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  1. Updates on Friday, 11 August 2017
  2. Rail users group 'concerned' over franchise takeover
  3. Celebrity vicar signs up for BBC Strictly Come Dancing
  4. Mystery 'white powder' used in attempted mugging
  5. Brixham could avoid nuclear destruction, according to estate agent's spoof map

Live Reporting

By Alex Pope

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Our live coverage across the week

That's it from the Local Live team for this week, so goodbye and enjoy the weekend whatever the weather brings us.

We'll be back from 08:00 on Monday, bringing you the news, sport, travel and weather updates as they happen.

Weather: Dry night ahead

Chris Bell

BBC Look East weather

The weather for this evening and tonight will be mainly dry at first across the BBC East region, but cloud thickening from the west will bring the chance of some patchy light rain.

There will be light to moderate southwesterly winds, which will turn more westerly later.

The temperature will dip to 13-15C (upper 50sF).

Weather map

Tomorrow it will mainly dry with a mixture of sunny spells and patchy cloud, but thicker cloud could bring one or two isolated showers, mainly across Norfolk.

Highs around 20-22C (near 70F).

Severe accident: M1 Buckinghamshire northbound

BBC News Travel

M1 Buckinghamshire northbound severe accident, between J14 for A509 and J15 for A45.

M1 Buckinghamshire - One lane blocked and queuing traffic on M1 northbound between J14, A509 (Milton Keynes) and J15, A45 (Northampton), because of an accident.

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

Essex estate agent's 'poor taste' joke highlights Brixworth

Jodie Halford

BBC News

An estate agent's bid to highlight the best spots for property "outside a nuclear impact zone" has been lambasted as being in poor taste - but what it has done is show up Brixworth near Daventry as a place of safety should the worst happen!

Map showing nuclear impact zones

Emoov's press release included a map of blast impact radiation radiuses around the UK in the event of a nuclear war and in doing so showed where the best places to buy property might be.

It was labelled as "the worst press release ever", by a Times journalist.

Russell Quirk, from Essex-based online agent eMoov, apologised for any offence, but said it was "completely tongue in cheek".

The agent's press release referred to tensions between North Korea and the US, commenting that people might be worried about "World War Three kicking off".

"Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un are a pair of clowns, frankly, and they're acting like jokers," Mr Quirk, of the Brentwood-based agency, said.

"And on that basis, we thought we'd put out something tongue-in-cheek to show our satirical, humorous side."

An assistant editor at The Times, David Byers, tweeted screenshots of the release and commented: "Genuinely in shock! Who could have imagined this press release was a good idea??"

Rev Richard Coles: Kept Strictly secret for months

Richard Smith

BBC News

I've had the great pleasure of talking to the Reverend Richard Coles to find out more about his love of all things sequined and fake tanned!

The Finedon vicar revealed this morning he's to appear in the latest series of the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing and it took him just three seconds to agree.

He said that "with great difficutly" he'd kept it a secret since March.

He was asked by the shows bosses if he was prepared for an intense degree of interest in him, and had to undergo a medical which was "hilarious".

He added that "most sensible people would have improved their fitness, but I'm now fatter and more knackered".

Rev Richard Coles

Mervyn Hemmington from Northamptonshire has come up with the best Strictly pun so far, by saying he's "looking forward to seeing his pastor doble".

While Sally Denny says: "I can see that for the first time ever, we will be watching this religiously!!!"

Man temporarily blinded by mystery white powder in Northampton knife attack

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

A man in his 20s was temporarily blinded after being threatened with a knife and covered in a white powder in Northampton last Friday at about 22:15.

It happened when he was walking along the path of Billing Brook, Thorplands.

He was approached by a group of six young men who accosted hime, searched him and then ran away empty-handed.

Police said it was unclear what the powder was, but the victim did not require hospital treatment and made recovered his sight.

Rev Richard Coles: Mum's 'realistic' response to Strictly moves

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

Although we might be in a bit of a spin that Finedon's famous vicar, Reverend Richard Coles, will be foxtrotting his way onto Strictly this season, his mum has taken a more realistic approach to the news!

View more on twitter

The Christian festival of Michaelmas is on 29 September.

But the news has gone down well with Finedon resident, Mark Wallace, who told me "Supercolesydoingstrictleyhisfoxtrotisprecocious".

The number of kitchen fires in Northamptonshire is increasing, firefighters say.
The number of kitchen fires in Northamptonshire is on the rise, firefighters say.

Video weather forecast: Mainly dry, but cloudy

Lucy Martin

BBC Weather

Sunshine this morning will give way to cloud and rain this evening across the BBC East region.

