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  1. Updates from Friday 20 March 2015
  2. More news, sport, travel and weather from 08:00 on Monday

Live Reporting

By Andrew Humphrey

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Good evening

Andrew Humphrey

BBC Local Live

Well, that's the end of the debate and all for today's BBC Local Live.

We'll be back on Monday from 08:00 to bring you all the latest news, sport, travel and weather updates for Oxfordshire.

Until then have a great weekend.

One final question

Andrew Humphrey

BBC Local Live

We're coming to the end of the debate now, and Howard's last question for the candidates is if they can think of one person they have met while campaigning that has had the biggest impact on them.


Tune in now to hear all the answers, but my favourite is John Howell's who had a discussion with a voter who told him he would not be voting for him.

As he left the property the man came running up and said he'd changed his mind, because Mr Howell had shut the gate behind him!

A constituency by any other name

BBC Radio Oxford

Howard wonders if Henley is the correct name for the constituency? The audience the the tea room immediately answer "no!".

Henley sign
Getty Images

Sue Cooper says: "South eastern Oxfordshire would be better". John Howell plumps for Henley and Thame, which is echoed by Sam Juthani, while Mark Stevenson says a lot of people feel they live a long way away from any of the suggestions.

Protecting emergency services

Sam Juthani says Labour thinks that people are unhappy with police numbers and cuts to resources. "We want to look after the budget and also refocus on relevant crimes," he says.

The Greens would also focus resources and make sure staff "are in the right place in the right time", and officers are not stuck behind a desk, Mark Stevenson says.

Blue lights

The candidates are asked about their commitments and plans for emergency services, facing cuts in funds and numbers.

Metropolitan Police

John Howell says he thinks integration between the services and greater coordination will improve performance.

Sue Cooper says the Lib Dems are working on smarter policing to make better use of resources.

When a plan comes together

Sue Cooper has her say on the neighbourhood plan: "It is a very long document. How many people do you know that would read 70 pages of a plan?"

BBC Oxford debate

Mark Stevenson agreed that people are getting used to the idea, but they are important for infrastructure to support development.

Feeling neighbourly

The next topic on housing is the introduction of neighbourhood plans in south Oxfordshire.

John Howell explains: "Significantly more people voted for the neighbourhood plan in Thame than in the county council elections."

Labour's Sam Juthani disagrees and says "People didn't seem to be well aware and there is an issue about the value of a neighbourhood plan if it doesn't get buy-in from the community."

Secret lives of the candidates

BBC Radio Oxford

Sue Cooper reveals she has lots of rabbits eating the produce in her garden. She says someone lent her a shotgun but she couldn't shoot anything.

Organ, rabbit, chocolates and ten

John Howell tells Howard Bentham that he is an organist and conducts choirs across south Oxfordshire.

Sam Juthani says he is a chocolatier and makes truffles as gifts for friends and family.

Mark Stevenson explains that he spends his annual holidays at a dance camp.

Greenbelt guarantee

Howard asks if greenbelt land will become the site for homes under the candidates plans:

Land between Bennetts Road South, Sandpits Lane and Tamworth Road in Keresley
Google Earth

Sam Juthani says: "No, but Labour will consider where greenbelt land is."

John Howell replies that a Conservative government and councils will not build there.

Sue Cooper says: "There should be much greater emphasis on balancing where the jobs are and where the houses are."

Mark Stevenson commits the Greens to not building there. "What is decided to be greenbelt is sacrosanct" he says.

First step on the property ladder

Howard Bentham

Presenter, BBC Radio Oxford

I asked the candidates what age they were when they bought their first house, and how much it cost:

Big Ballot Box tour

Sue Cooper - aged 23, costing £10,500 in Reading

John Howell - aged 28 or 29, about £30,000 in London

Sam Juthani say he is 27 and doesn't own a home yet, and says: "I don't believe I will in the next 10-15 years unless radical action is taken."

Mark Stevenson - aged 26, costing £21,000. He says "I was on a teachers starting salary of £7,000."

Building battle

Sam Juthani responds that the Labour Party is the only one to promise to build 200,000 new houses a year. He also backs the new Help to Buy Isa, which he says resembles a policy from the previous government that the coalition cancelled.

Mark Stevenson explains the the Greens' pledge to build 500,000 social homes by 2020, is realistic, and needs to be a priced as a reflection of incomes rather than the average house price in an area.

