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  1. Updates on Friday 15 April 2016
  2. News, sport, travel and weather updates resume at 08:00 on Monday

Live Reporting

By Chris Brown

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Our news coverage through the day

Sarah Lee

South Online

That's all from BBC Local Live for Oxfordshire today.

We'll be back with the latest news, weather, travel and sport for Oxfordshire from 08:00 on Monday. Join us then.

Latest headlines: Council may have to 'pick up pieces' after academy deficit

Sarah Lee

South Online

The top stories this evening:  

Weather: Cloudy evening with isolated showers

Bee Tucker

BBC Weather

Tonight, there will be a lot of cloud for most of us with maybe one or two isolated showers.

Oxford weather 15 April

When we do get a break from the cloud, there may be spells of frost. Lows overnight of 5C (41F). 

You can get more details on the BBC weather site.

Travel latest: Four car crash on A34 causing delays

Al Ryan

BBC Oxford travel presenter

  • There are heavy delays of up to 20 minutes on the A34 southbound due to a collision involving four vehicles at Chilton
  • There are delays of nearly two hours on the M40 northbound due to an accident between J15 Warwick and J16 Henley in Arden. There is congestion to J14 for Leamington Spa
  • There will be a lane closure in place on the A44 southbound between Wolvercote and Peartree roundabouts from tomorrow until mid-July

Tonight's TV: South Central Ambulance Service fails to hit 999 response target

Jerome Sale

BBC South Today

Coming up on South Today this evening, we'll hear how South Central Ambulance Service has again failed to hit the target for responding to the most urgent 999 calls in Oxfordshire.

Jerome Sale brings you the stories coming up at 18:30

Join Jerome Sale at 18:30 on BBC One.

Firefighter John Gannon retires to spend more time drumming

Oxford Mail

Father and musician John Gannon first ventured into Witney Fire Station 14 years ago to recruit a new member for his band. Now, as he retires from the front line, Mr Gannon is urging others to train as retained firefighters and take part in something "life-changing".

Image released of wanted man from Oxford

A photograph of a man wanted for not appearing at court has been released by police.

Mark Sullivan
Thames Valley Police
Mark Sullivan

Mark Sullivan, 40, is wanted for failing to appear at Oxford Crown Court today where he was facing burglary charges.

He was last seen on 21 March in the Bicester area. He has connections to both Oxford and London.

Sullivan is not believed to be a danger to the public, however we would urge anyone who has seen him or knows of his whereabouts to contact us as a matter of urgency.

Det Sgt Karl RalphThames Valley Police

Travel: Heavy traffic around the city

Al Ryan

BBC Oxford travel presenter

  • There are delays of up to 10 minutes westbound from the Marston Flyover to the roadworks at Cuttleslowe
  • There are also lengthy delays around the city – especially outbound on Woodstock Road, Marston Ferry Road and Banbury Road
  • Traffic is queuing for up to 10 minutes on the A415 into Kingston Bagpuize
  • A34 southbound is looking busy from Milton to Chilton 

Academy company deficit is 'worrying'

BBC Radio Oxford

The cabinet member for education at Oxfordshire County Council says she is "worried" after an academy company running seven schools was given a Financial Notice To Improve, after running up a deficit of £879,000.

Melinda Tilley
Melinda Tilley

The Dominic Barberi Multi Academy Company's finances will now be monitored by the government until the notice is lifted.

I'm really worried. There's probably some agreement that has gone on that is costing them more than what they thought and I'm worried about the other six schools that they also support.

Melinda TilleyCabinet member for education, Oxfordshire County Council

Labour's EU migrant policy was not a failure, says Lord Blunkett

BBC Politics

Lord Blunkett says he does not regret his 2004 decision to open UK borders to east European migrants, which led to a massive surge in immigration.

Lord Blunkett
Lord Blunkett

Figures from the University of Oxford's Migration Observatory suggests "net flow" of EU nationals - taking into account people leaving and arriving in the UK - shot up from 15,000 in 2003 to 87,000 in 2004, and continued to rise until 2007 when it reached 127,000 a year. 

The former home secretary told the BBC it was a decision taken to allow people to work legally, not a "failure".

At the time, Labour ministers said 13,000 migrants a year would come - but that proved to be a huge underestimate.

Hopes for new crossing in Oxford dashed by lack of funding

Oxford Times

Hopes for a new pedestrian crossing in Rose Hill appear to have been dashed after Oxfordshire County Council said it could not afford the work.

Woodstock residents vote to save land from 1,500-home development plan

Sarah Lee

South Online

Nearly 85% or people from Woodstock have voted to protect nearby fields from a controversial development of 1,500 homes.

Some 411 residents voted against the plans, with just 73 in favour, from a turnout of 19%.

The poll was held at the Town Hall yesterday and was set up by West Oxfordshire District Council after residents urged officials to help.

