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Summary

  1. Southern axes train services amid overtime ban
  2. Portland stone quarry industry moves underground
  3. The German and British children who became post-war friends
  4. Oxford City Council struggles to find much-needed burial space
  5. Updates from Thursday 29 June

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

Good evening and thanks for joining

Adam Whitty

BBC South

Thank you for your esteemed company today, we will be back for more of the same tomorrow. at 08:00 BST.

You can still get in touch by email, on our Hampshire, Dorset, Berkshire and Oxford Facebook pages or on Twitter @BBC_Hampshire, @BBCDorset, @BBCBerkshire and @BBCOxford.

Until then, goodbye.

Man's body found in Solent off Isle of Wight "not suspicious"

The death of a man whose body was found in the Solent off the Isle of Wight is not being treated as suspicious.

The body, discovered about 10 miles off the south-west coast of the island, was reported by the coastguard to police on Wednesday at about 13:45 BST.

Dorset Police said it was working with Hampshire force to investigate if the body is that of Hugh Cox, 61. He was last seen leaving home for work in Poole in 20 June. His family has been informed of the discovery.

No date to strip Oxford tower's cladding

A council is searching for equipment to enable contractors to remove unsafe cladding from a tower in Oxford.

Evenload Tower in Blackbird Leys is one of two high rise buildings owned by Oxford City Council where cladding failed fire safety tests.

The authority is looking for mast climbers - a type of moveable platform - to enable cladding to be removed.

An Oxford City Council spokesperson said it was "awaiting a timetable" for when the process could begin.

Meanwhile, cladding removal has started on Windrush Tower - the other Oxford City Council high-rise where cladding failed tests - because mast climbers were already in place for a refurbishment project.

Evenload Tower
Google
Evenlode Tower is one of two that will have its rain-screen cladding replaced

Willis loses Wimbledon qualifier

Wokingham tennis player Marcus Willis will not play in the main draw of the Wimbledon singles.

He lost in straight sets to Ukraine's Illya Marchenko in the final qualifying round today, going down 6-4 6-1 7-6 (7-4).

Willis
BBC

Willis became a media darling last year after progressing to the second round, eventually losing to Roger Federer.

Meanwhile, his 15-year-old brother Joe lost his heat for the Leander Club against Star and Arrow Club earlier this afternoon at the Henley Royal Regatta.

Quite a day for the Willis family, although ultimately unsuccessful.

Isle of Wight Floating Bridge restrictions extended

The Isle of Wight's troubled floating bridge is extending the period for carrying only foot passengers at low tides until 7 July.

It had been hoped cars would be able to travel at low tides from this weekend.

The restrictions were put in place following a series of technical issues, groundings and MCA suspension since the new chain ferry began operating in mid-May.

“Over the next week, further testing will take place while the service is out of operation at low tide; so people will see the floating bridge moving during this time while the foot passenger launch remains in operation. This testing will check that the changes we have made have made the anticipated difference required to enable the floating bridge to continue to operate at low tide without touching the bottom of the river Medina.”

Ian WardCabinet member for infrastructure and transport
Car bumpers scraped on Cowes floating bridge during its first weekend in operation

Severe accident: M4 Berkshire westbound

BBC News Travel

M4 Berkshire westbound severe accident, between J12 for A4 and J13 for A34 Chieveley.

M4 Berkshire - One lane blocked on M4 westbound between J12, A4 (Theale) and J13, A34 (Chieveley), because of an accident. Traffic is coping well.

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

BBC defend 'irresponsible' sale of Caversham Park site

Adam Whitty

BBC South

The BBC have defended their decision to sell their Caversham Park site after criticism from a local councillor.

The organisation put the Grade II-listed property and gardens up for sale on Tuesday to save on property costs.

Tony Page, deputy leader of Reading council, said that selling the estate without applying for any form planning permission was "irresponsible".

Cav
BBC
The site played host to Antiques Roadshow in September 2016

He told BBC Radio Berkshire: "It is unacceptable from a public interest point of view, as a licence fee payer and a tax payer.

"They are attempting an approach that won't maximise the value of the site".

The BBC say they will ensure the "maximum property value on behalf of the licence fee payer."

More than 1,500 tonnes of rock comes down on East Beach
The aftermath of an overnight rockfall on Dorset's Jurassic Coast is caught on camera.

Severe disruption: M4 Berkshire eastbound

BBC News Travel

M4 Berkshire eastbound severe disruption, between J5 for A4 and J4B for M25.

M4 Berkshire - One lane blocked and slow traffic on M4 London-bound between J5, A4 (Langley) and J4b M25, because of a broken down vehicle.

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

Man drives dumper truck into house

Hampshire Police is appealing for witness after stolen dumper truck was driven into the front of a house in Clanfield.

The incident happened on Sunday 25 June between 06:30 and 07:00 BST, when a man drove the yellow vehicle into the front of a house in Whiteland Way, before running away.

Nobody was injured in the incident.

