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Summary

  1. Updates for Friday, 26 May, 2017
  2. Billericay father of 7/7 victim talks of his loss
  3. Essex County Cricket Club boosting security
  4. Basildon backs committee system

Live Reporting

By Nic Rigby

All times stated are UK

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Our live coverage across the day - and the week

We've just worked out after Monday, we're going to have to wait another 91 days until our next bank holiday so we're heading home to start making the most of the long weekend as soon as we can.

If you're just joining us, or you've been dipping in and out of our coverage during the day, the best way of finding out exactly what's been happening across the county is to scroll down and bring yourself up-to-date.

Have an enjoyable weekend, whatever you've got planned, and set yourself a reminder to join us again on Tuesday from 08:00.

Weekend weather: Hot and humid

Chris Bell

BBC Look East weather

It's set to be a beautiful evening across the BBC East region, with fine and dry weather and clear skies, though it could feel muggy overnight. Some sea mist and fog may move in along the Norfolk coast for a few hours.

Weather map
BBC

Tomorrow is going to be another dry and sunny one, feeling hot and humid. Cloud will increase from the west and bring the risk of a few isolated heavy showers or thunderstorms during the afternoon, although many places will remain completely dry.

Moderate southeasterly winds, becoming light southwesterly by the end of the day.

Highs of 28C (82F).

Greater Anglia warn of speed restrictions due to faulty level crossing

New coalition could 'damage' Basildon Council says former deputy leader

Nic Rigby

BBC News

The former Conservative deputy leader of Basildon Council has said the new coalition's failure to appoint a leader could damage the authority.

Last night political leadership of Basildon Council switched from the Conservatives to a loose coalition of Labour, UKIP, Independence from the EU and Wickford independents.

Basildon Town Square
Ron Galliers/Geograph

The coalition has decided not to have a leader and have a committee system rather than a cabinet system.

Former deputy leader Kevin Blake told the BBC that the committee system slowed up the process of administering a council and the coalition of left wing and right wingers would lead to "confusion" in the governing of the council.

He added: "I don't know of any other council without a leader in the whole country. Why have they done this?"

Kerry Smith
PA

Councillor Mr Blake said in May next year the Conservatives hoped to regain control of the council.

Independence from the EU group councillor Kerry Smith (pictured above), a member of the coalition who chairing the housing committee, said the decision to take the key posts from the Conservatives was a rejection of the Tory administration being dominated by Billericay Conservative members.

He said the Conservatives allowed housing developments anywhere but Billericay.

"People put their political differences aside to revolt against the Billericay Conservatives," he said.

Mr Blake rejected the idea that Tories put Blillericay ahead of other parts of the authority area.

He added: "The only thing this coalition is going to give Billericay is more housing."

Tories lose leadership of Basildon Council

Nic Rigby

BBC News

The political leadership of Basildon Council has switched from the Conservatives to a loose coalition of Labour, UKIP, Independence from the EU and Wickford independents.

Basildon
Terry Joyce/Geograph

No one party has overall control at Basildon with 19 Conservatives, nine Labour members, nine UKIP members, two Wickford independents and two from the Independence from the EU group.

The Conservatives had run the authority as the largest single party, but at a meeting last night the non-Tory councillors banded together to change the cabinet system to committee system and divide up the committee chairmanships between themselves.

Labour's Gavin Callaghan (pictured) has been elected chairman of the policy and resources committee - traditionally the post held by the leader of the council.

Gavin Callaghan
Labour Party

The other key chairmanships include senior members of Independence from the EU, UKIP and the Wickford independents.

Mr Callaghan said: "All of us need to commit ourselves to listening to what our constituents and our communities are saying and to making sound decisions based on good evidence and careful consideration. We will need to work together and listen to each other too."

The council had been led by Phil Turner of the Conservative group.

Severe congestion: M25 Essex clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Essex clockwise severe congestion, between J31 for A1306 Arterial Road West Thurrock and J1A for A282 affecting J29 for A127.

