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  1. BBC Local Live for Bristol, Bath and Weston-super-Mare for Thursday, 14 April 2016

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

Little Stoke Parkrun: In numbers

The Little Stoke Parkrun story has dominated the news this week - here's how the story looks in numbers.

Parkrun graphic
Parkrun graphic

That's it for Local Live for today. We'll be back with the latest news for Bristol, Bath and Weston-super-Mare at 7am on Friday.

A marathon effort: man to run Land's End to John O'Groats in 17 days

Imagine running the equivalent of two marathons today. Not a pleasant thought, is it?

Well that's the reality for Andy Persson, from Bristol, who is currently running from John O'Groats to Land's End and wants to complete it in just 17 days.

A&E waiting times at Southmead Hospital 'incredibly disappointing'

The average waiting times at Southmead Hospital's A&E department are longer than almost anywhere else in the country.

During February, 69.5% of patients were dealt with inside four hours. But the target is 95%.

That has put North Bristol NHS Trust second-from-bottom in a new report on waiting times. 

Andrea Young, the trust's chief executive, apologised to patients and said it was "a reflection of how busy and full" the hospital was.

Little Stoke Parkrun: Reflections on Saturday's cancellation

Little Stoke Park

Peter Lomax writes: "I must admit, in my anger last night, my first instinct was to turn up to LS park on Saturday with, say, 600 or so of my closest friends and run. 

"But I've been reflecting on this... I really don't think it's a good idea, and... it would end up reflecting badly on parkrun in general, and Little Stoke parkrun in particular."

Ian Hayes said he was worried his marshalling role would turn into crowd control.

"I enjoy volunteering at Little Stoke but with all the publicity... we could have easily been expecting a number we couldn't cope with."

Debbie Haines runs regularly at Little Stoke and says please do not turn up en masse to run. 

"This will just antagonize the situation. As far as I am aware the council are still letting us run there for the time being until an alternative is found and we do not want to jeopardise that decision." 

and Taryn Talbott is urging everyone to respect the organisers on this one. 

"I completely understand everyone's anger about this & the desire to protest, but I feel doing so may jeopardise the incredibly hard work that is going on behind the scenes to try and save our parkrun."

Suspicious material shuts Keynsham recycling centre

A suspicious material taken to Keynsham's recycling centre has caused the site to be shut down for the afternoon.

The closure of the site - where you'd usually take your box-fulls of empty bottles, newspapers and grass trimmings - is "due to an unexpected need to test a material brought to site," according to Bath and North East Somerset Council.

Glass bottles

The authority apologised and said it expected the Pixash Lane facility to reopen as normal tomorrow morning.

Edible garden opens at Bristol's Bearpit

Bristol24/7 reports that two years' of hard work has culminated in an edible garden at the Bearpit in the centre of Bristol.

Edible garden at Bearpit in Bristol

Little Stoke Parkrun: Founder urges members to 'act with dignity'


The founder of Parkrun has written to all its members asking them to act with after a row over a council's decision to charge runners.

The letter came after Stoke Gifford Parish Council voted to charge runners to use Little Stoke Park, near Bristol.

In it Paul Sinton-Hewitt said it was "extremely important" matters were resolved but through "proper channels".

The fee decision caused an outcry, prompting the cancellation of this Saturday's run.

'Hidden' Roman baths are excavated in Bath

Two hidden Roman baths are being fully excavated this week in York Street and Swallow Street.

Bath and North East Somerset Council said the dig was taking place in a section of the Roman Baths not currently open to the public.

View more on twitter

Mayoral debate: Is it too expensive? Should cyclists pay?

Cyclist in traffic

On BBC Radio Bristol's Facebook page, listeners have posted their thoughts on Bristol's traffic problems.

Hamid Rakhshan posts: "Cyclists cause wear & tear on cycle lanes should they pay ? Do you support a bylaw for cyclists to observe highway code and update the current 1??"

Kevin Wiggy Chappell: "l went to hull l paid 2 50 for a day pass l think in we should take note of other city s bus companys."

And Kie Jones wrote: "Public transport? If it was cheaper I would use it. But when it's cheaper to drive and pay parking it's a no brainer!"

Stuart Hooper: 'I'm not bitter'

Stuart Hooper

"Deep down I'd known since the initial injury that things weren't right," said Bath Rugby's Stuart Hooper.

He has been forced to retire at the age of 34 due to a back injury.

BBC Sport's Damian Derrick has spoken in depth with the team captain - click here to watch the full interview.

Mayoral debate: Sexual violence against women

Here's a question from Jess in St Andrew's who's also from the Women's Equality Party: "How will you lead and deliver a city free from sexual and domestic violence?"

