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  1. All the latest updates, including BBC South A34 debate
  2. University seeks to remove squatters over safety fears

Live Reporting

By Alex Regan and Anna Browning

All times stated are UK

That's all for today

Thanks for reading today, we'll be back from 08:00 tomorrow with more news, sport, weather and travel from around Oxfordshire.

Bus drivers to strike over Christmas pay

Bus workers in Oxfordshire will stage two days of strike action in a dispute over Christmas driver pay. 

The walk-out is set to go ahead on Thursday and Monday after talks between Oxford Bus Company and the Unite union broke down.

A bus
Oxford Bus Company

Company managing director Phil Southall said a number of offers had been made and rejected by the union. 

But a Unite spokesman said the firm had "totally failed to enter into meaningful negotiations". 

The bus operator said it paid drivers premium rates for three bank holidays over the Christmas and New Year period, but the union had asked for five.

Scales of justice

Leonard Morrison is accused of killing Samuel Marriott-Gray, who died in 2015 - nine years after he was stabbed.

Read more

Man charged with murder after Oxford stabbing 10 years ago

A man has been charged with murder after the death of a 30-year-old who was stabbed in 2006. 

Leonard Morrison, 47, of Bath Street, Oxford, has appeared in Oxford Magistrates' Court charged with the murder of Samuel Marriott-Gray. 

Mr Marriott-Gray was stabbed on 19 August 2006, in Pegasus Road, Blackbird Leys, Oxford. 

On 31 October 2015 he died in a nursing home. Mr Morrison was charged following an application to the attorney general. 

He is in custody and is due to appear at Oxford Crown Court on 2 March.

Bus services cancelled after Kidlington crash

Person sets themselves on fire in Stanton Harcourt

A person accidentally set himself alight at about midday today in Stanton Harcourt while attempting to light an open fire after spraying it with fuel.

Firefighters provided emergency first aid and said the patient was taken to hospital by South Central Ambulance Service.

In a statement the fire service said: "We cannot stress enough that you should never use paraffin, ethanol, petrol or similar to help you light any kind of fire."

Delays after two-vehicle A34 crash

Weather outlook: Rain and gusts

Holly Green

BBC Weather

BBC Weather for the South of England on 28 February 2017
Fire truck in Henley

A woman, wounded in the fire, is being treated at Stoke Mandeville Hospital with burns on her hands.

Read more

Thousands sign petition against devolution plans

More than 5,000 people have signed a petition against Oxfordshire County Council’s unitary county council proposals.

Oxford City Council launched the petition because it says the plan would be "damaging" for the city.

The launch

Cherwell District Council and West Oxfordshire District Council have set up their own similar petitions against the proposals.

Bob Price, leader of Oxford City Council, said: “It is heartening that so many residents agree that a unitary county council would be hugely damaging to the city – Oxford would no longer be governing itself and would no longer be able to control its future and set its own priorities."

Weather latest: Damp afternoon ahead

After a bright and dry start, some showers are forecast for this afternoon. 

It will remain chilly with temperatures expected to drop to 4C overnight, and there is a chance of frost developing by dawn. 

Weather forecast for Berkshire
Osney Power Station

Squatters inside a former power station owned by Oxford University are at risk of being hit by falling masonry, the institution warns.

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Man trapped in shed blaze dies

A man has died after becoming trapped in a shed which was on fire. Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue were called to Badgemore in Henley-on-Thames at 16:40 GMT. 

The man "was beyond help" when the ambulance service arrived at the scene, and a 39-year-old woman was taken to Stoke Mandeville Hospital with burns to the hand. 

Thames Valley Police is treating the death as unexplained, and the cause of the fire is being investigated. 

Squatters describe power station as 'nice building'

A spokesman for the homeless group staying at the Old Power Station in Osney has said it's a "shame" a possession order is being sought by Oxford University to move them out.

Neo added: "It would've been nice to spend the rest of winter here. 

"It's a nice place. It's quite a strong building. I haven't seen any evidence of falling masonry."

Osney Power Station
Steve Daniels

Man killed in Henley fire

A man's died and a woman's been seriously injured in a fire at an outbuilding in Henley on Thames.

An joint police and fire investigation has been launched. 

University seeking possession order on power station used by squatters

Oxford University says it is seeking a possession order on a former power station because of safety concerns for the squatters inside. 

The group, known as Iffley Open House, took over a car showroom owned by Wadham College in the city but left after being told to move out. 

However, on Sunday, 25 people, the majority of them homeless, claimed squatters' rights in an old power station owned by Said Business School. 

A university spokesperson said there was a danger of masonry falling on those inside.

