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  1. Updates on Wednesday 12 April 2017
  2. Busiest travel day of Easter holidays
  3. Six new free schools for county
  4. Goring cigar case to be auctioned

Live Reporting

By Craig Lewis

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Goodbye for the week

That's all from the team providing regular updates of news, travel, sport and weather in Northamptonshire for this week.

Here's a recap of some of the stories we've been covering - scroll down for more:

  • Thieves blow up cash machine at Rushden petrol station
  • A rare cigar case that belonged to Nazi Hermann Goring is to be auctioned
  • Six new free schools are to be set up in the county.

We'll be back from 08:00 on Tuesday.

Have a great Easter.

New Mayor for Wellingborough announced

Craig Lewis

BBC News

The name of the Mayor of Wellingborough has been announced.

Councillor Paul Bell (pictured centre back at the opening of Glamis Hall in the town), who has served on the Borough Council of Wellingborough since 2003, takes up the annual role.

He will raise money for Links Day Centre for adults with learning disabilities and the Mencap Wellingborough Gateway Club during his year as mayor, which will begin on 23 May.

Paul Bell
Wellingborough Borough Council

Cash machine explosion 'started by gas canister'

An explosion at a cash machine is believed to have been started by a gas canister, police have said.

As we reported, thieves targeted the cash point at a petrol station at Crown Park, Northampton Road, Rushden, in the early hours of today.

Northants Police said a "significant" amount of damage was caused to the cash machine and it is not known how much cash was stolen.

An investigation is under way and the force is asking witnesses to come forward.

No-one was hurt in the incident.

Severe disruption: M1 Northamptonshire northbound

BBC News Travel

M1 Northamptonshire northbound severe disruption, at J15A for A43.

M1 Northamptonshire - M1 lane closed on exit slip road to one and slow traffic northbound at J15a, A43 (Northampton Services), because of a broken down vehicle.

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

Explosion targets cash machine in Rushden

Police are appealing for witnesses following an incident at a petrol station in Northampton Road, Rushden, earlier today.

Officers were called to Crown Park at about 03:45 following reports of an explosion targeting a cash machine.

Emergency services attended to make the area safe and no-one was hurt in the incident.

An investigation is under way.

Hermann Goring cigar case to be auctioned off

A rare silver cigar case that belonged to leading Nazi Hermann Goring is to be auctioned in Northamptonshire.

Whittlebury-based auctioneer JP Humbert will be putting the presentation case, emblazoned with the family coat of arms of both Goring and his wife Emmy, up for offer in May.

Hermann Goring cigar case
J P Humbert

It was presented to Goring on his 50th birthday in 1943 by Luftwaffe Field Marshall Erhard Milch, whose father was Jewish and who enjoyed Goring’s "protection".

Goring was the founder of the Gestapo and in charge of the German air force until the end of World War Two. While on trial in Nuremburg on charges including crimes against humanity, he committed suicide.

Jonathan Humbert said: "This is an historic museum piece that belonged to one of history’s most notorious individuals and was presented to him by Milch - who would never be able to reconcile his position within the Nazi party and his own Jewish ancestry.

Hermann Goring cigar case
J P Humbert

"We anticipate much interest from museums, institutions and private collectors.

"While we are always mindful of those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime, this cigar box serves as reminder of the excesses of the high-ranking individuals and those who sought to ingratiate themselves with them."

The box will be up for sale as part of an International Militaria auction on 25 May and is expected to bring in £800-1,200.

Hermann Goring cigar case
J P Humbert

Rory McLeod qualifies for World Snooker Championships

Graham McKechnie

BBC Radio Northampton sport

Wellingborough's Rory McLeod has qualified for the World Snooker Championships, which starts at the Crucible in Sheffield on Saturday.

Rory McLeod
Getty Images

He came through he qualification last night, beating Hammad Miah 10-7, and will find out this morning who'll he face in the first round.

McLeod told me: "Whenever you get to the Crucible it is going to be a major experience for any snooker player.

"To get there after winning three [qualification] matches, I'm going to be buzzing."

For more on the World Championship, visit the BBC's snooker session.

Dylan Hartley says Saints European bid is his focus, not Lions

BBC Sport

Northampton Saints hooker Dylan Hartley says he is concentrating on guiding his side to at least a European Champions Cup position in the Premiership.

Saints are seventh in the table, but level on points with sixth-placed Harlequins.

Dylan Hartley
Getty Images

The England captain says he won't let possible selection for the British & Irish Lions have an impact on that aim.

"It's an uncontrollable," he said. "The selectors have got a pretty difficult job.

