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  1. Updates on Friday 27 February 2015

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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That's all from Local Live for today - thank you for joining us.

We'll be back from 08:00 on Monday with news, sport, weather and travel from across the North East.

Rain arriving overnight

Mainly fine this evening with some clear spells at first, then quickly becoming cloudier with hill fog over the Pennines and Cheviots. Becoming breezier too, with some spells of rain arriving during the second half of the night.

weather graphic

Minimum Temperature: 3C (37F)

On Look North this evening

The Chancellor has been in the North East today with plans for 50,000 jobs and billions of pounds investment in transport. We'll bring you the latest.

It's all change on the railway as East Coast trains reach the end of the line, parents meet the Education Secretary, who has pulled the plug on their children's free school and we hear from the heart surgeon who said he would choose a bionic heart over a real one if he needed a transplant.

Join us on BBC One at 18:30 for these and all our other stories.

Newcastle v Aston Villa

Midfielder Jonas Gutierrez could make his first Newcastle appearance in 17 months after being included in the squad for the first time since overcoming testicular cancer.

Newcastle United's Jonas Gutierrez
Getty Images

Newcastle are unbeaten in eight home matches against Villa (W5, D3) since a 3-0 defeat in April 2005

Best place to live

Bamburgh and Eglingham in Northumberland and Barnard Castle in County Durham have made it onto The Sunday Times list of the 50 best places to live in the countryside.

Bamburgh Castle
David Parkin

The paper has looked at data such as crime rates, house prices and school performances as well as local opinion.

Bamburgh was named best place by the sea.

Deepcut inquest delayed

A decision over when a fresh inquest can start over the death of Pte Cheryl James at Deepcut barracks in Surrey has been delayed.

During a pre-inquest review at the High Court a barrister for Surrey Police requested the new inquest was delayed.

The force wants the delay in case applications for fresh inquests into the deaths of three other soldiers at Deepcut, including Pte Geoff Gray, from Seaham, County Durham, are made.

The hearing has now been delayed for at least four weeks.

Sheffield Wednesday v Middlesbrough

Middlesbrough go into the match at Hillsborough after Tuesday's 1-0 win against Bolton, which was their first win in four games in all competitions. They are unbeaten in their last five away games in the Championship, winning two.

Sheffield Wednesday won the earlier meeting this season 3-2 at the Riverside in August.

Rail improvements welcomed

Improvements to northern rail services, including the replacement of old Pacer trains and increased frequency of services, have been welcomed by Middlesbrough's deputy mayor.

Pacer train

Dave Budd said he was sure the changes would be welcomed "by people in Middlesbrough who travel by train and indeed those who are put off doing so" because of current issues.

Woman sentenced over heiress fraud

Catherine Lee

BBC News

A woman who posed as a murdered heiress to help her lover gain access to the dead woman's estate has been sentenced.

Janet Brown
Northumbria Police

Janet Brown, of Hexham, disappeared in 2005. Her lover Donald Graham was jailed for life for her murder in 2014.

Graham persuaded new lover Elizabeth Todd to impersonate Ms Brown (pictured) in an attempt to convince people she was still alive.

Todd admitted fraud at Newcastle Crown Court and was handed a six-month prison term, suspended for 18 months.

News on the hour

The top local headlines at 17:00 include:

  • BBC Tees: The Chancellor has announced a long term economic plan for our region.
  • BBC Newcastle: Jon Harle and Anne Leuchars will have a round-up of the day's top headlines

Helicopter reassurance

Hartlepool Council is looking for assurance that policing in the town won't suffer because of the withdrawal of the police helicopter base at Durham Tees Valley Airport.

View from the police helicopter

The National Police Air Service is due to stop using the airport at the end of March, leaving the nearest base in Newcastle.

Council audit and governance committee chairman Ray Martin-Wells has written to Cleveland police and crime commissioner Barry Coppinger to stress that "aerial support from helicopters is vital to community safety and catching criminals".

