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Live Reporting

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  1. Children's services likely to be big loser in council cuts

    James Averill

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    Children's services are likely to be one of the hardest-hit areas when Northamptonshire County Council makes cuts in order to balance its finances.

    The county council issued a further section 114 notice this week banning any new expenditure.

    Chief finance officer Mark McLaughlin had issued a first notice in February for the previous financial year.

    Northamptonshire County Council headquarters, Northampton

    But at an audit meeting yesterday, chief finance officer Mark McLaughlin admitted the budget for last year "won't balance", meaning a further £60m-£70m of cuts are needed.

    "The council is actually a low spender on a lot of things, but a lot of attention will go on children's services where it's a big spender," he said.

  2. Envelope update

    Severe accident: M1 Buckinghamshire northbound

    BBC News Travel

    M1 Buckinghamshire northbound severe accident, between J14 for A509 and J15 for A508.

    M1 Buckinghamshire - Two lanes closed and very slow traffic on M1 northbound between J14, A509 (Milton Keynes) and J15, A508 (Northampton), because of an accident. Congestion to J13 (Bedford / Milton Keynes South).

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

  3. Over 4m visit retail and leisure park in first year

    A Northamptonshire shopping and leisure complex has attracted about 4.5 million visitors in its first year.

    Managers at the Rushden Lakes development have revealed the figures for the centre, which marks its first birthday this weekend.

    Rushden Lakes concept image

    The site has more than 40 stores and restaurants, with a terrace of five new shops to open shortly and a final phase, including a cinema, currently under construction.

    In 2013, a public inquiry heard concerns about the development's impact on shops in nearby town centres.

  4. Envelope update

    Severe accident: A45 Northamptonshire both ways

    BBC News Travel

    A45 Northamptonshire both ways severe accident, near The White Hart Pub.

    A45 Northamptonshire - A45 High Street in Flore blocked and queuing traffic near The White Hart Pub junction, because of an accident involving two vehicles.

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

  5. Judicial review as fight to save libraries continues

    Sarah Ward

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    The fight to save 21 Northamptonshire libraries from closure will head to the courtroom today.

    A final hearing will take place at Birmingham administrative court as part of a judicial review into Northamptonshire County Council's decision to no longer run 21 of its libraries.

    Rothwell Library

    The council, which this week issued a second ban on spending this year, proposed to close down the majority of its 36 libraries in a bid to save money in October.

    If the proposal goes ahead it would see children's centres and other community groups based in the libraries having to relocate.

    The hearing will last for two days and a decision will be announced at a later date.

  6. Council investments in warehouses and office block revealed

    Sarah Ward

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    Kettering Borough Council has spent more than £30m in the past 10 months on two warehouses and an office block.

    The authority has taken out government-backed long-term loans to finance the purchases which it has bought as part of a new asset management strategy with the aim of increasing revenue for the council.

    Kettering Borough Council

    It spent £14.8m in March on a warehouse in Denby, Derbyshire, £17.7m in December on a joint deal with Corby Borough Council to buy the Staples warehouse off Mitchell Road in Corby, and £1.17m on the Nene House offices in Pytchley Road, Kettering.

    At an audit meeting on Tuesday, the authority's head of resources Mark Dickenson said that as part of the asset management strategy, officers tested potential property investments against a number of criteria and then rated them before deciding whether or not to buy.

    The three properties have netted the authority £333,000 in rental income in the 2017-18 financial year and are predicted to bring in £713,000 in 2018-19.

  7. A508 between Northampton and Stony Stratord reopens

    The A508, which goes from junction 15 of the M1 to the A5 at Stony Stratford, has reopened after an earlier gas leak.

    The road was shut on Wednesday morning.

    It remains closed to heavy goods vehicles.

    View more on twitter
  8. Envelope update

    Severe accident: A6 Northamptonshire both ways

    BBC News Travel

    A6 Northamptonshire both ways severe accident, from A510 Thrapston Road to Diamond Way.

