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Live Reporting

By John Hudson and Sarah Lee

All times stated are UK

That's all for today

Toby Wadey

BBC South

Thank you for joining us again today.

We'll be back at 08:00 tomorrow with all Berkshire's latest news, travel, sport and weather. 

Stay in touch via our   Facebook  and  Twitter  pages. 

Reactions to last night's Panorama on Slough: Life in immigration town

People have been commenting on BBC Berkshire's Facebook page following last night's Panorama special on Slough

Fawad Raza writes: "[Slough is] tolerable because not one single migrant community dominates it, unlike Luton etc."


Lesley Buller added: "My parents moved down to Slough in 1957 for my dad to work at ICI. 

"From the West Country it was a huge culture shock for them but it was a NICE town. 

"My father lamented its change before he died, not because of ethnic changes, he had many friends of different colour, nationalities and religion, but because of the lack of pride in the town."

Mike Paker said: "I lived there for 30 years, hate going back. Feel like an unwelcome outsider in my own country of birth."  

You can join in the conversation on our  Facebook  and  Twitter  pages.  

PC fired over child porn conviction

A Thames Valley Police officer who pleaded guilty to child porn offences was sacked by the force today.

PC Leigh Morris was arrested last July after officers raided his home and found illegal pictures of minors on his computers and mobile phone. 

He admitted five charges of making and possessing indecent images of children at a Luton Magistrates' Court hearing on 9 February. 

The force said Morris was dismissed without notice for gross misconduct. 

Det Ch Supt Chris Ward, head of Thames Valley Police Professional Standards Department, said Morris's conviction brought "discredit on police" and "undermines the service" they provide. 

Marlow Bridge Range Rover ban starts tomorrow

Police are reminding motorists that they face £50 fines if they drive any overweight vehicles over Marlow Bridge tomorrow. 

The Grade I listed bridge, which runs over the River Thames between Bisham in Berkshire and Marlow in Buckinghamshire, is restricted to vehicles under three tonnes and less than 6ft 6ins wide .

View more on twitter

The force said the following vehicles should not use the bridge: Range Rovers, Discoveries, Ford Transit vans, Mercedes Sprinter vans, Volvo XC90s, 4WD pick-ups, Mercedes GLE/GLS/G Classes and Audi Q7s. 

John Swift

Ben Fisher

BBC Sport

EFL Young Player of the Month for January John Swift is aiming to make "a big push" for promotion with Reading.

Read more

Mayor of Newbury hurls pancakes to crowds below

Young player of the month: 'I fitted in straight away'

BBC Sport

There was a contract offer on the table from Chelsea - but it was time to move on.

After loan spells away from the club he joined as a boy, John Swift decided something had to change. In six years at Chelsea, he made just one first-team appearance, replacing Eden Hazard against Cardiff City in 2014.

But now the 21-year-old has established himself in the Championship with Reading, who are fifth in the table under manager Jaap Stam.

John Swift
Rex Features

Midfielder Swift's three goals during January - each of them coming in victories - not only helped the Royals strengthen their position in the play-offs but also earned him the EFL Young Player of the Month award.

"We're still up there, we're still pushing for promotion and hopefully we can stay there," said Swift, who arrived at the Madejski Stadium in the summer.

Continue reading here

Rowing star and TV presenter train for canoe race to save rainforest

Olympic champion rower Helen Glover and her husband Steve Backshall will be kayaking 125 miles non-stop from Devizes in Wiltshire to the Houses of Parliament this Easter to raise money to save the rainforest in Malaysian Borneo.

They filmed themselves training in Newbury this weekend to prepare for the classic DW race, an international canoe race which involves paddling 125 miles and carrying your boat around 77 locks.

The Marlow-based pair have already raised £10,000 for the charity.

View more on twitter

Weather outlook: Rain and gusts

Holly Green

BBC Weather

BBC Weather for the South of England on 28 February 2017

Severe congestion: M25 Surrey clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Surrey clockwise severe congestion, between J13 for A30 and J15 for M4.