"What I can control is what I do this weekend against Saracens, every other player is thinking that as well.

"[Representative rugby] is the bonus of playing well off the back of club rugby or for your international side. 

"It's not my job to worry about selection - it's my job to play well."

Hartley 'not building himself up' over possible Lions place

BBC Sport

England captain Dylan Hartley says it would be a "bonus" to be selected for the British & Irish Lions tour of New Zealand this summer.

Dylan Hartley
Getty Images

Hartley, 31, led Eddie Jones' side to the Six Nations championship last month and will finish the Premiership season with his club side Northampton.

Lions head coach Warren Gatland names his touring party next week.

"I'm not building myself up for possibly what would be a setback in my eyes," Hartley said.

Deadline to register to vote looms

Today is the last day to register to vote in the local elections on 4 May.

Elections will take place for seats on Northamptonshire County Council, as well as for the by-election for the Long Buckby ward on Daventry District Council.

People can register to vote online at

Ballot box

New free schools: 'Quality teaching, not just classrooms, needed'

Willy Gilder

BBC Radio Northampton

The Northamptonshire chairman of the National Union of Teachers says he's concerned six new free schools in the county would be allowed to put unqualified teachers into classrooms to save money.

Teacher in class

Proponents say the new schools are needed to address excess demand, but Gordon White told me the quality of teaching, not just new classrooms, is key.

He said: "If there are downward pressures on funding the temptation is to use cheaper staff and even unqualified staff."

New free schools: 'Real demand on primary places'

Willy Gilder

BBC Radio Northampton

Julia Kedwards, the chief executive of Northampton Primary Academy Trust which will be running the new Harlestone Road free school, has been telling me what such schools are and why they are needed in Northamptonshire.

Free schools are controlled locally by multi-academy trusts or academy groups, as opposed to a local authority. Mrs Kedwards said this means "they have more autonomy, more control over how schools are run" and can share best-practice.

Free schools in England
Getty Images

She said such schools are needed in the county as there is "real demand" on primary school places.

"Of our seven primary schools, four have already expanded," she said. "That demand is expected to increase.

"We are at a critical point where we need to create capacity."

For more details on what free schools are see the BBC's article on 'What is the rationale behind free schools?'

New free schools: Where they will be situated

Willy Gilder

BBC Radio Northampton

I've got some more details on the six new free schools planned for Northamptonshire.


They consist of two new primaries in Northampton at Buckton Fields and in the Harlestone Road area. 

New homes are being constructed in both of these areas prompting the need for schools.

In Wellingborough, there will be a new secondary age special school, run by the Friars Multi-academy Trust and aiming to have spaces for 145 pupils.

There will also be three mainstream secondaries - at Sponne in Daventry, Houghton Gate in Northampton and the Corby Secondary Academy.

New free schools to be set up in Northamptonshire

Willy Gilder

BBC Radio Northampton

Six new free schools are to be set up in the county, consisting of two primaries, three secondaries and a secondary age special school.


Yesterday, the Department for Education gave the nod for 131 free schools nationally, including a new state boarding school.

All the schools in Northamptonshire are brand new and as yet don't have any premises.

Northants 'chubsters' putting mental health over physical fitness... and it's reaping rewards

The Daily Telegraph

Northamptonshire's cricketers started this season with an emphatic two-day win over Glamorgan - and the Daily Telegraph's Scyld Berry has been celebrating the success of the county's "larger than life" players.

Or 'chubsters' as coach David Ripley describes them...

Planning an Easter trip today? Watch out for the roadworks...

Daniel Wainwright

Data unit - English regions

Planning to beat the crowds and take to the roads and railways today ahead of the Easter break? If so, you may already be too late...

Today is the busiest day for the great getaway, with more than 20 million cars expected to be on the roads and more than 200 rail engineering works taking place over Easter.

Among the longest stretches of roadworks over Easter is the M1 at Crick, which is home to more than 15 miles of work.

Longest stretches of roadworks over Easter

Thursday's weather: Early sunshine before it clouds over

Sara Thornton

BBC Weather

There'll be some sunshine, but make the most of it, as cloud will increase as we go through the afternoon. 

The cool north westerly wind may bring a little drizzle much later on, but mostly we've got a dry day ahead of us.

Top temperature: 12C (54F).

Watch my full regional forecast here:

Welcome back: Northamptonshire Live

Craig Lewis

BBC News

Good morning and welcome to another day of live updates from across Northamptonshire. We'll be here from now until 18:00 bringing you the very latest news, sport, weather and travel.

We'll have the latest weather for you soon, as well as some news about our potentially busy roads ahead of the Easter weekends.