Manchester United v Sunderland

BBC Sport

Sunderland travel to Old Trafford for tomorrow's 15:00 kick-off.

The Black Cats won this fixture 1-0 last season but have claimed just one victory from nine league games since Christmas. They are just two places and three points above the relegation zone.

Budget cut by £22m

A council tax rise of nearly 2% has been approved in South Tyneside as the authority faces £22m of budget cuts.

South Tyneside Council said the 1.95% increase for the upcoming financial year would see a rise of about 32p per week for a band A property.

South Tyneside Council

The authority has to save a further £22m to balance the budget for 2015-16.

News on the hour

The top local headlines at 16:00 include:

  • BBC Tees: Chancellor George Osborne has announced the government's long term economic plan for the North East which he says will see billions spent on improving transport links.
  • BBC Newcastle: Two demonstrations are due to take place in Newcastle city centre tomorrow - by "anti-Islamification" Pegida UK and opposing group Newcastle Unites.

'Business as usual'

The UK branch of the German "anti-Islamification" group Pegida is planning its first demonstration, in Newcastle, for Saturday.

Protesters are due at the city centre's Bigg Market at 11:00, with a counter demonstration travelling from Gallowgate near St James' Park to Newgate Street.

Pegida demonstration in Germany

Northumbria Police said there was "no suggestion that it will be anything other than a peaceful demonstration".

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Tell us what you think.

More on George Osborne announcement

Richard Moss

Political editor, North East & Cumbria

Tees Valley enterprise zone is to be extended and George Osborne in principle agrees to devolution of skills to its new combined authority.

He announced plans for a new health science university technical college in Newcastle.

He invited Nexus to submit a costed business case for more investment in the Metro for consideration.

News on the hour

The top local headlines at 15:00 include:

  • BBC Newcastle: Chancellor George Osborne has been in the North East to announce plans for new jobs and transport improvements across the region.
  • BBC Tees: Pacer trains which have been running on Northern Rail Services for 30 years will be replaced with new trains not refurbished London Underground stock, the government has promised.

£10m tech college site approved

A site for the North East's first university-style college to train engineers has been chosen.

Professor Gary Holmes, pro-vice chancellor at the University of Sunderland, welcomed the Government's support
University of Sunderland

The University of Sunderland revealed the new University Technical College (UTC), will be built at Long Tens Way, at the Newton Aycliffe business park.

It is due to open in 2016 and will have space for up to 600 youngsters.

'Deliberate' fire

A house fire on North Tyneside is being treated as arson, Northumbria Police have said.

It happened about 00:40 this morning in Horton Avenue, in Shiremoor. Two people were treated in hospital for smoke inhalation.

A 45-year-old man and a 62-year-old woman have been arrested on suspicion of arson. Police are appealing for witnesses.

Boost for tourism

Richard Moss

Political editor, North East & Cumbria

George Osborne pledged to boost tourism in the North East, attracting an additional 150,000 overseas visitors.

He said tourism would be boosted by investment in Lindisfarne, Captain Cook Museum and Hadrian's Wall.

News on the hour

The top local headlines at 14:00 include:

  • BBC Newcastle: Pacer trains which have been running on Northern Rail Services in the region for 30 years will be replaced with new trains, the government has said.
  • BBC Tees: Chancellor George Osborne has announced the long term economic plan for the North East which he claims will improve transport links and could create thousands of jobs.

More on the Chancellor's announcement

Richard Moss

Political editor, North East & Cumbria

George Osborne is pledging to raise the North East's long term rate of economic growth to at least that of the whole of the UK.

He is promising £4.5bn of transport investment for North East - but £2.7bn of that is on new East Coast trains. £1bn for roads which mostly covers existing plans.

He says he'll look at the case for improving the East Coast line between Newcastle and York to allow new trains to run at 140mph.

