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Summary

  1. Updates on Friday 27 February 2015

Live Reporting

By Andrew Segal and Ben Chapple

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Goodnight

That's all from the BBC Local Live Devon & Cornwall team for today.

Have a good weekend. We'll be back on Monday with a full round-up of the day's news, sport, weather and travel.

News on the hour

The top local stories at 18:00 include:

BBC Radio Cornwall: The NHS in Cornwall has warned that it's likely to be a difficult weekend as the health and care system battles to stay out of black alert status, which last week saw extreme demand on services.

BBC Radio Devon: Ten fire engines have been called to a thatch fire in Yealmpton, near Pymouth, after a blaze started in a chimney and spread to the roof.

Care charges for disabled

Plymouth City Council has introduced care charges for people on disability benefits.

Plymouth Civic Centre
BBC

The amount is determined in each case after people's individual circumstances are assessed. The council said government funding cuts have left it with no choice. More than 1,000 people will be affected by the changes.

Toilet volunteers help "valuable service"

Responding to proposals that North Devon Council is

hoping volunteers will come forward to clean public toilets in their communities, Bob Knightley emails: "South Hams District Council planned to close the public toilets in Ermington, near Ivybridge throughout the winter months.

"Ermington Parish Councillor Diane Webley and I offered to keep them clean and stocked as an alternative. South Hams Council eventually agreed with some reluctance to our offer.

"The toilets are not heavily used. About two visits a day but still provide a valuable service for our local postman and other delivery drivers passing through the village."

Exeter City injuries

BBC Sport

Exeter City

face injury problems ahead of Saturday's trip to York.

Matt Oakley faces a fitness test for Exeter, who could miss Craig Woodman and Graham Cummins, while David Noble is out with a hamstring problem. James Hamon could return in goal after recovering from a cut knee.

Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale said: "There's no point being rosy and sunny about it, but there's no point being downbeat and defeatist about it."

Cloudy and wet

David Braine

Weather forecaster, BBC Spotlight

It will turn cloudy across all parts overnight, with outbreaks of rain and drizzle at times, especially over any high ground. Southerly winds will also become strong for a time, especially along the south coasts before easing again by dawn. Minimum temperature will be 4C (39F).

Weather forecast
BBC

Saturday will continue dull and cloudy with patches of light rain in places. Further outbreaks of rain, possibly heavy at times, will also spread eastwards during the afternoon and evening. Winds will also strengthen once more, with gales likely along coastal locations. Temperatures will reach a maximum of 12C (54F).

Tuition fees: To cut or not to cut?

As Labour pledges to cut university tuition fees, Neel Rokad, a first-year law student in Exeter, tells BBC Education he thinks the current system is

far too expensive.

He says: "As a current undergraduate I would of course welcome a cut in fees, but would want to know if it will apply retrospectively and therefore reduce the fees I have already paid to £6,000."

Whale sighting 'incredible'

BBC Radio Cornwall

The sighting of a

bowhead whale off the Isles of Scilly, a mammal rarely spotted south of the Arctic, has left experts across the world "very excited", according to Dr Peter Evans, director of the
Sea Watch Foundation.

whale
Faye Page / Sea Watch Foundation

He told Radio Cornwall that 20 experts across north America had confirmed what species the sighted whale was, adding: "To have such an encounter like this in a remote place, with a whale that doesn't belong anywhere near... is just incredible."

News on the hour

The top local stories at 17:00 include:

BBC Radio Cornwall: People are being urged to try and avoid the Emergency Department at the Royal Cornwall Hospital this weekend - unless they really need it - after a recent black alert saw services severely strained.

BBC Radio Devon: Firefighters are dealing with two big blazes in the east and west of the county, at Bishops Tower, a six-storey listed house at Offwell, near Honiton; and at a thatched house in Yealmpton.

French honour D-Day veteran

BBC Spotlight

A 91-year-old Plymouth veteran has been awarded France's highest honour - the Legion d'Honneur - for taking part in the D-Day landings.