Police tape
Getty Images

Severe accident: M25 Berkshire anti-clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Berkshire anti-clockwise severe accident, between J15 for M4 and J14 for A3113 Airport Way affecting J16 for M40.

M25 Berkshire - Queuing traffic on M25 anticlockwise between J15 M4 and J14, A3113 (Heathrow Terminal 4), because of an accident earlier on. All lanes have been re-opened. Congestion to J16 M40.

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

Severe disruption: M4 Berkshire westbound

BBC News Travel

M4 Berkshire westbound severe disruption, between J12 for A4 and J13 for A34 Chieveley.

M4 Berkshire - Slow traffic and one lane blocked on M4 westbound between J12, A4 (Theale) and J13, A34 (Chieveley), because of an obstruction on the road.

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

Severe accident: M40 Oxfordshire northbound

BBC News Travel

M40 Oxfordshire northbound severe accident, between J9 for A34 and J10 for A43 Brackley.

M40 Oxfordshire - One lane blocked and delays on M40 northbound between J9, A34 (Bicester) and J10, A43 (Brackley), because of an accident.

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

Gloomy afternoon ahead

After a cloudy start to the day, we can expect more of the same as the afternoon progresses.

Temperatures are expected to peak at 17C and stay a mild 14C overnight.

BBC weather
BBC
Jermain Defoe

Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe re-signs for former club Bournemouth on a free transfer.

Read more

Ellis still 'numb' after amateur win

Harry Ellis wins the British Amateur Championship
Getty Images

Harry Ellis becomes the second Hampshire golfer in as many years to win the Amateur Championship and secure an Open spot.

Harry Ellis wins the British Amateur Championship

Ellis still 'numb' after amateur win

Harry Ellis becomes the second Hampshire golfer in as many years to win the Amateur Championship and secure an Open spot.

Read more

West Bay cliff fall

Some spectacular footage of the overnight cliff fall which has blocked East Beach at West bay and closed the coast path.

More than 1,500 tonnes of rock comes down on East Beach

Reading has second lowest uptake of free school meals

Faye Harland

BBC Radio Berkshire news editor

Reading has the second lowest uptake of free infant school meals in mainland England, statistics released today show.

National numbers recorded by the Office of National Statistics on a census day in January 2017 show that 75.7 per cent of infant school children in the Reading borough opted for a free lunch.

Only Brighton and Hove had a lower figure at 72.8 per cent.

The average for England is 86.1 per cent.

Oxford rail link plans open for public consultation

Dave Gilyeat

BBC South

A plan to improve rail links between Oxford and the east of England has opened for public consultation.

It is part of Network Rail's East West Rail project which aims to "make cross-country travel easier".

Phase 2 of the western section of the project will introduce direct rail passenger services between Bedford and Oxford, Milton Keynes and Oxford, as well as Milton Keynes and London Marylebone via Aylesbury.

It will mean passengers and freight services can make the journey between Bedford and Oxford without having to travel in and out of London.

The work is being funded by the Department for Transport with a contribution from the East West Rail Consortium.

Project director Dominic Baldwin said: “We want as many people as possible to engage with our plans which will make travel across Britain easier."

One of the ways to comment is to head to a dedicated website.

Council housing plan to combat homelessness in Reading

Linda Serck

BBC South

Up to 100 new council properties are set to be built in Reading to combat homelessness in the town.

Almost £20m has been identified for the potential development of affordable homes as part of the council’s house-building programme.

Feasibility work is already under way to assess potential sites for development with a majority planned on existing housing land.

Councillor John Ennis, member for housing, said: "Homelessness continues to be a real problem in Reading and we are determined to do all we can to ensure people get the quality, safe and affordable accommodation they deserve.”

The money is made up of £5.4m Right to Buy receipts from sales of council homes, £1.9m developer contributions and up to £12.6m borrowing.

The rental income expected from the properties means the programme would be cost neutral and would not be an additional financial burden on the council.

Blenheim Palace to 'revolutionize' its site

Blenheim Palace has unveiled a 10-year development programme which it says will "revolutionize virtually every aspect" of its Oxfordshire World Heritage Site.

The project includes tripling the estate’s contribution to the local economy, housing 300 families in "high quality affordable housing", completing a £40m restoration programme and becoming a net generator of green energy over the next 10 years.

Blenheim Palace
BBC

Other goals will see more than 100 apprentices trained, and the "re-purchasing of key historical artefacts" which have been lost from the old collection over generations.

The palace's CEO Dominic Hare said: "We have set an ambition to be the economic lifeblood of the area, to enhance the lives of the people in our communities and to sustain, grow and share the precious resources of the estate, the park and the palace."

Blenheim Palace is the principal residence of the Dukes of Malborough. It is also notable as the birthplace and ancestral home of Sir Winston Churchill.

Jihadi Jack said 'strange things'

The parents of a 21-year-old man from Oxford, who travelled to the Islamic State-controlled area of Syria in 2014, admitted to Victoria Derbyshire he had said "strange things" but wondered if he had been forced to say them.

Jack Letts, dubbed "Jihadi Jack", is suspected of going to Syria to fight for so-called Islamic State.

