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  1. Updates from Friday 16 March
  2. Theale residents vote for building of new £8m school

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

Good evening!

Thanks for joining us today and have a lovely weekend!

The BBC South Live service will resume at 08:00 on Monday.

Richard Johnson celebrates after winning the Gold Cup on Native River

Frank Keogh

BBC Sport at Aintree

Native River romps to victory in the Gold Cup at Cheltenham to give Richard Johnson his second victory in the Festival's showpiece race.

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Bid launched for Reading electric drivers to trial street charging

Hart district in Hampshire has consistently been named best place to live in the UK.
Hart district in Hampshire has consistently been named best place to live in the UK.

Oxford restaurant criticised over 'unsafe' raw beef dish

Neighbours pull together as burst water main floods homes

A large water main burst in Witney yesterday flooding homes and garages, and the local residents have been mucking in with emergency crews to prevent the water entering more properties.

Burst water main in Witney
Oxfordshire County Council Fire & Rescue

The fire service used pumps and hose lines to divert the flow of the water which was mainly affecting homes on Woodstock Road, Bramble Bank and Oakdale Road.

Thames Water is still working to re-establish water supplies and has been handing out bottled water.

Station manager Barber said: "There was a fantastic effort from residents as they rallied round and supported their neighbours to prevent water from entering homes and as a result only a few properties were affected inside."

Tributes paid after Totton headteacher's sudden death

Prince Harry highlights 'shrinking' Ministry of Defence budgets

Prince Harry has highlighted the issue of "shrinking" Ministry of Defence budgets during a visit to the home of Army aviation to present wings to military flyers.

Prince Harry at Middle Wallop military base

It follows recent widespread speculation about possible cuts to personnel and equipment due to pressures on the defence budget, alongside calls from MPs to increase spending to 3% of gross domestic product (GDP).

Speaking at Middle Wallop military base in Hampshire, the prince said: "You're now going to end up flying some of the best aircraft that we have to offer.

"In certain areas budgets are being shrunk, but essentially you guys are the assets, the aircraft is the asset and just don't forget who you're serving and who you're supporting."

Island A-Level grades 'particularly poor'

The number of A-Level students achieving grades AAB or better on the Isle of Wight was just over half the national average last year.

The number achieving AAB was 7.7% on the island, compared to 14.7% nationally.

David Walker of Hampshire Futures said levels of attainment were "particularly poor for A-Level programmes".

Speaking at the scrutiny committee for adult health and social care, Debbie Andre raised concerns about "too many providers".

"We need to look at ways, and what is being in done, to consolidate the sixth forms so that we are centres for excellence."

Isle of Wight

Bournemouth underpass 'haven for drug dealers'

Weather outlook: Snow and ice warnings

Alexis Green

BBC South Today weather presenter

A band of rain will turn more widely to snow early on Saturday morning followed by scattered snow showers.

These may become more prolonged, particularly during the evening.

Any melting of lying snow will lead to an ice risk on untreated surfaces.

View more on twitter

For a full 10-day forecast, visit BBC Weather.

Disruption to Condor Liberation services via Guernsey

Rob England

BBC News Online

The Condor Liberation will not stop in Guernsey on its way from Jersey to Poole tomorrow, the company has said.

High winds forecast for Guernsey mean conditions are predicted to be outside safe limits.

All day trips had also been cancelled, the company added.

A spokesman said Jersey to Guernsey customers could transfer to the Liberation on Friday, or on to Rapide services on Sunday.

Passengers due to travel from Guernsey to Poole will now depart from Jersey at 14:30, arriving in Poole at 20:30.

Baby oyster found in bid to boost Solent stocks

Sue Paz

BBC South

The first baby oyster has been discovered a year after thousands of adult oysters were reintroduced to the Solent in a bid to revive stocks.

Baby oyster
Blue Marine Foundation

Oyster fishing was banned in 2013 after annual harvests plummeted from 200 to 20 tonnes in five years.

About 10,000 oysters were first transferred to cages at six sites in April last year by project organiser Blue Marine Foundation.

A baby oyster has now been found close to one of the sites off Portsmouth.

