rubbish.

We will ask the City Council to provide a building surveyor to look at the buildings.

We will start talking to British Waterways, City Council Property Services, Planning, Conservation Officers and Tree Officer to obtain the necessary permissions to carry out work.

We will approach the developers of the former British Waterways yard on the opposite side of the canal to see if they are willing to cooperate and assist.

A street letter has now been distributed to approximately 350 houses on Aldcliffe Rd, Cromwell Rd, Regent St, Portland St, Carr House Lane, Queen St, Lindow Rd & Lindow Square. This provides brief details of the current status of the land, some outline proposals to improve it, and an invitation to a public meeting at the site on 25th February.