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Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

Cash boost for 'deprived' estate following teen's death

Jason Noble

Suffolk Local Democracy Reporter

Three years-worth of funding has been promised for community projects in Ipswich following the death of a 17-year-old.

The borough council pledged £5,000 a year for three years for the Nacton estate area to "support the community" following the stabbing to death of Tavis Spencer-Aitkens in June (below).

Tavis Spencer-Aitkens
Suffolk Police

Councillor Sarah Barber said the cash was for "small scale projects" in area following a report which said "the challenges facing families in the area were well known" and "include deprivation in every domain" .

The council has already said it will keep Murrayside Centre open, leave street lights on all night at Queen's Way and has offered free iCards to youngsters in the school holidays so they can take part in activities at council gyms and parks for free.

New cycle and pedestrian bridge planned for Bedford

It's hoped a new cycle and pedestrian bridge will be built by the side of Bromham Road Bridge in Bedford, as part of the continued electrification of the Midland Mainline.

The Mayor of Bedford, Dave Hodgson, said the council had reached an agreement with Network Rail to build the separate bridge and the company will contribute financially.

He said "Network Rail’s replacement of the road bridge will sadly cause major disruption. This deal we’ve struck means that we will at least be able to deliver a permanent, major improvement for pedestrians and cyclists."

He said there is a still "a long way to go" as the council now needs to work on the design, planning and funding.

Mayor Dave Hod
Bedford Borough Council

Uncertainty remains over re-opening of treetop walkway

The Forestry Commission says it is unsure whether the re-opening of a treetop walkway at Salcey Forest, near Northampton, will be financially viable.

The popular visitor attraction was closed back in May for safety reasons.

Treetop walk, Salcey Forest

Independent engineers have carried out two separate inspections since then and the commission are now waiting for quotes on the repairs.

More than 33,000 people have since signed a petition calling for the raised wooden platform to be saved.

Dickson 'shocked' at being made Blues captain

The former England and Saints rugby player, Lee Dickson, has been named as the new captain at Bedford Blues.

The scrum-half joined the club from Northampton last season and featured in 26 games, scoring five tries.

“I was quite shocked when Mike [Rayer, the manager] rang me and asked me if I fancied leading the squad.

"I only had to think about it for a second. It's a huge honour to have been asked to lead a great club like Bedford with the squad that we've got this season. I said yes straight away," he said.

Lee Dickson playing rugby
Bedford Blues

Cambridge foodbank supplies at 'all-time low'

Cambridge City Foodbank, which are part of The Trussell Trust’s network of volunteers supplying food to families in need, says its supplies are at an all-time low and it is struggling to cope with demand during the summer holidays.

The trust says typically a third of food supplies collected go to children, but the extra financial pressure to provide main meals during the school holidays for families who rely on free school meals during term-time sees this increase in some parts of the country.

A report last year by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Hunger estimated the loss of free school meals during the holidays adds between £30 and £40 a week to parents’ outgoings for one child.

St Paul's Church, Cambridge
The city foodbank operates from churches and other community buildings in Cambridge and the south of the county

To help stem the problem, Douglas de Lacey, chairman of South Cambridgeshire District Council, is calling on all district councillors to work with their local shops to help increase donations to the charity.

Jon Edney from Cambridge City Foodbank, said: "We can only help [families] with support from the public, so this initiative to increase food collection is very welcome - together we can help people escape the spiral of poverty."

Thousands of pounds worth of tools stolen from council depot

Hunts Post

Tools and equipment worth thousands of pounds have been stolen from St Ives Town Council’s grounds maintenance depot.

Council approves sale of outdoor centre

Northamptonshire County Council has approved the sale of an outdoor learning centre as it continues to try to balance its books by making up to £70m of cuts.

The sale of the council-owned Longtown Outdoor Education Centre, near the Brecon Beacons in Wales, was approved at a cabinet meeting of the Conservative-controlled council on Tuesday.

Longtown Outdoor Education Centre

The 70-bed residential centre for young people had been owned by the council for about 50 years.

It has been sold to a local charity, the Wilson Foundation, meaning it will continue to operate and that staff will keep their jobs.

Cabinet member Ian Morris said the council had achieved the "market value" for the sale.

Inquest opens into death of Norwich motorcyclist in Belgium

Mariam Issimdar

BBC News

An inquest into a motorcyclist from Norwich who died while taking part in a competition in Belgium has been opened and adjourned.

