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  1. Updates for Tuesday, 12 April 2016
  2. State of the high streets in Northamptonshire outlined in a report
  3. Emergency debate on Britain's steel industry in the House of Commons
  4. Play abandoned on day three of Northants v Sussex at Wantage Road
  5. More news, sport, travel and weather updates from 08:00 on Wednesday

Live Reporting

By Pete Cooper

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Our live coverage through the day

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

We'll see you then.

Some closed Abington Street shops can't be re-opened

Craig Lewis

BBC News

There are a large number of empty shopping units in Northampton's Abington Street - with part of the problem being companies which close down units on a long lease, but continue to pay rent on the closed shop front.

Closed shopping unit in Abington Street

Councillor Tim Hadland, Northampton Borough Council's cabinet member for regeneration, said some businesses will close units but continue to pay rent while the shop is closed.

"That is very frustrating," he said. "We want to see shops open and customers flocking to them."

Cobblers promotion reaches New York Times

Pete Cooper

BBC Local Live

Northampton Town have achieve global recognition for their promotion from League Two, with the New York Times comparing their success to that of Danny Willett winning the Masters golf, and Leicester City sitting on top of the Premier League table.

Northampton Town
Getty Images

In his article, Rob Hughes writes: "For Northampton, the recipe for success seems to be a will to survive, combined with having no fear of failure - because last November [when the club was almost wound-up], it had nothing left to lose."

You can read the full article here.

Weather: Chance of a shower tonight but fine tomorrow

BBC Weather

Most places will have a dry evening with some late sunshine but with the chance of shower later, and a low of 4C (39F).


It will be a chilly start tomorrow but it should be a largely fine day with a good deal of warm sunshine, with a high of 15C (59F).

Craft gin producer based in village near Kettering wins £150,000 prize

Northamptonshire Telegraph

A craft gin producer has secured £150,000 after winning a national competition for small and medium sized enterprises.

Abington Street: Closed for business?

Craig Lewis

BBC News

There are a large number of empty shopping units in Abington Street, with existing shop owners blaming factors including high rents.

Tim Hadland, council member for regeneration, said the street has been refurbished and the shopping experience in Northampton is improving.

Bedfordshire scientists create 3D printed hand for Northants boy

A "life changing" 3D printed hand has been created by scientists at the University of Bedfordshire for a boy born without fingers on his left hand.  

For the fist time left-handed William, 8, who lives near Towcester, is able to hold a pen and draw a picture. The device reads the signals in his arm - which makes it fully controllable

Mark Hooper, from the university, said: “Jo [Will's mother] had found a design of a hand online made by scientist in Africa... It was brilliant, but we wanted to see if we could make it less clunky and more usable for a young boy."

Headlines: Irchester family at Tunisia attack memorial... Government 'looking at options' over steel

Sarah Foster

BBC Radio Northampton

If you are catching up:

  • Prince Harry has joined the families of British victims of last year's terror attacks in Tunisia for a memorial service at Westminster Abbey, attended by the Scott family of Irchester which survived the shooting
  • Business Secretary Sajid Javid said the government is looking at series of options to find new owners for Tata Steel's plants, including the one at Corby
  • Northamptonshire opener Ben Duckett remained 18 runs short of a triple century as rain prevented play on day three against Sussex at Wantage Road  

Foster carers from Northampton who have looked after 150 children receive royal seal of approval

Northampton Chronicle & Echo

A couple from Northampton who have been foster carers for 30 years have received a special letter of commendation from the Duchess of Cambridge.

Northampton Town fan wakes up from lifesaving op asking about Cobblers promotion

Northants Herald & Post

Cobblers fan Steve Riches missed seeing his beloved Northampton Town clinch promotion after he was rushed into hospital for emergency surgery - but he woke up from the op asking about the game.

'Too many similar shops' on Abington Street

Craig Lewis

BBC News

However, another shop worker told me there are too many similar shops in Northampton's Abington Street.

