Chorley’s walk-in vaccine clinic now open

As the Post and Guardian revealed last week, the pop-up centre had been due to come into operation on or shortly after 21st June.

However, Lancashire[1] and South Cumbria’s integrated care system has tweeted this morning (Sunday 20th) that the facility – which is located in the Friday Street car park – has now opened its doors.

On-demand jabs – subject to availability – will be given out from an articulated lorry, seven days a week between 8am and 1pm and 2pm and 8pm.

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A walk-in vaccination centre has opened in Chorley's Friday Street car parkA walk-in vaccination centre has opened in Chorley's Friday Street car park

A walk-in vaccination centre has opened in Chorley’s Friday Street car park

First and second doses of the Pfizer jab and second doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine are available – although second jabs are only open to people who received their first at least eight weeks previously.

While it is a walk-in clinic, people can still book an appointment slot via this link[2] if they choose.

Read More

Read More

“Sensible” to delay lockdown-lifting as Covid rates rise in Preston, Chorley and…


All over-18s are now eligible for a vaccine after the government extended invites to the entire adult population[4] last week.

It is expected that the Friday Street facility will operate from the site for several weeks. There are also plans to set up a vaccine hub at Chorley and South Ribble Hospital in the weeks to come.

The additional facilities were announced after Chorley MP and Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle said he was concerned that, in spite of Lancashire being given “enhanced response status” last week – entitling it to surge testing and a push to drive up vaccination amongst eligible groups – no new vaccine facilities had yet been established in the borough.

He told the Post and Chorley Guardian that he had raised the issue directly with the health secretary, Matt Hancock.

Responding last week to the news that a mobile hub was to be set up, Sir Lindsay said: “I’ll continue to push for resources to be located in Chorley so we can defeat the virus.

“With the number of children currently self-isolating, it’s essential that people are vaccinated as swiftly as possible so that we can return to some form of normality at some point in the near future.”

Parklands High School in Chorley closed earlier this week[5] because of an “unsustainable” number of Covid cases amongst its students. It will reopen on 21st June. It has also been announced that Southlands High School in the borough will move to remote learning[6] between 21st and 25th June after 32 students tested positive for Covid.

Last week, South Ribble Borough Council’s leader Paul Foster called for additional vaccine centres in his district, saying that residents without a car were being disadvantaged.

Walk-in vaccine slots are currently available in Preston at the vaccination site in St. John’s Shopping Centre and Preston Grasshoppers Rugby Club. It is understood that such services are proving popular in all areas of Lancashire where they have been set up.

Jane Scattergood, Covid-19 Vaccination Director for Lancashire and South Cumbria, said of the new services coming to Chorley: “We are working hard to ensure that people have more opportunities to get their vaccination at a time and place that suits them and would encourage everyone to come forward and arrange an appointment as soon as they are eligible.

“We are exceptionally grateful to all of our staff and partners working hard on the delivery of the vaccination programme and want to thank each and every one of them for their commitment and dedication to date, which has been key to the success of the programme so far,” Ms. Scattergood added.

Meet the travellers who have taken remote working to the extreme

Remote revolution

Tourism bodies and travel companies have been quick to capitalise on the growing interest in long-distance remote working. Anguilla, Barbados, Bermuda, Canary Islands, Cayman Islands, Croatia, Dominica, Dubai, Estonia, Iceland, Ireland, and Mauritius: the roll call of destinations that have lately created new visas welcoming visitors to work or study, from a few months up to a couple of years, grows ever longer. Likewise, resorts and hotels worldwide are tailoring offerings with long-stay working guests in mind, offering ‘workcation’ packages and rooms that double as office suites. 

“We’ve seen a surge in bookings for Airbnb-type properties,” says Tim Gunstone of bookings site, HotelPlanner[1]. “This could indicate an emerging trend towards extended-stay telework nomadism — what some are calling the YOLO (you only live once) economy, where employees have a pent-up desire to get out of their homes and see the world, while still earning a salary.”