Clive Ling, 52, a sheet metal worker, of Hardwick, Norwich, was taking part in a race at the Chimay circuit on 28 July.

The inquest, held by Norwich coroner Jacqueline Lake, heard that his wife Donna Ling was at the event at the time and identified the body.

The medical cause of death was multiple injuries due to a motorcycle collision, the hearing was told.

Row over illegal traveller encampments in Milton Keynes

The Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley has called for greater powers for police to deal with illegal traveller encampments.

Anthony Stansfeld was criticised by the two Conservative MPs for Milton Keynes, Mark Lancaster and Iain Stewart, who said it has been the "worst" year for unauthorised traveller encampments in the town.

In a joint statement the MPs said: "One of the biggest issues surrounding the increase in unauthorised traveller encampments this year has been the inability of the Police and Milton Keynes Council to take responsibility."

Mr Stansfeld said there was a need for "proper laws" around the issue, and that Mr Lancaster and Mr Stewart "should be lobbied to push for far tighter rules".

"The fault lies firmly with parliament," he added.

Man on mobility scooter 'exposed himself'

Police are appealing for information after reports a man on a mobility scooter exposed himself in Hadleigh.

The man, described as aged between 70 and 80 and about 5ft 6in, is said to have exposed himself to a woman on London Road near the junction of Cottesmore Gardens at about 12:55 on 28 July.

He was driving a blue mobility scooter, was wearing a high visibility vest and had a beard described as "unkempt" by the victim.

Essex Police believe that several members of the public may have been stopped by the victim on the High Street, and are asking witnesses to get in touch.

Investigation continues after men hit by car in Bedford

Police said they are still looking for the driver of a car that hit two people after a fight in Bedford early on Sunday.

The victims were struck by a black Mercedes A Class by Lurke Street Car Park, at about 04:30.

The two men who were hit, aged 23 and 25, were arrested on suspicion of affray but have since been released on police bail.

Investigations are continuing to find four men who are believed to have been in the car at the time, police said.

Lurke Street Car Park

Aylesbury church angry with council’s parking ban

Bucks Herald

Patrons of a church in Aylesbury town centre have lambasted Bucks County Council “jobsworths” who have said that hearses and funeral cars can no longer park outside the church to transport coffins into the building.

Chelmsford cylist wins Transcontinental Race

Cyclist James Hayden

A Chelmsford cyclist has won a 2,500-mile race across Europe - for the second year in a row.

James Hayden pedalled to victory in the 2018 Transcontinental Race, beating his nearest opponent by the length of Albania.

It was the fourth time the 27-year-old student had taken part in the competition, which he completed in just eight days. To maintain his lead, James allowed himself around three hours' sleep a night.

"I put a lot of hard work in this year so it was nice to see it pay off," he said.

The race, from Belgium to Greece, sees cyclists take on some of the toughest roads in the continent.

Concerns over plans for more cycle routes in Cambridge

Josh Thomas

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Newnham Road
Newnham Road, where the new routes would meet the city

Two "high quality, off-road" cycle routes planned into Cambridge have come under fire from locals who fear they would add to an already congested area of the city.

The Greenways project by the Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) would see two new routes, from the villages of Barton and Haslingfield, link to the city centre through Newnham.

People living in the area say they fear the cycleways would potentially affect Grantchester Meadows, as well as the narrow streets through Newnham Croft.

At a meeting of Newnham Croft Residents' Association, chairwoman Jean Glasberg said many "fast cycle commuters" would be arriving in the area at the same time as parents dropping off children at school, raising safety and congestion issues.

A public consultation on the Barton and Haslingfield greenway schemes is open until 20 August.

Couple fined over listed building 'disrepair'

South Cambridgeshire District Council

A couple have been fined after they failed to carry out essential repair works on their Grade II listed 17th Century house.

The Gothic house on Cottenham High Street was left with patches of crumbling masonry and broken glass which could pose a risk to the public, according to South Cambridgeshire District Council.

Chimney stacks were also damaged and uncleared vegetation reached its roof. After giving the couple "ample opportunities" to fix the issues, the council prosecuted them.

Franco Basso, 54, and Katherine Fleming, both of Windsor Road, Cambridge, were fined £440 and £467 respectively at Cambridge Magistrates' Court on Thursday for a charge of occupier/owner of land failing comply with notice to maintain land.

Plan for school in old Ipswich Co-op move closer

Jason Noble

Suffolk Local Democracy Reporter

Plans for a new free school to fill an empty department store in Ipswich have moved a step closer, as the sale of the building in Carr Street has been completed.

