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Summary

  1. Updates on Wednesday 29 March 2017
  2. Plans approved for 350 homes near Durham Tees Valley Airport
  3. Council takes over £4.5m unused academy
  4. Shadow Brexit minister and Darlington MP says getting a "good deal" is crucial
  5. Young people in Sunderland talk about hopes for the future

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All times stated are UK

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That's all from us for today and what a day it has been - thank you for joining us.

You can still catch up with the latest news throughout the night on  BBC TeesBBC NewcastleLook North  and online.

If you'd like to get in touch or share your North East pictures with us, you can do so on  TwitterFacebook , or via  email at northeast.locallive@bbc.co.uk   .

We'll be back tomorrow from 08:00. Meanwhile, thanks to Emily Morison for sending us this photo of the Tyneside quayside.

Tyneside quayside
Emily Morison

Weather: Cloudy with some heavy rain later

Paul Mooney

BBC Weather

A mainly cloudy night is in prospect with further spells of rain, perhaps rather heavy later in the night.

Southerly or southwesterly winds continuing.

Minimum temperature: 10C (50F). Check the forecast near you.

Weather forecast
BBC

Scores of drivers 'not wearing seatbelts'

BBC Tees

www.bbc.co.uk/BBCTees

A campaign by Cleveland and Durham police forces found scores of motorists risking their lives by not wearing seatbelts.

Of the 127 drivers not belted in, 104 were male and 22 were female.

A young child being driven to school was also found without a seatbelt.

Drivers are legally responsible for ensuring that suitable restraints are worn by passengers younger than 14.

Seatbelt
thinksto

Cleveland Police say that under the new rules:

Backless booster seats or booster cushions will only be approved for use by children taller than 125cm and weighing more than 22kg.

Currently children as young as three, or 15kg, are able to use a backless booster seat.

What questions do you have about the new Tees Valley Mayor?

BBC Tees

www.bbc.co.uk/BBCTees

On 4 May 2017, voters will elect the first  Tees Valley Mayor  who will have responsibility for Hartlepool, Stockton, Redcar and Cleveland, Middlesbrough and Darlington.

The Mayor will have £15m a year to spend and will make decisions on areas such as transport, jobs, education, housing and investment.

Ahead of the election, BBC Tees will be finding out what you want to ask about the new mayor.

Do you want to know how the role will fit into the existing structure, how decisions made will affect your lives and what powers the mayor will have?

You can get in touch by using the form on this page to ask your questions.

Transporter Bridge
Getty Images

Watch: 'Jumping off the Brexit cliff'

James Sheerin, from Newcastle, has posted his British passport to Theresa May in protest at Article 50 being triggered.

He thinks Britain is "making a mistake by jumping off the Brexit cliff".

In anticipation of Britain voting to leave the European Union in June, the retired solicitor applied to have an Irish passport as well as a British passport.

View more on facebook

'Open for business' says North East UKIP MEP

As Theresa May triggers Article 50 to formally trigger the Brexit process, former UKIP leader Nigel Farage says he's thrilled to have made it to this point .

Meanwhlie in the North East, MEP Jonathan Arnott (pictured) said in a statement: "I am hugely encouraged that, nine months and six days after the British people spoke loud and clear in the EU referendum, Theresa May has today finally triggered Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and we now begin the formal process of withdrawal from the European Union.

"I call on Theresa May and the British government to now deliver a deal which will secure the future of the United Kingdom as a vibrant, independent, global trading nation.

Jonathan Arnott
Jonathan Arnott

"Here in the North East we are a trading region. We want the right deal with the European Union, one which enables us to trade with them freely and without tariffs.

"But we also want to open up new markets, new trade opportunities by developing our trading links across the world."

Harry Watson (left) and Alex Yeoman

Alex Yeoman and Harry Watson, both 17, were found at the bottom of cliffs in Huntcliff in Saltburn.

Read more

Critics fear homes plan threatens airport's future

Plans for 350 new homes on land near Durham Tees Valley Airport have been approved this afternoon.

The airport's owners have said that all profits made from the new homes will be invested in the airport.

But critics say the plan threatens the airport's future.

Breaking Plans for 350 homes on the edge of Durham Tees Valley Airport approved

Andrew Hartley

BBC Look North

Darlington planners vote 5-4 in favour of plans for 350 homes on the edge of Durham Tees Valley Airport. 

More to follow.

Digital Nation: Winners of dance contest

Made in Tyne and Wear

A film by Made in Tyne & Wear is included in this week's Digital Nation, a round-up of the pick of the programmes produced by the Local TV stations.