M25 Surrey - Very slow traffic on M25 clockwise between J13, A30 (Staines) and J15 M4.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Reading player named EFL Young Player of the Month

Garden waste collection reminder from council

Households in Reading with green bins have been advised to sign up for the council's new £50-a-year garden waste collection scheme by the end of the week .

The authority, which blamed "sustained government cuts" for introducing the charge to use the previously free service, said this was to ensure residents do not experience a break in service. 

View more on twitter

Councillor Liz Terry, Reading Borough Council's lead member for neighbourhoods, said that more than 5,000 people have signed up to the scheme so far. 

She said: “Subscribers continue to come in on a steady basis and we are expecting an increase in interest as 1st April approaches."

Stadium's £366k improvements completed

A £366,000 revamp of Palmer Park Sports Stadium in Reading has been completed.

The work included installing new track fencing, lighting and improvements to the cycle track.

It was jointly funded by Reading Borough Council and British Cycling, which contributed £121,000 to the project.

View more on twitter

Councillor Paul Gittings, the authority's lead member for sport, said: “Longer term, we are also committed to investing in a new 25-metre, 6 lane pool in Palmer Park, linked to existing leisure and sport facilities." 

A launch ceremony will be held on 11 March.

Tribute to man who died in cemetery crash in Maidenhead

Emma Midgley

BBC South

The family of a man who died after being hit by a car in a Maidenhead cemetery have paid tribute to him.

Windsor man Paul Mills, 47 died following the collision which happened when he was at work at Braywick Cemetery on Tuesday 14 February.


His family said: “Paul was very much an outside person. He liked his job and the people he worked with.

“He leaves behind his brothers, children and grandchildren. They will never forget him and will remember him with love.”

Investigations are still ongoing to establish the circumstances of the collision, and officers continue to appeal to anyone who may have witnessed the incident and have not yet spoken to police.

I’ve lost my husband and my best friend. Rest in peace darling.

Tracey MillsPaul Mills' wife

Weather latest: Damp afternoon ahead

After a bright and dry start, some showers are forecast for this afternoon. 

It will remain chilly with temperatures expected to drop to 4C overnight, and there is a chance of frost developing by dawn. 

Weather forecast for Berkshire

Man trapped in shed blaze dies

A man has died after becoming trapped in a shed which was on fire. Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue were called to Badgemore in Henley-on-Thames at 16:40 GMT. 

The man "was beyond help" when the ambulance service arrived at the scene, and a 39-year-old woman was taken to Stoke Mandeville Hospital with burns to the hand. 

Thames Valley Police is treating the death as unexplained, and the cause of the fire is being investigated. 

Road closed near Badgemore Golf Club

A road has been closed near Badgemore Golf Club on the road into Henley from Rotherfield Greys direction.


'You never get the moment back'

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the Olympian and rower from Maidenhead, Dame Katherine Grainger.

A six-time rowing World Champion across a variety of classes, her silver medal at Rio in 2016 made her the most successful female British Olympic athlete ever, having won medals in five consecutive games.

Dame Katherine Grainger on being cheated out of a medal.

Incident in hotel pool in Slough involving child

Paul Davies, manager of the Heathrow/Windsor Marriott, said: "We became aware of an incident in the pool area involving the child of one of the guests staying with us on the Saturday evening. 

"My staff acted in a fantastic, professional manner and called the paramedics, who were on site immediately and took control of the situation". 

Man killed in Henley fire

A man's died and a woman's been seriously injured in a fire at an outbuilding in Henley on Thames.

An joint police and fire investigation has been launched. 

Four-year-old still in 'serious condition' after being found unconscious in hotel pool in Slough

Emma Midgley

BBC South

Police have confirmed a four-year-old who was found unconscious in a hotel pool in Slough on Saturday is still in a "serious condition". 

Officers were called by the ambulance service at around 18:30 on Saturday to reports of an incident at a swimming pool in Ditton Road, Langley.