Housing crisis

BBC Radio Oxford

The candidates are asked how they would address making Oxfordshire more affordable for key workers who are struggling with soaring house prices.

House building

Sue Cooper says: "Everyone is aware we need more affordable housing. The district council plan calls for 40% in all new developments, but far too many times this is ignored."

John Howell adds that neighbourhood plans are key to encouraging social housing and getting local communities to accept development.

An end to austerity?

BBC Radio Oxford

Sam Juthani agreed that Labour needed to convince the public that they would look after the economy, but said that they would help people.

Ed Balls

He claims that Ed Balls is "a phenomenally good economist", and the government was being dishonest about their economic performance and plans, which spurs an interruption by John Howell.

Mark Stevenson argues that looking for ever-increasing growth was a mistake and prosperity needs to be measured in broader terms than income.

All candidates then say that to varying degrees austerity will cease in the next government.

Cost of living

Howard plays a recording of some Thame residents' opinions on whether their living standards had improved under the current government.

Big Ballot debate

John Howell, Tory, said that people are £900 a year better off, and the coalition's move to raise the income tax threshold was "a step in the right direction".

Also from the government Sue Cooper, Lib Dem, has hailed the rise in pensions, and cites herself as an example of someone who feels better off.

Zero hours

Andrew Humphrey

BBC Local Live

The discussion moves on to whether Henley's high employment is down to zero-hour contracts.

Sue Cooper says that the flexibility can be suitable for many people, and John Howell agreed that staff often ask for them, rather than employers.

Sam Juthani says there was a national problem with the contracts and low-paid jobs.

Job Done

BBC Radio Oxford

To begin with Howard asks the candidates about unemployment. Henley has the lowest level in the country, so is the issue solved?

Job Centre

John Howell begins by saying that companies providing apprenticeships have helped improve the economic environment, "it's through those that we've leapt from fourth to top of the country".

Labour's Sam Juthani says that there is "serious inequality" in the area and young people who are unemployed have had to move away from the constituency.

Mark Stevenson from the Greens makes the point that lots of people who live in south Oxfordshire don't work there, and people who work there often don't live there, so the figures can be misleading.

The view from Thame

Howard Bentham

Presenter, BBC Radio Oxford

This week's debate was held at

Treacle's Tea Rooms in Thame, and the owner Dawn Edwards gave me an insight into the constituency.

Treacles Tea Rooms in Thame

She said: "It's a lovely friendly town, a traditional market town. I think we need to go back to being a bit more pro-British, which is why I'm wavering between Conservatvies and UKIP, but undecided."

On air: Henley general election debate

Andrew Humphrey

BBC Local Live

You can listen to the BBC Radio Oxford Henley hustings debate

on air now, or follow the discussion here on Local Live.

The panel consists of the incumbent MP John Howell of the Conservatives, Sue Cooper of the Liberal Democrats, Labour's Sam Juthani and Mark Stevenson of the Green Party.

For personal reasons Christopher Jones from UKIP had to pull out of the event.

News on the hour

Lucy Bickerton

Newsreader, BBC Radio Oxford

More social housing is needed in the Henley area - but large developments should not be built on Greenfield sites, according to Ken Artlett who is the chairman for the Henley on Thames constituency association of UKIP.

Join me for more on that at


Goodbye sunshine

Bee Tucker

BBC Weather

The sunny end to the day will be replaced by

cloud this evening.

Bee Tucker

There might be the odd spot of drizzle but it should keep things frost free. Lows of 4C (39F).

Evening TV

BBC South Today


South Today this evening: Olympic champion rower Katherine Grainger has become the new Chancellor at Oxford Brookes University.

Katherine Grainger

She was enrolled earlier today at the official opening of the John Henry Brookes building.

Katherine Grainger replaces Shami Chakrabarti, the Director of the Human Rights Group, Liberty.

Join Jerome Sale at


'Decisions to be made'

BBC Radio Oxford

There are still details to be discussed in Bicester's eco-town development that will eventually see 6,000 new homes built.

Construction work at NW Bicester site

Permission for 2,600 homes was

granted yesterday, but planning committee vice chairman Colin Clark said decisions on layout remain.

He told

BBC Radio Oxford: "We've got to discuss exactly where we will have the green areas, which will make up a third of the space, and we're looking to include perhaps a burial ground which Bicester desperately needs."