Latest headlines: Trainee vicar jailed for grooming and raping teenage girls

Sarah Lee

South Online

The top stories in Oxfordshire so far today: 

Abingdon company gets go-ahead to release mosquitoes to help kill Zika virus

BBC Radio Oxford

An Oxfordshire company has been given approval by the health agency in Brazil to release mosquitoes in the country. 

It's hoped the genetically modified mosquitoes will help kill off the deadly Zika virus. 

Dr Andrew McKemey, head of field operations at Oxitec based in Abingdon, said the approval is significant. 

The way that this gene works is it stops offspring developing into adults. By doing that, we can sustain the release of our mosquitoes and take out generation after generation, and achieve a crash in population.

Dr Andrew McKemeyHead of field pperations, Oxitec

Thame Cricket Club pavilion plans

Oxfordshire Guardian

Plans to demolish Thame Cricket Club’s pavilion and replace it with a new “fit for purpose” building have been submitted.

Trainee vicar who groomed and raped two teenage girls jailed for 15 years

Sitala Peek

BBC News, London

A former church youth leader convicted of raping two teenage girls has been jailed for 15 years. 

Timothy Storey
Met Police
Timothy Storey

Timothy Storey, 35, groomed the girls at a religious summer camp, sexting and messaging them. 

Storey attacked one of the girls at his former home in Oxford after taking her to a concert and plying her with alcohol.

He was found guilty of three counts of rape and one count of assault by penetration, following a trial at Woolwich Crown Court in February. Upon release he must also spend four years on licence for public safety.

Discounted days out offered at 23 attractions in West Oxfordshire and the Cotswolds

People living in West Oxfordshire and the Cotswolds will be given discounted days out this weekend.

Cogges Manor Farm
Des Blenkinsopp

Up to 23 attractions across the two districts are opening their doors at reduced prices today until Sunday. 

To take advantage of the Welcome Open Weekend, residents need to pick a voucher from local collection points. 

We're a local charity and our purpose is to remain open to local people. Anything that helps increase access to people and to help them realise what's on their doorstep, we will do it.

Colin ShowneCogges Manor Farm

Outside space school fees are 'ridiculous'

BBC Radio Oxford

The head teacher of an Oxford primary school says fees for schools to use outside spaces such as parks are "ridiculous".  

It comes after Oxford City Council introduced charges of up to £500 for schools using parks under certain circumstances.

I can understand [the fees] if we were to use park rangers for a talk or shows around the park, but I can't understand why we would have to pay for something like a picnic.

Jon GrayHead teacher of Cutteslowe Primary School

At the movies with James Luxford

David Prever

BBC Radio Oxford

James Luxford from the Radio Times joins David Prever to discuss mobile phone use in cinemas. 

James Luxford from the Radio Times reviews The Jungle Book, Eye In The Sky and Criminal

It's after the boss of one of the largest cinema chains in the US said he's considering letting customers use their phones during films to encourage so-called millennials to visit the cinema.

And James reviews Disney's remake of The Jungle Book and new war drama Eye In The Sky.

Oxford City push ahead with plans for Court Place Farm pitch

BBC Sport

Oxford City are pushing ahead with their plans for an artificial pitch at Court Place Farm, after planning permission for a 3G surface was granted last week. 

The club had wanted to install the pitch for this season but are now working to ensure that it will be in place for August. 

City boss Justin Merritt feels it will be a significant development with long-term benefits. 

Voter registration deadline fast approaching

BBC Politics

The deadline for registering to vote in May’s local elections (for councils, mayors, and police and crime commissioners) is next Monday.


If you are not already registered, you can do so here.

And, if you want to find out more about the elections, then you can visit the voter information on the BBC News elections homepage.

Travel: Queuing traffic on A40 in both directions

BBC Travel

  • There is queuing traffic on the A40 in both directions in Oxford at Cutteslowe Roundabout. Delays are expected
  • There is also congestion on the Northern Bypass to Marston and to Cassington  

Weather: Winds easing but feeling cold this afternoon

Bee Tucker

BBC Weather

Into the afternoon there should be some dry and bright spells with winds easing a little bit.

Bee Tucker

However it will feel cooler with highs of 13C (55F). 

You can get more details on the BBC weather site.  

Latest headlines: Oxford antique dealer murder suspect appears in court

Sarah Lee

South Online

The top stories this lunchtime in Oxfordshire: 

Johnny Mullins encourages big turnout from Oxford United supporters

Oxford Times

Johnny Mullins says a big turnout from Oxford United supporters could prove vital as they look to get one step closer to automatic promotion against Luton Town tomorrow.  

Antique dealer murder suspect appears in court

A man charged with the murder of an Oxford antique dealer found dead at his home has appeared in court.

Oxford Crown Court

Michael Danaher appeared via video link from Woodhill Prison at Oxford Crown Court just before 10:30 and spoke only to confirm his name.

Danaher, of Hadrians Court, Peterborough, was remanded in custody and is due to appear before the same court on 1 July.  

