25th February 2018
In yesterday’s post (see here: https://northwestisnorthwest.blog/2018/02/24/some-more-distances-and-travel-times-from-selected-northern-cumbria-locations-to-north-east-and-north-west-destinations/) we compared travel times and distances from principal locations in North and West Cumbria to towns in the nearest parts of the North East of England to distances and travel times from the northern Cumbrian locations to the nearest towns in the North West outside of Cumbria. We found that, for most of the Cumbrian locations the nearest North East towns were over an hours’ drive away and could not be considered local. For Cumbrian locations near the M6, such as Penrith, there were locations in Lancashire that were just as local as the nearest North East towns. All of which calls into question having a Regional Television News service covering northern Cumbria that mainly covers (and is broadcast from) the North East of England.
Today we turn our attention to principal locations in North Lancashire and South Cumbria which receive their Regional News Programming from BBC North West and ITV Granada (viewers in Kendal do receive ITV Border, which covers Cumbria extremely well in the English version of its Bulletins) : The North West Regional News Bulletins produced by both programmes are 80% Manchester/Liverpool/Cheshire/High Peak (Derbyshire)-related in news coverage averaged over time. We use the criteria that locations at or within one hours’ drive of a specified location are local- beyond which people do not tend to travel on day-trips, shopping expeditions and the like. We are comparing distances and travel times from the South Cumbria/North Lancashire area to locations in northern Cumbria on the one hand, and to locations in South Lancashire/Greater Manchester/Merseyside/Cheshire on the other hand. We can then use the information to decide what the best Television Region might be for the locations in question, or if the North Lancashire/South Cumbria area can be furnished with an opt-out in North West Regional Television Bulletins.
Lets look at the principal destinations covering South Cumbria and North Lancashire and compare distances and travel times to the locations in the south of North West England to those to locations in northern Cumbria:
1) Distances and Travel Times from Lancaster to:
Liverpool- 63 miles and one hour and 14 minutes’ drive via the M6 and M58.
Manchester- 56 miles and one hour and eight minutes’ drive down the M6 and M61.
Carlisle- 66 miles and one hour and seven minutes’ drive up the M6.
Penrith (Cumbria)- 48 miles and just 51 minutes’ drive up the M6.
From Lancaster the two major cities in the south of the North West Region are both over 50 miles from Lancaster and are over an hours’ drive. However Carlisle, despite being a little further from Lancaster is slightly quicker to get to but still over an hours’ drive up the M6. Penrith, just eighteen miles south of Carlisle is both within 50 miles and well within an hours’ drive from Lancaster- and so can be deemed to be local.
2) Distances and Travel Times from Kendal to:
Liverpool- 80 miles and one hour and 30 minutes’ drive via the M6 and M58.
Manchester- 73 miles and one hour and 22 minutes’ drive down the M6 and M61.
Carlisle- 46 miles and 56 minutes’ drive up the A6 and M6.
Keswick (Cumbria)- 30 miles and 54 minutes’ drive up the A591.
Skipton (North Yorkshire)- 45 miles and one hour and six minutes’ drive along the A65.
Clearly, neither Manchester and Liverpool are local to Kendal, even though folk from the South Cumbrian town are likely to travel to either Manchester or Liverpool John Lennon Airports if they are going away on holiday. These major cities in the south of the North West Region are well outside the criteria to be considered local. However, the city of Carlisle, the main centre in North Cumbria is both within 50 miles and within an hours’ drive as is Keswick, just 30 miles up the A591. Clearly, it is right that folk in Kendal can receive ITV Border since the content on ITV Granada’s flagship Regional Television Programme “Granada Reports” will be largely irrelevant to viewers here- as could be judged from these distances.
It is worth noting that Skipton, in North Yorkshire is just 45 miles from Kendal and just over one hours’ drive. This part of North Yorkshire is not covered either on ITV Granada, nor ITV Border, neither is it covered on BBC North West Tonight but the area around Settle, just 16 miles north-west of Skipton is occasionally covered. This fact just serves to illustrate how overlap coverage beyond the transmission boundaries of a Television Region can be important to folk near the edges of the transmission zones- as indeed Kendal is.
3) Distances and Travel Times from Kirkby Lonsdale to:
Warrington- 72 miles and one hour and 18 minutes’ drive down the M6.
Wigan (South Lancashire)- 60 miles and one hour and eight minutes’ drive down the M6.
Penrith (Cumbria)- 41 miles and 49 minutes’ drive up the M6.
