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Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

Six week consultation on Fairglen interchange

People are being asked to have their say on multimillion-pound plans to ease queues at a major road junction in south Essex.

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The county council wants to build new roads and widen existing ones at the Fairglen Interchange - that's where the A127 meets the A130.

Men released in launderette death case

Two men arrested in connection with the death of a man who was killed in a launderette have been released on police bail.

Paul Robertson, 39, from Milton Keynes, was found with multiple injuries inside Baylee's Launderette in Southend Road, Grays, Essex, on 4 December.

The men, aged 24 and 36, both from Watford, were arrested on Wednesday on suspicion of aggravated burglary and are on police bail until 16 February.

Two other men have already been charged in connection with the incident.

Grays launderette
BBC

Man arrested after suspect package left in Sudbury bank

Police have arrested a man after a suspect package was left in Barclays Bank in Sudbury on Wednesday.

Officers were called to the Market Hill branch at about 13:10, although it turned out the package, which was left in a rucksack, was not dangerous.

A 41-year-old from Sudbury has been arrested on suspicion of placing an article with intent and communication of false information and he is being questioned in Bury St Edmunds.

Barclays Bank on Market Hill, Sudbury
Google

Car driver makes mugger give up handbag in Haverhill

A car driver's arrival caused a mugger to throw away the handbag he had just stolen from a woman, in her 70s, in Haverhill.

The victim was pushed and had her bag snatched on Mill Road at about 12:20 on Wednesday.

As the mugger was running off, a man in a car stopped and began reversing, at which point the suspect threw the bag into an alleyway before running down Mill Road into the area of a disused warehouse and footpath.

Suffolk Police says the mugger is described as white, over 40, of heavy build and wearing a green parka-style jacket with a hood which has light-coloured fur trim.

Babergh leader believes people will vote for council merger

Suffolk Free Press

Babergh leader John Ward says he believes the public will vote in favour of plans to combine Babergh and Mid Suffolk councils into one authority, once they have seen the evidence of the proposal’s benefits.

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Burley and Osborne at Sporting Memories Launch

TWTD.co.uk

Blues legends George Burley and Roger Osborne and former Olympian Professor Bill Tancred MBE will be helping to launch new sporting memories groups in the county’s libraries next week.

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Hadleigh deputy mayor resigns following row with town councillors

Suffolk Free Press

A row over the suspension of work on a town plan for Hadleigh has resulted in the deputy mayor resigning.

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Warning notices on Colchester bins are asking people not to use them for household rubbish

Colchester Gazette

Council bosses have been warned they must acknowledge a “serious problem” after being forced to put notices up on to public bins asking residents not to dump household waste in them.

Gilwell Oak in running for European Tree of the Year 2018

An Essex tree whose beauty has already been recognised at a national level is now in the running to take the title for European Tree of the Year 2018.

The Gilwell Oak in Epping Forest was reputedly used by Scouts founder Robert Baden-Powell as a metaphor for the movement's growth.

Last year, it was crowned UK Tree Of The Year following a public vote.

Voting for the European title opens today and runs until 28 February.

Gilwell Oak
Woodland Trust

Concerns over level crossings after Halesworth 'near-miss'

East Anglian Daily Times

The MP for Suffolk Coastal has urged the public to use level crossings safely, after a teenage girl narrowly missed being hit by a train at Halesworth last month.

Man dies in crash between two lorries on A47 at Scarning

A man has died in a collision on the A47 at Scarning, near Dereham.

Officers were called shortly before 08:30 to reports of a collision between two lorries.

Norfolk Police said the male passenger in one of the lorries died at the scene.

The drivers of both lorries had minor injuries.

The road remains closed and is expected to do so until later this evening. Motorists are being advised to plan their route and avoid the area.

Former Harlow leader 'blames left wing group for resignation'

Charlotte Rose

BBC Essex Political Reporter

Jon Clempner has blamed the Labour Party left wing campaigning group Momentum for his decision to step down a fortnight ago as the leader of Harlow Council and as a member of the party.

In a blog post today, he says activists at a national and local level "target Labour Councillors and Labour Councils that do not conform to the particular form of ideological purity that seems to have taken a grip of the party”.

