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Racing at Cheltenham cancelled due to weather

The opening day of The November Meeting at Cheltenham Racecourse has been abandoned.

A spokesman told BBC Gloucestershire he estimated that the equivalent of half a million gallons of water fell on the track in recent rainfall.

It is still very soggy and there will be an inspection at 3pm this afternoon, with the hope racing will resume tomorrow.

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Busy Gloucestershire road reopens after flooding

Highways England say the A40 near Over and Highnam in Gloucestershire has reopened this morning, after extensive flooding forced it to close yesterday.

Heavy rainfall made the route impassable, with some motorists becoming stranded.

Crews worked overnight to clear the flood water to reopen the route ahead of Friday's rush hour.

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Gloucestershire schools affected by weather

Twyning School has announced it will be closing early today.

The school near Tewkesbury will be closing at 13:30 GMT.

It is the fourteenth Gloucestershire school to either close fully or early due to today's adverse weather conditions.

Others around the county include Blockley Primary School, Tredington Primary School and Winchcombe School. North Cerney Primary School is also closed due to a power cut in the village.

Motorway junction improvement plan to support county growth plans

Shire Hall, Gloucester

Gloucestershire County Council is expected to vote tonight to increase its highways budget so it can upgrade junction 10 of the M5.

It's in anticipation of a bid for government funding which will be decided after the election.

The work would give access from the motorway both northbound and southbound to a new link road into Cheltenham.

The council says it would support the county's plans for growth, and solve long-standing traffic issues.

Severe weather warning issued in south west

The Met Office has issued a severe weather warning for tomorrow evening, with 20-30mm of rain expected to fall within three to four hours.

The yellow warning for rain stretches from 17:00 GMT to 23:59 GMT and is likely to affect drivers during tomorrow evening's rush hour.

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South West unemployment lower than UK average

BBC Business News

South West unemployment figures

Some 2.6% of “economically active” people - those aged over 16 - in the South West of England were unemployed in the three months to September, latest figures show.

The figure is lower than the UK figure of 3.8%.

However, UK wage growth has slowed and the figures showed the biggest annual drop in job vacancies in nearly 10 years, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The ONS said this was down to falling numbers of people working in retail, after the collapse of several store chains and the implementation of shop closure programmes by other firms.

Enchanted trail expected to attract 50,000 visitors

Westonbirt Arboretum
Getty Images

Preparations are underway for this year's Enchanted Christmas event at Westonbirt Arboretum, which is expected to attract 50,000 people.

Staff are setting-up 500 lights and five miles of cabling along the mile-long route, which winds its way around the attraction near Tetbury.

Spokesperson Hannah Ward told BBC Radio Gloucestershire the event had grown in popularity over the past 20 years.

She said: "We have a new trail with the main feature being the illuminated trail. The theme is an enchanted forest where fairies have been up to mischief and casting spells.

"We will be using cutting edge technology such as video projection to make the trees come to life."

Enchanted Christmas takes place over 12 nights, beginning on 29 November.

Nursery asks for restrictions to be relaxed

Winton House day nursery

A nursery has asked for planning restrictions which allow only five of its children to play outside at any one time, to be relaxed.

Winton House day nursery on Warden Hill Road in Cheltenham also has to keep all of its windows closed to avoid disturbing residents.

But the nursery, which caters for children aged up to five, says the restrictions have become impractical and has applied to Cheltenham Borough Council to allow 12 children to play outside and to be able to open a number of windows.

Neighbours have complained about noise emanating from the nursery, which can accommodate up to 40 children. A decision on the application is expected this week.

Bus fire causing delays

Drivers are currently suffering lengthy delays on the A417 near the Air Balloon Roundabout in Gloucestershire, due to a bus fire.

Emergency services were called at about 16:15 GMT after smoke was seen coming from the vehicle's engine.

All passengers safely alighted the bus, which is partially blocking both lanes of traffic.

Gloucester Cathedral gets £150k kickstarter for its Heritage Lottery bid

Inside Gloucester Cathedral  - Moon display
PA Media

Gloucester Cathedral has secured £150,000 from the city council to help it pull together its bid for £8m in Heritage Lottery Funding.