Original Travel[2], meanwhile, is refocusing some of its adventurous trips for this growing demographic with ‘working from home from abroad’ offerings that include such tempting spots as Paris, the Maldives and Indonesia.

With its relatively low rates of Covid-19, outdoors living and a wide choice of work-stay visas, the Caribbean is proving popular with British remote workers. Taking advantage of St Lucia’s ‘live it’[3] initiative for extended stays, are Jason and Heena Cornwell, a couple in their thirties who’d been on a Latin American overlanding trip travelling in Colombia when lockdown happened in 2020. 

“If you had to get stuck, that’s the place,” laughs Jason. “But we were getting itchy feet. Once borders opened, we booked the first flight out, to St Vincent, which got cancelled the day before. With our bags already packed, we got the next available flight, which happened to be to St Lucia.” 

The couple stayed from October to December, returning to the UK for Christmas, but having loved the island, went back to St Lucia in early 2021. “The companies we work with, UK-based nonprofits, have been really supportive,” says Heena. “Office hours vary, but we try to align ourselves to UK time, starting at 6am and ending early afternoon. Perhaps because of our backgrounds — Jason is British-Mauritian and I was born in India but moved to the UK in my early twenties — we’re interested in learning about different cultures. So, it was important for us to have time to get out and really explore the island. We’ve learnt all about local sea moss farming, had a tour with a mural artist, found out about an incredible local bakery and stayed at Balenbouche, an eco-cottage conversion of an old sugar plantation.” 

Introductions made by locals and recommendations from friendly locals and ex-pats helped the couple line up these experiences. “You need to be confident,” says Jason, “go into local restaurants to chat to people — and that’s always where the best food is anyway.” The couple has decided to continue remote working while building their online resource for like-minded globetrotters,[4] “Having worked for nonprofits, we’d like to take it further and use our skills to develop sustainable tourism initiatives with island businesses,” says Heena.

Life on the road, it seems, can take you in directions you never expected. In early 2020, Tom Bainbridge and Alison Melvin, a couple in their fifties, set off from London on a six-week European road trip in a specially converted van. “We wanted to stay on wild coastlines and hilltops where there’s nothing, so we needed to be self-sufficient and comfortable,” says Tom. And then lockdown happened. “Borders were closing pretty much just after we went through them each time,” he says. “But we were more than happy in the van.” The couple got as far as Portugal before parking up and staying put. “I run my own business, as a lawyer, so I had an understanding boss,” laughs Tom. “I worked in the van with solar panels for power, filling up the water tank every couple of days, using an MIFI box for internet connection for Zoom meetings. We had a proper bed. We couldn’t have been better set up, really. Ali is a yoga teacher and managed to start giving classes online.”

Home is now a dilapidated farm building in a remote part of rural Coimbra that the couple have decided to renovate. “It was land that my late husband and I had bought years ago,” says Alison. “I was intending to sell it, thinking it was madness to do anything else. But here we are! And we’ve learnt so much, not just Portuguese (we’re taking lessons online, and from our builder; we have a very odd vocabulary of technical construction terms), but also what matters in life. It’s about jumping in at the deep end and totally committing to wherever you are.” 

Once lockdown is over, the couple will set off again, to explore the Iberian peninsula. “Living in the camper showed me that you can do a lot more with much less,” says Alison. “We only packed for a few weeks and have survived with the small bags we took away. All that stuff in our two flats back home? We don’t miss any of it.”  

Don’t leave home without…

1. Buying travel insurance
All our interviewees said they wouldn’t have done without it, and that while it was a little more expensive due to pandemic, most policies were no more difficult to set up than usual and covered most eventualities, even during a pandemic.

2. Being bank smart
Unless you decide to stay long term, like most remote workers you’ll likely keep banking at home. Consider opening an account with companies such as Monzo or Starling, which don’t charge for foreign transactions or withdrawals.

3. Talking to your employer
Trust is key to successful business relationships, so be clear about your intentions to work overseas, not least as it might have tax, insurance, business licence or data protection implications for both you and the company you work for.