It features the winners of the Made in Tyne & Wear dancing contest - you can watch the film here.

dancers
Made in Tyne & Wear

'All profits made on homes will be invested in airport'

Andrew Hartley

BBC Look North

A Darlington Borough Council meeting is under way to decide on plans for 350 homes on the edge of Durham Tees Valley Airport.

Owners of the airport say it's losing £2.5m a year and "can't guarantee its long term" future.

Council planners have been recommended to agree to the plan.

Owners of Durham Tees Valley Airport say all profits made from 350 new homes on the site will be invested in the airport.

Follow me on Twitter to see the latest developments.

Weather: Rain and cloud likely

Keeley Donovan

Weather presenter, BBC Look North

Cloud and rain is likely during this afternoon.

Feeling rather warm despite this, especially towards Durham and Sunderland. 

Maximum temperature: 13C (55F). Check the forecast near you .

Weather forecast
bbc

Young people's hopes and fears in Sunderland

BBC Look North

North East and Cumbria

We've been speaking to young people in Sunderland and finding out about their hopes and fears for the future.

You can watch the live braodcast in full on Facebook here .

Have you got any comments you'd like to share with us? You can tweet them to  @BBCNewsNEemail them  or contact us via our  Facebook page

Sunderland
BBC

Man, 70, put in induced coma after chest injuries

A man in his 70s was put in an induced coma after suffering injuries to his chest while working under a car.

The man, who was working in Hartlepool at the time, was taken to James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough where he was said to be in a stable condition, the Great North Air Ambulance Service said.

Is Sunderland a city torn between its head and its heart?

Fiona Trott

BBC News

Nine months after Sunderland delivered a stunning early win for Brexit in the referendum , Theresa May's letter to the EU has given the people of the city what they voted for.

It is a city torn between its head and its heart, between what the people want but the possible consequences of what that could mean.

Sunderland is Britain's top exporting city, with 60% going to the EU, thanks mostly to the giant Nissan car plant that churns out 500,000 cars a year.

It employs about 7,000 people and tens of thousands more in the supply chain.

It is the most productive car plant in Europe.

But this could be thrown into jeopardy after the car giant said it may " adjust " its business in the UK depending on the Brexit negotiations, with the North East already one of the worst places for unemployment in the country.

What do young people think about Sunderland?

BBC Look North

North East and Cumbria

We're hosting a Facebook Live on what young people think about Sunderland.

You can watch it on the BBC Look North Facebook page .

It'll be live from the National Glass Centre in the city and presented by BBC Look North's Nisha Joshi.

Sunderland
Gett

Do you recognise this stolen jewellery?

Cannabis plants worth £100,000 seized in Acklam

Cannabis plants worth over £100,000 have been seized in Middlesbrough.

The haul of 195 cannabis plants was found at a property on Heythrop Drive in Acklam last Thursday, police said.

A 23-year-old man was charged with the production of cannabis and he later appeared at Teesside Magistrates' Court.

'We will make the best of it'

Six out of 10 people backed Brexit in Sunderland.

Speaking just a few hours before the official triggering of Brexit, people in the city centre still seemed confident they had voted the right way.

Charles Goodacre, 62, a former taxi driver, said: "I'm glad this day has finally come, this is what the people voted for.

"I voted for Brexit and today is the day that vote starts to count. Things have been bad round here for a while and we need a change.

"There's been a lot of arguments about what happened but we can now get on with it." 

Wearmouth Bridge
Getty Images

Janet Freeman, 66, a retired secretary, said she was worried about jobs but she had been worried just the same before Brexit too.

"I voted for Brexit so it's good it's going to start," she said.

"I have become a bit concerned about what it might mean for jobs but I think we will make the best of it.

"It's not right we were controlled from Europe, we need to control our own destiny."  

Stella Richards, 48, said she thought new opportunities would make up for any shortfall Brexit brought.

"We don't need the EU, there is a big world out there for us to trade with

"We also want to control our borders and immigration," she said.

Man arrested over social media threats directed at schools

A man has been arrested after threats were made on social media directed at two schools in Morpeth.

The 18-year-old was arrested after threatening messages were sent to Stobhill Gate First School on 24 March and Collingwood School on 28 March.

Neighbourhood Insp Mick Aspey said: "We want to reassure parents that there is no safety issue at either school and they should continue to bring their children to school as usual.

"While we do not believe there is any credible threat to pupils at either school and treating this as a malicious act, we will have a police presence at the schools throughout this week, both in the mornings and afternoons, to speak to any parents who have concerns or any information about the sender of the message."

The man has been released on bail and no other schools were mentioned, police said.

