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Summary

  1. A fire has broken out at St Bede's School in Cambridge
  2. The secretary of state for communities and local government is in Wisbech to discuss turning it into a "garden town"
  3. Cambridgeshire County Council will reduce opening hours at its libraries to save £2m
  4. More news, sport, travel and weather updates from 08:00 on Thursday

Live Reporting

By Katy Prickett

All times stated are UK

Our live coverage through the day

That's it from the Cambridgeshire Live team for today. We'll be back at 08:00 tomorrow with the latest news, sport, travel and weather for the county.

Don't forget you can get involved by sending us your stories and pictures at any time via emailFacebook or Twitter.

Wisbech garden town: MP Steve Barclay says 'there's a strong business case' for reopening train line

Tom Horn

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

Wisbech MP Steve Barclay has told me "we're making real progress" with plans to reopen the town's railway line.

Steve Barclay & Greg Clark
BBC

It's an essential part of the "garden town" development proposals outlined by Communities and Local Government Secretary Greg Clark (middle) during his visit to Fenland earlier.

Mr Barclay (far left) says employers, councils and schools have all come together to give a "strong business case" for the line - which would not only offer affordable housing to Cambridge workers but attract people who want to live and work in Wisbech.

Weather: Showers possible, but clear skies means a chilly night

Alex Dolan

BBC Look East weather

It'll be rather a cloudy evening, with the risk of showers in the first part of the night. Drier later with clear spells and a cold night. Minimum temperature: 0C (32F).

Weather map
BBC

Thursday should start cold, with a touch of frost even, then a fine, dry morning with sunny spells. Maximum temperature: 12C (53F). For the latest forecast where you live, go to BBC Weather.

Communities secretary says 'devolution won't be forced on anyone'

Andrew Sinclair

BBC Look East political correspondent

East Anglian devolution will not be forced on anyone who doesn't want it, according to Communities and Local Government Secretary Greg Clark who has been visiting the region today.

Greg Clark MP
Reuters

But Mr Clark, who was looking at proposals for a new garden town for Wisbech, also suggested the scheme, which has a lot of local support, would happen more quickly if devolution was in place.

His plans to give Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire extra powers and a directly elected mayor have come in for criticism since they were announced a fortnight ago.  

Headlines: Devolved East Anglia needs elected mayor, says government minister... New fire chief is acting boss Chris Strickland

Emma Maclean

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

The headlines for Cambridgeshire this afternoon:

  • The local government secretary Greg Clark says an elected mayor is essential to plans for devolving powers to East Anglia
  • St Bede's school in Cambridge will reopen after the Easter holidays as planned, despite a fire earlier today
  • And the new boss of the county's fire service is Chris Strickland

'First' history of the English Channel in the 18th Century published by Cambridge historian

Renaud Morieux teaches British history at Cambridge University, which tweets he's written the first book on the history of the English Channel in the 18th Century...

View more on twitter

Firefighter finds 'novel way of packing equipment'

The agility displayed by a Cambridgeshire firefighter is something to behold in this tweet...

View more on twitter

Library hours to be cut as county council's budget squeezed

Alex Harris

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

Huntingdon and Ely's libraries will no longer open on Sundays as part of a raft of opening hour changes announced by Cambridgeshire County Council.

Huntingdon library
Tiger/Geograph

The changes will save £700,000, says the council, and are necessary after further reductions in government funding come into force from 25 April.

March, St Neots and Wisbech libraries will all reduce their opening hours, while a decision has yet to be taken about opening times for St Ives' library.

New fire chief Chris Strickland 'brings innovative solutions'

Cambridgeshire's new fire chief Chris Strickland says he is "thrilled" to continue to work with the county's "dedicated" fire and rescue staff.

Chris Strickland
Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service

Mr Strickland has been temporarily in charge of the service since January.

Sir Peter Brown, chairman of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Fire Authority, said: "Chris has been chosen to bring innovative solutions and to continue to drive forward the organisation, while striving to deliver the best service we can."

Wisbech: Fenland's deprivation levels 'getting worse'

Katy Prickett

BBC News

Fenland District Council is hopeful that developing Wisbech as a garden town will help it tackle Fenland's deprivation levels.

Churchill Road, Wisbech
Google

The council says the district is now ranked the 80th most deprived local authority out of 326 authorities - in 2004 it was ranked 142.  