M25 Essex - Delays on M25 QE2 Bridge clockwise between J31 A1306 Arterial Road West Thurrock and J1a, A282 (Swanscombe). Congestion to J29, A127 (Romford).

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

Essex cause chaos

Surrey 67-5 v Chelmsford (at Lunch)

Mark Church

BBC Radio London commentator

A busy morning at Chelmsford. When Rory Burns won the toss he would have been delighted to say, "we will have a bat thank you".

An hour later, Surrey found themselves 31-5 and scratching their heads about what had happened. The answer: Matt Quinn and Jamie Porter were outstanding with the new ball and there was far more for the bowlers than conditions indicated.

Kumar Sangakkara is a very good man for a crisis and he has steadied things a touch. At the other end Sam Curran has illustrated his excellent temperament but Essex will settle down for lunch and be very happy with their morning's work. Infact they might just be pinching themselves.

Essex County Cricket Club takes five wickets

BBC Sport

At lunch Surrey cricket club are 67 for five. The wickets were taken by Matt Quinn and Jamie Porter.

View more on twitter

Brentwood woman chosen to chair major cats' charity

Nic Rigby

BBC News

A Brentwood GP practice manager and garden designer has been elected as the new chairman of the UK's leading feline welfare charity.

Linda Upson and cat
Cats Protection

Linda Upson is now in charge at Cats Protection. She'll be leading the charity's nine volunteer trustees. It helps almost 200,000 cats each year.

Ms Upson said: “It is an honour to be chairman of Cats Protection and I am looking forward to continuing the projects started by my predecessor, Heather McCann.

"We will be increasing the number of adoption centres, volunteer run branches, and homing and information centres, as well as expanding our education programme to reach as many people as we can."

Cats Protection has a national network of over 250 volunteer-run branches and 34 adoption centres.

Severe disruption: M25 Essex clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Essex clockwise severe disruption, at J27 for M11.

M25 Essex - One lane blocked on M25 clockwise at J27 M11, because of a broken down van. Traffic is coping well.

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

Red Poll cattle coming to Colchester to control grass growth in country park

Nic Rigby

BBC News

A herd of Red Poll cattle has taken up residency in Colchester’s High Woods Country Park to help control the growth of grass to benefit flowers, and the insects, birds and mammals that depend on them.

Red Poll cattle
Essex County Council

As well as being one of Colchester’s beauty spots, the County Park has a combination of marshy areas, hayfields and scrubland, providing the perfect habitat for thousands of different birds, mammals and plant life.

Colchester Borough Council is working in partnership with Essex County Council, to deliver conservation grazing to benefit the local wildlife and landscape.

High Woods Country Park
Terry Joyce/ Geograph

Simon Walsh, Essex County Council’s cabinet member for the environment, said: "We are delighted to be adding High Woods to our growing list of conservation grazing sites.

"We hope visitors will enjoy the sight of the cattle."

For more information on conservation grazing or to enquire about volunteering visit Legacy Grazing's website.

Severe disruption: M25 Greater London clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Greater London clockwise severe disruption, between J25 for A10 and J26 for A121.

M25 Greater London - Very slow traffic on M25 clockwise between J25, A10 (Enfield) and J26, A121 (Waltham Abbey), because of a broken down lorry. On the hard shoulder.

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

Essex exceptional with the ball

Surrey 46-5 v Essex

Mark Church

BBC Radio London commentator

I certainly didn't see this coming under blue skies on what looks like the perfect day to bat.

The ball is nipping about and the Essex bowlers have been exceptional. Matt Quinn has three wickets and Jamie Porter the other two. When Surrey won the toss, Porter and Quinn might have groaned, but they have caused havoc.

Kumar Sangakkara is still there and Surrey have to believe that batting will get easier. After what we have seen so far, that might not be the case.

Kumar Sangakkara
Rex Features

Severe disruption: M25 Essex clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Essex clockwise severe disruption, at J27 for M11 affecting J26 for A121.