The timetable for transport investment suggests work on dualling 13 miles of the A1 in Northumberland won't begin until 2020.

Remaining dry with sunny spells

It will remain mostly dry this afternoon with some good spells of sunshine across the area. The cloud may tend to thicken though towards the evening, with a small chance of the odd light shower in the west.

weather graphic

Maximum Temperature: 8C (46F)

On Look North at lunchtime

The Chancellor George Osborne has announced the government's long term economic plan for the North East which, he claims, could eventually create some £50,000 jobs.

George Osborne

Meanwhile, Pacer trains, which have been running on Northern Rail Services in the North East and Cumbria for 30 years, will be replaced with new trains.

And one of the world's leading heart surgeons has revealed to the BBC that if he needed a heart transplant he would opt for a mechanical or bionic heart.

Join us on BBC One at 13:30.

George Osborne in the North East

Luke Walton

Political Reporter

The Chancellor arrived on Teesside to announce new plans for job creation and transport across the North East.

George Osborne is visiting car parts manufacturer Nifco to unveil an economic plan for the region.

Mr Osborne's plan sets out the aim to create 50,000 new North East jobs.

Among his promises: improvements to the East Coast mainline to allow 140mph services between York and Newcastle.

There is also a commitment to replace outdated Pacer trains.

News on the hour

The top local headlines at 13:00 include:

  • BBC Tees: The Chancellor is in the North East this afternoon announcing a long term economic plan for the region.
  • BBC Newcastle: Rail passengers in the North are being promised more seats, more services, and better trains.

'Peaceful demonstration'

There is no suggestion a rally planned by the UK branch of the German "anti-islamification" group Pegida will be anything other than a 'peaceful demonstration', Northumbria Police has said.

Bigg Market, Newcastle

Protesters campaigning against the "islamification of the West" are expected at Newcastle's Bigg Market at 11:00 on Saturday.

A counter-demonstration is due to travel from Gallowgate near St James' Park to Newgate Street, ending up within site of the Pegida UK group.

'Is that hate?'

Critics of the UK branch of the German "anti-islamification" group Pegida claim a planned rally in Newcastle on Saturday will "promote expression of hatred".

Denying this, the group's spokeswoman said: "I don't think it's wrong to stand up to terrorism. Is that hate?"

Pegida supporters march in Dresden, Germany on 15 December 2014

Pegida originated in Dresden, east Germany, last year.

News on the hour

The top local headlines at 12:00 include:

  • BBC Tees: Teesside manufacturing company Nifco has won its biggest ever contract, worth more than £50m.
  • BBC Newcastle: Chancellor George Osborne is in the North East this afternoon to announce a long-term economic plan for the region.

Tracking A&E performance

Data for accident and emergency units is published every week.


This week's figures show nationally 87.7% of patients were seen in four hours at major A&E hospitals with 92% within the same time period at all A&E units against a target of 95%.

Find out how the North East's A&E units are performing.

Parakeet sightings confirmed

Helen Richardson

BBC Newcastle

The BBC Newcastle reporter

tweets: Sightings of ring-necked Parakeets are confirmed in the North East - around Newcastle and in Northumberland. Tweet!

Minister considers station reopening

Campaigners have welcomed a pledge from a government minister to look at plans to reopen a rural rail station on the Cumbria-Northumberland border almost 50 years after it was closed.

Gilsland station

Gilsland station, on the Carlisle to Newcastle line, was shut 48 years ago, but a campaign by villagers to get the site reopened has gained momentum.

It is estimated it would cost upwards of £2m to bring the station back up to scratch.

Rail Minister Claire Perry met campaigners on a visit to the village.

News on the hour

The top local headlines at 11:00 include:

  • BBC Newcastle: The government's announcing plans to give rail passengers in the North more seats and more services.
  • BBC Tees: A manufacturing company based on Teesside has won its biggest ever contract - worth more than £50m - and creating new jobs.