BBC Weather Watchers/PaulaMaria
Dylan Hartley

England captain Dylan Hartley says British & Irish Lions selection for the summer tour of New Zealand would be a "bonus".

Read more

Goodbye for today

Martin Heath

BBC Radio Northampton

That's all from the team providing regular updates of news, travel, sport and weather in Northamptonshire.

We'll be back fully from 08:00 tomorrow, but any breaking stories will appear here overnight.

Have a good evening.

Northamptonshire poet's long-lost novel resurfaces

Martin Heath

BBC Radio Northampton

A little-known novel by the Northamptonshire "peasant poet" John Clare has been restored and is set to be published.

John Clare

John Clare was born in 1793 in Helpston in the Soke of Peterborough, which was in Northamptonshire at that time.

He is best known for poems celebrating the countryside and lamenting its destruction, but he once had a go at writing a novel.  

"The Memoirs of Uncle Barnaby" was abandoned after 10 years of writing. It was recently uncovered at Peterborough Central Library and there are plans to publish the work.  

A talk about the novel is taking place in Peterborough tonight.

Weather: Much colder overnight and sunny spells tomorrow

BBC Weather

This evening will be rather cloudy with the chance of a few spots of light rain. Skies will clear later, leaving low overnight temperatures of 3C - that's 37F.

Weather graphic

Tomorrow will start chilly but it will be mainly dry with sunny spells and the odd isolated shower. Highs of 12C, that's 54F.

BBC Weather has more local forecasts. 

Progress on key rail bridge

Martin Heath

BBC Radio Northampton

An important element of the construction of the Stanton Cross rail bridge has been completed.

The bridge will become part of a key route between the new Stanton Cross development and Wellingborough town centre.

Two concrete pumps were used to lay 146 cubic metres of concrete over the structure in an operation that took place overnight.

Work under railway bridge
Bovis Homes

The bridge's beams were lifted into place earlier this year by a 1100T crane, one of only three in the country.

A spokesperson for Bovis Homes, the developers, said "the rail bridge is an integral part of the first major infrastructure road accessing Stanton Cross and is expected to be complete and open to traffic early in 2018".

View of works from railway station
Bovis Homes

Kettering General will 'improve at pace'

Martin Borley

BBC Radio Northampton

The organisation that's placed Kettering General Hospital in special measures says it will provide support to make sure the facility makes rapid improvements to patient services.

The CQC had recommended putting KGH in special measures after inspectors graded the hospital "inadequate".  

The report found there was a lack of adequate management when risks to patients were identified - but did say the majority of staff there were hard-working, passionate and caring.

NHS Improvement says it's targeting its efforts on the emergency department and young people's services, which were identified as particular areas of concern.

Kathy McLean
NHS Improvement

Kathy McLean (above), the executive medical director at NHS Improvement, said: "Patient safety remains our top priority, and each of the report's concerns will be addressed through our support package to the trust."  

Power cut in Daventry

Martin Heath

BBC Radio Northampton

About 400 properties have been affected by a power cut in Daventry this afternoon.

Western Power says supplies should be restored by about 17:30.

Calf stolen from field

Martin Heath

BBC Radio Northampton

A calf is still missing after being taken from a field near Daventry over the weekend.

The three and a half month old ginger South Devon calf disappeared from a field between Little Brington and Whilton on Saturday night.

South Devon cow
Northamptonshire Police

Police are appealing for witnesses to come forward.

Egg-cited ambulance worker gets in the Easter spirit

Martin Heath

BBC Radio Northampton

We've spotted this seasonal costume sported by a 999 call-handler...

View more on twitter

Severe accident: A605 Northamptonshire eastbound

BBC News Travel

A605 Northamptonshire eastbound severe accident, at Huntingdon Road.

A605 Northamptonshire - A605 in Thrapston closed and slow traffic eastbound at the Huntingdon Road junction, because of an accident involving a lorry.

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

Cultural centre gets go-ahead in Northampton

Sarah Foster

BBC Radio Northampton

A major project to turn a disused Northampton iron works into a cultural centre has been given planning permission.

The existing listed Vulcan Works building on Guildhall Road will be turned into a centre for creative leather technology, and there will also be commercial units for creative businesses.

It's hoped construction work will start later this year and the site will eventually provide 300 jobs.

Vulcan Works
Northampton Borough Council

Expert thumbs-up for single-bin scheme

Martin Heath

BBC Radio Northampton

A waste management expert says plans to reduce the number of bins at each house in Northampton should lead to more waste being recycled.

At the moment residents have to sort their waste into up to five different containers. 