Old Co-op site in Ipswich

The former Co-op department store at the end of Carr Street was announced last summer as being the location for a new primary school, set to be run by the Active Learning Trust (ALT).

Progress on finalising the sale had been made more complex as the borough council needed to buy the 1.48 acre site to enable the school to be built. The sale has now been completed.

Ipswich Borough Council leader David Ellesmere said: "This is excellent news and paves the way for developing an important town centre site and providing much-needed school places for Ipswich children.

"It shows what we can achieve by working together on key projects."

In the papers: Plans to change high school admissions approved

Hertfordshire Mercury

Plans to change the admissions arrangements for a Bishop's Stortford school have been approved by the government, despite a challenge from parents.

Campaign to keep 'misused' level crossing open

Cotton Mill Lane crossing
Network Rail

More than 450 people have signed a petition calling for a pedestrian level crossing in St Albans to remain open to the public.

The Cotton Mill Lane crossing connects Alban Way and Griffiths Way and is used by about 1,000 pedestrians and cyclists daily.

However, Network Rail wants to close the crossing because of "unacceptable incidents of deliberate misuse".

The company recorded 250 incidents over a nine-day period in 2015 - including youths lying on the tracks - which led to a temporary closure and the imposition of a 20mph speed limit.

Phil Bibby, executive member for Highways and Environment at Hertfordshire County Council, said: "The route is very well used and any restrictions will have an impact of users. While safety is paramount, careful consideration needs to be given to future plans and options."

Cotton Mill Lane crossing
Network Rail

Man dies after crash in Cransley

A man has died after the car he was driving crashed in Cransley, near Kettering.

It happened on Loddington Road at about 12:30 yesterday, when the grey Ford Focus he was driving left the road.

Loddington Road

The vehicle, which was travelling in the direction of Broughton, mounted the kerb and struck the parapet of a bridge before coming to rest on a verge.

Anyone who witnessed the collision is asked to contact Nothamptonshire Police on 101.

Neighbours not so keen on social club's extension

Northampton Chronicle & Echo

A Northampton social club is aiming to get approval to be able to sell alcohol in its new extension, but some neighbours are not so keen on the idea.

Body of man found in Ipswich river identified

The body of a man found in an Ipswich river, whose death is being treated as unexplained, has been identified.

Scene near where body was found near London Road, Ipswich

Police were called at about 10:30 on Monday to reports that a body had been discovered in the River Gipping, near London Road.

The dead man's name has now been identified and his next of kin informed. Detectives are continuing to investigate the circumstances surrounding his death. Anyone with information is asked to call Suffolk Police.

Fire started deliberately near Breydon Bridge

Firefighters dealt with a fire in a field close to Breydon Bridge in Great Yarmouth at about 09:50 this morning.

The fire service says it was started deliberately.

'Too few homes' being built in county

Not enough houses are being built in Norfolk, according to figures released by local councils to the BBC.

Row of houses
Getty Images

The data shows the county consistently failed to reach government house-building targets each year since the beginning of this century from 2001 to 2017.

The government says Norfolk should be building 4,106 dwellings a year but the district councils' own assessments puts the figure at 3,989.

But over the whole period the county has averaged 3,600 homes, a 10% shortfall.

The leanest years were 2009 to 2015 but last year, for the first time in nine years, the county exceeded government targets by building more than 4,100 new homes.

Since 2001 more than 58,000 homes have been built in the county.

'Known nuisance' banned from town

A "known nuisance" has been banned from Kempston for five years.

Police said James Bondon, 19, from Bedford, was given a five-year Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO) , following a hearing at Luton Magistrates’ Court on Monday.

He was also sentenced to four weeks in prison for criminal damage, theft and breaching a suspended sentence.

Sgt Luke Blackburn said: "Bondon was known to cause nuisance in the area which now he has been banned from, and we hope that this will bring reassurance to our communities and encourage victims of this kind of criminal behaviour to come forward."

He was also ordered to pay £350 compensation for the criminal damage, £20 for the theft and a £115 victim surcharge.

James Bondon
Bedfordshire Police

World War Two hand grenade found in Bedford

Bomb disposal experts were called to a Bedford street after a World War Two hand grenade was found by a member of the public late last night.

Police said the piece of ammunition was removed from Arden Walk in the early hours of this morning.

The emergency services have now stood down.