A four-year-old boy was found unconscious in the pool within the Marriott Hotel. He was taken out of the water by a relative.

The Marriott Hotel
Google maps

Police said: "The boy was given medical treatment at the scene and was initially taken to Wexham Park Hospital by ambulance before being transferred to John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford. 

"He remains in a serious condition."

Thames Valley Police said they were liaising with partner agencies to establish the circumstances of the incident.

And the BBC bus is off

And the BBC bus is off on the A34 northbound. Let's hope it doesn't get delayed for its next appointment in Lancashire - there are delays near junction 9 on the M40.

Bbc bus

You can catch more on today's debate on South Today

If you're craving more from today's BBC South debate on the A34 you're in luck.

BBC South Today will be dedicating time in the programme to the issues discussed on radio.

Panellists like Paul Watters are just being interviewed now by BBC Berkshire's Joe Campbell.

Paul Watters

Is the A34 a dangerous road?

'A34 is already safe'

Paul Watters said the A34 already has a three star safety rating by Highways England. He said the main issues with accidents were enforcement of the law, and educating drivers to be safer. 

He added: "The A34 is currently a three star road in terms of safety, and Highways England wants 90% of Britain's roads to be a three star rating. 

"So, we're already there in terms of creating an environment to protect drivers."

Facebook comments

And on Facebook, we've also been hearing of your experiences.

Mike Whittaker wrote: "I drive a artic for a living. This road is not fit for purpose. First it was built for HGVsS as a trunk road to link up with the motorway either end but now being used by locals as a rat run. The road surface is, well not fit for a kid on a push bike let alone the volumes of traffic. 

"I think it's time it was made as a motorway but no doubt the NIMBY lot will pop out the wood work and stop the work going ahead."

And Mike Whitehurst makes this point: " Someone mentioned the sections of A34 where the surface has lifted. I reported some of those on fixmystreet weeks ago (there was a show on BBC Radio Oxford saying to do that). 

"The response I got was that it wasn't their responsibility and they'd passed it on to whoever's responsibility it was. It never got fixed. If that had anything to do with the accident last night it was completely avoidable." 

What's it like to be an A34 lorry driver?

Alex Regan

BBC South

The A34 has been described as the spine of the South. 

Lorries from Southampton travel across the country via the major road, and some HGV drivers have also been the cause of major crashes. 

What's it like to be a lorry driver on the A34? How do other drivers react to these massive vehicles? We sent BBC Radio Solent's Matt Treacy to find out. 

A34 killer driver meets victim's partner

Inside Out South filmed a meeting between Lewis Stratford and Meg Williamson. 

Stratford has been convicted of causing death by dangerous driving after a crash which killed Ms Williamson's boyfriend, Gareth Roberts. 

Stratford was having an argument with his girlfriend on the phone when his car crossed the central reservation on the A34 in Oxfordshire. 

At the meeting, which Ms Williamson set up, Stratford, 24, said he knew he had ruined lives.  

Join us across the South for the debate  due to begin in a few moments.

Is the A34 a dangerous road?

A34: Your thoughts on twitter

You've been tweeting BBC Oxford your experiences of driving on the A34.

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

@BBCOxford no, got dashcam since commuting on A34. Stupid driving every day. Often HGVs speeding, cutting up cars and ignoring weight limits

How do we solve the issues on the A34?

Alex Regan

BBC South


From the debate we can see that there's no clear solution, and little consensus from members of the panel. 

Motoring expert Paul Watters says the government is looking at whether the A34 could be upgraded to an expressway, using technology to try and reduce accidents. 

Chief Inspector Henry Parson said drivers using phones, not speeding, was the main cause of accidents on the road.

The A34 Action Group's Alistair Cunningham said not enough is being done, and immediate action needs to be taken by the government to make the road safer for everyone. 

Angus Horner, who commutes on the road to the Harwell Campus, said the road is a legacy infrastructure from the 20th Century, and was stunting growth in the region. 