Jon Clempner's blog
Jon Clempner
Jon Clempner's blog

While not elaborating on these claims, the chairman of Harlow Labour Party, Charlie Cochrane, issued a statement saying "while there is real sadness about Jon going, we are determined to carry on his good work and to deliver on his legacy".

A new leader will be elected tonight.

There are 600 fewer police officers than in 2012

Southend Echo

Essex Police has almost 600 fewer officers compared to five years ago, new figures have revealed.

Man, aged in 30s, stabbed in Thetford

A man and a woman have been arrested in connection with a stabbing.

Norfolk Police said the incident happened at about 19:30 yesterday in Kimms Belt, Thetford.

The force said the victim, a man in his 30s, was in a critical but stable condition in intensive care at Papworth Hospital, Cambridgeshire.

Police said it is believed the arrested pair, also in their 30s, are both known to the victim.

Lorry fire on M25

Something to watch out for on the M25 near Brentwood - traffic is being held between junction 27 for the M11 and junction 28 for the A12, Highways England say.

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Death of woman in Norwich 'unexplained'

The body of a woman has been found in Norwich.

Norfolk Police said officers made the discovery on Marriotts Way, near to Barker Street, shortly before 16:30 yesterday.

Officers said the area has been sealed off and the death is currently being treated as unexplained.

Ipswich Town sign Gambian winger

Brenner Woolley

BBC Radio Suffolk sport

Ipswich Town completed the signing of Mustapha Carayol around two hours before the transfer window closed last night.

The 29-year-old Gambian has agreed a deal until the end of the season, after being released by Nottingham Forest.

He's likely to make his Blues debut at Sunderland on Saturday.

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Dereham traffic jams 'can almost be seen from space'

Andrew Sinclair

BBC Look East political correspondent

A Norfolk MP says there's been so much development in the Dereham area that the traffic jams can almost be seen from space.

George Freeman
BBC

George Freeman told MPs that there's "real frustration" in his Mid Norfolk constituency which is "undermining local trust in the planning system".

"Developers are now piling into South Dereham... putting in housing [along the main roads] where it's easy and without any infrastructure," he said.

"A string of villages between Dereham and Norwich - Yaxham, Mattishall and Swanton Morley - have all found themselves the subject of aggressive large scale out-of-town developers."

Mr Freeman said that while villages had local plans for building homes, developers were ignoring them and using the district allocations for new properties to justify building.

And he said councils felt their hands were tied because they were worried about challenging the developers and facing expensive court cases.

Mr Freeman told MPs he was trying to encourage plans for "garden village" somewhere long the Wymondham to Dereham rail line which would look good and have all the necessary. Infrastructure.

Crash in Newmarket to leave road shut 'for some time'

Emergency services are at the scene of a crash on the A1304 at Barbara Stradbroke Avenue, Newmarket.

It was reported to police at about 05:45.

A Suffolk Police spokesman said the road was "expected to be closed for some time and diversions are being put in place".

Currently the road is closed off south of the incident at the roundabout with the A1303, and north of the incident, with traffic being diverted on to Hamilton Road.

'Act of stupidity' as man strokes seal pup

The EDP reports on criticism of a man photographed stroking a seal pup at Horsey.

seal pup
Adam Davey/PA

Doubt cast over hospital services changes

Charlotte Rose

BBC Essex Political Reporter

Senior councilors in Southend have cast doubt on plans for changes to the way hospital services across most of Essex are delivered.

Cabinet members say they want to reserve the right to withdraw their support for the "Sustainability Transformation Plan" (STP) - which could see some specialist services moved between hospitals - and more care given in the community.

A report discussed at a special meeting agrees that changes must be made to local health services - saying that doing nothing is not financially viable.

But it says some of the plans aren't backed up by clinical evidence, other parts aren't properly costed and describes others as "unclear and poorly defined".

Chair of the Southend and Mid Essex STP, Dr Anita Donley said: “The consultation is an opportunity to hear views and feedback on the specific proposals around hospital services and it is right and proper the council debates its response as a significant partner in this.”

Hello! Lionel Richie to perform at Holkham

International superstar Lionel Richie will return to the UK after his knock-out performance at "Glaston-berry" a few years ago with a show at Holkham Hall.

Lionel Richie
Getty Images

The June date is part of a summer tour, which will see him visit historic venues across the country.