Mayor 'essential' to East Anglian devolution plans

Tom Horn

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

As well as discussing the garden town plans for Wisbech, I've been speaking to minister Greg Clark about the government's proposal to devolve powers to an "East Anglian powerhouse".

Tom Horn and Greg Clark
BBC

Mr Clark (right) told me that if the government was going to hand billions of pounds of transport money to the region, it needed to be handed to a mayor with a mandate - and not to "a committee whose members may change from month to month".

Norfolk and Suffolk county councils want to go ahead with a devolved East Anglia, but Cambridgeshire County Council said changes are needed before it could sign up.

Peterborough company in line for national award

Peterborough Telegraph

A rapidly growing tenant referencing company in Peterborough is among the front runners to pick up a major honour.

View more on twitter

Wisbech garden town: Flood mitigation essential to proposals

Tom Horn

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

Flood mitigation would be another key feature of the garden town proposal for Wisbech.

Map showing proposed Wisbech expansion
Fenland District Council

The majority of the land earmarked for up to 10,000 new homes is in Flood Zone 3 - which means it has a high probability of flooding or is flood plain.

As we locals know, Wisbech is surround by land which needs constant pumping and drainage to prevent it reverting back to wild and boggy fen.

Wisbech garden town: Reaction from residents

Sara Varey

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

I spoke to people in Wisbech yesterday about the proposal to turn it into a garden town - and got mixed reactions.

Market Square, Wisbech
David Hitchborne/Geograph

Most people told me infrastructure would be key and backed the plans for the return of the railway station with lines to Ely, Cambridge and beyond.

But one man said he reckoned it was all talk. "They've been going on about doing things here for years, but it never happens," he told me.

Wisbech: A Domesday Book town with anti-slavery connections

After proposals for a garden town were put forward, what do we know about Wisbech? 

The Crescent, Wisbech
John Sutton/Geograph

Source: A history of Wisbech

Chris Strickland confirmed as Cambridgeshire's new fire chief

Cambridgeshire has a new chief fire officer.

Cambridgeshire Fire Service engines
Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service

Chris Strickland has been the county's assistant chief fire officer since 2007, having previously worked for Hertfordshire Fire Service since he was 18.

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Fire Authority made the decision to approve Mr Strickland's appointment today after "a competitive assessment process last week".

Weather: Showers could develop later

BBC Weather Watcher "crowland lincs" snapped this fantastic sunny morning at Turves.

Turves, Cambridgeshire
crowland lincs/BBC Weather Watchers

But we're being warned that showers could develop later, with highs of 11C (52F). For a more detailed weather forecast where you live, go to BBC Weather.    

Headlines: Garden town proposal outlined for Wisbech... Thieves steal essential supplies from Cambourne's foodbank

Emma Maclean

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

These are the stories we're leading with in Cambridgeshire at lunchtime:

  • Proposals are outlined for transforming Wisbech into a garden town, with 10,000 homes and rail links to Cambridge
  • St Bede's School in Cambridge will reopen after the Easter holiday following a fire earlier today
  • Thieves have stolen several boxes of essential supplies from the foodbank in Cambourne

Wisbech 'garden town': Regeneration 'key' to expansion proposal

Tom Horn

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

Greg Clark has been visiting Wisbech this morning - and hearing that regeneration of Wisbech's Georgian town centre is a key aspect of the "garden town" proposals.

Stephen Barclay and Greg Clark
BBC

The secretary of state for communities and local government has been shown around by MP Steve Barclay.

Up to 10,000 new homes could be built under the plans.

St Bede's to open as usual after Easter holidays following fire

Katy Prickett

BBC News

I've spoken to a staff member at St Bede's Inter-Church School in Cambridge who said the school is putting plans in place to reopen as scheduled after the school holidays.

Fire damage St Bede's School
Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue

The fire broke out in a classroom in the technology building, but did not spread to other parts of the Birdwood Road campus.

Staff and parents have been emailed about the incident. Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue has begun an investigation into the cause of the blaze.

Can the garden town proposal be a 'game-changer' for Wisbech?

Tom Horn

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

Well, that's the hope of Fenland District Council.

Fenland District Council document
Fenland District Council

House price differences between Cambridge and Wisbech is one of the key reasons put forward by the district council for this garden town proposal.