4. Getting advice from an accountant
Those temporarily working abroad and employed by a UK company will pay tax as usual through PAYE, and the self-employed will still need to declare their income as usual, regardless of whether that income has been generated in the UK or overseas. However, as every country has different tax rules, it’s best to seek the advice of an accountant.

5. Checking current travel restrictions
During the pandemic, ensure that you’re allowed into your destination, and check if there are any test, vaccination or quarantine requirements for entry. If quarantine is up to two weeks, in a government-provided hotel, and you’re away for only a month or so, your destination choice might start to look less attractive.

6. Assessing rental income
If you own a property and are renting it out while you are away, you’ll need to file a self-assessment tax return. Tax will be due only if your total untaxed UK income exceeds £12,500 during the financial year.

Published in the Jul/Aug 2021 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)[5]

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  1. ^ HotelPlanner (
  2. ^ Original Travel (
  3. ^ St Lucia’s ‘live it’ (
  4. ^ (
  5. ^ Published in the Jul/Aug 2021 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK) (
  6. ^ Twitter (
  7. ^ Facebook (
  8. ^ Instagram (

57 years of M5 history including its biggest tragedies and moments

The South West’s biggest motorway has one of the richest histories in the country

If you live in the South West then you will more than likely at some point have travelled along the M5[1].

The motorway was opened in 1962 and completed 15 years later in 1977, and a lot has happened between then and now.

Bodies have been found, bridges have collapsed and the Willow Man was built, giving the South West’s biggest motorway one of the richest histories in the country.

READ MORE: Ghost hunt at Stroud pub uncovers ‘energy of King James and monk’[2]

Whether you’re 20 or 80, you’ll remember iconic parts of the motorway, from your favourite service station to the Willow Man.

But even though we may regularly travel up or down it, whether for work or leisure – how much do we really know about it?

Despite its plentiful history, if it came up in a pub quiz, not a lot would know much about it.

So we’ve put together an article that tells the story of the M5, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Through unearthed photos from the archives, you can take a trip down memory lane or take a deep look through history at the iconic stretch of road.

Where is the M5?

The M5 quite closely follows the route of the A38 road. The two deviate slightly around Bristol and the area south of Bristol from junctions 16 to the Sedgemoor services north of junction 22.

The A38 goes straight through the centre of Bristol and passes by Bristol Airport, while the M5 skirts both, with access to the airport from junctions 18, 19 or 22.

The A38 continues south into Devon from junction 31, near Exminster. Between junction 21 at Weston-super-Mare[3] and junction 22 at Burnham-on-Sea[4], the M5 passes by an isolated landmark hill called Brent Knoll.

Get today’s top stories and entertainment for free straight into your inbox[5]

The Willow Man sculpture is visible from both carriageways, and acts as a landmark just to the south of junction 23.

Junction 15 of the M5 is a large four-level stack interchange, named the Almondsbury Interchange, where the M5 meets the busy M4.

The Avonmouth Bridge, between junctions 18 and 19, is often a bottleneck during heavy traffic periods, due mainly to lane drops at either ends of the bridge for the respective junctions, and the sharp angle in the centre of the bridge, which causes larger vehicles to slow considerably.

There are split-level carriageways where the M5 ascends the hillsides above the Gordano Valley, between Portishead at junction 19 and Clevedon[6] at junction 20.

Major history of the M5


The first 26 miles (42 km) of the M5 motorway was constructed as a dual two-lane motorway with Worcestershire County Council acting as engineer.

This section, from junction 4 at Lydiate Ash in the north to a trumpet junction with the M50 in the south opened in July 1962.

This original section of the M5, from junctions 4 to 8, was widened to provide six lanes in the early 1990s. During this work, the northbound Strensham services were rebuilt further away from a new junction.

Worcestershire County Council, the police and particularly the county surveyor of Worcestershire made repeated representations that a dual three-lane standard motorway was appropriate. The Ministry of Transport insisted that a dual two-lane motorway would be built at a cost of around £8 million.