M25 Essex - One lane closed and slow traffic on M25 clockwise at J27 M11, because of a broken down lorry. Congestion to J26, A121 (Waltham Abbey).

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

Essex take two wickets early on

BBC Sport

Surrey are on 13 for two after wickets from Essex's Matt Quinn and a catch by Dan Lawrence.

Essex vs Surrey
BBC
View more on twitter

Cricketers from Essex County take to the field

BBC Sport

The Essex team coming out to play.

View more on twitter

Essex play Surrey in Championship

The BBC is covering live the cricket match between Essex and Surrey. You can also find a full commentary here.

Surrey won the toss and will bat. But the teams first paused for a minute's silence as a mark of respect to those who lost their lives in Manchester on Monday night.

Essex County Cricket Club's grounds
BBC

Rory Burns captains Surrey

Essex v Surrey (11:00 BST)

Mark Church

BBC Radio London commentator

Rory Burns captains Surrey with Gareth Batty missing the game with a toe injury. Off-spinner Amar Virdi makes his Surrey debut while James Foster is in the Essex starting XI for the first time this season in the Championship, replacing Adam Wheater behind the stumps.

Burns did his first job very well. He called correctly at the toss and Surey will bat first under blue skies in Chelmsford.

View more on twitter

BBC Sport app users may need to click the link to view this Tweet.

Man airlifted to hospital after A12 collision

A man from Essex was airlifted to Addenbrooke's Hospital after sustaining multiple breaks to his leg in a two-vehicle collision southbound on the A12 at Washbrook yesterday.

A woman, also from Essex, who was in the second vehicle, received injuries to her wrists and ankles and was taken to Ipswich Hospital.

Diversions were put in place, with the northbound carriageway fully re-opening just after 19:00, and the southbound carriageway at about 23:00.

Police, who are appealing for witnesses, say the collision, which occurred at about 17:35, involved a green VW Golf and a black Ford Kuga.

From the Archives: Dr Fuch's Snowcat arrives in Tilbury 1958

Fifty nine years ago this month "Haywire", one of the snowcats used by Dr Fuch's and his Commonwealth explorers on their journey across the Antarctic continent, arrived at the port of Tilbury from New Zealand, via Antwerp.

One of the snowcats used by Dr Fuch's and his Commonwealth explorers on their journey across the Antarctic continent, arrives at the port of Tilbury in 1958
Getty Images

Illegal cigarettes seized in Southend

Southend Borough Council says thousands of illegal cigarettes have been seized from two shops in the town. A joint operation was carried out by the local Trading Standards team and Essex Police. Premises in Southchurch Road and Sutton Road were raided.

View more on twitter

Ongar teenager at semi of Britain's Got Talent

An Essex teenager is hoping to make it through to the semi-finals of Britain's Got Talent this weekend.

Harry Gardner
PA/TOM DYMOND/SYCO/THAMES

Harry Gardner (pictured above), from Ongar, wrote the ballad "Not Alone" after his Nan developed dementia.

It raised thousands of pounds for Alzheimer's Research UK last year.

His performance in the first round of the TV show provoked a powerful response from the judge Amanda Holden.

Simon Cowell and Britain's Got Talent
Getty Images

Billericay father of 7/7 victim talks of his loss

John Taylor from Billericay, who lost his 24-year-old daughter Carrie when four bombs exploded in London on 7 July 2005, talks to BBC Essex about his experience of loss.

View more on twitter

Police pursuit leads to arrests

Severe disruption: M25 Greater London anti-clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Greater London anti-clockwise severe disruption, after J28 for A1023 Brook Street affecting J29 for A127.

M25 Greater London - Slow traffic on M25 anticlockwise after J28, A1023 (Brook Street Roundabout), because of an earlier broken down vehicle. All lanes have been re-opened. Congestion to J29, A127 (Romford).

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

Essex County Cricket Club boosting security after Manchester terror attack

Nic Rigby

BBC News

Essex County Cricket Club has announced that it's increasing its security for this weekend's Championship match against Surrey - starting today in Chelmsford - following the Manchester terror attack.