  • General waste - black wheelie bin
  • Garden waste - green wheelie bin
  • Paper - green box
  • Plastic bottles and cans - blue box
  • Glass bottles and jars - black box

The arrangements are slightly different for terraced houses with no rear access.

However, the rubbish collection contract is coming to an end and councillors will decide tonight whether to tender for a new system involving a single recycling bin.

Wheelie bins

Prof Margaret Bates from the University of Northampton, said: "It's really about making it easier for the householder, so you don't need to decide which bin other than it's recycling it goes in.

"You just do it, and hopefully it will increase recycling rates."

Jobless total falls in East Mids

Sarah Foster

BBC Radio Northampton

The number of unemployed people in the East Midlands region, which includes Northamptonshire, fell by 11,000 in the last quarter.

There are now 96,000 people in the region without a job.

The national jobless total dropped by 45,000 in the quarter to February to 1.56 million - a reduction of 141,000 since a year ago and the lowest since the end of 2006.

Job Centre
Getty Images

Patients defend 'inadequate' hospital

Martin Borley

BBC Radio Northampton

Patients and their families have been telling us about their experiences of Kettering General Hospital (KGH) after inspectors labelled it "inadequate".

It's been recommended the hospital is placed in special measures after concerns were raised about leadership and safety.

Ambulances at KGH

We spoke to several people who visited the site yesterday. Here's some of their views...

"They do a good job, they're very attentive. My mum broke her hip a couple of times and, if there's a problem, they're onto it."

"My mum broke her hand and she received very good care."

"The treatment is very good here - compassionate and caring. The service is incredible."

The inspection report found staff were hard-working and passionate, but had to struggle against the pressures they faced.

Large increase in A&E cases at 'inadequate' hospital

Managers at Kettering General Hospital say their accident and emergency department has dealt with 1,000 more patients each month since their last official inspection.

The latest report on the performance of KGH found that urgent and emergency services were inadequate. The chief inspector has recommended that the hospital be placed in special measures.

The inspectors said the A&E facilities:

  • Did not have enough staff
  • Did not have a process for checking new patients were safe to wait for a doctor
  • Had an assessment process which did not follow guidelines
Leanne Hackshall

Leanne Hackshall (above), the director of nursing and quality at KGH, said: "We've seen a 1,000-patient increase per month since the last CQC inspection.

"It's forced us to open additional escalation areas, so, given the national picture regarding staffing and recruitment, trying to share our staff across additional areas does add an additional pressure."

Director to be brought in to improve Kettering General Hospital

Martin Borley

BBC Radio Northampton

A improvement director will be appointed to lead Kettering General Hospital after inspectors labelled the facility "inadequate".

The chief inspector of hospitals, Prof Sir Mike Richards, said there were particular concerns about leadership and safety and recommended the hospital be put into special measures.

Stephen Ramsden

The vice-chairman of the hospital trust that runs Kettering, Stephen Ramsden (above), said: "We'll get an experienced director who's worked around the health service in the quality and safety agenda. Hopefully, that will be in place really soon.

"We'll have identified other NHS organisations that are seen to be doing really well in areas such as governance and risk, which is where we were criticised.

"We'll be given help from some better performing organisations."

Kettering General has 'taken corrective action'

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

Kettering General Hospital's medical director said the trust had already made improvements following a Care Quality Commission inspection which rated it "inadequate" overall.

Dr Andrew Chilton said: "Our patients and the public will feel justifiably concerned in view of this report.

"However... we have not stood still during this time, the inspection took place in October and since then we've taken swift corrective action.

"What the report will demonstrate and hopefully very clearly is that our staff are caring, compassionate and professional."

Kettering General: A 'number of serious problems' found

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

The chief inspector of hospitals, Prof Sir Mike Richards, said there were "a number of serious problems" in the services run by Kettering General Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, before he recommended that the trust should be placed into special measures.

"We made NHS Improvement (NHSI) aware of our concerns following the inspection and it has begun to work with the trust to make sure these are appropriately addressed and that progress is monitored," he said.

“My inspection team found that the majority of staff were hard-working, passionate and caring, but had to struggle against the pressures they faced."

Prof Richards said staff treated patients with "dignity and respect" so rated the trust as "good" for being caring, but it was rated "inadequate" for being well-led and safe.

"Risks to patients were not always identified and when they were identified, there was a lack of adequate management of these," he said.

"In addition, there was a lack of learning from incidents to prevent patient harm. This was particularly the case in the emergency department, outpatients and services for children and young people."

He said the trust had been receiving support from NHS Improvement and managers said they had "listened to our inspectors' findings and have begun to take action where it is required".