Fred Colton
BBC

Fred Colton was a 20-year-old corporal when he stormed on to Sword Beach in Normandy on 6 June 1944.

Find out more on BBC Spotlight at 18:30 on BBC One.

Appeal after van-motorbike crash

Police in Plymouth are trying to

trace witnesses after a crash between a van and a motorcycle that left the biker with serious injuries.

The 21-year-old local was taken to Derriford Hospital after the collision with the Ford Transit on Crownhill Road on Thursday morning. The 52-year-old male van driver, also from Plymouth, was taken to hospital with minor back injuries. The road was closed for seven hours.

Thatched house ablaze

BBC Spotlight

Eight fire appliances have been called to a thatched house fire at Two Crosses, Yealmpton,

Devon and Somerset Fire Service has told the BBC. Firefighters said about 25% of the building's roof was alight.

The service also

tweeted about another blaze in east Devon, saying: 13 fire appliances at large property #Fire 2 dogs rescued in #Offwell #Honiton

Buckley's bucket

via Facebook

BBC Radio Devon's Bill Buckley shows

on Facebook he is prepared to take the plunge as North Devon Council says it
hopes volunteers will come forward to clean the public toilets in their communities.

Bill Buckley with bucket and mop
BBC

However, not everyone's convinced at his preparedness. Chris Tucker said on Facebook: "I can't imagine Bill cleaning a public loo. He'd say 'Ewww. No thank you!'"

Nowell praised for 'consistency'

BBC Sport

England rugby coach Stuart Lancaster has revealed it was Jack Nowell's consistency that

won him his England place back at the expense of Jonny May.

rugger
Getty Images

The Exeter Chiefs winger will face Ireland in the Six Nations on Sunday - Stuart Lancaster said: "He rarely makes a error, he's very good under the high ball, good defensively and always beats a player on a one-on-one."

Concerns over Labour tuition fee plans

BBC Radio Devon

The Vice Chancellor of Exeter University says he's concerned

the cut in tuition fees proposed by Labour would mean a loss of funding.

Sir Steve Smith, who's also the Chairman of the board of the university admission system UCAS, says: "The whole idea of moving away from block grant was to make universities more autonomous and to able to determine their own fate, so that's our worry."

Violence image labelled 'police brutality'

Andrew Segal

Local Live

Although police say an anti-violence campaign image is "

supposed to show one drunk person attacking another", the
Daily Mail reports today that the image "can be found on clip-art websites under the label 'police brutality'".

sign
BBC

The picture, tweeted by

Devon & Cornwall Police, was pulled after users said it appeared to show a riot officer hitting someone lying on the ground.

News on the hour

The top local stories at 16:00 include:

BBC Radio Cornwall: A&E performance at the Royal Cornwall Hospital improved sharply last week, with 82.9% of patients treated within four hours, compared to 66.2% for the previous seven days.

BBC Radio Devon: Two Devon universities - Plymouth's University of St Mark and St John and the University of Exeter - wade in on plans by Labour to lower tuition fees to £6,000 a year, citing funding and debt concerns.

Too old to drive?

via Facebook

Radio Cornwall is debating "How old is too old to drive?" Despite being among the safest drivers on the road, more over-70s than ever before are being stopped from driving for medical reasons. The number's risen by a third in just three years.

Comments on the

Lunchtime with Laurence Facebook page include:

  • Trevor Goldsworthy: There are people of ALL ages who are not fit to drive, but I feel that at about 70, all people should have a medical
  • Carla Eddy: The under 25 years are the most risk? Perhaps 25 years should be when a person may have a driving licence?
  • Lee Marco Cubeddu: Safest drivers... perhaps they don't realise the wake of destruction behind them?