The weekend will be cloudy, but dry with temperatures peaking at 20C (68F).

Rev Richard Coles: 'In it to win it'

The former Communards keyboard player said: "Cometh the hour, cometh the overweight vicar with arthritis in his knees" after it was announced on BBC Radio 2's Chris Evans Breakfast Show that he will be joining the hit show, Strictly Come Dancing.

"A major dance talent was waiting to be discovered. I just wonder what took them so long. I'm in it to win it, as they say," he added.

The Finedon vicar must be feeling "mighty real" about lifting that glitter ball trophy then!

Rev Richard Coles

Richard is a co-presenter of Saturday Live on BBC Radio 4 - so I dare say he'll be talking about his selection tomorrow morning:

The cook, musician and businessman Levi Roots joins Aasmah Mir and the Rev Richard Coles.

Praise be - Rev Richard Coles joins Strictly Come Dancing

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

It's that time of year again when we start to think about getting our glitter out and brushing up on our cha cha chas.

Yes, the contestants for this year's Strictly Come Dancing are starting to be announced and we've just found out that Northamptonshire-based priest Richard Coles is set to be waltzing around his parish of Finedon and samba-ing up the aisle at St Mary's Church.

The cleric, broadcaster and former Communards keyboard player, is the fifth celebrity to be announced and the first man of the cloth in Strictly history.

He is also the only vicar in Britain to have had a number one hit single with The Communards - 1986's biggest-selling UK single with their cover of Don’t Leave Me This Way.

What's the betting the programme's conductor Dave Arch has already worked out an arrangement for that?!

Richard joins Mollie King, Davood Ghadami, Ruth Langsford and yesterday's announcement, Gemma Atkinson in the 2017 line-up.

View more on twitter

Rail user group 'concerned' over change of operator

A group representing train passengers in Northampton and Long Buckby has said it's "concerned" about the change of operator announced by the government.

West Midlands Trains Ltd - a joint venture between the Dutch firm Abellio and Japanese partners - will take over the routes currently operated in Northamptonshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and the capital by London Midland from December.

The new operator is promising extra capacity with new, longer, trains, but Paul Minton from the Northampton Rail Users Group says he fears it's more about saving money.

He said: "We're particularly concerned that Abellio may well put in a cost-cutting paper bid versus London Midland which may have some service ramifications later - recognising that the Department for Transport were probably going to go for what was the lowest cost to run the franchise.

"We've not spotted anything which will give us a lot of faith otherwise at this stage."

West Midlands Trains promise 'improvements from day one'

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

The new operators of commuter trains from Milton Keynes and Northampton into London are promising improvements.

A West Midlands Rail train
West Midlands Rail

West Midlands Trains Ltd will takeover the service from London Midland in December.

The franchise also includes the Bedford to Bletchley, and St Albans Abbey to Watford lines.

Dominic Booth, from West Midlands Trains, said: "From day one we'll start to work on daily punctuality and reliability improvements... [and] compensation when we do get things wrong.

"We're changing that mechanism so that passengers are recompensed automatically for anything longer than a 15-minute delay, so passengers will start to see benefits and our investments coming in very early in the franchise."

Today's weather: Dry and bright

BBC Weather

It's due to be dry and sunny for most of the day, but there's a chance of it becoming cloudier later this afternoon with some patchy rain coming in from the west.

Maximum temperature: 22C (72F).

For a full forecast where you are, visit BBC Weather.

Sunrise at Felixtstowe
Wesley Stankiewicz

Welcome back to live updates

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

Welcome back to Local Live - we'll be here until 18:00 with the latest news, sport, weather and travel updates for your area.

Today is due to be mostly dry and sunny for most of the day but a regional weather forecast will be with you shortly.

Get in touch with us at any time using the Get Involved button at the top of the page.

Severe accident: M1 Northamptonshire northbound

BBC News Travel

M1 Northamptonshire northbound severe accident, between J16 for A45 and J17 for M45 Dunchurch.

M1 Northamptonshire - One lane blocked on M1 northbound between J16, A45 (Daventry) and J17, M45 (Dunchurch), because of an accident. Traffic is coping well.

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

Our live coverage across the day

That's it for our live updates today, thank you for your company.

Scroll down to catch up on the stories we've been covering.

We'll be back again from 08:00 tomorrow.

Meanwhile, any breaking news will still appear here overnight.

Have a great evening.

Weather: Dry overnight

Alex Dolan

BBC Look East weather

Staying dry this evening - any cloud in the BBC East region will thin and break to bring clear spells and some chilly temperatures overnight as it dips to 8C (46F) in light westerly or south westerly winds.