5,6,7,8... Steps' Faye Tozer to star in Strictly

She might know some "Steps" but does she know a fleckerl from a chasse and can she keep in time... 5,6,7,8?

Oh yes, the dance puns have already started as the latest celebrities to sign up for Strictly Come Dancing have been revealed, and this year's class will feature Dunstable's very own Faye Tozer.

The singer will be hoping any bad moves will be "better best forgotten" and she won't be too tragic!

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North Norfolk wind turbine appeal 'could be costly'

A council is to appeal a High Court decision which said there was no need for a public inquiry into the building of two wind turbines for Cromer Ridge in north Norfolk.

Wind turbine

Last week the court decided the public could make their opinions about the two turbines known to the planning inspectorate via written representations.

But North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) said it "felt it was important to give the public the chance to make their point directly to an inspector rather than it being a desktop exercise".

Conservative councillor Sue Arnold said: "This course of action could be costly for the council but it is the view of the majority of members that this is a fight for democracy on behalf of the local people and in defence of our beautiful countryside.”

In May 2017, NNDC successfully challenged a previous inspector’s decision to allow two wind turbines to be built.

Northampton Guides celebrate century with Big Birthday bash

Northampton Chronicle & Echo

A Northampton youth group helping girls to do their best and help their communities for the last 100 years have celebrated their big birthday.

Council hands out 25 litter fines a day since January

More than 5,500 on-the-spot fines have been handed out for littering in Northampton since the end of January, the council said.

A company contracted by Northampton Borough Council has been carrying out patrols and issuing fixed penalty notices for people caught dropping things including cigarette ends and chewing gum.

The council said it operates a "zero tolerance" approach to people dropping litter.

Conservative councillor Mike Hallam, cabinet member for the environment, said he hoped increased enforcement will "show culprits that this behaviour is unacceptable and won’t be tolerated".

Man out of hospital after double stabbing

A 30-year-old man who was stabbed twice on the same day in separate incidents in the Ipswich area has been released from hospital.

The man was stabbed in the arm at a caravan in Bucklesham at 04:00 BST on Saturday. He was given treatment at hospital and was discharged before he was stabbed a second time, in his buttocks and back, at a house in Grebe Close, Chantry, at 12:25 BST, police said.

Suffolk Police said he was in a serious but stable condition following the second attack.

Four people were arrested in connection with the incidents and have been released under investigation.

Grebe Close, Ipswich

Police speak to 65 people one week after Bungay sex attack

Checks have been carried out in Bungay one week after a teenage boy was pushed into bushes and sexually assaulted.

The boy was attacked in Castle Lane at about 21:30 on 4 August. Police said the suspect ran off towards Earsham Street when the victim's friends were heard calling for him.

Suffolk Police said officers have carried out forensic work, house-to-house inquiries and examined CCTV since the attack, and on Saturday night spoke to 65 people in the Castle Lane area.

The suspect is described as a male who was about 6ft 2in (1.88m), slim and wearing a black hoodie, black trousers and black trainers.

Anyone with dashcam footage from the area of Castle Lane, Quaves Lane and Earsham Street on the evening of the attack is asked to come forward.

Junction of Castle Lane and Quaves Lane

Pedestrian dies in road collision

A man in his 70s who was struck by a van in Norwich has died.

The pedestrian, who was treated at the roadside for his injuries, died following complications with his treatment in hospital, police said.

The crash, involving a blue and white Mercedes Vito van, happened at the junction of St Andrews Street with Duke Street at about 10:10 on 20 June.

The van driver was unhurt.

Police are keen to trace a cyclist who witnessed the incident or drivers who may have dashcam footage.

'No badgers' on damaged country road

Badgers which caused subsidence to a country road in Suffolk have scarpered from the area, it has been confirmed.

The burrowing creatures built a sett off Flowton Road in Somersham, leading to its closure in March.

Before repair work could take place, Suffolk Wildlife Trust monitored any badger activity at the site for three weeks and did not detect any of the animals.

Suffolk Highways said it was assessing the damage, with repairs due to begin "as quickly as possible".


Ipswich music festival cancelled

Pete Doherty of The Libertines
Carla Speight / Getty

An inaugural music festival which was due to take place in Ipswich in September has been cancelled, its organisers announced on Twitter.

The Libertines were to headline Mansion on the Moon at Trinity Park on 8 September.

A statement said: "Circumstances beyond our control have led us to take this difficult decision."

It said ticket holders would be refunded.

The BBC has contacted the organisers for further comment.

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