Condor slams 'absurd' union claims

Rob England

BBC News Online

Condor ferries says it continues to "totally refute" claims by the RMT union that it is exploiting its workers.

The union is due to hold a protest later, and claims the company is paying "poverty wages" to workers on services to the Channel Islands.

Condor said it was a "proud and responsible employer," and the union's allegations were "absurd".

A company spokesman said: "Salary is only a part of the overall package provided to these individuals, as this includes free en-suite accommodation, all food, laundry facilities and uniform, together with non-contributory life assurance, bonus scheme and medical cover."

He added that Condor's recruitment of non-EU staff was "not uncommon," and "in line with other UK ferry firms."

The company said it fully complied with the Maritime Labour Convention 2006.

The protest is due to take place at 13:30 at Portsmouth Harbour.

Portsmouth Library

Library bosses hope scrapping fines will spur users to return 'sexy' books and other oft-pilfered items.

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Hampshire travel latest: M27 westbound delays after HGV crash

BBC News Travel

Severe accident: M27 Hampshire westbound

BBC News Travel

M27 Hampshire westbound severe accident, between J5 for A335 Wide Lane and J4 for M3 affecting J7 for A334.

M27 Hampshire - One lane closed and queuing traffic on M27 westbound between J5, A335 (Southampton Airport) and J4 M3, because of an accident. Congestion to J7, A334 (Hedge End).

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

Severe disruption: M3 Hampshire northbound

BBC News Travel

M3 Hampshire northbound severe disruption, at J9 for A34 Winnal roundabout.

M3 Hampshire - M3 lane closed on exit slip road and slow traffic northbound at J9, A34 (Winnal roundabout), because of a broken down lorry.

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

Esplanade reopens after unexploded ordnance found

Part of Ryde Esplanade has been reopened off after an unexploded ordnance device was found.

Hampshire police said a member of the public reported the find shortly before midnight.

Bomb disposal units from the Royal Navy have dealt with the device and the area has been reopened.

Cologne attacks raised by MP Ranil Jayawardena

North East Hampshire MP Ranil Jayawardena has warned of the "potential" for Britain to face similar issues to those experienced in the German city of Cologne on New Year's Eve 2015 where there were allegedly mass sexual assaults.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Conservative, Mr Jayawardena said a million refugees and migrants entered Germany in 2015, but on 31 December in Cologne "more than 1,000 criminal complaints were filed, hundreds of them alleging a sexual assault".

He said as a result a "majority" of Germans were now saying that their country "simply cannot take in any more refugees", and said: "The UK has the potential to face similar issues."

He faced cries of "shame" from the SNP benches as he concluded his speech.

Ranil Jayawardena

London men jailed over 'violent' Bournemouth jewellery raid

Two men have been jailed after a staff member had a gun held to his head during a "violent" armed robbery at a Bournemouth jewellers.

Franses jewellers

Mustafa Ali, 25, of Sandringham Road, Dalston, east London, and Michael Adiat, 23, of Maundeville Street, Lower Clapton, east London, admitted robbery and possession of a firearm at Franses Jewellers on Westover Road on 31 January last year.

Ali also admitted raids in Essex, Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire.

Ali was jailed for 16 years with five years on licence. Adiat was jailed for 12 years with three years on licence.

This was a violent offence and a very frightening ordeal for the victims, who all showed considerable bravery in the circumstances.

Det Con Jo ReganDorset Police
The land the South Oxfordshire side of the boundary with Reading

Campaigners are fighting a developer who wants to build 245 homes on rural farmland near Reading.

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Library fines axed by Portsmouth City Council

Hannah Bewley

Reporter, BBC Radio Solent

Library fines will be scrapped in Portsmouth as part of a three-year pilot scheme.

Readers bringing back overdue adult books, or reserving books from elsewhere in the city will not be charged.

Portsmouth City Council said the amount raised through library fines has gone down from £28,000 to £16,000 over the last seven years.

The scheme, to start in mid-May with an amnesty, would initially cost £20,000 but it is thought this would be made up for over time.

Library books
Getty Images

Maritime chief to retire at end of year

The chief executive of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) Sir Alan Massey is retiring after eight years in the role.