Police
Northumbria Police

EU national feels he is 'bargaining chip'

Fiona Trott

BBC News

With the government declining to give a firm guarantee about the status of EU nationals currently living in the UK - it is still a worry for many.

The government has said it is not possible without a reciprocal pledge from other EU members about the millions of British nationals living on the continent.  

German-born Alexander Ebinger lives in Sunderland, he told me: "It makes us feel like a bargaining chip in this whole situation.

"[I'm] not too concerned, but a little more clarity would be nice."

Alexander Ebinger
BBC

Richard Elvin, UKIP, said: "It's in everyone's interest to get a deal as soon as possible with the EU.

"We should be concerned with getting a free trade agreement along with a new customs arrangement sorted out at the earliest opportunity."

Find out all you need to know about Brexit here.

Assault victim punched and kicked in the head

A man suffered a serious injury to his eye after he was beaten up outside a pub on Teesside. 

The 56-year-old victim was outside the the Pig Iron, Corporation Road, Middlesbrough when he was set upon, police said. 

He was punched in the head and kicked in the face during an altercation with another man who was in his late 40s and wearing jeans and a white top. 

The attack happened just before 21:00 on 24 March, but Cleveland Police has only just released details.

The force is appealing for witnesses. 

North East sees increase in animal cruelty cases

A bulldog being repeatedly thrown down the stairs, and another dog buried alive with a nail in its head.

Just two of the incidents included in the latest RSPCA report on cruelty complaints in our region.

Across the north the charity has found a 5% increase in the number of incidents investigated from 2015 to 2016.

And convictions for animal abuse have almost doubled.

Dog
RSPCA

County Durham and Tyne and Wear are both in the top 10 counties for convictions.

Mark Gent, a chief Inspector for the RSPCA says they're dealing with "more cases than ever".

Earlier this month, two men who buried a dog alive after hammering a nail into its skull were jailed.

Severe accident: A19 County Durham northbound

BBC News Travel

A19 County Durham northbound severe accident, at A182 affecting A182.

A19 County Durham - Long delays and queuing traffic on A19 northbound in Murton at the A182 junction, because of an accident earlier on. All lanes have been re-opened. Congestion to the A182 junction.

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

The EU 'does not want to 'punish' Britain' - MP

BBC Tees

www.bbc.co.uk/BBCTees

As the Prime Minister Theresa May begins the formal process of Britain leaving the EU, the shadow Brexit minister and Darlington MP, Jenny Chapman, has told BBC Tees that the outcome is crucial for both the North East and the nation.

The Darlington MP rejects claims that ending the process with no deal would be better for Britain than accepting a bad deal.

She said: "I think this is going to be a a constructive process.

"I wouldn't listen to any of the nonsense that's around about the EU wanting to 'punish' Britain. I think that's not true.

I think we need to enter into this sensibly with a cautious but a confident approach."

Keep up to date on the day's events by following our special Brexit live page .

Jenny Chapman, Labour MP and representative for Darlington
PA

'Booze cruise' plans criticised by police

Yesterday, we brought you a story about a plan for 3,000 people to float on dinghies down the River Tyne - while drinking alcohol .

The event is being advertised on Facebook as "the River Tyne Booze Cruise" - and so far it has been shared more than 10,000 times.

However, Northumbria Police has criticised the plans and says it is hugely concerned about the safety surrounding the event.

Oraganisers said alcohol quantities would be "regulated".  

Dinghies in Finland
Alamy

Festival on the Wall cancelled

A music festival set to feature the Libertines, Pet Shop Boys and Maximo Park has been cancelled.

Festival on the Wall was due to be held at Hadrian's Wall in August.

But the organisers have now said "significant operational challenges have made it impossible to continue"

Their statement said: "After serious consideration and with an incredibly heavy heart, we are sad to announce that Festival On The Wall has been cancelled. For the past two years we have put our heart and soul into creating the event that the North East deserves, showcasing everything that is great about this region."

The organisers said ticket holders should receive an automatic refund within five days.

Weather: Cloudy morning, brighter skies

BBC Weather

This morning will be rather cloudy with some spells of light rain but perhaps some brighter skies in the east. 

Thicker cloud and rain is likely during the afternoon. It will feel rather warm with winds mainly light but rather stronger in the afternoon.  

Click here for more weather .

Weather
BBC

Good morning

Good morning. Welcome to BBC Local Live. We'll be with you throughout the day to bring you the latest news, weather, sport and travel updates.

To start the day here is a picture taken from the BBC Tees studio this morning.

Have you got any photos you'd like to share with us? You can tweet them to  @BBCNewsNEemail them  or contact us via our  Facebook page .

Sky over Boro
Duncan Leatherdale