Furniture inside Old Power Station

And the BBC bus is off

And the BBC bus is off on the A34 northbound. Let's hope it doesn't get delayed for its next appointment in Lancashire - there are delays near junction 9 on the M40.

Bbc bus

You can catch more on today's debate on South Today

If you're craving more from today's BBC South debate on the A34 you're in luck.

BBC South Today will be dedicating time in the programme to the issues discussed on radio.

Panellists like Paul Watters are just being interviewed now by BBC Berkshire's Joe Campbell.

Paul Watters

'A34 is already safe'

Paul Watters said the A34 already has a three star safety rating by Highways England. He said the main issues with accidents were enforcement of the law, and educating drivers to be safer. 

He added: "The A34 is currently a three star road in terms of safety, and Highways England wants 90% of Britain's roads to be a three star rating. 

"So, we're already there in terms of creating an environment to protect drivers."

Facebook comments

And on Facebook, we've also been hearing of your experiences.

Mike Whittaker wrote: "I drive a artic for a living. This road is not fit for purpose. First it was built for HGVsS as a trunk road to link up with the motorway either end but now being used by locals as a rat run. The road surface is, well not fit for a kid on a push bike let alone the volumes of traffic. 

"I think it's time it was made as a motorway but no doubt the NIMBY lot will pop out the wood work and stop the work going ahead."

And Mike Whitehurst makes this point: " Someone mentioned the sections of A34 where the surface has lifted. I reported some of those on fixmystreet weeks ago (there was a show on BBC Radio Oxford saying to do that). 

"The response I got was that it wasn't their responsibility and they'd passed it on to whoever's responsibility it was. It never got fixed. If that had anything to do with the accident last night it was completely avoidable." 

How do we solve the issues on the A34?

Alex Regan

BBC South


From the debate we can see that there's no clear solution, and little consensus from members of the panel. 

Motoring expert Paul Watters says the government is looking at whether the A34 could be upgraded to an expressway, using technology to try and reduce accidents. 

Chief Inspector Henry Parson said drivers using phones, not speeding, was the main cause of accidents on the road.

The A34 Action Group's Alistair Cunningham said not enough is being done, and immediate action needs to be taken by the government to make the road safer for everyone. 

Angus Horner, who commutes on the road to the Harwell Campus, said the road is a legacy infrastructure from the 20th Century, and was stunting growth in the region. 

Chrys Rampley from the Road Haulage Association said that HGV companies were losing large sums of money because of the delays on the A34. 

What's it like to be an A34 lorry driver?

Alex Regan

BBC South

The A34 has been described as the spine of the South. 

Lorries from Southampton travel across the country via the major road, and some HGV drivers have also been the cause of major crashes. 

What's it like to be a lorry driver on the A34? How do other drivers react to these massive vehicles? We sent BBC Radio Solent's Matt Treacy to find out. 

A34: Your thoughts on twitter

You've been tweeting BBC Oxford your experiences of driving on the A34.

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

@BBCOxford no, got dashcam since commuting on A34. Stupid driving every day. Often HGVs speeding, cutting up cars and ignoring weight limits

'The A34 is already at capacity'

Oxford West and Abingdon MP Nicola Blackwood has said the economically strategic A34 is already at capacity, therefore any accidents on the road will cause huge issues.  

She says that she has been lobbying ministers and the Department of Transport to improve road safety.

Ms Blackwood has said a progress report due from Highways England in the spring will highlight the practical solutions to improving road safety. 

Is enough being done for the A34?

The Department of Transport has said it is looking at enhancing junctions in Oxford on the A34, as well as providing better information for drivers through new gantries across the rest of the road. 

But is that enough? Predictions indicate that no new work will be done on the A34 until 2020. 

Angus Horner, who commutes to the Harwell Campus on the A34, believes the A34 needs to be turned into an expressway, and the road is stunting growth in the region's economy. 

A34: Your questions

Ahead of today's debate, we asked you, via the BBC News website, for questions.

Among them was Simon Holmes, who asked: "Why is it always the road itself that gets the blame for the accidents? If everyone drove sensibly there wouldn't be any accidents."

Another, who didn't give their name said: "Why spend billions on a high speed rail link which will not really serve the localities that are served by the A34? Use the money on the A34."

Chris Beavis asked: "Why are some of the slip roads so dangerously short?  In particular the southbound entries from East Ilsley and the A303 at Sutton Scotney." 

And finally, someone else who wished to remain anonymous said: "Why are the slip roads so short, making it difficult to join the road, for example those at Beedon northbound, Highclere in both directions?"

Van fire

We've been hearing of the crash near East Illsey, but there was another incident this morning on the A34 at Abingdon, Oxfordshire, causing tailbacks.

This time a van on fire on the hard shoulder.