Expect hits from his extensive and much-loved repertoire spanning decades, fans have been told.

But there'll be no "dancing on the ceiling" - the gig is an open-air event!

Meanwhile, the EDP is reporting some fans are outraged by the high price of tickets, which start at £75.

Creative subjects being squeezed, schools tell BBC

Four in 10 Suffolk schools have made cuts to at least one creative subject and more than a quarter have cut back on specialist staff, a BBC survey suggests.

Pupils doing an art class
BBC

More than half the mainstream state secondary schools in Suffolk responded to the BBC survey asking about changes to their creative arts subjects in the past five years.

The 24 schools - which represent the education of almost 22,000 children - said it was due to the government's focus on "core" subjects, which count more towards league tables, and less school funding.

A Department for Education spokeswoman said between 2016 and 2020 the government would have spent £400m on arts and music education.

"Since 2011, the proportion of pupils in state-funded schools taking at least one arts subject has increased," she said.

How Hadleigh's Guildhall is losing thousands of pounds a year

East Anglian Daily Times

It is one of Suffolk’s finest medieval buildings and has survived civil wars, a fire and revolutions.

But the charity charged with its upkeep is losing thousands of pounds a year, meaning the Hadleigh Guildhall needs to find new ways of making money.

Crews tackle laundrette fire at UEA

More than 20 firefighters were called to tackle a fire that broke out in a laundrette at the University of East Anglia (UEA) in Norwich.

It took the crews an hour to deal with the fire which started in a tumble drier just after 02:00.

No-one was hurt.

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Crossbows and swords seized during raid in Colchester

Police have seized a haul of weapons including two crossbows during a raid in Colchester this morning.

Officers executed a warrant at a property on Speedwell Road at about 10:00.

They also found an air rifle, two swords, three knives and a revolver as well as phones and computers suspected of being linked to crime.

No arrests were made and police said inquiries were ongoing.

Weapons haul in Colchester
Essex Police

Countdown to new music venue opening in Chelmsford

Details about a new 1,000-capacity live music venue in Chelmsford are being revealed later.

AT Music Group of Rettendon is one of the organisations involved in setting it up in the wake of the closures of venues such as the Army & Navy in Chelmsford and The Square in Harlow.

The location of the venue, and information about forthcoming acts is being kept secret for now.

BBC Essex will be hosting a Facebook Live this evening.

It comes on the day that Steve Lamacq is hosting his BBC 6music show from Suffolk for Independent Venue Week.

He's looking at the John Peel Centre in Stowmarket, but he's also recently remembered his first-ever gig at the Chancellor Hall in Chelmsford, which is long-gone.

As part of Independent Venues Week, Steve catches up with the music scene in Chelmsford.

Yallop: Ipswich Town manager job 'would be a dream'

Former Ipswich Town player Frank Yallop, who has been managing in North America since 2001, has said he had a conversation about being the boss at Portman Road back in the noughties.

Yallop, currently at Californian club Fresno, was speaking to BBC Radio Suffolk's Life's a Pitch programme ahead of watching Ipswich lose 1-0 to Wolves at the weekend.

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Campaign to shine light on landmarks

Colchester's "heritage assets" should be floodlit to make the area more attractive to visitors, a councillor has said.

Conservative Darius Laws told BBC Essex Colchester Borough Council had not realised its full potential as Britain's oldest Roman town.

"You only have to go to other cities such as York and Lincoln to see what they have done," he said.

"They would kill to have the oldest city walls in the country. We've got them, but they are dark at night."

Tim Young, deputy leader of the Labour-controlled council, said: "I'd love to see this done. But we costed this a few years ago and it was about a quarter of a million pounds then."

He added spending public money could not be justified but the council would support a private investor.

Roman wall in Colchester
BBC

Council to investigate turning old rail lines into footpaths

Andrew Sinclair

BBC Look East political correspondent

Disused railway lines could be turned into footpaths, cycle tracks and bridleways under plans being explored by Norfolk County Council.

It will spend £350,000 looking at whether it would be possible to convert the sections between King's Lynn and Fakenham, King's Lynn and Hunstanton, and Stalham and Aylsham.

Conservative councillor Martin Wilby told the policy and resources committee: "We've got many disused railways in Norfolk which could be re-used.

