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Fire sets back Whitehaven hospital opening by months

A fire in the energy centre of the new West Cumberland Hospital building will set back its opening by months.

The local MP Jamie Reed took this photo of the damage Credit: Jamie Reed

Copeland MP Jamie Reed said the news was "utterly devastating" and he will now write to the Department for Health asking that money is put in place to rebuild the centre as quickly as possible.

The fire broke out last night (Friday, 23rd January) in the biomass fuel plant, which was to provide the power for the hospital. No patients or services were affected but the NHS Trust said delays in opening the £100m building were inevitable. It had been due to open in April 2015.

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'Devastating' fire at new West Cumberland Hospital

A fire has destroyed the energy centre at the new West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven, which was due to open in April.

It broke out last night in the biomass fuel plant, which produces power for the building.

Firefighters spent four hours putting out the blaze and will now investigate what caused it.

The NHS Trust said no patients or services were affected, but the damage will delay the handover of the keys from developers to NHS staff, which was due to happen next week.

It could ultimately delay the moving-in date.

"This is absolutely devastating for me, the staff and the local community. We must let the investigators do their job to understand why this has happened at this time. We were all looking forward to moving into the new hospital and none of us can believe this has happened.”

– Ann Farrar, chief executive of North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust

New office opening 'great news'

Jamie Reed was among those who attended the opening of the new Westlake office Credit: Vanessa Jane Photography.

Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. has opened its new Westlakes office, Pillar House.

The office, at the Westlakes Science Park near Whitehaven, can accommodate 180 employees, and 159 have already moved in.

Jamie Reed attended the opening, and described the office as great news for West Cumbria.

“The opening of the new Jacobs office is a clear commitment to the region and presents great opportunity.

"The new office will be home to many graduates, apprentices and trainees.

"This new investment, the new facilities and the support for young people is great news for West Cumbria.”

– Jamie Reed, MP for Copeland

Jacobs has 600 employees based across Cumbria.

Dancing through life

A teenager from Whitehaven has been accepted into a prestigious performing arts school in London.

17-year-old Julia Faulkner was offered a place at Urdang Academy after quitting her A-levels in order to pursue her dream.

Many who attend the school go on to perform on the West End.

Julia can't wait to take up her place, although she praises the training she has received here in Cumbria.

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Whitehaven couple fined £100 for bad hotel review

Leaving a review on Trip Advisor's website Credit: Trip Advisor

A couple from Whitehaven have been 'fined' £100 for describing a hotel as a "rotten stinking hovel" on Trip Advisor.

The Broadway Hotel, in Blackpool, said it is their policy to charge for 'bad' reviews after Tony and Jan Jenkinson found their credit card had been charged.

When the couple discovered the unexpected charge on their credit card they contacted the hotel and the manager said they had a ‘no bad review policy’ in their terms and conditions.

The policy stated:‘Despite the fact that repeat customers and couples love our hotel, your friends and family may not. For every bad review left on any website, the group organiser will be charged a maximum £100 per review’.

The couple then contacted the council’s Trading Standards team to complain about the matter.

“I have worked for Trading Standards for many years and have never seen anything like this. The hotel management clearly thinks that they have come up with a novel way to prevent bad reviews, however we believe this could be deemed an unfair trading practice.”

– John Greenbank, Trading Standards Area Manager North

Cumbria County Council’s Trading Standards say this policy could be deemed an unfair term under the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999 and therefore have passed it on to colleagues at Blackpool Trading Standards to investigate. The couple have sought a refund via their credit card company.

“Customers need to be free to be honest about the service they’re getting. Other customers depend upon it. Hotel owners should focus on getting their service right rather than shutting down aggrieved customers with threats and fines. People should have the right to vent their disappointment if a hotel stay did not meet their expectations and should not be prevented from having their say.”

– Cllr John McCreesh, Cabinet Member for Trading Standards

West Cumberland Hospital petition hand in

Campaigners are concerned some services will be downgraded. Credit: ITV Border

Campaigners fighting to prevent services at the West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven they claim are being downgraded will hand in a petition to Downing Street this afternoon.

The trust which runs the hospital has produced a series of options including moving consultant-led maternity services to Carlisle.

Managers say no final decisions have been made.

Brothers jailed for 12 years for unprovoked attacks

Two brothers from Whitehaven have been sentenced to a total of 12 years in jail for carrying out unprovoked attacks.

Kevin Thompson Credit: Cumbria Police
Martin Thompson Credit: Cumbria Police

Martin Thompson, 29, from Patterdale Avenue, Whitehaven, and his brother Kevin Thompson, 33, from Dean, Workington, have been sentenced to over 12 years in prison at Carlisle Crown Court.

On the 21st November 2013, Thompson assaulted two people in Captain Senny’s, Whitehaven. The first victim, aged 30 from Whitehaven, was standing near the bar when he was punched by Thompson in an unprovoked attack. He fell to the floor and sustained three fractures to his jaw.

Later that evening, in an unrelated incident, Thompson punched another man, aged 45 from Whitehaven. This was again an unprovoked attack, which left the man unconscious with cuts to his head and bruising to his face.

Thompson pleaded guilty to GBH (grievous bodily harm) and ABH (actual bodily harm) at an earlier court appearance.

On the 27th June 2014, a man, aged 47 from Whitehaven, was with friends in a car park on Queen Street, Whitehaven. Martin and Kevin Thompson approached the victim and assaulted him in an unprovoked attack. They stole a pint of milk he was carrying and left him on the floor. He was taken to Cumberland Infirmary, Carlisle with a broken cheek bone.

Martin Thompson was sentenced to seven years and nine months for his involvement in both offences. Kevin Thompson was sentenced to five years in relation to the incident on the 27th June 2014.

“Both of these offences were completely uncalled for and left two people requiring hospital treatment. The victims showed courage in reporting the matter to the police and Thompson has been brought to justice for these vicious attacks.”

– Detective Constable Andy Yoxall, Cumbria Police
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