Christine Townsend would protect services for those fleeing from domestic violence and supports promoting sexual education in schools.

Paul Saville would give a "high priority" to supporting people escaping domestic violence.

John Langley, who has worked as a porn star, denied he was "part of the problem in the past" when asked by John Darvall on BBC Radio Bristol. He said it was important to work with people like Jess "to drive things forward" so people had their voice.

Domestic violence generic

Tom Baldwin from TUSC said it was a "very important issue", funding support services was vital and he also would ban strip clubs in the city as he believes they oppress women.

Stoney Garnett felt it was more of a policing issue rather than a council one.

Mayoral debate: Thoughts on education

Inside a school classroom

Christine Townsend believes the academy system has allowed a separation of children "largely on the basis of their families wealth". She said no policies would ever get to the root of inequality if children are being separated between the ages of 4-11 based on wealth and affluence.

Tom Baldwin said he opposes academies. "I think schools should be under local democratic control."

If John Langley was elected mayor, he said he would want Christine on his team. "I would leave it entirely to her," he said, laughing.

Paul Saville is of a similar mind. "Give Christine the job," he said.

Finally, Stoney Garnett said he simply wanted a local authority which would "build more schools to get all the children educated."

Mayoral debate: A congested city

Time for a topic that gets most Bristolians talking - transport and travel.

Listener Tony in Brislington asked the candidates: "What are your plans to ease congestion in and around Bristol?"


Christine Townsend described it as a "top issue" and wants to see buses and trains cheaper and more co-ordinated. She added, "I really don’t know where the barriers are".

Stoney Garnett believes there are "too many traffic lights" in the city and would cut at least a quarter of them. Making bus lanes longer was his final thought.

Tom Baldwin wants to reduce the number of cars on the roads "by giving them a decent and affordable alternative". He said public ownership would be at the heart of his approach. "The key thing is the cost of it," he said. 

John Langley: "I’m keen to appoint a transport commissioner who can come in and sort this out," he said. One idea is to ban HGVs from the city centre during rush hour. He also wants to look at how we approach cycling.

Paul Saville: He is against the Residents Parking Zones, which he described as "a tax mainly on the poor". He said it was about "providing solutions rather than punitive measures" and would consider alternatives "for the people, owned by the people".

Trending in our local newspapers

Newspaper banner

Here's a look now at the local newspaper stories that are trending right now on social media:

Gloucestershire Echo:Body found in River Chelt near Cheltenham Trade Park

Bristol Post: Supermarkets are urgently recalling these fish products over deadly bacteria fears

Western Daily Press:Swindon curry house chef found with water bottle he used to wipe his bottom with

Gloucester Citizen: Gloucester Docks at sunset

Third mayoral debate on BBC Radio Bristol

City Hall, Bristol
City Hall, Bristol

Join BBC Radio Bristol until 10am for the third mayoral debate. John Darvall will be talking to (in alphabetical order):

  • TUSC: Tom Baldwin  
  • Independent: Tony Britt
  • Independent: Stoney Garnett
  • Independent: Mayor Festus Kudehinbu
  • Independent: John Langley
  • Independent: Paul Saville
  • Independent: Christine Townsend

We'll also be across the debate here on BBC Local Live.

Weather forecast 'a bit unsettled', says Bee

Weather forecast 'a bit unsettled'

Stuart Hooper: The fans' response

Gutted for @StuHooper . Brilliant leader and a colossus for @bathrugby for a number of years.

Woke up to some sad news....wish you all the best @StuHooper,thank you so much for everything you've done for us (fans) at @bathrugby

Sad to see @StuHooper retiring from rugby! You did the @bathrugby team and the fans proud, go and enjoy a beer or two! @BathBytes

Two 'giants' of their game bringing their careers to an end. Good luck @StuHooper of @bathrugby & @kobebryant of @Lakers for the future. 👏 👌

If you want to know what @StuHooper means to @bathrugby just look at the difference in how we play with him and without him. #leader

Stuart Hooper: It's a 'huge disappointment'

Stuart Hooper's retirement from Bath Rugby a 'huge disappointed'

Stuart Hooper says he's positive about the future despite the "huge disappointment" over being forced to retire from Bath Rugby due to a back injury.

A rugby retirement

Stuart Hooper
Getty Images

Sad news for Bath Rugby fans - captain Stuart Hooper has been forced to retired with immediate effect due to injury.

The 34-year-old has played 232 Premiership matches, including 138 for Bath, who he joined in 2008.

Read the full story here.

It's Thursday

Good morning and welcome to Local Live. 

We're here 'til 3pm with live updates throughout the day from the Bristol, Bath and Weston area.

Weather-wise it should be bright for much of the day, with a mixture of sunny spells and scattered showers.