His parents have pleaded not guilty to charges of funding terrorism after being accused of sending cash to their son.

View more on twitter

'Floating bridge' public meeting tonight

Montage of floating bridge issues
Karl Love

A new "floating bridge" on the Isle of Wight that has been riddled with problems since it came into service will be discussed at a public meeting tonight.

The ferry service linking East Cowes with West Cowes ran aground three times in four days since its £3.2m refurbishment last month.

Campaigners protesting against a range of ferry design faults say cars are still scraping the ground as they drive off the vessel.

Residents are invited to the meeting this evening at 18:30 BST at East Cowes Town Hall, York Avenue.

Severe disruption: M40 Oxfordshire southbound

BBC News Travel

M40 Oxfordshire southbound severe disruption, between J11 for A361 and J10 for A43 Brackley.

M40 Oxfordshire - M40 partially blocked and slow traffic southbound between J11, A361 (Banbury) and J10, A43 (Brackley), because of a vehicle fire.

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

Former Hampshire detective investigates LSD mystery

Linda Serck

BBC South

A former Hampshire detective says that a huge stash of LSD is buried in a wood in Wales.

Stephen Bentley says the mind-altering drugs were missed by officers working on Operation Julie, a huge undercover investigation in the 1970s which made international headlines.

A million LSD tabs were seized, along with enough material to make six-and-a-half million more.

Police believed the gang responsible were supplying 90% of the world's LSD.

Plas Llysyn
BBC
Plas Llysyn - could it still be harbouring millions of pounds worth of LSD?

But Mr Bentley told BBC Radio Solent that a huge haul is yet to be recovered, basing his belief on a statement written by the gang's chemist Richard Kemp in 1977 while he was in prison awaiting sentence.

In the statement Kemp said his share of the LSD is still buried in the grounds of Plas Llysyn, an old mansion in the mid-wales countryside.

Mr Bentley said: "It's clear from the statement that Kemp hid it there. The only question is, did he move it again?

"My hope would be that they [local police] go and dig it up, we don't want the locals being bothered and we don't want it falling into the wrong hands."

Mr Kemp has published his investigation in a new book.

Large cliff fall in Dorset

Roz Tappenden

BBC South

A major cliff fall in West Bay has blocked the beach and the South West Coast Path.

The collapse, which happened overnight, has forced the closure of the footpath between Freshwater and East Beach.

Dorset Police said it was not believed anyone was trapped under the rocks.

It is the second collapse to happen in less than a week at the iconic cliffs which feature in ITV's Broadchurch series.

West Bay
Dorset County Council / Bridport Harbour

Berkshire fire crews raise more than £25K for Grenfell victims

The 'oldest twins' brought together by war

June and Gretel
Other

The story of an unlikely life-long friendship between a girl from Reading and a girl from Dusseldorf, brought together after World War Two.

June and Gretel

The 'oldest twins' brought together by war

A Briton and German brought together after World War II celebrate 70 years of friendship.

Read more

Royals sign Dutchman Pelle Clement

Tim Dellor

BBC Berkshire sport editor

Reading have signed 21-year-old attacking midfielder Pelle Clement who has put pen to paper on a three-year deal with the Royals.

The Amsterdam-born player signed for an undisclosed fee, becoming the club's first acquisition of the summer transfer window.

Pelle Clement
Reading FC

Royals boss Jaap Stam said: "He will need to learn and adapt to the game over here of course, but he is a young, very promising player with a good personality.

"He is quick, technically good and has good stamina – and he is capable of playing in midfield, up front or in the wide or wing-back positions. So I’m pleased to have him with us here in Reading."

Clement is a graduate of the of Ajax Academy, quickly establishing himself as a regular at Jong Ajax following his Eerste Divisie debut as an 18-year-old in 2015.

Serious car crash leaves man with life-threatening injuries

Linda Serck

BBC South

A man suffered life-threatening injuries in a two-vehicle crash on Portland in Dorset last night.

He was the passenger in a grey Peugeot 2008 that was involved in a collision with a blue BMW on the Portland Beach Road at 23:25 BST.

The two male drivers have also been taken to hospital with serious injuries.

The road was closed in both directions to enable forensic collision investigators to examine the scene and preserve the evidence.

Man's body found off Isle of Wight

A man's body has been found in waters of the Solent off the Isle of Wight coast.

The body, discovered about 10 miles off the south-west coast of the island, was reported by the coastguard to police on Wednesday at about 13:45 BST.

Hampshire police said the death of the man in his 40's was being treated as "unexplained".

The force said officers were working to identify the man and a file was being prepared for the coroner.

Isle of Wight/south coastline
ESA/NASA

New Oxford United boss to be named 'soon'

Oxford United owner Darryl Eales expects to be able to name the club's new boss at the start of next week and is not ruling out giving someone their first job as manager.

The U's chairman has held three interviews so far and he has confirmed an internal candidate is on his six man shortlist for the position.

Frank Lampard, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Pep Clotet are among those who have been tipped to be in contention.