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  1. Updates for Thursday 26 March 2015
  2. News, sport, travel and weather updates resume at 08:00 Friday

Live Reporting

By Alex Homer

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Good evening

Local Live has finished for the day. We're back on Friday from 08:00 with more news, sport, travel and weather. Join us then.

Tonight's forecast

Rebecca Wood

BBC Weather

It will be

dry and largely clear for most places overnight with winds easing.


Temperatures will fall close to freezing for many so a frost is expected to develop.

Lows of 3C (37F).

Coming up on TV

Nick Owen

Presenter, Midlands Today

Sandwell General and City hospitals have been classed as unsafe following a series of failings which include six never events. Two patients were operated on in the wrong place.

The Care Quality Commission believed that the trust had not learnt enough from past mistakes. We will hear more from our health correspondent, Michele Paduano. Join us for the

Midlands Today at 18:30 on BBC One.

Nuisance text firm banned

Express and Star

A firm from Wolverhampton

sent out 4.5 million nuisance spam texts in just eight months, leading to hundreds of complaints.

Sweet Media bombarded users with text messages on payday loans, gambling, credit cards and debt management.

Almost 800 complaints were made to the Information Commissioner's Office, which has ordered the firm to stop sending its marketing messages.

Les Jones: 'Harder to be believed'

Alex Homer

BBC Local Live

The new Conservative candidate for Dudley North, Les Jones, has already hinted he faces a battle to win the seat.


Afzal Amin's resignation was announced, following allegations he plotted with the EDL, Mr Jones said Mr Amin had
"hurt the party locally".

Mr Jones added: "Examples like this, if proven, tend to make it harder for those of us who are honestly involved in the political process, to be believed."

A38 lanes reopened

BBC Travel

BBC Travel

All lanes have been re-opened on the A38(M) Aston Expressway outbound after the crash we reported on earlier but congestion is still back to Dartmouth Circus.

Keep up to date with the situation


Success of family's campaign

The announcement of

the launch of the Jeff Astle Foundation on 'Astle Day' on 11 April marks the wind down of the Justice for Jeff campaign.

That's seen fans applaud in the ninth minute of Baggies' games to symbolise their support for the cause, as the Albion marksman was synonymous with his number nine shirt.

Justice for Jeff banner
Getty Images

News on the hour

Rob Mayor

Journalist, BBC WM

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson has told us the resignation of the Conservatives' original election candidate in Dudley North, could be an opportunity for the party.

Former leader of Dudley Council Les Jones has been confirmed to replace Afzal Amin, after Mr Amin was filmed trying to do a deal with the English Defence League.

Mr Johnson has told BBC WM Mr Jones will put up a great fight at the election. Listen live to

at 17:00 for more on this.

Recommendations for improvements

The Care Quality Commission has made a number of recommendations for Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust as it

rated the safety of services as "inadequate".

  • Ensure nursing staff levels are safe
  • Ensure all staff consistently report incidents
  • Store information which could identify patients securely
  • Follow up and act on safety audits
  • Address systemic gaps in patient assessment records
  • Improve staff understanding of isolation procedures

Blues boss remarks rebuffed

BBC Sport

The Football Association has

rejected criticism by Birmingham City Ladies boss David Parker of the way the FA Women's Cup draw is conducted.

Parker wants live footage of future draws to be made available.

David Parker
The FA

Ahead of

Monday's quarter-final draw, he said: "We have told the girls to expect a top team, away. We will draw a big gun out the hat again. Shock."

Birmingham were drawn away to Manchester City in the quarter-finals.

'Bomber' Brown's sidekick

Alex Homer

BBC Local Live

Jeff Astle was the best man at the wedding of West Bromwich record-goalscorer Tony "Bomber" Brown (pictured left), who described the late legend as "one of his closest friends; his sidekick".

"Astle Day",

announced by the club for the home fixture against Leicester on 11 April, will include the launch of a foundation in Jeff's name.

Tony Brown and Jeff Astle
West Bromwich Albion

Jeff died in 2002 of

a brain condition more commonly found in boxers.

Wolverhampton taxi fare freeze agreed

Express and Star

Taxi fares in Wolverhampton

have been frozen for the third year running.

From 6am-11pm Monday to Saturday, the initial fare will remain at £2.80, with every mile thereafter costing £1.60.

News on the hour

Rob Mayor

Journalist, BBC WM

At 16:00 we hear from the daughter of former West Brom striker Jeff Astle after the launch of a foundation in his name was announced.

Listen live


A38 lanes closed

BBC Travel

BBC Travel

There are two lanes closed and very slow traffic on the A38 (M) Aston Expressway outbound in Birmingham between B4132, Park Circus and the M6 at J6 for Spaghetti Junction, because of a crash,

drivers are warned.

NX West Midlands bus services 902, 904 and 105 are being diverted.

Baggies to wear Astle tribute kit

BBC Sport

West Brom will pay tribute to former striker Jeff Astle by

wearing a replica 1968 FA Cup final at home to Leicester on 11 April.