The Motorways Archive also records that the carriageways were also built to a lower overall width of 88 feet (27 m) rather than 100 feet (30 m) to reduce the loss of agricultural land. When the decision became necessary to widen the Worcestershire section of M5, it cost £123 million.

The two miles (3.2 km) dual two-lane section between Junctions 16 and 17 built at Filton, near Bristol, was also opened in 1962, and was intended to replace the pre-war Filton bypass.

Gloucestershire County Council acted as engineer for this section, which was widened to a dual three-lane motorway in 1969.

IYA – Memory Lane Gloucestershire[7]

North of Junction 4 the M5 was constructed in sections, from 1967 to 1970, together with the Frankley services. Much of the northern section beyond Junction 3, from about Oldbury to the junction with the M6 motorway, was constructed as an elevated dual three-lane motorway over Birmingham Canal (Old Main Line), Birmingham Canal (New Main Line), and Titford Pool using concrete pillars.

The M5 was also extended southwards, in sections, from 1967 to 1977, through Gloucestershire and Somerset, to Exeter in Devon as a dual three-lane motorway, together with the Strensham services.

The short section between Junctions 27 and 29 was built between 1967 and 1969, by Devon County Council, as the A38 Cullompton Bypass, with the intention that it should become part of the M5. The termini for this section have since been removed, although part of the southern terminal roundabout is now used as an emergency access. The section was developed to motorway standards, and incorporated into the M5 in 1975.

Operational history

Junction 1 surrounds a surviving gatehouse from the former Sandwell Hall.

The section from Junctions 16 and 18 was illuminated in about 1973 as part or a wider policy announced by UK Minister for Transport Industries in 1972 to illuminate the 86 miles (138 km) of UK motorway particularly prone to fog.

In the late 1980s Junction 4a was built as part of the M42 motorway construction project. The route of the M42 was decided as early as 1972 but, owing to planning delays, the short section of the M42 north of Bromsgrove did not open until December 1989.

As the M5 traffic increased in the 1980s Junction 11, the main Gloucester and Cheltenham access (via the A40 Golden Valley by-pass) became increasingly congested. At the same time there were plans for large scale business and housing developments at Brockworth, near Gloucester.

To relieve Junction 11 of some of the new traffic generated, and avoid more congestion around both Cheltenham and Gloucester, a new junction, Junction 11A, some 3.5 miles south of Junction 11, was constructed and opened in the mid-1990s.

The Avonmouth Bridge, Bristol

The Avonmouth Bridge was converted to eight lanes (four lanes in each direction) in the early 2000s.

Later, in 2005–2006, parts of the M5 between Junctions 17 and 20 were widened to 7 lanes (four lanes climbing the hills and three lanes descending the hills); variable message signs were added and parts of the central reservation was converted to a concrete step barrier.

During this stage of construction the M5 became Britain’s longest contraflow system, spanning nine miles (14 km) between Junctions 19 and 20.

The M5 contraflow was said to be the most complicated ever built in the UK as the motorway is on a split level around the steep hills of the Gordano Valley; meaning four lanes plus an additional emergency vehicle lane were squeezed into that section.

M5 motorway south of the Avonmouth Bridge

In 2002, extended exits for Junction 12 were constructed. The Highways Agency did not anticipate the traffic flows through the junction and the resultant queues can now extend back onto the motorway.

This is because of an increase in traffic from Stroud intending to use the M5 northbound. The distance from Junctions 12 and 13 is similar and traffic congestion is heavy on the A419 towards Junction 13 whereas it is usually lighter on the B4008 towards Junction 12.

As traffic leaving the M5 northbound towards Gloucester needs to give way to this traffic coming from the B4008, the queue on the motorway can extend beyond the first sign for the junction.

The Cullompton services are signed on the motorway in the northbound direction only. This was implemented to reduce congestion at the low capacity junction, although there is still access available to the services southbound through the junction.

Also, the northbound exit slip to the junction was reduced to one lane instead of two to reduce traffic on the small roundabout at the west side of the junction.

M5 entrance sign at Exeter

In 2009, it was announced that the lighting between junctions 30 and 31 would be turned off between midnight and 5am to save energy.