Hopes for 'Poldark boost'

BBC Radio Cornwall

It's hoped Cornwall's tourism industry could enjoy a valuable boost thanks to the 'Poldark effect', with a new TV adaptation of Winston Graham's much-loved books hitting our screens next month.

poldark
BBC

The BBC One serial had its Cornish premiere in Truro last night - Malcolm Bell from Visit Cornwall said the county looked "amazing" on screen: "When you think it's going out at nine o'clock on Sunday evening for eight weeks, which is bang at the time when people are choosing where they're going on holiday, from the tourism board perspective, I am over the moon."

Stuck lift shock

Andrew Segal

Local Live

One person has been treated for "minor shock" after getting stuck in a lift in Torquay,

Devon and Somerset Fire Service says.

Buttons in lift. Pic: Thinkstock
Thinkstock

Crews from two fire engines released two adults and two children from the lift in a shop in Union Street at lunchtime. The firefighters used "small tools and crew power" to release the four.

Move to restore historic buildings

Plymouth City Council has served enforcement notices on the owners of a number of historic buildings in the city in a bid to get the structures restored to their former glory.

Plymouth's Palace Theatre
BBC

The notices order owners to carry out repairs within three months from the end of March. One building, the Palace Theatre in Union Street, has been described by English Heritage as the most at risk building in the south west of England.

A cocktail of Cornish Pasties and Fisherman's Friends

BBC Radio Cornwall

The Cornish Pasty will be celebrated on the global stage this Saturday. Jon Cleave, one of the Fisherman's Friends singers, will be helping to judge the pageant of perfect pasties at

the World Championship at the Eden Project.

pasty 2
Eden Project

BBC Radio Cornwall's Duncan Warren will be

broadcasting live from the event on Saturday morning from 09:00.

Feeling flushed

Emailing about North Devon Council proposals that

volunteers could clean public toilets in their communities, Darren Short, from Plymouth emails: "This could be just a flush in the pan."

News on the hour

The top local stories at 15:00 include:

BBC Radio Cornwall: A Cornish primary school is celebrating after receiving praise from Schools Minister David Laws. Staff and teachers at Pondhu Primary School have been recognised for the school's academic performance.

BBC Radio Devon: Police are appealing for witnesses to a pile-up involving six cars and a van on Haldon Hill, near Exeter, a week ago, which closed the A38 for more than hours.

Good news in Cornwall's A&E

BBC Radio Cornwall

The latest NHS figures show waiting times at Cornwall's Accident and Emergency department dramatically improved last week during the 'black alert' crisis.

sign
BBC

The number of people attending A&E went down by more than 150, while the number of patients treated within 4 hours increased from 66.2% to 82.9%.

Cornwall's health and social care system is still under pressure after

the 'black alert' was lifted on Wednesday.

Bakers ready for pasty pageant

BBC Radio Cornwall

The best Cornish Pasty makers in the land are polishing their crimping skills ahead of the World Championships tomorrow.

pasty
Eden Project

The

event at the Eden Project attracts dozens of brilliant bakers and hundreds of pasty perfectionists, all keen to admire the champion croust.

BBC Radio Cornwall's Duncan Warren - no stranger to a Cornish Pasty - will be

broadcasting live from the event on Saturday morning from 09:00.

Continuing ferry problems

BBC Travel South West

The bad weather in the Channel has forced Brittany Ferries into cancellations until Sunday on its Plymouth routes.

You can

read more from the company here.

Decomposing inspires composition?

Andrew Segal

Local Live

Plymouth University gets involved with a project to play improvised pieces of music in a

duet for slime mould and piano at an arts festival.

Mould and piano duet. Pic: E.Miranda/E.Braund
E.Miranda/E.Braund

The mould is the core component of an interactive biocomputer, which receives sound signals and sends back responses. Is this giving a new meaning to the term "culture"?

News on the hour

The top local stories at 14:00 include:

BBC Radio Cornwall: The number of teenage pregnancies in Cornwall has fallen to a record low and is now well below the UK national average.

BBC Radio Devon: The Vice Chancellor of Exeter University, Sir Steve Smith, says a cut in tuition fees proposed by the Labour Party would mean a cut in institutions' funding.

Bog standard?