Jeff Astle, the former West Bromwich Albion striker

The kit will be part of 'Astle Day' where his family will launch a foundation to help sufferers and research of the brain condition which caused his death in 2002.

Birmingham Cathedral gets £500,000 grant to carry out vital internal repairs

Birmingham Post

The 300-year-old building is one of 30 English cathedrals

to get a share of The First World War Centenary Cathedral Repairs Fund, a government-sponsored scheme set up to help finance repairs to some of the country's most important historic buildings.

Nearby St Chads Cathedral received £227,000 from the same fund in October of last year.

Hospital trust responds after being found to be 'inadequate on safety'

The safety of services at a trust running two hospitals has

been rated "inadequate" by health watchdog the Care Quality Commission.

Sandwell General Hospital

Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Sandwell General Hospital and City Hospital in Birmingham said the report made for "difficult reading".

Chief executive Toby Lewis said examples of poor practice "are not acceptable" and it is up to the trust leadership to ensure it gets "the basics right, first time, every time for every patient".

News on the hour

Rob Mayor

Journalist, BBC WM

A senior French prosecutor says he thinks the co-pilot deliberately crashed the airliner in the Alps on Tuesday.

Brice Robin said the black box voice recorder revealed that the 28-year-old First Officer, Andreas Lubitz, had started the flight's descent while the captain was out of the cockpit, and had ignored requests to let him back in.

A total of 150 people died, including 50-year-old Martyn Matthews from Bushbury in Wolverhampton.

Listen live for more on this and other stories.

Fans call for maximum £20 ticket for away games

BBC Sport

Fans from all 20 Premier League clubs

are set to protest against match ticket prices when top-flight club executives meet.

west brom fans
Getty Images

Supporters are also calling for every Premier League club to set aside £1m per season, primarily to subsidise ticket prices for their away fans.

"Away fans generate much of the atmosphere, often sparking the home support into life," reads an open letter by the Football Supporters Federation.

M42 disruption

BBC Travel

BBC Travel

There is disruption on the A3400 in Solihull which is closed and slow traffic in both directions between Shirley and the Gate Lane junction.

It is between the M42 J4 and down to a spillage of diesel on the road.

Stay up to date on the

BBC Travel site.

News on the hour

Chris Blakemore

News editor, BBC WM

The Care Quality Commission said there were not enough nurses on some wards at Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals - which runs both Sandwell General Hospital in West Bromwich, and City Hospital in Birmingham.

They also found that the Trust hasn't learnt from so-called "never events" - mistakes that should never happen. These include two patients being operated on the wrong side of their body.

More on this story in

the 14:00 bulletin.

Les Jones: an experienced campaigner

Kath Stanczyszyn

Political Reporter (Black Country), BBC WM

One of the first Conservative voices to question whether Afzal Amin could remain as the candidate for Dudley North after allegations he plotted with the EDL emerged, has been selected as his replacement.

Les Jones has experience of fighting big campaigns after running to be MP in the past and for police and crime commissioner for the West Midlands last year.

As a former Dudley Council leader, he will be popular among the people who know him, but the question is now whether voters want him to represent them in Parliament.

Pothole funding

Sarah Falkland

BBC Midlands Today presenter

Almost half a billion pounds needs to be spent repairing potholes in the region.


The Asphalt Industry Alliance says despite councils reporting an increase in maintenance budgets, one in six roads in England and Wales are still classed as being poor.

More details coming up on

Midlands Today on BBC One at 13:40

A brighter afternoon

Charlie Slater

Weather Presenter, BBC Midlands Today

Some sunshine and

perhaps an isolated shower this afternoon.


It will be rather breezy throughout though.

Albion's 'historic' kit-change

Astle Day on 11 April will mark the second time the Premier League has granted permission for a kit-change following Manchester United's switch to a retro design for the 50th anniversary of the Munich air disaster in 2008.

The replicas (worn by Saido Berahino and Darren Fletcher) will be stripped of names and branding, with 2-11 numbers and a blank goalkeeper's jersey to mirror those worn for the 1968 Wembley FA Cup victory.

Saido Berahino and Darren Fletcher wearing the replica kit
Matthew Ashton/AMA

The club said it had

agreed to auction the kit to raise funds for the new Jeff Astle Foundation.

News on the hour



the news at 13:00

A charity is warning that electric and hybrid cars could become an increasing danger to blind people because they can't hear them coming.

Why Les Jones is running


The former leader of Dudley Council Les Jones has been chosen as the Tory Candidate for Dudley North.

Les Jones

It is after the previous candidate

Afzal Amin resigned earlier this week after holding talks with the EDL.

Watchdog's verdict on hospital trust

Michele Paduano

BBC Midlands health correspondent

Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust was rated as "requires improvement" overall, following the

CQC's inspection which took place in October last year at Sandwell General Hospital and City Hospital in Birmingham.

CQC's inspection team said it informed the trust of its concerns immediately after the inspection so that it could take steps to improve.

The trust was rated as "inadequate" with regard to whether it was always providing a service that is safe.