Fans to take charge of Banbury FC

Fans of

Banbury United Football Club are set to take over ownership.


Talks have taken place between the current owners and the Supporters Club - and the new group could take charge in time for the start of next season.

Witney awards

Witney Town Council

tweets: The Mayor will be awarding our Citizens of the Year at the Civic reception tonight. We have some great people in our town.

Local Live going for longer

Andrew Humphrey

BBC Local Live

As a special Friday treat Local Live is lasting longer this evening, with an extra hour dedicated to the Big Ballot Box Tour's Henley hustings debate in Thame.

Big Ballot Box Tour's Henley hustings debate in Thame

You can hear the hour of topical discussion between the constituency's candidates

here, and follow the key points on Local Live.

Safe cycling: Your views

via Facebook


Kat Orman asked how safe you feel cycling in Oxfordshire. Here's your thoughts:

Simon Hopkins

wrote: Yeah even after being knocked flying off my bike at St Giles by a minicab. In all fairness it was my fault, no lights and jumped a red. Like most typical cyclists in central Oxford

Penny Laig

posted: I think cyclists should seriously think about which roads they are going to use. Living out near the White Horse we get huge groups of cyclists attempting to cycle on very narrow steep roads

Stewart Booth

said: Why dont we turn the tunnels under the city into underground cycle ways? Would be a lot safer!

News on the hour

Lucy Bickerton

Newsreader, BBC Radio Oxford

The water pressure in Abingdon should be back to normal according to Thames Water, after they put in place a temporary water pipe this lunchtime.

Join me at

17:00 for all the headlines.

How the eclipse unfolded

Andrew Humphrey

BBC Local Live

You may not have had the time, the equipment or the lack of cloud to see much of the

partial eclipse this morning, but helpfully Christine Lee has provided a sequence of photos to show its progress.

Eclipse sequence
Christine Lee

You can see more of this sequence and other listeners' pictures of the eclipse on the Radio Oxford

Facebook page.

'No remorse'

Dave Gilyeat

BBC News

A woman jailed for her part in an arson attack in 1997 which killed two children had not shown "any degree of real remorse",

according to the judge at the hearing of her appeal against her sentence.

Fiaz Munshi had her request for a reduction on her 13 year jail term refused.

Lord Justice Pitchford said: "Public condemnation had to take first place and the public interest had to prevail. She had not shown any degree of real remorse... there was no room for exceptionally lenient treatment."

MP hears water woes

Nicola Blackwood

tweets: Out in Abingdon with
@CllrAlice &
@thameswater hearing direct from residents about smelly water & low pressure

Nicola Blackwood in Abingdon
Nicola Blackwood

News on the hour

Lucy Bickerton

Newsreader, BBC Radio Oxford

There has been an accident involving a motorbike and a car on the A420 near Cumnor.

The air ambulance attended the scene and one lane of the dual carriageway is still closed.

I'll have the latest at


Oxford bar attack

A woman was punched, slapped and kicked by a man

during an assault in the Bridge nightclub in Hythe Bridge Street.

Police say she had thrown her drink in his face before the man violently attacked her.

A 19-year-old man, who is from Oxford, has been arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm.

Investigating officers want to speak to the victim who has not reported the attack to them.

A34 accident

BBC Travel

BBC Travel

One lane is closed and there is queuing traffic on the

A34 Western Bypass Road northbound in Oxford between the Peartree Interchange and the Kidlington Junction, because of an accident.

Congestion is running back to the Botley Interchange.

News on the hour

Lucy Bickerton

Newsreader, BBC Radio Oxford

A woman jailed for 13 years for her part in an arson attack which killed two children in a house in Oxford - has had an appeal to reduce her sentence refused.

join me for more on that and the other headlines at


How safe is cycling?

Kat Orman

Mid-morning presenter, BBC Radio Oxford

A coalition of some of the UK's biggest businesses has today called for increased national spending on cycling infrastructure.

Cyclist near a lorry

But is cycling safe in Oxfordshire? I spoke to Gavin Tilson from the

Oxonian Cycling Club,
who told me why he is comfortable with the risks.

He said: "Motorists are getting better, I've noticed an improvement in their attitude. And I'll always ride with a flashing light, you've got to have your wits about you but I've never been knocked off."

Student hub hit by lack of funds

Oxford Mail

Student volunteers who have been refused £70,000 of funding have said that

they fear vital community projects could suffer.