But for this to go ahead there would need to be a substantial investment in infrastructure - including a £111m rail link between Wisbech and Cambridge and a £430m A47 dual carriageway to Peterborough.

Minister Greg Clark arrives in Wisbech to talk about his 'garden town' proposal

Tom Horn

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

I'm in Wisbech this morning where government minister Greg Clark has just arrived to talk about a proposal to transform the town.

Greg Clark and Steve Barclay
BBC

The secretary of state for communities and local government (left) was met by the town's MP Steve Barclay (right).

The plans involve building 10,000 new homes and a train link to Cambridge to create a new "garden town".

Travel: Lorry, van and two cars crash on A421

BBC Travel

One lane is blocked and there's queuing traffic on the A421 eastbound before the Black Cat Roundabout, on the Bedfordshire-Cambridgeshire border.

It's because of an accident involving a lorry, van and two cars.

Weather: A sunny but chilly start with showers later

Alina Jenkins

BBC Weather

The day begins chilly but will be largely dry with some sunny spells. Expect showers to develop later.

Maximum temperature: 11C (52F). For an up-to-date forecast where you live, go to BBC Weather.

Fire crews starting to leave scene of school fire

Julia Greenaway

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

Fire engines have begun leaving St Bede's school in Cambridge.

Fire engine
BBC

Headlines: Firefighters tackle a blaze at St Bede's School in Cambridge... Garden city and rail link proposal to transform Wisbech

Sam Edwards

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

Here are the stories we're leading with this morning: 

  • Firefighters have been tackling a blaze at St Bede's School in Birdwood Road in Cambridge 
  • Rt Hon Greg Clark, secretary of state for communities and local government, is in Wisbech later to discuss turning the town into a garden city with 10,000 houses and a rail link to Cambridge 
  • Cambridgeshire County Council will reduce opening hours at its libraries to save £700,000 following further government funding cuts

St Bede's fire now 'under control'

David Webster

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service has just sent us a statement about the fire at St Bede's School in Cambridge.

A spokesman said the fire, which was in a classroom on the ground floor of the two storey building, is now "under control" and crews are making the area safe.

St Bede's School fire, Cambridge
BBC

Firefighters from Cambridge, Burwell, Linton, Huntingdon and Bury St Edmunds attended this morning's blaze.

School fire was 'well developed' on arrival

Julia Greenaway

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

Station commander Stuart Smith told me the St Bede's school fire was "well developed" by the time the first crews arrived, and they called for more resources to extinguish it and protect adjacent buildings.

The fire in a classroom was fully under control by 08:00.

Fire engine
BBC

Fire-hit school currently closed for Easter

Helen Burchell

BBC News

What we know so far: 

  • The fire at St Bede's school, which is off Birdwood Road, began at about 06:00
  • The secondary school is currently closed for the Easter holidays and we've had no reports of anyone being hurt
  • Police say there is no immediate threat to the public, but have asked people to stay away from the area
Crews at St Bede's school fire
BBC

St Bede's Inter-Church school fire: A smell of smoke in the air

Julia Greenaway

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

I'm currently at the scene of a fire at St Bede's Inter-Church school in Cambridge, but if it wasn't for the emergency crews on site you may not necessarily know...

Fire at St Bede's School
BBC

There's no flames that I can see, but you can smell smoke in the air. I can see four fire engines and police have cordoned off the local area, but no-one has yet told me much more about what's going on. 

Some teachers who turned up to the school gates have been told to go home.

Video: St Bede's Inter-Church School fire

Here's some video from the scene of the fire at St Bede's Inter-Church School in Cambridge. 

St Bede's Inter-Church School fire: Photos from the scene

Firefighters are currently tackling a blaze at a school in Cambridge. 

The fire broke out at about 06:00 at St Bede's Inter-Church School on Birdwood Road. 

St Bede's School fire
BBC

Welcome to Cambridgeshire Live

David Keller

BBC News

Apologies for the late start this morning - the gremlins have been inside our computers - but they've now been destroyed and we're up and running to bring you the latest Cambridgeshire news, sport, weather and travel until 18:00.

Coming up - news about a school building on fire in Cambridge. 

In the meantime feel free to get in touch with your stories and pictures to us via emailFacebook or Twitter.