Alps plane crash: Co-pilot 'wanted to destroy plane'

The co-pilot of the Germanwings plane that crashed into the French Alps on Tuesday

appeared to want to "destroy the plane", French officials said.

Marseille prosecutor Brice Robin, citing information from the "black box" voice recorder, said the co-pilot was alone in the cockpit and intentionally started a descent while the pilot was locked out.

Martyn Matthews and his family
Matthews family

The crash

claimed the life of Wolverhampton businessman Martyn Matthews (centre left) who was among 150 people killed.

Les Jones chosen to replace Afzal Amin as Dudley North Conservative candidate

Express and Star

Former Dudley Council leader Les Jones has been

chosen by the Conservatives to stand in Dudley North after the resignation of Afzal Amin over his talks with the English Defence League.

Councillor Jones is considered a 'trusted' candidate having previously stood for Parliament in 2001 and 2005 in Halesowen and Rowley Regis.

News on the hour

Michelle Dawes

Journalist, BBC WM

German public prosecutors have confirmed that there was only one pilot in the cockpit of the Germanwings plane when it crashed, killing all 150 people on board. It's not known which of the pilots was in the cockpit.

Unnamed investigators have been quoted as saying that a pilot was banging on the door trying to get back in.

More on this in

the news at 12:00.

French school coach crash driver sentenced

The driver of a coach that crashed in France three years ago killing a teacher from Alvechurch School has been found guilty of manslaughter, according to the lawyers who represented 25 passengers injured in the incident.

They say Derek Thompson, 50, was given a six-month suspended jail sentence.

The coach involved in the crash and emergency services

A total of 49 pupils and staff from the school were returning from a ski trip when the coach crashed.

Peter Rippington - a maths and games teacher - died and several others had life-changing injuries.

JLR investment

Jaguar Land Rover has confirmed reports that it's to spend £400 million at its Castle Bromwich plant to build a new Jaguar XF model.

Jaguar logo
Getty Images


part of a £600m investment to support research and development and manufacturing - there'll be a new aluminium body shop which is the biggest single investment in Castle Bromwich's history.

Dudley family call for answers after tragic fire

Stourbridge News

The family of a former pub landlady who died after a fire at her Netherton flat

is calling for answers after discovering the fire alarms in her block were broken shortly after her death.

Martine Higginson of Wells Court in St John's Street, was found dead in her living room by her sister Peppa Higginson on Tuesday, December 9, 2014, after leaving a pan burning on an electric cooker in her kitchen.

The fire had already put itself out.

'Astle Day' announced

West Bromwich Albion's announced

a tribute day to Jeff Astle including an historic kit change - to mark the launch of a foundation in his name.

The Baggies will once again don replicas of the 1968 FA Cup-winning Wembley strip in which Astle sealed the win and set a personal record for scoring in every round of the cup.

Jeff Astle celebrating a goal
Getty Images

The change of strip for "Astle Day" will coincide with the launch of a foundation in Astle's name which will promote care of other sufferers of

a brain disease normally linked to boxers from which he died.

News on the hour

Michelle Dawes

Journalist, BBC WM

A minute's silence will be held later at the firm of a Wolverhampton businessman

who died in Tuesday's plane crash in the Alps.

Martyn Matthews was travelling back from a business trip for Huf UK, which is based in Tipton. He was one of three Britons amongst the 150 who died.

Listen live to

BBC WM at 11:00 for more on this.

Muslim cemetery plans 'revived'

Birmingham Mail

Controversial plans for a Muslim cemetery in a Solihull village have been

submitted for a third time.

The proposals for the burial ground at Woodhouse Farm in Catherine-de-Barnes were turned down twice last year after planners said the development would blight greenbelt land.

Fans to protest over ticket prices

Richard Conway

BBC Radio 5 live sports news correspondent

Football fans will protest against the price of match tickets by

staging a demonstration outside a meeting of Premier League club executives.

villa fans
Getty Images

Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore is to present a letter to shareholders during their scheduled summit at a central London hotel.

He will do so on behalf of the Football Supporters' Federation and fan groups from all 20 top-flight clubs.

The letter renews a demand for all away tickets to be capped at £20.

Blind man hit by electric car twice

Radio 5 live

A charity is warning that electric and hybrid cars could become an increasing danger to blind people because they can't hear them coming.

Karl Denning, from Dudley, who lost his sight five years ago, has since been knocked down twice in a month by the same electric car in the same place because he didn't hear it approaching.

Karl Denning and Quasia

After the second accident Mr Denning applied for a guide dog, Quasia, because he said he was "in fear of his life".

Listen back to Karl's interview here.

News on the hour

Michelle Dawes

Journalist, BBC WM

Jaguar Land Rover has confirmed reports that it is to spend £400m at its Castle Bromwich plant to build a new Jaguar XF model.

It is part of a £600m investment to support research and development and manufacturing - there will be a new aluminium body shop which is the biggest single investment in Castle Brom's history.

David Bailey, a motor industry expert at Aston Business School, speaks to us in

the 10:00 news.