Essex County Cricket Club
Essex County Cricket Club

Extra stewarding is being put in place and bag searches will be carried out before spectators go into the ground.

Spectators are also requested to keep their belongings with them at all times.

Bags or belongings must not be left on seats unattended. Any unattended bags may be removed without warning, the club said.

A spokesman said: "Because of these adopted changes, Essex County Cricket Club are expecting short delays getting into the ground and ask that spectators arrive in good time to pass through the additional security checks.

"Security arrangements will now be reviewed on a game by game basis as part of a national response.

"Essex County Cricket Club would like to thank spectators for their co-operation and their patience during this time of heightened security."

Basildon backs committee system

Councillors in Basildon have voted to run the local authority using a "committee system" rather than having a leader and a cabinet.

They say it will lead Basildon Borough Council to making "sound decisions" after listening to local people.

Basildon Council
Google

Good morning Essex

Nic Rigby

BBC News

Hello and welcome to a new day on Essex Live.

Fingers are poised above keyboards, and the team is getting ready to roll - keep with us for all the latest news updates for the county throughout the day.

We'll have the weather forecast shortly.

Severe disruption: M25 Essex anti-clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Essex anti-clockwise severe disruption, after J27 for M11.

M25 Essex - Queuing traffic on M25 anticlockwise after J27 M11, because of an earlier broken down vehicle.

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

Severe disruption: M25 Greater London clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Greater London clockwise severe disruption, between J25 for A10 and J26 for A121.

M25 Greater London - One lane closed on M25 clockwise between J25, A10 (Enfield) and J26, A121 (Waltham Abbey), because of an incident.

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

Goodbye from Essex Local Live

Orla Moore

BBC Local Live

That's it for another day of live updates from across Essex - thanks for your company.

We'll be back from 08:00 tomorrow to do it all again.

Of course if anything breaks later or overnight - you'll still find it here. Just scroll down to see what you've missed today.

And we love to hear from you - click the Get Involved button at the top of the page for social media and email options.

In the meantime we'll leave you with another Weather Watcher beauty - this one from Burnham on Crouch. Have a lovely evening.

wwpic4
BBC Weather Watchers/NicSki

Overnight weather: Not the most comfortable night for sleeping

Alex Dolan

BBC Look East weather

A warm and humid night in store, with temperatures remaining in the mid-teens in many areas.

Friday's weather map
BBC

Friday will again be hot with long spells of sunshine, continuing to feel humid, although it'll be cooler on the coast with an onshore breeze.

Highs of 26C (79F).

Get the full forecast where you live, from BBC Weather.

Southend hospital team "highly commended" for post-caesarean maternity care

Orla Moore

BBC Local Live

A project to improve the care of mums having caesareans has been recognised at an awards ceremony.

The 'enhanced recovery pathway in obstetrics' - or ERPO - was launched in May 2015 at Southend Hospital.

The team consists of maternity and anaesthetic specialists and is led by Mr Venkat Raman.

The idea is to speed up recovery so mums can spend those precious early days in the comfort of their own home.

Mr Raman said: "The way we care has seen better management of pain relief, better prevention of nausea and vomiting following surgery, early mobilisation minimising complications such as DVT, shortened hospital stay and early discharge.

"All of this contributes to a better patient experience."

Southend Hospital team
Southend Hospital

Severe disruption: A120 Essex both ways

BBC News Travel

A120 Essex both ways severe disruption, between A12 J25 and Godmans Lane affecting Colchester Road.

A120 Essex - A120 Coggeshall Road blocked and very slow traffic in both directions between Marks Tey and the Godmans Lane junction, because of debris on the road. Congestion to the Colchester Road junction.

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

Police patrols to increase over the Bank Holiday weekend

Orla Moore

BBC Local Live

The police in Essex say there'll be an increased presence across the county over one of the busiest Bank Holiday weekends of the year.