Sir Alan joined the MCA in July 2010 after a 33-year career with the Royal Navy where he left as Second Sea Lord.

During his tenure he led controversial changes to the UK’s search and rescue helicopter capability.

Sir Alan will continue his role until late 2018 to allow the appointment process for a successor to take place.

Sir Alan Massey

Car tyres slashed overnight in Poole

A number of cars have had their tyres slashed in two Poole streets overnight.

Dorset Police were called shortly before 08:00 after the damage to the vehicles parked in Sheringham Road and Recreation Road was discovered.

No arrests have been made.

Slashed tyre

Giant glitterball set for Common People

The world’s largest disco ball will be putting in an appearance at the Common People festival sites.

Organisers say it is as high as a three-storey building, covered in 2,500 mirrored tile and is filled with 350 cubic metres of air.

It will be on show during sequin-inspired fancy dress days at Rob da Bank's double-venued festival at Southampton Common and South Parks, Oxford.

Artists at the events on 26 and 27 May include The Jacksons, The New Power Generation, Boney M., and Snap!

Common People

Widow of Road Wars PC gives birth

The widow of a police officer killed in a crash while riding his motorcycle has given birth to their son three months after his death.

PC James Dixon, 39, who starred in Sky TV's Road Wars, died after a road collision in Wargrave, Berkshire.

In a poignant tribute, the baby has been named Parker Cameron James Dixon.

His grandmother Michele Allen announced on Wednesday: "Meet my gorgeous grandson Parker Cameron James Dixon (PC J Dixon) born today 12.47pm xx".

Baby Dixon
The number 4814 was PC James Dixon's shoulder number

Severe accident: A361 Oxfordshire both ways

BBC News Travel

A361 Oxfordshire both ways severe accident, between Beargarden Road and Easington Road.

A361 Oxfordshire - A361 Bloxham Road in Banbury closed and slow traffic in both directions between the Beargarden Road junction and the Easington Road junction, because of a serious accident.

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

Unexploded ordnance found on Ryde Esplanade

Part of Ryde Esplanade has been sealed off after an "unexploded ordnance device" was found.

Hampshire police said a member of the public reported the find shortly before midnight.

Bomb disposal units from the Royal Navy have been called in to deal with it.

Banbury drug deal murderer to be sentenced

Police vans at Banbury murder scene

A heroin and cocaine addict will be be sentenced later for killing a man at a flat in Banbury.

Raymond Morgan, 53, inflicted more than 20 stab wounds on Mark Pawley 25, in the attack on 1 October, and was found guilty of murder at Oxford Crown Court yesterday.

Prosecutor Adrian Redgrave QC said Mr Pawley was killed in a "sustained and savage attack" over a drug deal inside the flat where Morgan lived.

M3 re-opens after over-running roadworks

We are hearing the M3 has just re-opened southbound. It's been closed between Junctions 7 and 9, Basingstoke and Winchester, because of over-running roadworks.

A crash involving an HGV on the roundabout at junction 7 has added to the congestion.

Motorists can still expect long delays.

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View more on twitter

Philip Askew trial: Woman accused of "crush" on accused ice skater

A woman had a "serious crush" on a champion ice dancer accused of raping her when she was a girl, a court has heard.

Philip Askew, now 44, denies assaulting the woman in 1995 when he was 21 years old.

At Reading Crown Court, Sarah Elliott QC, defending suggested the woman had a "serious crush" on Mr Askew.

Giving evidence, the woman said: "It's no child's fantasy to be groomed and raped".

The trial continues.

Philip Askew

Theale residents vote for building of new £8m school

Theale residents vote in poll

Residents in a Berkshire village have narrowly voted for their parish council to release land for a new £8m primary school.

Theale Parish Council took the unusual step of holding a poll after a spat with its borough council, which wants the school built on playing fields.

Parish councillors had expressed concern over the proposed Church of England school's location.

But results showed voters were 499/440 in favour of the plans.

The poll result is not legally binding and does not have to be acted on.

M3 closed southbound due to over-running roadworks.

Commuters are facing long delays on the M3 southbound between Basingstoke and Winchester after roadworks over-ran.

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View more on twitter