There will be a chilly start to Friday, with sunny spells and highs of 22C (72F).

BBC East weather map

It will gradually turn cloudier during the afternoon with patchy rain by the evening, spreading across the region overnight in light to moderate south westerly winds.

For a more detailed forecast of where you are, visit BBC Weather.

Dogs' International Agility Festival: 'Scratch' the way to do it!

Tom Percival

BBC Radio Northampton

Not every dog is feeling it at the International Agility Festival at Rockingham Castle today.

Some just think it's too much trouble and prefer a good old scratch instead!

View more on twitter

BreakingHorton General Hospital's maternity unit downgraded

The board of the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group has voted in favour of permanently downgrading the Horton's maternity unit.

Delay on Horton hospital future 'would lead to uncertainty'

Marcus Liddell

BBC Radio Oxford

The board continues to discuss the proposal to permanently downgrade the maternity unit at Horton General Hospital.

It was temporarily changed to a midwife-led unit last year due to a shortage of doctors.

Louise Wallace, lay member for public and patient involvement, said there were "very, very, strong" public views, adding that all of the 1,200 public comments were against the change.

She called for the decision to be delayed, but Dr Karen Collision said that would lead to "uncertainty".

Closure of 146 beds agreed across NHS trust

Marcus Liddell

BBC Radio Oxford

The latest from today's meeting of Oxfordshire's Clinical Commissioning Group (OCCG) is an agreement for the permanent closure of 146 hospital beds across Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, to pay for more care outside of hospital.

Of that number, 110 have already been closed as part of a trial which started in November 2016.

The other 36 will be shut if OCCG can show progress in tackling delayed transfers of care - those patients who are in hospital but well enough to leave.

Two more recommendations remain, including the controversial proposals for maternity services at Horton General Hospital.

Voting at OCCG meeting

London Midland loses West Midlands rail franchise

Lisa Wright

Journalist, BBC News Online

The ownership of commuter trains into London is changing.

The government has awarded the franchise currently run by London Midland to a new joint company, called West Midlands Rail, involving Abellio and a Japanese firm.

It will affect services from Northampton, via Milton Keynes, Leighton Buzzard, Hemel Hempstead and Watford into Euston, as well as the Bedford to Bletchley service and the St Albans Abbey to Watford line.

The changes will start in December, with extra trains being promised.

A West Midlands Rail train
West Midlands Rail

London Midland managing director, Patrick Verwer, has congratulated the new firm and says it will "bring much welcomed investment in new services and extra capacity across the network".

Dog goes his own way at Rockingham

Tom Percival

BBC Radio Northampton

It seems like you don't always have to follow the lead at the International Agility Festival for dogs, which has started at Rockingham Castle today.

Little Papillon decided to do his own thing.

View more on twitter

Stroke patients will no longer be taken to Horton Hospital

Marcus Liddell

BBC Radio Oxford

All patients in Oxfordshire suspected of having suffered a stroke will be taken to the specialist unit at the John Radcliffe Hospital, health bosses have agreed.

It was the second of five recommendations being considered by Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group's board today.

Dogs on course to show off their skills at Rockingham

Tom Percival

BBC Radio Northampton

Dogs from around the world have started descending on Rockingham Castle for the Kennel Club's International Agility Festival.

About 3,000 dogs will be tackling the obstacle courses from today until Sunday.

Judges will be looking for the healthiest, happiest dogs in a number of classes.

View more on twitter

MP says NHS proposals 'should be put on hold'

Marcus Liddell

BBC Radio Oxford

OCCG meeting

Banbury MP Victoria Prentis has told the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (OCCG) meeting that women will face one-and-half hour car journeys whilst in labour if new plans are approved.

She asked the board to put all the proposals on hold, except the recommendation to take all patients suspected of having suffered a stroke to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.

Meanwhile, Witney & West Oxfordshire MP Robert Courts said the constitution process was flawed and called for it to be restarted.

Keep the Horton campaigners say consultation is 'flawed'

Marcus Liddell

BBC Radio Oxford

Keith Strangwood from Keep the Horton Group argued the decision was all about money.

He said the OCCG needed to tell NHS England and the government that more money was needed.

"Government bailed out the banks, why can't it bail out the NHS?," he asked.

He described the consultation and business plan as "flawed".

"Today's decision can not be made with such a weak business plan," he said.

Keith Strangwood at OCCG meeting

NHS meeting 'end of a long road of consultations'

Bethan Phillips

Political reporter, BBC Radio Oxford

This is the biggest shake-up the NHS in Oxfordshire has seen for decades, and it's proving controversial.

Campaigners are worried the health plans amount to a "downgrade" of the Horton Hospital in Banbury.

