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  1. Talks have taken place which could see Northamptonshire served by the world's biggest ambulance service through a merger of the East and West Midlands
  2. Northampton North MP Michael Ellis is 'delighted' at how a £50m pothole fund he helped bring about is to be spent
  3. Three rail firms have been shortlisted to run the West Midlands franchise, which serves Northampton and Long Buckby
  4. Updates for Thursday, 7 April 2016
  5. News, sport, travel and weather updates resume on Friday at 08:00

Live Reporting

By Pete Cooper

All times stated are UK

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Our live coverage through the day

Local Live is finished for today, but we'll be back tomorrow from 08:00 with all the latest news, weather, sport and travel.

Three candidates for police and crime commissioner election

Sam Read

BBC Radio Northampton politics reporter

There will be three candidates for next month's police and crime commissioner elections in Northamptonshire after nominations closed this afternoon.

Police HQ

Kevin McKeever will stand for Labour, Stephen Mold for the Conservatives and Sam Watts for UKIP.

Current commissioner Adam Simmonds is not standing.

Pothole fund a 'victory' for Northampton constituents

Pete Cooper

BBC Local Live

Northamptonshire will be receiving £711,000 from a £50m pothole fund this year.

In the Autumn Statement, the Chancellor George Osborne said the fund was partly down to Northampton North MP, Conservative, Michael Ellis lobbying the treasury.

Mr Ellis, says the fund is a "victory" for his constituents...

Union 'shocked' at ambulance merger talks

Pete Cooper

BBC Local Live

Chanel Camelleri-Willis from Unison says she was "shocked" at talks about a merger between the East and West Midlands ambulance services...

Weather: Showery, but sunny spells tomorrow

Alex Dolan

BBC Look East weather

Tonight there will be sunny spells and scattered showers, some becoming heavy with hail and thunder possible and lows of 1-2C (33-35F).


There will be a chilly start to the day tomorrow, with sunny spells and highs of 13C (55F).

Lorry driver denies shunting car on M1 at Northampton

Elinor Cross

BBC Radio Northampton

A lorry driver has denied ramming a car on a motorway.

Paul Edwards, 67, appeared at Northampton Magistrates' Court charged with careless driving while on the M1 near Northampton on 11 November.

The driver of the car recorded the alleged incident using a dashboard camera and said Mr Edwards shunted his vehicle twice.

Mr Edwards, from Dunstable, Bedfordshire, was bailed to Corby Magistrates' Court on June 9 for trial.

Ambulance service 'merger talks': How a combined service might look

Pete Cooper

BBC Local Live

Two ambulance services have held talks about a possible merger.

Troubled East Midlands Ambulance Service is struggling financially and has some of the worst response times in England. It is thought the Trust's non-executive directors want to merge with West Midlands Ambulance Service. 

This is what a combined service might look like...                  

Current operator of West Midlands train franchise bidding again despite criticism

BBC News England

Three rail firms, Govia, which owns London Midland; West Midlands Trains Ltd, a subsidiary of Dutch-owned Abellio Transport Group; and Hong Kong-based MTR Corporation, have been shortlisted to run the West Midlands franchise, which serves Northampton and Long Buckby.

London Midland

London Midland's contract was extended by the government in 2013, despite criticism for record delays to its services. The company was forced to offer a £7m package of compensation to season ticket holders affected by the disruption.

The Department for Transport said the new operator was expected to be announced in June 2017, with them taking over the franchise in October.

Charley Hull: I hardly ever think about golf

James Burridge

BBC Look East

World number 25 golfer Charley Hull admitted to me she hardly ever thinks about golf.

Hull, who is from Burton Latimer, finished second at the recent ANA Inspiration golf tournament.

Three rail firms shortlisted to run the franchise through Northampton and Long Buckby

BBC News England

Three rail firms have been shortlisted to run the West Midlands franchise.

Current operator Govia, which owns London Midland, is in the running for the contract which is due to expire in 2017. West Midlands Trains Limited, a subsidiary of Dutch-owned Abellio Transport Group, and Hong Kong-based MTR Corporation are also bidding for the franchise.

Train station

The network covers the Midlands, south-east, north-west and services to London Euston, through Northampton and Long Buckby, and Liverpool Lime Street.

Northamptonshire Cricket gets "in your blood"

Graham McKechnie

BBC Radio Northampton sport

Northamptonshire County Cricket Club get underway in the county championships home to Sussex this weekend.

I spoke to fellow broadcaster and county cricket historian Andrew Radd, who told me the club gets "in your blood"...

Northamptonshire Police close to target for Special Constables

Sam Read

BBC Radio Northampton politics reporter

Police and Crime Commissioner, Adam Simmonds, says Northamptonshire Police will have around 800 Special Constables by end of April.