Cockermouth (Cumbria)- 70 miles and one hour and 17 minutes’ drive up the M6 and along the A66.
A fairly dispassionate spread of easy-to-get-to locations in the south of the North West of England and in northern Cumbria shows that Warrington is both a bit further (and takes longer to get to) than Cockermouth in the North Lakes. Penrith is also closer and quicker to get to than Wigan in South Lancashire. Only Penrith is local in terms of travel time of just 49 minutes and is definitely local in terms of distance (41 miles).
4) Distances and Travel Times from Morecambe (Lancashire) to:
Manchester- 59 miles and one hour and 10 minutes’ drive down the M6 and M61.
Chester- 84 miles and one hour and 26 minutes’ drive down the M6 and M56.
Wigton (Cumbria)- 71 miles and one hour and 16 minutes’ drive up the M6.
Keswick (Cumbria)- 65 miles and one hour and seven minutes’ drive via the M6 and A66.
From Morecambe, it is quicker to get to Keswick than to Manchester- despite the shorter distance to Manchester. Wigton, a small town about 14 miles west of Carlisle is both closer and ten minutes quicker to get to than Chester. Keswick is within touching distance of being within an hours’ drive from Morecambe with a clear road.
5) Distances and Travel Times from Garstang (Lancashire) to:
Warrington- 43 miles and just 57 minutes’ drive down the M6.
Manchester- 43 miles and one hour and two minutes’ drive down the M61.
Kirkby Stephen (Cumbria)- 52 miles and 56 minutes’ drive up the M6 and A685.
Workington- 94 miles and one hour and 37 minutes’ drive up the M6 and along the A66.
Garstang is a small Lancashire town just eleven miles north of Preston up the A6. One would perhaps expect the main cities in the south of the North West Region to be local; however although Manchester and Warrington are well within 50 miles’ distance Warrington is almost one hours’ drive down the M6 and Manchester is actually just over one hours’ drive. This is probably because the major routes, the M6 and M61 tend to be congested and (in travelling south from Garstang) one gets onto the M6 at the Broughton Interchange (Junction 32) which is often busy because traffic comes off here to go to Blackpool, the Fylde Coast and the City of Preston.
The small town of Kirkby Stephen, in the east of Cumbria is actually the quickest to get to from Garstang, being achievable in just 56 minutes- so by this measure it is local despite being just over the 50-mile threshold. Travelling north, folk would get onto the M6 at Junction 33 and this junction (and the M6 northwards) tends to be much less congested. Workington, on the west coast of Cumbria is 94 miles and one hour and 37 minutes’ drive from Garstang via the M6 and A66; this would be expected to be a long way. However, the point has been made that there is no clear case for the towns and villages north of Preston and westwards across the Fylde Plain to be getting ITV Granada than ITV Border: The latter ITV Region (Border) serves a MUCH SMALLER population in its geographical area than does ITV Granada and it is (furthermore) split into Cumbrian and Scottish programming.
Clearly then, a good number of locations in northern Cumbria are local to locations in the south of Cumbria and in northern Lancashire that get ITV Granada and/or BBC North West Tonight and, in a number of ways and cases are more local than the urban areas of South Lancashire, Manchester, Merseyside and Cheshire. The M6 gets increasingly congested as you travel southwards from Cumbria through Lancashire and into Greater Manchester so that of places that are similar distances north and south from (say) Lancaster those to the north are quicker to get to.
What I haven’t covered above is Public Transport but travelling from Lancaster to Carlisle by train takes just 56 minutes whilst travelling from Lancaster to Manchester involves a change at Preston or Wigan and the journey takes one hour and 15 minutes (https://www.thetrainline.com). On this “Localness Test”, Carlisle is local to Lancaster and Manchester is not local to Manchester. The cheapest return ticket for the next day for an adult is £20.30 Lancaster to Manchester but little more at £25.00 Lancaster to Carlisle return for the cheapest next-day ticket.
The argument for transferring northern Lancashire and that part of South Cumbria that receives ITV Granada into the ITV Border Television Region, where folk locally would get much more coverage in a much-less populated TV Region, where the Cumbrian news is likely to be as (or even more) local to South Cumbria and northern Lancashire as are the urban metropolises of the south of North West England is compelling. If this is not to happen, there is a strong case for more investment in Regional Television in the North West of England- so that South Cumbria, Lancashire and the Isle of Man can have an opt-out in regional broadcasts which would produce better news-coverage of the area complete (as it should be) with news-coverage right up to the Scottish Border.
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