Visitors and locals will see armed and specialist police officers patrolling ports, airports, railway stations as well as seaside towns - in a response to the national threat level being raised to critical.

Essex's Deputy Chief Constable BJ Harrington yesterday moved to reassure the county that although there is heightened security, there has been no specific threat to Essex.

armed cops
BBC

Chief Supt Ewen Wilson said: "You may well see armed police officers and other specialist units this weekend. Please don’t be alarmed if you see them.

"Police officers with guns can look unusual, but please come and talk to us. Say hello, introduce yourself.

"We are asking officers to work long hours keeping Essex safe and a hello and a smile will top up our energy levels.”

Baby hamster undergoes rare operation after cooker mishap

Orla Moore

BBC Local Live

This is Lavender, a Syrian hamster from Wickford.

She's had a bit of a mare.

Lavender1
Cherrydown Vets

Poor Lavender - who's only four months old and belongs to the Weeks family - disappeared from her cage one morning.

She was found late at night squeaking and trapped behind the family's oven.

The bad news is her back leg was so badly damaged it had to be amputated. Cherrydown Vets in Basildon said it's a very rare, but life-saving, operation.

lavender2
Cherrydown Vets

The family said she's already coping with three legs - but they've had to close off the top tiers of her cage for a while.

lavender3
Cherrydown Vets

Met Police asked to assist with concrete mixer death

Orla Moore

BBC Local Live

Lee Balkwell
BBC

The Metropolitan Police has confirmed it will assist Essex Police in connection with the death of Lee Balkwell, who was found dead in a concrete mixer.

Mr Balkwell, 33, died of multiple injuries at a farm in Upminster in July 2002.

An inquest in 2008 returned a verdict of unlawful killing through gross negligence.

His father, Les, has always believed his son was murdered.

This is what the Met Police told us today:

We can confirm the MPS has received a request for assistance from Essex Police in connection with the death of Lee Balkwell. At this very early stage the matter is being assessed by detectives from the Met's Specialist Crime Review Group.

Met Police
father Les Balkwell
BBC

However, Essex Police would not be drawn on whether the case has reopened.

In 2015, Mr Balkwell's family received a payout from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, after Essex Police admitted it failed to investigate his death.

Severe disruption: M25 Greater London anti-clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Greater London anti-clockwise severe disruption, between J28 for A1023 Brook Street and J27 for M11.

M25 Greater London - One lane blocked on M25 anticlockwise between J28, A1023 (Brook Street Roundabout) and J27 M11, because of a broken down lorry. Traffic is coping well.

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

Comedy legends return to Southend - on the big screen

Orla Moore

BBC Local Live

Southend kick starts its film festival today with a very special screening.

Reels of Laurel and Hardy's lost 1927 "Battle of the Century" were discovered just two years ago and now the black and white classic is to have its regional premiere.

The comedy duo came to Southend in 1952 and stayed in the Park Inn Palace hotel - where the film will be screened.

To complete the authentic 1920s cinema experience, local musician Adam Ramet will provide live piano accompaniment.

A reputed 3,000 custard pies were thrown in the final scene.

It's the ninth year of the film festival - and it'll screen more than 50 films and local archive footage.

Laurel and hardy
BBC

Reports of dangerous driving along Corringham road

Orla Moore

BBC Local Live

Essex Police is investigating reports of a spate of dangerous driving along a south Essex highway.

Officers say drivers have been racing each other at speed along The Manor Way in Corringham, near Stanford-le-Hope.

The stretch is a popular route for lorries travelling north out of the London Gateway port.

Sgt Myles Hilbery said: "Dangerous driving and racing on any public road is unacceptable.

"Doing so on the Manor Way is particularly dangerous because of the number of HGVs travelling to and from the energy businesses which are situated here.

"The consequences of a collision involving a speeding car and an HGV laden with potentially flammable liquids are unthinkable and it could easily lead to someone being seriously injured or, even worse, killed".

The Manorway in Corringham
Google