Phone Box in Abington Street

Shwinjit Shah, who works at Phone Box, said: "In our shop, the problem is too much competition. When we opened there were only three shops doing this, now there are 10 and the market.

"People are coming because we offer good service, but our problem is customers are divided between stores."

Closed units reduce trade in Abington Street, shop workers says

Craig Lewis

BBC News

Closed units in Northampton's Abington Street do effect businesses there - according to one shop worker.

The closed Opera Cafe in Abington Street

Jakir Ali, an employee at one shop there, said: "If there were more shops open we would have more people walking around, which would attract more people to us."

The borough council's cabinet member for regeneration, Tim Hadland, insists the town is "changing," highlighting The Drapery as somewhere that went through a "bad patch" but has improved.

Empty units in Abington Street: Is Northampton town centre alive?

Craig Lewis

BBC News

Northampton's Abington Street contains a high number of empty shopping units, including prime sites like the former Eastgate public house and rhubarb bar.

Empty units in Abington Street

Many of the closed units are covered with Northampton Alive posters - asking the question just how alive is the town centre?

The borough council's cabinet member for regeneration, Tim Hadland, said the authority is constantly looking to improve the environment of the town centre.

"The top half of Abington Street was in a pretty poor state. We have refurbished it, brought in the new traffic policy and people are seeing the benefits," he said.

Corby MP calls for temporary nationalisation of steel industry

BBC Politics

The Conservative MP for Corby, Tom Pursglove, told the Commons during an emergency debate on the steel industry that "nothing should be ruled out", including a temporary nationalisation of Tata Steel's UK plants such as Corby.

Corby Steel

However, Business Secretary Sajid Javid made it clear that full-scale nationalisation isn't an option and said the government may "co-invest" with a private buyer and could take on some of the debt.

Rain delays Duckett triple ton bid

BBC Sport

Wantage Road
Getty Images

Ben Duckett still needs 18 runs for a triple century as rain prevents play on day three between Northants and Sussex.

Wantage Road

Rain delays Duckett triple ton bid

Ben Duckett still needs 18 runs for a triple century as rain prevents play on day three between Northants and Sussex.

Read more

St Giles Street is 'different proposition' to opposition down the M1

Craig Lewis

BBC News

I've been looking into the state of Northampton town centre in the light of a report into ways to improve our high streets.

St Giles Street

One of the jewels in the crown of the area is St Giles Street, which was recently named high street of the year

The borough council's member for regeneration, Tim Hadland, said the street is different to the average high street, which often contains "cloned multi-nationals".

He added: "The independents make all the difference. They show we have a different proposition to certain places just down the motorway."

Northampton needs a 'broader spread of shops', regeneration councillor admits

Craig Lewis

BBC News

A new report into how to improve our high streets included research carried out in Corby and Kettering. One shopper complained Kettering is full of "pound shops and low grade places".

99p Store, Abington Street

In Northampton, Abington Street's existing 99p discount store is due to be converted into a Poundland.

Northampton Borough Council's cabinet member for planning, regeneration and enterprise admitted the town centre needs "a broader spread of shops", adding: "Customers for such shops do exist, but we don't attract them to Northampton in sufficient numbers."

Boy, 8, gets 'life changing' 3D printed hand

Dani Bailey

BBC Local Live

An eight-year-old boy has received a "life changing" new 3D printed hand from the University of Bedfordshire.

William Joyner with his new 3D printed hand
University of Bedfordshire

William Joyner, who attends school in Towcester, Northamptonshire, was born with fingers missing from his left hand. 

His mum said it will mean he's able to "tie his laces" and simple things like hold "a drink in one hand and an ice lolly in the other". It's also in his favourite football team Reading FC's colours -  blue and white.

Towcester's Harry Forrester signs new three-year deal with Rangers

BBC Sport

Rangers winger Harry Forrester, originally from Towcester, has signed a new three-year contract which will keep him at the club until 2019.  