Chrys Rampley from the Road Haulage Association said that HGV companies were losing large sums of money because of the delays on the A34. 

Is enough being done for the A34?

The Department of Transport has said it is looking at enhancing junctions in Oxford on the A34, as well as providing better information for drivers through new gantries across the rest of the road. 

But is that enough? Predictions indicate that no new work will be done on the A34 until 2020. 

Angus Horner, who commutes to the Harwell Campus on the A34, believes the A34 needs to be turned into an expressway, and the road is stunting growth in the region's economy. 

A34: Your questions

Ahead of today's debate, we asked you, via the BBC News website, for questions.

Among them was Simon Holmes, who asked: "Why is it always the road itself that gets the blame for the accidents? If everyone drove sensibly there wouldn't be any accidents."

Another, who didn't give their name said: "Why spend billions on a high speed rail link which will not really serve the localities that are served by the A34? Use the money on the A34."

Chris Beavis asked: "Why are some of the slip roads so dangerously short?  In particular the southbound entries from East Ilsley and the A303 at Sutton Scotney." 

And finally, someone else who wished to remain anonymous said: "Why are the slip roads so short, making it difficult to join the road, for example those at Beedon northbound, Highclere in both directions?"

'The A34 is already at capacity'

Oxford West and Abingdon MP Nicola Blackwood has said the economically strategic A34 is already at capacity, therefore any accidents on the road will cause huge issues.  

She says that she has been lobbying ministers and the Department of Transport to improve road safety.

Ms Blackwood has said a progress report due from Highways England in the spring will highlight the practical solutions to improving road safety. 

Van fire

We've been hearing of the crash near East Illsey, but there was another incident this morning on the A34 at Abingdon, Oxfordshire, causing tailbacks.

This time a van on fire on the hard shoulder.

Van on fire
Van on fire

Driver spotted with iPad attached to steering wheel

A man was seen using an iPad while driving, attached to their steering wheel, a BBC South listener has told us.

In today's debate Chief Inspecter Henry Parsons said that using a mobile phone is as bad as drink-driving or driving after consuming drugs. 

Tomorrow a new law will come into effect which will bring in bigger punishments to drivers who are caught using mobile phones. 

Are lorries a scapegoat for A34 woes?

Alex Regan

BBC South

One in 10 vehicles on the A34 is a lorry, and many drivers blame HGV drivers for issues on the road. 

But are lorry drivers just a scapegoat for a bigger problem?

The Road Haulage Associations spokeswoman Chrys Rampley said: "Our drivers are very professional they have to have five years experience

"It's a main artery to support the Midlands and the North.

"It doesn't have capacity to meet the demand...[but] there's no other way."


Crash victim's girlfriend speaks about talking to dangerous driver

A woman who spoke to the man who caused killed her boyfriend in a crash on the A34 has spoken about her interview. 

Meg Williamson spoke to Lewis Stratford, who will be sentenced for causing death by dangerous driving at Reading Crown Court on Friday. 

After picking up his phone he crashed into Gareth Roberts, a crash that killed him. 

She said: "I'm really glad I had the opportunity to do it. 

"He was very open with me, very remorseful. 

"It was more for me to let him know that I didn't hate him, to let him know he made a terrible mistake picking up his phone."

She now wants to improve road safety on the road in memory of Mr Roberts.  

Is the A34 really that dangerous?

Alex Regan

BBC South

The A34 has been the site of a number of horrendous crashes, several involving HGVs. 

The road has 11% more lorry traffic than similar dual carriageways, but does that mean it is less safe?

Road safety expert Dan Campsall argues the road is 30% safer than other transport roads. 

Accident on the A34

Alex Regan

BBC South

As BBC South begins an hour-long broadcast on the issues with the A34, there has been an accident on the northbound carriageway near the East Ilsley turnoff. 

Thames Valley Police has said four cars were involved and it is causing tailbacks of about two miles. 

We will provide you with more travel updates as we have them.