North Devon Council is

hoping volunteers will come forward to clean the public toilets in their communities.

bog
Roger Smith

The authority says its 27 facilities cost £320,000 a year and wants to find a "more economical way of providing the service" - the hope is parish councils and community groups will clean the facilities in return for a grant.

Circus animals - your views

via Facebook

MPs will debate the use of wild animals in circuses today - it's a topic that's drawing plenty of comments on the

Lunchtime with Laurence Facebook page.

  • Tasha Mirrington says simply: Ban it ban it ban it
  • Obsidian Rose comments: No animal should be used for human entertainments. So yes it should be banned, as should horse racing and show jumping, and any other activity where animals are put at risk just so the idiots of this world can entertain themselves for fun or as in the majority of cases greed and profit.
  • Pam R Newton agrees: This should have been banned years ago, Circus owners say they are protecting endangered species but I suspect making money is their prime motive. Have you ever seen Cirque De Soleil, Laurence? The most fantastic circus on earth and not a wild animal in sight.

Truro City ready for action

Brent Pilnick

BBC South West Sport

Truro City must not take Cirencester Town lightly when

the two sides clash in the Southern Premier League, says manager Steve Tully.

city
Truro City FC

Last time out,

Truro threw away a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with leaders Poole Town and are fourth in the table, six points off Poole, who have four games in hand on the White Tigers.

Hard life down west?

Bill Buckley

Presenter, BBC Radio Devon

Run the library, man the shop, fill the potholes, salt the roads in winter and now mop out the public loos, is rural life in Devon just becoming one hard slog?

Council budget cuts mean our towns and villages are relying more and more on volunteers and goodwill. I want to know what you think about that.. are you happy to roll up your sleeves and muck in, or do you think it's someone else's job? Call me on 0345 301 1034.

News on the hour

The top local stories at 13:00 include:

BBC Radio Cornwall: New NHS statistics show an improvement in Cornwall's A&E waiting times during the 'black alert' period.

BBC Radio Devon: Traders in Dartmouth are launching their own loyalty card scheme to try to beat the supermarkets at their own game.

Bad Education in Cornwall

The actor and comedian Jack Whitehall

tweets: Very excited to announce that we are making a Bad Education Movie. @Alfie_Wickers and the gang are hitting Cornwall!

school
BBC

Cornish star of People's Strictly

These are busy times for Phil Barnett from St Ives, he's competing in

the BBC's People's Strictly for Comic Relief with dancer Jeanette Manrara.

dance
Phil Barnett

Phil

tweets: Just ready to go on ITV This Morning! With @JManrara @AljazSkorjanec and @ianwaite #peoplesstrictly @KidzRUsStIves

Rain later

Kevin Thomas

BBC Weather Forecaster

After a bright and cold day, cloud will increase during the afternoon and rain will reach the far west later.

maop
BBC

Tonight there will be

further outbreaks of mostly light rain but it should become drier for most areas by morning, but remaining cloudy. Moderate or fresh south to southwesterly winds will become locally strong for a time before veering to the west and easing. Min Temp: 5C (41F).

Crown court concerns

The

West Briton is reporting criminals could start to walk free from court in Truro despite being accused of serious offences because the agency that prosecutes cases is "disintegrating", a judge has said.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), which has been hit by budget cuts and office closures in recent months, came under fire at Truro Crown Court after three cases were listed in one day for lawyers to explain delays in serving evidence.

News on the hour

The top local stories at 12:00 include:

BBC Radio Cornwall: New figures show Cornwall's A&E department improved its waiting time performance during last week's 'black alert'.

BBC Radio Devon: The head of Exeter University voices concerns over
Labour's tuition fee proposals.

Should circuses use wild animals?

Laurence Reed

Presenter, BBC Radio Cornwall

This lunchtime we'll be looking at the use of wild animals in circuses, as Parliament prepares to debate the issue.

circus
BBC

I've been talking to

Animal Defenders International who say animals should not be trained as performers. Your views welcome on 01872 222222.