    A6 Northamptonshire - A6 Station Road in Finedon closed and delays in both directions from the A510 Thrapston Road junction to the Diamond Way junction, because of a serious accident involving a bus and a pedestrian.

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

  9. Northampton Saints targeted by burglars

    Franklin's Gardens - home of Northampton Saints

    Premiership Rugby club Northampton Saints say they were targeted by thieves on Tuesday night.

    Items including power tools used for stadium maintenance, a selection of till equipment and tablet devices used in the fan village at the club's Franklin's Gardens ground were taken.

    The theft has been reported to Northamptonshire Police, with the club asking anyone information to contact the force.

  10. Envelope update

    Severe disruption: M1 Leicestershire southbound

    BBC News Travel

    M1 Leicestershire southbound severe disruption, from A14 to J18 for A428.

    M1 Leicestershire - One lane closed on M1 southbound from A14, Catthorpe Interchange to J18, A428 (Rugby), because of a broken down vehicle. Traffic is coping well.

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

  11. Sewing machine sells for £2,000 at auction

    A 144-year-old sewing machine made in Kettering has sold at auction for 33 times its estimated value.

    The machine, found at a property in Derbyshire and sold by Hansons Auctioneers, attracted a winning bid of £2,000 from a private buyer, despite an estimate of just £60-£80.

    Charles Hanson holds the sewing machine

    It was made by Owen Robinson and Co at the Champion Works in Kettering, with the model believed to have been manufactured from 1874.

    The Champion Sewing Machine Works began in the town's Victoria Street in about 1872 and were founded by Owen Robinson, originally a silk weaver and also a clock and watch repairer.

    The maker's mark on the sewing machine

    Charles Hanson, owner of the auction house, said: “It’s wonderful when forgotten items like this turn out to be sought-after treasures.”

  12. Councillors restrict number of gaming machines at hotel

    James Averill

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    Councillors have restricted the number of gaming machines at a Northampton hotel after fearing it would attract gamblers from outside the town centre.

    The Westone Manor Hotel, in Weston Favell, had its application for a gaming machine permit granted by councillors, but they substantially reduced the number of machines the hotel hoped to install in its new games room.

    The Westone Manor Hotel, in Weston Favell

    The hotel had applied to install 15 machines in total, 11 of which were category C machines offering prize stakes up to £100. They also applied for four category D machines, with a substantially lower cash offer.

    However, members of Northampton Borough Council's licensing committee restricted the application to cover just the four category D machines instead.

    The hotel said profit was not the reason behind the application, but chair of the committee Penelope Flavell questioned why the hotel wanted so many machines, while fellow committee member Phil Larratt dismissed that money was not a driver behind the scheme.

  13. Man, 18, shot in Wellingborough

    An 18-year-old man was shot in the Owen Close area of Wellingborough on Tuesday night, police have said.

    Owen Close, Wellingborough

    Northants Police said officers were notified of the incident shortly after 21:00.

    The man was taken to hospital and was not believed to have life-threatening injuries.

    Detectives would like to speak to anyone who may have seen or heard anything suspicious in the area around the time.

  14. Gas leak closes A508 from Northampton to Stony Stratford

    A large gas leak has caused the A508 to be closed from junction 15 of the M1 for Northampton to Stony Stratford,

    Northants Police said it would remain closed for "some time".

    View more on twitter
  15. Envelope update

    Severe disruption: A508 Northamptonshire both ways

    BBC News Travel

    A508 Northamptonshire both ways severe disruption, from M1 J15 to A5.

    A508 Northamptonshire - A508 closed to heavy goods vehicles in both directions from Northampton in Collingtree to the A5 junction in Old Stratford, because of a gas leak. Diversion in operation - Traffic which was being diverted from the A5 in Towcester and using the A508 as an official diversion is having to divert via the A422 to Buckingham and the A413.

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