Proposals were announced in September 2009 for a new Gloucester Services between junctions 11a and 12.

A planning application was submitted in December 2009. Stroud District councillors approved the services in August 2010.[15] The Services opened in May 2014.

In September 2020, Highways England announced that the section between junctions 1 and 2 in the West Midlands will be one of four in England to have its speed limit reduced to sixty miles per hour in a bid to reduce high levels of atmospheric nitrogen dioxide in the particular area.

In the same year, it was announced that Junction 10 would be undergoing significant roadworks as part of a redevelopment project on the A4019.

The works will involve making the interchange full-access and dualling the A4019 east of the junction into Cheltenham. Works will commence in 2023 (subject to permission being granted) and be completed in 2024, according to the Gloucestershire County Council.

M5 tragedies

The M5 has seen its fair share of traffic events over the past 60 years, bodies have been found, bridges have collapses, collisions and accidents which are too many to count.

Some of the biggest ones shook the country at the time of them happening.

Melanie Hall

One such tragedy was the discovery of missing university graduate Melanie Hall’s remains in 2009.

Police forensic officers sifted through and checked soil at the site where murdered Melanie Hall’s remains were found by the side of the Northbound slip road of the M5 motorway, South Gloucestershire.

Police investigated the murder of the university graduate who disappeared in 1996 found DNA evidence from where her remains were found.

Miss Hall, a clerical worker at the Royal United Hospital in Bath[8], vanished after a night out at Cadillacs nightclub in the city on June 9, 1996.

A workman found her remains in vegetation next to the junction 14 northbound slipway of the M5 in Thornbury on October 5, 2009.

M5 workmen deaths, 1999

A decade before the discovery of Melanie, four construction workers fell 80ft to their deaths when a gantry they were working on gave way on a motorway viaduct.

They were working beneath the M5 at Avonmouth Bridge, near Bristol, when the platform on which they were standing gave way.

The access gantry collapsed and fell 80 feet into a car compound, it happened shortly before midday on the northern side of the River Avon. No one else was hurt.

The bridge repair works was part of a five-year £100m project of which two main contractors, Costain and Kvaerner were carrying out the work for the Highways Agency, the dead men were working for Kvaerner.

In 2003, their families were awarded more than £1.3m in compensation.

The settlement, approved by Bristol County Court brought to an end a legal battle that raged since the accident happened on September 8, 1999.

IYA General widget[9]

Two firms involved in the Avonmouth Bridge project, Kvaerner Cleveland Bridge UK and Costain were fined a total of more than 1.3 million after a prosecution by the Health and Safety Executive in 2001.

It was one of the largest fines ever handed out in the UK after an industrial accident.

The men died when their gantry plunged more than 80ft from the bridge onto a car compound below.

Another huge accident was in 2011, when on the evening of Friday November 4, seven people were killed and a further 51 injured in a major crash involving over 50 vehicles which included cars, vans and large goods vehicles near Junction 25 in West Monkton, near Taunton[10].

Several vehicles were burnt out in the fire which developed at the scene as the result of a series of explosions, and the road surface was seriously damaged, not just by the fire and explosions, but also by fuel spillage.

The cause of the crash, which took place in wet foggy conditions close to a firework display, was investigated. One person was charged for breach under health and safety laws and found not guilty.

Future developments

As well as looking into the past of the M5, we’ve included a slight look into the motorway’s future.

There have been suggestions that the Government extend the M5 south, to the city of Plymouth, which currently relies on the A38 road.

The argument for such an extension has intensified in light of the closure of Plymouth City Airport in 2011, and the 2014 breaching of the South Devon Railway sea wall following storms that in turn, cut off Plymouth and Cornwall’s rail access.

Improvements to junction 25 at Taunton were approved with an £18 million programme that will include the enlargement of the junction roundabout, the widening of the eastern junction slip road exit, and an additional roundabout southeast of the junction to provide access to a new business park and to a proposed bypass of the hamlet of Henlade.