"As well as the health benefits, this would be good for the economy as we have lots of people who come here to walk."

Fellow Tory Bill Borrett welcomed the plans, which he said could have a "dramatic effect" on rural businesses. He also successfully pushed for the paths and gates to be wide enough to allow horses to use the tracks.

Labour's Colleen Walker also backed the idea but said £350,000 to assess the viability of such a project was "a ludicrous sum".

The council says the money is needed to bring in bids from outside sources to fund the project and it says it represents good value for money.

County council to recommend 5.99% tax increase

Andrew Sinclair

BBC Look East political correspondent

Norfolk County Council has finalised its budget which will see council tax increase by 5.99% but planned cuts to bus subsidies and gritting runs will not go ahead.

Planned cuts to the budget for children's centres will still happen but the authority says it hopes to "re-model" the service and at the moment there are no plans for any centres to close.

"This budget is a good budget," said council leader Cliff Jordan.

"Being allowed to increase council tax by another 1% really helped because it meant we were able to listen properly to (people's views) and act on what they said without having to cut another service."

But the opposition parties say cuts to services will be inevitable.

Liberal Democrats group leader Dan Roper said: "They're not hitting their targets for savings on day care this year and yet they want to make something like four times that level of savings next year and they still haven't fully worked out the details."

Labour's Steve Morphew said it was inevitable that children's centres would have to close.

The proposed budget will be voted on by the full council next month, but given the Conservative majority it will pass.

Setting Norfolk budget 'doesn't get any easier'

Andrew Sinclair

BBC Look East political correspondent

The leader of Norfolk County Council, Cliff Jordan says setting this year's council tax budget was another big challenge.

"It dosn't get any easier when you've got the government reducing one end and demand coming up on the other end," he said.

"You've got to be very inventive in the middle."

Listening to today's meeting of the policy and resources committee, it was clear how much pressure the council budget is under.

Staff wage inflation has added an extra £11m to the budget, and while the 3% precept for adult social care will bring in an extra £10.8m, care market costs and demographic pressures have added an extra £11.8m.

The council still expects to make savings of around £100m over the next four years.

Mr Jordan will have to keep on being inventive.

Cliff Jordan
Norfolk county council
Norfolk county council leader Cliff Jordan

Sudbury RUFC go second in the league with home win

About My Area

Sudbury RUFC advanced to second in the league with a home win against Old Cooperians on Saturday but they were not on their best form.

Arsonists set 300 tonnes of hay on fire

Police and fire officers are treating a blaze at a barn near Maldon as arson.

Crews were called to a farm on Manor Road, Woodham Walter, at about 01:00 on Sunday.

The first was left to burn itself out and it was reported as completely extinguished by 09:30 on Sunday.

No people or animals were injured.

Council tax due to go up and cuts reversed

Andrew Sinclair

BBC Look East political correspondent

Norfolk County Council will finalise its budget this morning.

Members are expected to recommend a 5.99% increase in council tax, and planned cuts to bus subsidies, children's centres and gritting runs are likely to be reversed because of the decision.

There will also be extra money for adult social care and children's services but the authority still had to find savings of more than £100m over the next four years.

It is planning to "re-model" many of its services. Children's centres may be moved or their opening hours reduced. There will also be a push to help older people live in their own homes rather than care homes.

Other planned savings include a reduction in the winter maintenance budget "because of a succession of milder winters".

The 5.99% increase will add £75 a year to the average Band D bill. But with expected increases from district councils and the police, many households will end up paying an extra £100 in council tax.

If today's recommendations are approved by the policy and resources committee they will be rubber- stamped by the full council in two weeks' time.

Ipswich Town fall short against champions-elect

Brenner Woolley

BBC Radio Suffolk sport

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy had few complaints about his side's performance as they lost 1-0 to runaway Championship leaders Wolves at the weekend.

Mick McCarthy
Getty Images

Matt Doherty's 15th-minute header took the visitors 12 points clear at the top of the table and extended the Blues' current run to one win in their last seven league games.

"I was delighted with the way we kept going," McCarthy told me afterwards. "Always, always could we have a bit more quality; we're always striving for that and work every day to get better.

"I'll settle for playing like that though, and against other teams, maybe, we'd be better with the ball and they won't sit in and they won't make it so hard to play through them."