Harry Forrester
Getty Images

The 25-year-old arrived from Doncaster at the end of December on an initial six-month deal and has scored five goals in 16 games. 

Forrester was in the Northampton Town youth set-up until the age of 10 when he signed for Watford.

No play on day three of Northamptonshire county championship match

After several inspections at Wantage Road it's not good news...

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

Wantage Road inspection at 15:45

Northants 481-7 v Sussex

How many inspections is that now? Anyone been counting?

View more on twitter

Wilder hoping for more sporting success for Northampton

Graham McKechnie

BBC Radio Northampton sport

Northampton Town manager Chris Wilder told me the town is "unique" with a successful cricket, rugby and now football team.

Chris Wilder
Getty Images

Wilder said there was "no rivalry" between the Saints, Steelbacks and Cobblers and said he hopes both other clubs can have "decent seasons as well".

Activities for children, public transport and free wifi to revitalise high street, say shoppers

Martin Borley

BBC Radio Northampton

A report into how to revitalise high streets, which interviewed people in Kettering and Corby (pictured), amongst other towns, says shoppers want greater leisure facilities and activities for children and young people.


People also said they wanted reliable, cheap and frequent public transport to and from towns, daytime and evenings, and free town centre wifi.

Formula 1: Ferrari close to Mercedes but not close enough

Allan McNish

BBC Radio 5 live Formula 1 analyst

Ferrari started this season hoping to take the fight to Brackley-based Mercedes and they had given some indications they might be able to do that.

However, they have started the year with two very disappointing races.

Ferrari and Merceds
Getty Images

They are close, but not quite close enough. And if they are going to make Mercedes sweat this year, they are going to have to sort their reliability out, as well as find a bit more pace in the car. That is a tough double act, as any technical director will tell you.

We'll find out more at this weekend's Chinese Grand Prix.

Corby man dies in crash in Leicestershire

Pete Cooper

BBC Local Live

A man from Corby has been named as one of two people who died in a crash on the A606 in Somerby, Leicestershire, on Friday.

The crash at 22.45 involved a blue Ford Mondeo and a black Jaguar Estate.

The driver of the Mondeo, Jak Thomas Cooney, 22, from Corby, and the driver of the Jaguar, Andrew John Taylor, 64, from Barrow upon Soar, Leicestershire, were pronounced dead at the scene. 

Four others remain in hospital, with one person in a critical condition.

Irchester family at Westminster Abbey for Tunisia attack memorial

Mike Cartwright

BBC Look East

The Scott family from Irchester are among those attending a memorial service being held to commemorate the British tourists killed in terror attacks in Tunisia last year.

Scott family
Scott family

The family escaped gunfire after hiding in a hotel cellar. Today they're at a service at Westminster Abbey to remember the 38 people who died.

Prince Harry is among those attending and he will lay a wreath on behalf of the Queen at the abbey's memorial to innocent victims.  

Cobblers winger Holmes up for League Two player of the season

Pete Cooper

BBC Local Live

Northampton Town's Ricky Holmes has been nominated for the League Two player of the season.

The 28-year-old winger has scored 10 goals and been central to the Cobblers' unbeaten run which led to their promotion on Saturday.

Ricky Holmes
Getty Images

He'll be up against Matty Taylor of Bristol Rovers and Oxford United's Kemar Roofe, with the winner announced on Sunday at the Football League awards in Manchester.  

On this day in 1918: Cobblers striker Didymus killed in WWI action

Graham McKechnie

BBC Radio Northampton sport

In 1918 on this day, 12 April, Northampton Town striker Fred Didymus (circled) was killed in action with the 8th Middlesex Regiment, aged 32.

Fred Didymus
Getty Images

He left a wife and four children.

Weather: Cloudy with the chance of a shower

BBC Weather Watchers

It's been a cloudy start across Northamptonshire. Here's Towcester from BBC Weather Watcher 'Munroman'.