Police specials

In 2012, there were 282 and Mr Simmonds has set the target for May of 900.

PCC says potential ambulance service merger is a 'mistake'

Sam Read

BBC Radio Northampton politics reporter

Northamptonshire's police and crime commissioner says the idea of merging the East and West Midlands ambulance services is a "mistake".

Adam Simmonds

Speaking at his final police and crime panel, Adam Simmonds said while the eight minute response time target remains services should look "smaller" not bigger.

Council 'impressed' with interest in The Castle Theatre

Pete Cooper

BBC Local Live

The Borough Council of Wellingborough has planned a meeting with The Castle Wellingborough Limited over the future of the town theatre.

The Castle Theatre

The meeting comes despite the news the company is seeking an administrator.

Council leader Paul Bell said discussion are ongoing with community groups and town charities which have expressed an interest in being involved with the The Castle, adding: “I am very impressed by the level of interest in The Castle."

Semi-finalist in national board games championship is from Daventry

Daventry Express

Daventry’s representative has made it through to the semi-final in a competition to find a national board games champion.

Company running Wellingborough's Castle Theatre seeks to appoint adminstrator

Pete Cooper

BBC Local Live

The company running the Castle Theatre has submitted a Notice of Intention to Appoint an Administrator to the High Court.

Castle Theatre

Last month the Borough Council of Wellingborough announced it was terminating its contract of The Castle Wellingborough Limited to run the venue because of poor financial management.

Government pothole fund would need to be '230 times higher to bring roads up to scratch'

BBC News England

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin, said a pothole fund, of which Northamptonshire is getting £711,00 this year, is "specifically to tackle the blight of potholes".


Mr McLoughlin said: "I know how important well-maintained roads are to people across the country. Almost every journey starts and ends on a local road."

However, Local Government Association Transport spokesman Martin Tett said while the £50m is a "step in the right direction", councils need "more than 230 times that amount to cover the £11.8bn cost to bring our roads up to scratch".

Potential Tata Steel buyer 'confident' of turning business around

Pete Cooper

BBC Local Live

Liberty House Group will start due diligence on Tata Steel's loss-making UK operations within a week after a sale process starts on Monday, its boss said, adding he was confident of turning the business around with government help.

Steel works

Sanjeev Gupta said he has told the British government competitive power prices were critical to reviving the business, which includes the plant in Corby, and fighting competitors.

Gupta told Reuters his company had a turnover of around $6.5 billion and that working capital needs would not be a big issue if he buys out Tata's UK plants.

Filling in potholes is 'waste of money,' says county campaigner

A self-styled pothole crusader says government plans to spend millions of pounds on repairing potholes is a waste of money.

Brackley-based Mark Morrell, known as Mr Pothole, has been fiercely campaigning for pothole-free roads.

He said damaged roads need complete resurfacing.

View more on twitter

Headlines: Ambulance merger talks... Pothole fund for Northamptonshire

Alex Winter

BBC Radio Northampton

Here are your lunchtime headlines:

  • Talks have taken place which could see Northamptonshire served by the world's biggest ambulance service through a merger of the East and West Midlands teams
  • The government has made £711,000 available to fix potholes in county
  • There has been no play in the third and final day of Northamptonshire's opening first-class match of the season at Oxford University

PM says steel industry should be 'maintained' in the UK

Pete Cooper

BBC Local Live

The Prime Minister has said he "wants to support the steel industry" as Tata Steel will begin the formal process to sell its UK plants by Monday.

Corby Steel

David Cameron said the steel industry in the UK should be seen as of "strategic importance and one that should be maintained".

Business Secretary Sajid Javid said a number of parties had come forward to express interest in Tata Steel's UK plants, including Corby, but only named Liberty Steel, whose interest is widely known.

Northampton's queen of pasta 'overwhelmed' by reaction to her TV appearance

Northants Herald & Post

Northampton's answer to Nigella Lawson has been 'overwhelmed' by the reaction on social media to her first appearance on a TV food show this week.

Weather: Brighter spells and scattered showers

BBC Weather Watchers

Her's how Irthlingborough looked this morning as captured by BBC Weather Watcher 'coleole'.


This afternoon will be a combination of brighter spells and scattered showers with a high of 11C (52F).

You can find more details on the BBC Weather website.

Northampton MP 'delighted' with £711k pothole fund

Northampton North MP Michael Ellis is celebrating after the government revealed how a £50m pothole fund is going to be spent.

When George Osborne announced the pothole fund in the Autumn Statement he said it was "thanks to the incessant lobbying" of Mr Ellis.