What are your favourite memories of the M5? Login and let us know in the comments below

Inside the two Cotswold churches fit for our Queen[11]


  1. ^ the M5 (
  2. ^ Ghost hunt at Stroud pub uncovers ‘energy of King James and monk’ (
  3. ^ Weston-super-Mare (
  4. ^ Burnham-on-Sea (
  5. ^ Get today’s top stories and entertainment for free straight into your inbox (
  6. ^ Clevedon (
  7. ^ IYA – Memory Lane Gloucestershire (
  8. ^ Bath (
  9. ^ IYA General widget (
  10. ^ Taunton (
  11. ^ Inside the two Cotswold churches fit for our Queen (

People in two Cheshire postcodes urged to get Covid test

People living in two Chester postcodes are being urged to get Covid test due ‘alarming’ rise in cases linked to the Delta variant.[1]

The latest seven-day incidence rate in the borough from June 7 to 13 June showed an increase to 117 positive cases[2] per 100,000.

Surge testing will be taking place in Chester[3] postcodes CH1 3 and CH1 4, where the infection rates are significantly higher than the borough average.

Residents living or working in postal codes CH1 3 and CH1 4 are strongly encouraged to take a PCR test, whether or not they are showing symptoms and regardless of whether they have had the COVID-19[4] vaccine.

Top story: Man cut out of car with broken legs after head-on crash with reckless lorry overtaker[5]

Residents who have had a positive PCR test[6] in the last 90 days do not need to take another PCR test at this time.

Although residents without symptoms should still be testing twice weekly with rapid Lateral Flow Tests[7] (LFT), PCR tests have a higher accuracy rate.

Positive results are sent to specialist laboratories to help identify COVID-19[8] cases with a Variant of Concern (VOC) and then prevent their spread.

To book a test visit:[9] or call: 119.

Appointments are available at the nearest Local Testing Sites at Little Roodee car park and Sealand Road Park and Ride.[10]

Tests are also available without an appointment at Chester Cathedral, however there may be a long wait. The Council therefore encourages people to book a test at the above sites.

Residents are also reminded of the importance of undertaking LFTs twice weekly and are being encouraged to get vaccinated as soon as they are eligible.

Home testing LFT kits can be picked up at Little Roodee Testing Centre, Sealand Road Park and Ride Testing Centre and at the Cathedral, as well as at participating pharmacies. You can also order them by post at:[11] site or by calling: 119.

Councillor Karen Shore, Deputy Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: “The surge in cases of the Delta variant of COVID-19 is alarming, but we can control it by observing the hands, space, face and fresh air rules, minimising our travel, getting the vaccine as soon as we can and by testing.

“Please book in for a PCR test if you live in the CH1 3 or CH1 4 postcode area, whether you have symptoms or not. And take care to protect yourself and others.”

Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms, including a new continuous cough, high temperature or loss or change in their sense of taste or smell should self-isolate and book a free test at:[12] or call: 119.


  1. ^ Delta variant. (
  2. ^ positive cases (
  3. ^ Chester (
  4. ^ COVID-19 (
  5. ^ Top story: Man cut out of car with broken legs after head-on crash with reckless lorry overtaker (
  6. ^ PCR test (
  7. ^ Lateral Flow Tests (
  8. ^ COVID-19 (
  9. ^ (
  10. ^ Little Roodee car park and Sealand Road Park and Ride. (
  11. ^ (
  12. ^ (

Mini reactors at the core of a local nuclear revolution

Communities near oil refineries and old coal-fired power stations may face a dilemma under plans by Rolls-Royce for a new fleet of mini nuclear reactors. Although the phasing out of fossil fuels will mean jobs will disappear and house prices will fall, the best chance of economic revival could be to accept the blight of a nuclear site on their doorstep.

Rolls-Royce is leading a consortium developing a reactor that can be mass-produced in factories and will take half the time to deliver as the large reactors being built at Hinkley Point in Somerset, at half the cost. It says the first will open in 2031, as many as nine more will be built by 2035, and 30 by 2050.

The initial focus will be