That cloud will hang around, there is a chance of a shower, but hopefully it'll stay dry with a top temperature of 14C (57F).

Headlines: Steel debate later... Cricket delayed

Sarah Foster

BBC Radio Northampton

Here are our lunchtime headlines:

  • MPs will hold an emergency debate later to discuss the crisis in the British steel industry after Tata Steel announced plans to sell all of its UK plants, including Corby
  • There will be no play until 13.10 at the earliest in Northamptonshire's county championship match against Sussex due to a wet start
  • A family from Irchester which survived the terrorist attacks in Tunisia last year is attending a memorial service in London for the victims

New 'reversed route' for Northampton Carnival revealed

Northampton Chronicle & Echo

A feast of music, dancing and colour will sweep right past doorsteps in June when Northampton Carnival returns to the town.

Innovation is 'trump card' in UK steel industry

Today Programme

BBC Radio 4

Chris McDonald, chief executive of the Materials Processing Institute, says despite the negativity around the UK's steel industry there are some "strong advantages", as Tata looks for buyer for plants including Corby.

Corby steel

Mr McDonald said: "Innovation is the UK's trump card in steel. We've heard a lot of negative things about steel, but in the UK we've got very strong research in universities, research institutes like ourselves and so on and that's where we can have an advantage."

Play delayed at Wantage Road as Duckett chases 300

Alex Winter

BBC Radio Northampton sport

Ben Duckett, currently on 282 not out, has been forced to wait for his chance to get a triple century on day three, as a wet outfield at Wantage Road delays the start.

There will be be no play before lunch with an inspection at 12.30.

When play does get under way there will be full commentary online.

Date for reopening of Wellingborough train station car park

Northamptonshire Telegraph

Commuters parking at Wellingborough's train station have been given a boost after Network Rail announced one of the closed car parks should reopen in "a few weeks".

Councils should offer free parking, says new report

Martin Borley

BBC Radio Northampton

A new report into ways to improve our high streets has been published this morning. Commissioned by a chain of clothing stores, part of the research was carried out in Kettering (pictured) and Corby. 


One of the report's findings was that retailers and councils needed to listen more to the needs of local people and have free town centre parking, which neither Kettering or Corby offer.

Residents thanked for their understanding over bin collection changes following Friday's tragedy in Daventry

Daventry Express

Households are being thanked for their understanding as bin and recycling collections in Daventry district remain disrupted following Friday's tragedy.

Steel industry could be 'in safe hands'

BBC Politics

MPs will hold an emergency debate on Britain's steel industry after Labour warned its future is "hanging by a thread".

Tata announced on Monday it had reached a deal with a British investment firm that could save more than 4,000 jobs in Scunthorpe, York and Teesside.

The government has not ruled out co-investing with a private firm to save Tata's Port Talbot site. It is not yet known what will happen in Corby.

Simon Clemison reports.

Northants v Sussex: Ben Duckett dominates again to make double century

Alex Winter

BBC Radio Northampton sport

Northants opener Ben Duckett extended his career-best score to within 18 runs of a triple century after another rain-interrupted day yesterday against Sussex at Wantage Road.

After resuming on 292-2, with Duckett on 178, the hosts progressed to 481-7 before bad light intervened.

Ben Duckett
Getty Images

But, for all Duckett's dominance, Northants ended four runs short of a fifth batting point, having only reached 396-5 at the 110-over mark.

With the 21-year-old currently on 282 not out, play resumes later with full commentary online.

Steel crisis: Emergency debate to be held in Commons

BBC Politics

MPs are to hold an emergency three hour debate on the crisis facing the UK's steel industry.

It was called for by Labour's shadow business secretary Angela Eagle, who complained the government had refused to recall parliament from its Easter break to discuss the issue.

Tata steel sites

Tata Steel has begun the formal process of selling its loss-making UK plants, including Corby, putting thousands of jobs at risk.