Van on fire
Van on fire

Driver spotted with iPad attached to steering wheel

A man was seen using an iPad while driving, attached to their steering wheel, a BBC South listener has told us.

In today's debate Chief Inspecter Henry Parsons said that using a mobile phone is as bad as drink-driving or driving after consuming drugs. 

Tomorrow a new law will come into effect which will bring in bigger punishments to drivers who are caught using mobile phones. 

Are lorries a scapegoat for A34 woes?

Alex Regan

BBC South

One in 10 vehicles on the A34 is a lorry, and many drivers blame HGV drivers for issues on the road. 

But are lorry drivers just a scapegoat for a bigger problem?

The Road Haulage Associations spokeswoman Chrys Rampley said: "Our drivers are very professional they have to have five years experience

"It's a main artery to support the Midlands and the North.

"It doesn't have capacity to meet the demand...[but] there's no other way."


Crash victim's girlfriend speaks about talking to dangerous driver

A woman who spoke to the man who caused killed her boyfriend in a crash on the A34 has spoken about her interview. 

Meg Williamson spoke to Lewis Stratford, who will be sentenced for causing death by dangerous driving at Reading Crown Court on Friday. 

After picking up his phone he crashed into Gareth Roberts, a crash that killed him. 

She said: "I'm really glad I had the opportunity to do it. 

"He was very open with me, very remorseful. 

"It was more for me to let him know that I didn't hate him, to let him know he made a terrible mistake picking up his phone."

She now wants to improve road safety on the road in memory of Mr Roberts.  

Severe accident: A417 Oxfordshire eastbound

BBC News Travel

A417 Oxfordshire eastbound severe accident, between B4508 and Cottage Road.

A417 Oxfordshire - A417 in Shellingford closed and slow traffic eastbound between the B4508 junction and the Cottage Road junction, because of an accident involving one car.

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

A34 debate gets under way

BBC South Today's Sally Taylor is in East Ilsley to discuss the issues of the A34 in an hour-long broadcast. 

Just two miles away there has been a four-vehicle crash on the northbound carriageway.


Is the A34 really that dangerous?

Alex Regan

BBC South

The A34 has been the site of a number of horrendous crashes, several involving HGVs. 

The road has 11% more lorry traffic than similar dual carriageways, but does that mean it is less safe?

Road safety expert Dan Campsall argues the road is 30% safer than other transport roads. 

Accident on the A34

Alex Regan

BBC South

As BBC South begins an hour-long broadcast on the issues with the A34, there has been an accident on the northbound carriageway near the East Ilsley turnoff. 

Thames Valley Police has said four cars were involved and it is causing tailbacks of about two miles. 

We will provide you with more travel updates as we have them. 

Is the A34 a dangerous road?

A34 killer driver meets victim's partner

Inside Out South filmed a meeting between Lewis Stratford and Meg Williamson. 

Stratford has been convicted of causing death by dangerous driving after a crash which killed Ms Williamson's boyfriend, Gareth Roberts. 

Stratford was having an argument with his girlfriend on the phone when his car crossed the central reservation on the A34 in Oxfordshire. 

At the meeting, which Ms Williamson set up, Stratford, 24, said he knew he had ruined lives.  

Join us across the South for the debate  due to begin in a few moments.

Man in court over £120,000 romance fraud

A 45-year-old man has appeared in court in connection with a £120,000 romance fraud.

Sheikh Farooq Ijaz, from Banbury, Oxfordshire, made no plea or declaration when he appeared at Dundee Sheriff Court. He was granted bail.

Romance fraud is the term given to scams where criminals hoodwink their victims, often through fake profiles, on online dating sites.

Police have warned people to use "reputable" dating sites.

Det Insp Iain McPhail, of the economic crime and financial investigation unit, said: "If you are being referred to a potential partner by a third party, please ensure that they actually know that individual."

Josh Ruffels

Midfielder Josh Ruffels signs a one-year contract extension with League One club Oxford United.

Read more

Today's weather: Bright spells and blustery showers

Holly Green with today's weather for the south

After a chilly start this morning there will be some sunny intervals, along with scattered showers. 

Some of the showers could fall as sleet or hail, and may also be heavy. It will feel cold in the wind with highs of 8C (46F).  

Join us for the BBC South A34 debate

From 09:00 BBC South Today's Sally Taylor will be speaking to a panel of experts and campaigners on the A34. 

The road has been the site of horrendous crashes which have caused a number of fatalities. 

Questions from online readers will be posed to a panel of experts which includes:

  • Chief Inspector Henry Parsons, Thames Valley Police road safety team
  • Alisdair Cunningham, A34 Action Group
  • Paul Watters, motoring expert

Join us across the South for the debate  or tune in to BBC Radio Oxford on 95.2FM.