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Barclays customer 'disgusted' by Alston bank closure

Barclays customers in Alston are criticising the bank's decision to close the local branch.

It means the Cumbrian town will be without a bank from December. HSBC pulled out less than two months ago.

Alston isn't the only rural location to lose its bank. Over the past year alone we have reported on a number of other rural bank closures in Cumbria.

But residents in Alston say this closure will really affect their daily lives, as Katie Hunter reports.

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Rain can't keep Lake District visitors away

A rainy day in Kendal. Credit: ITV News

Tourism bosses say business is booming in the Lake District, despite this year's summer being disturbed by heavy rainfall.

According to Cumbria Tourism the number of visitors to the area in the first five months of 2015 is up by between four and eight percent, compared to the same time last year.

In the first five months of this year we're seeing between four and eight percent increase in visitor numbers, and occupancy in hotels, at caravan sites and self-catering accommodation.

So the weather doesn't seem to be affecting us at all."

– Richard Greenwood, Cumbria Tourism

No smoking signs reminder to South Lakes businesses

SLDC Environmental Health Officer Peter Adams with a no-smoking sign that businesses are legally required to display at all entrances to their premises Credit: South Lakeland District Council

Businesses in South Lakeland are being reminded that it is a legal requirement to display ‘no smoking’ signs at all entrances to their premises.

Spot-checks by council officers have revealed a significant number of businesses are still not complying with the legislation.

The government introduced smoke-free laws in 2007, which made it an offence to smoke in virtually all enclosed public places, workplaces and public and work vehicles.

Managers of smoke-free premises have a legal responsibility to prevent people smoking and part of the law requires no smoking signs to be displayed in a prominent position at every entrance to the premises.

Failure to comply with the laws is a criminal offence. Failure to display no­ smoking signs carries a fixed penalty notice of £200 imposed on whoever manages or occupies the smoke-free premises or vehicle, or a maximum fine of £1,000 if prosecuted and convicted by a court.

South Lakeland District Council (SLDC) officers are responsible for enforcing the law and can offer information and support to help businesses meet their legal obligations.

The council operates a ‘progressive enforcement’ policy, giving advice to businesses initially and only resorting to prosecution if the business fails to act on the advice.

“So far everyone we have spoken to has listened to the advice and we haven’t needed to issue any fixed penalty notices.

“But our recent checks have shown there are still many businesses that are not complying with the law. We just want to remind them that there is the risk of a fine or prosecution if they don’t do something about it.’’

– SLDC Environmental Health Officer Peter Adams

More than £800,000 for affordable housing

The money will be used to build 20 affordable homes. Credit: PA

A loan of more than £800,000 has been granted to Eden Housing Association, to help build more affordable housing.

The money is being provided by Eden District Council as part of its £1 million Affordable Housing and Innovation Fund (AHIF).

It will be used to build 20 new affordable homes, in the following areas:

£328k
For seven affordable homes on land opposite Dalegarth, in Threlkeld.
£358k
For eight affordable homes on William Street, in Penrith.
£188k
For five two-bedroom bungalows for people over age 55.

This will create 20 new units of affordable housing and really help to meet the wide ranging housing needs we have across Eden.

AHIF is having a positive impact on the development of housing in Eden and is helping to influence the types of housing that are being developed.

The Eden Housing Advisory Board has carefully considered the merits of these projects and we are very pleased with the quality of the projects we are helping to finance through loans from AHIF.”

– Councillor Lesley Grisedale, Eden District Council

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Watch: funding boost for Eden food and farms

The Eden District of Cumbria has been awarded Food Enterprise Status.

It means the area will get a £50,000 share of funding to boost businesses in the food and farming sector.

The council has decided to spend it on employing a consultancy to look into streamlining planning regulations to allow businesses to grow easily.

Fiona Marley Paterson has been looking into what it'll mean for big and small businesses near Penrith.

Food for thought as Eden gets grant

Eden is known for its local cheeses, and the Cumberland Sausage. Credit: ITV Border

Eden District Council has been awarded £50,000 to turn the area into a 'Food Hub'.

The grant has been awarded by DEFRA - the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

It's hope the 17 Food Hubs, throughout the UK, will boost tourism and attract investment, as well as helping to grow the rural economy.

We are delighted to have been selected for an award of £50K to support the setting up of a food and farming zone in the District and in order to make sure we get this right we are talking to local businesses to understand where and how they wish to expand and what barriers there might be to expansion which the Local Development order will overcome.

We already have a renowned food and farming sector in Eden and this award will enable us to build on that success story.”

– Ruth Atkinson, Eden District Council’s Communities Director

Local acts fail to win places in BGT final

It's commiserations to two acts from Cumbria who failed to win places in the final of Britain's Got Talent.

On Friday night, in the last live semi final on ITV, opera singer Emma Jones from Wigton came fifth, ahead of Georgie Jackson from Ulverston with her girl group Misstasia.

Both acts missed out on places in Sunday's final, which was won by Jules and Matisse.

Misstasia. Credit: Britain's Got Talent Thames/Syco
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