Lundstram could play against Luton after three-match ban ends

Danny Cox

Presenter, BBC Radio Oxford

Midfielder John Lundstram has come to the end of a three-match ban following his controversial sending off against Stevenage on Good Friday.

John Lundstram
Rex Features
John Lundstram

The 22-year-old could go back into the team ahead of tomorrow's game against Luton in place of Josh Ruffels who has been nursing a gashed leg.    

Oxford United vs Luton is live on BBC Radio Oxford Sport tomorrow afternoon.

Warning ahead of three-month lane closure on A44

BBC Travel

Major disruption on the roads is expected across north Oxfordshire from tomorrow evening as a lane is closed on the A44 for 12 weeks. 

People who travel via the Wolvercote roundabout are being urged to plan their journeys to avoid the roadworks, starting from the evening of 16 April until mid-July. 

They are taking place on the road southbound between Wolvercote and the Peartree roundabout. The bus lane will remain open and commuters are being urged to consider the park and ride as an option.

Met Office issues yellow weather warning for heavy rain

The Met Office has warned that heavy showers and thunderstorms are expected this afternoon

Heavy, possibly thundery, showers or some longer spells of rain are expected to become more widespread through today, particularly this afternoon and early evening.

Met Office

Latest headlines: Ambulance urgent response targets missed

Sarah Lee

South Online

Political row over Oxford school park fees

After an international outcry over charges for runners using a park near Bristol - a political row has begun in Oxford over fees for outside spaces.

Oxford park

It's emerged the Labour-run city council has introduced charges of up to £500 for schools using parks under certain circumstances.

Mark Bhagwandin, Conservative candidate for the Headington Hill and Northway ward, says schools shouldn't be charged.

Charges refer to staff time, not the use of the park. There is no charge for state schools using the park for curriculum-based activities, where they don't need support from a park ranger.

Oxford City Council spokesman

'The pot of paramedics in the UK is diminishing'

BBC Radio Oxford

Response targets for the most urgent calls have been missed by Oxfordshire's ambulance service due to "the diminishing pot of paramedics in the UK".

That's the view of Mark Ainsworth at South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS), as it emerged SCAS missed its response targets for 999 and the non-emergency 111 service for nine months in a row.

We've been over in Europe and we have employed Polish and Australian paramedics for the UK. We are looking to expand that international recruitment as the pool of UK paramedics is diminishing.

Mark AinsworthDirector of operations, South Central Ambulance

Oxford planning chiefs considering 1,500 car park pod homes

Oxford Times

Planning bosses are considering proposals to build more than 1,500 eco-friendly "pod" homes above Oxford's park and ride sites.  

Travel update: Drayton Road blocked due to three-car accident

BBC Travel

Drayton Road in Sutton Courtenay is currently blocked due to an accident involving three cars near Brook Street / High Street.

Under-threat HIV centre given lifeline

An HIV support service in Oxfordshire has been given a lifeline after the county council considered withdrawing its funding.

Terrence Higgins Trust Oxford

The service, provided by the Terrence Higgins Trust for the past 16 years, faced not having its £150,000 contract renewed.

But now an NHS grant of £75,000 will help keep it running for the next six months.

It's really good news. We have been asked to continue with the same kind of work that we have been doing and during that time the clinical commissioning group will be reviewing what kind of service people living with HIV need.

Sue PetersTerrence Higgins Trust

Antique dealer murder suspect due in court

A man charged with the murder of an Oxford antique dealer found dead at his home is due in court.

Adrian Greenwood
Adrian Greenwood

Adrian Greenwood, 42, was discovered in the hallway of his four-storey house on 7 April. He had been repeatedly stabbed in the chest and neck.

Michael Danaher, of Hadrians Court, Peterborough, is due to appear at Oxford Crown Court for the first time at 10:00.

Multi academy company criticised after £900,000 loss

Oxford Mail

The Dominic Barberi Multi Academy Company in charge of seven Oxfordshire schools has tried to reassure parents after it was reprimanded for losing £900,000 in a year.

Ambulance response targets missed for nine months in a row

BBC Radio Oxford

Response targets for the most urgent calls have been missed by Oxfordshire's ambulance service for nine months in a row.

South Central Ambulance Service

South Central Ambulance Service has missed its response targets for 999 and the non-emergency 111 service.

Health bosses have issued poor performance notices and fined the service in excess of half a million pounds.

There were 290,653 Category A ambulances arriving at the scene [across England] in February 2016, this equates to 10,023 per day - the highest daily average since records began and up 5.4% year on year.

NHS England spokesman

Sport headlines: John Lundstram comes to end of three-match ban

Danny Cox

Presenter, BBC Radio Oxford

The top sport stories across the county:  

  • Midfielder John Lundstram has come to the end of a three-match ban following his controversial sending off against Stevenage on Good Friday
  • Oxford City are moving ahead with plans for an artificial pitch in time for next season
  • Abingdon's Eddie Pepperell has some ground to make up as he starts the second round of the Spanish Open golf this morning