Meanwhile health bosses insist its plans will mean a "safe and sustainable" service for patients, but they do admit they need to save £200m from health and social care services in Oxfordshire by 2021.

One of the most contentious points of this plan is what will happen to the maternity unit at Banbury's Horton hospital.

It's been temporarily downgraded to midwife-led because of a shortage of doctors.

Horton Hospital

Today it will be decided if that change should be made permanent, although a committee of councillors earlier this week said it would refer that decision straight to the government.

But there are plenty of other big changes in this plan too, including the permanent closure of 146 beds, moving more stroke and critical care patients from the Horton hospital to the John Radcliffe, and providing more outpatient appointments at the Horton.

Even though today is the end of a long road of consultations and meetings, if the plan is passed, opposition to it is unlikely to go away.

Hospital maternity unit could be permanently 'midwife-led'

Anna Bartlett

BBC Radio Northampton

A decision is expected today on whether to permanently downgrade a maternity unit at the Horton General Hospital in Banbury.

Horton General Hospital

In October, the facility became a "midwife-led" unit due to problems recruiting doctors.

NHS bosses want to make the change permanent and say midwife-led units offer an "excellent option" for women with low-risk pregnancies, but there was "almost universal" opposition in a public consultation - and concerns that many pregnant women in the south of the county could end up having a long journey to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford while in labour.

If the Oxfordshire NHS Clinical Commissioning Group presses ahead with the plans, the matter will be referred to the secretary of state, who could start a process to get the plan independently reviewed.

As well as Oxfordshire the hospital serves Brackley and south Northamptonshire.

Today's weather: Drier and brighter

Lucy Martin

BBC Weather

After yesterday's cool and wet weather, today is due to be drier, brighter and warmer across the BBC East region, with just a chance of a few showery outbreaks of rain in some coastal areas.

Maximum temperature: 20C (68F).

Welcome back to live updates

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

Welcome back to Local Live - we'll be here until 18:00 with the latest news, sport, weather and travel updates for your area.

A regional weather forecast will be with you shortly, but it's already looking to be a bit brighter than yesterday and the word on the street - well in the BBC Weather Centre anyway - is that it's due to be warmer today.

Get in touch with us at any time using the Get Involved button at the top of the page.

Severe disruption: M1 Northamptonshire southbound

BBC News Travel

M1 Northamptonshire southbound severe disruption, between J18 for A5 and J17 for M45 Dunchurch.

M1 Northamptonshire - Slow traffic and one lane closed on M1 southbound between J18, A5 (Rugby) and J17, M45 (Dunchurch), because of a broken down lorry.

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


Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

Well that is it from all of us here on the Local Live team.

We've been here all day bringing you all your news, sport, travel and weather and will return at 08:00 on Thursday morning.

We hope the wet weather doesn't get you too down, but the good news is the weather is set to improve tomorrow, with some.. wait for it.. warmer spells expected.

Right better get my factor 30 out!

Severe accident: M1 Northamptonshire southbound

BBC News Travel

M1 Northamptonshire southbound severe accident, between J18 for A5 and J17 for M45 Dunchurch.

M1 Northamptonshire - One lane closed and heavy traffic on M1 southbound between J18, A5 (Rugby) and J17, M45 (Dunchurch), because of an accident.

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

Cycling sensation Kiera Byland competes in Special Olympics

She's already a Special Olympics superstar, but 18-year-old Kiera Byland is on the hunt for more gold medals.

Last night she co-hosted the opening ceremony in Sheffield for over 2,600 athletes from across the country.

Today she's competing in the 10k time trial.

It wasn't easy for Kiera growing up with learning difficulties, but when she discovered cycling, her life changed dramatically.

Robinson 'rains' supreme

The rain is getting a lot of people down, but not the Twitter team at Channel 4.

We couldn't resist sharing this post showing Northampton's very own Ellie Robinson when she came out to compete in the 2016 Rio Games.

View more on twitter

Dog that attacked four people could be put down

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

A dog that bit four people after escaping from a garden in Northampton during Storm Doris could be put down.

Northamptonshire Police have applied for a Civil Destruction Order on Muppet, who was seized from Ingleborough Way, Duston, on 23 February.

The dog's owner has refused to sign a destruction order, so a hearing will take place at Wellingborough Magistrates' Court on 15 October.

Muppet the dog
Northamptonshire Police

In total, four people were bitten and needed medical treatment, whilst a man with a baby in a buggy and a child walking from school, were protected by police officers.

Sgt Liam O’Neil said: "Letting the dog back was not an option. There were too many victims for this to be considered a safe option.”