View more on twitter

Cuts to children centres will disproportionately hit South Northamptonshire, says district council

Sam Read

BBC Radio Northampton politics reporter

County council plans to close or move three children's centres in South Northamptonshire have been called "disproportionate" by district councillors in the area.

mother and children

In all, Northamptonshire County Council plans to close eight children's centres and move nine into libraries. These include Bugbrooke - which would shut completely - Deanshanger and Towcester - which would move into libraries.

It says the move would save money and target areas where it is most needed.

A draft response from South Northamptonshire District Council says the plans would mean urban areas will benefit at the expense of rural ones. It also says the district council is "unconvinced" services can move to libraries.

East and West Midlands ambulance merger 'worst possible idea'

Pete Cooper

BBC Local Live

Talks have been held about creating the biggest ambulance service in the world by merging the West Midlands Ambulance Service with the East Midlands, which services Northamptonshire.

One of the critics of the idea is former NHS Trust chairman Roy Lilley...

It is the worst possible idea. It's going to create service that’s so big you can see it from outer space. - Roy Lilley

Northamptonshire gets a share of £50m pothole fund

Pete Cooper

BBC Local Live

The government has announced how a pothole fund is going to split between 118 local authorities.

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said the government wanted to "tackle the blight of potholes".

Data pic: Northamptonshire to receive £711,000 of £50m pothole fund

However, the Local Government Association said it would take £12bn to fix England's roads.

Fond memories of the man behind Rushden’s Skew Bridge site

Northamptonshire Telegraph

The man who turned Rushden’s Skew Bridge into a thriving social hub has died at the age of 93.

Saints face familiar foe Saracens in European quarter final this weekend

Graham McKechnie

BBC Radio Northampton sport

Northampton Saints and Saracens face each other on Saturday and the two side are building up quite a rivalry...

Data pic: 15 times the sides will have faced each other in the last four seasons
Getty Images

Power cut in Wellingborough

Public support 'growing,' says Kettering junior doctor

Pete Cooper

BBC Local Live

Morale "is quite high" on the picket line at Kettering Hospital, according to its lead junior doctor representative for the British Medical Association.

Kettering General Hospital

Chris Carson, who will one of the doctors providing emergency care at Kettering today while a 48 hour strike continues, said "public support, from my experience, seems to be growing".

Northampton power plant will be ‘safe’ despite traces of mercury coming out the chimney

Northampton Chronicle & Echo

Air quality experts say mercury and sulphur dioxide is likely to come out of the smokestacks of a planned new power plant in Northampton - but at a "safe level."

How do the two ambulance service which could merge compare?

Pete Cooper

BBC Local Live

The East Midlands Ambulance Service, which serves Northamptonshire, has held talks about a possible merger with the West Midlands Ambulance Service - but how do they compare...

data pic
data pic

Ambulance merger could take 'years' and 'cost millions'

Pete Cooper

BBC Local Live

Productivity and efficiency could suffer if a potential merger between the East and West Midlands ambulance services.

That's the view of Dr Iestyn Williams, a senior lecturer in health policy and management at the Health Services Management Centre in Birmingham.

He said large mergers are complex and often do not provide the anticipated benefits.

Midlands ambulance services 'in merger talks'

Michele Paduano

Health correspondent, BBC Midlands Today

Two ambulance services have held talks about a possible merger, the BBC understands.

Troubled East Midlands Ambulance Service, which services Northamptonshire, is struggling financially and has some of the worst response times in England.

East Midlands Ambulance

It is thought the Trust's non-executive directors want to merge with West Midlands Ambulance Service. Both trusts said discussions on a "range of options" had taken place, but talks were at an early stage.

Weather: Showery rain, but brighter spells in the afternoon

Georgina Burnett

BBC Weather

It will be a cloudy start for most, with showery rain in places, but with brighter spells and scattered showers this afternoon with a high of 11C (52F).

You can find more details on the BBC Weather website or my full forecast is below...

Headlines: Ambulance services could merge... Doctors say they've 'had support'

Carroll Weston

BBC Radio Northampton

Here are our top stories:

  • Talks have taken place which could see Northamptonshire served by the world's biggest ambulance service through a merger of the East and West Midlands
  • Doctors on strike in Northamptonshire say they've had a lot of support on the picket lines with their 48 hour strike due to end tomorrow morning
  • Northampton Saints face Saracens for the third time this season on Saturday, this time in the quarter finals of the European Champions Cup

Delays for trains in and out of Northampton

BBC Travel

There are delays on London Midland trains in and out of Northampton this morning...

View more on twitter

Good morning and welcome to Local Live for Northamptonshire

Pete Cooper

BBC Local Live

We'll be brining you the day's news from the BBC and other sources, up-to-date travel, the latest sport and detailed weather forecasts between now and 18:00.

If you want to get in touch then please email me, tweet us or head to Facebook.