The funding from Gloucester City Council will run over three years and be dependent on whether the cathedral is successful in securing the £8m funding.

If that initial £8m bid is unsuccessful, the cathedral will re-submit a scaled down bid and the council contributions would be reduced accordingly.

The cathedral hopes to use the Heritage Lottery funding to restore its Parliament Rooms, create a learning centre and redevelop the restaurant and shop.

Armistice Day services are being held across the region today

Poppies at  Westminster cathedral
Getty Images

The 100th Armistice Day is being marked across the world today - with several services taking place at war memorials across the West.

Ceremonies will be taking place at 11am at places like Bath Abbey churchyard, Royal Victoria Park and the Radstock war memorial.

In Bristol, the annual service to remember rugby players who died in the First World War takes place at the Memorial Gates, and at Castle Park, there's a ceremony to remember the Sikh Soldiers who lost their lives in both World Wars and the Boer War.

Josh Brownhill celebrates

Gareth Vincent

BBC Sport Wales

Bristol City are the first visiting side to win at Cardiff City this season thanks to a spectacular goal from Josh Brownhill.

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My circus 'gives me a reason to live'
Nell Gifford is living with advanced cancer, but is continuing to perform at the circus she founded.

£6m boost for care homes

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Nine care homes in Gloucestershire are set to receive £6m to refurbish bedrooms and install new furniture.

Under the Gloucestershire County Council investment, existing boilers and lighting will be replaced and bedrooms, communal areas and kitchens will be renovated.

A council report said if nothing is done then the level of care provided could drop.

The refurbishment will take place over the next two years, the county council said.

The nine care homes are run by the Orders of St John Care Trust:

  • Henlow Court, Dursley
  • The Elms, Stonehouse
  • Rodley House, Lydney
  • The Coombs, Coleford
  • Westbury Court, Westbury-on-Severn
  • Bohanam House, Gloucester
  • Orchard House, Bishops Cleeve
  • Grevill House, Charlton Kings
  • Paternoster House, Cirencester

Air ambulance flies 54,000th mission

Allen Cook

BBC News

It's been a big week for the Midlands Air Ambulance team, they've flown their 54,000th mission since beginning in 1991.

It covers six counties - West Midlands, Staffordshire, Shropshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire - and responds to some of the most serious accidents as well as reaching rural locations inaccessible by land ambulance.

Midlands Air Ambulance

The charity, which relies on fundraising, started off 28 years ago at Hagley Hall, Worcestershire, before moving to RAF Cosford, Shropshire.

Today it operates from three air bases at RAF Cosford, Strensham in Worcestershire and Tatenhill in Staffordshire.

To mark the 54,000th mission, on their Facebook page the team posted a photo where "we played Emergency Services Tetris".

Bewick's swans' arrival heralds 'start of winter'

Bewick's swans
Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust

The first Bewick's swans have arrived at Slimbridge in Gloucestershire.

A young five-year-old swan and an unknown swan arrived at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust wetlands on Sunday, after completing their 2,500-mile journey from the Arctic tundra.

The swans' arrival is traditionally seen as the start of winter.

Although earlier than last year, the pair’s appearance is not the earliest.

That accolade goes to the swan ‘Record Breaker’ which arrived at Slimbridge on 11 October 2015.

Bewick's swans
Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust

Homes without water in Tewkesbury

Properties in the GL20 area of Tewkesbury are without a water supply this morning.

Severn Trent says it's due to large burst pipe and engineers are working to repair it.

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4G coverage to be improved in rural areas

Mobile phone
Getty Images

The end to annoying mobile "not spots" could finally be in sight for people living, working and travelling in rural Gloucestershire.

A new industry-wide billion-pound scheme will make 4G signal available to 95% of the UK by 2025. Currently only 66% of the UK has access.

The world-first Shared Rural Network proposal and 4G coverage improvements will mean companies sharing existing masts to fill partial "not spots" - where there is coverage from one operator but not all.

English River Severn is covered by flood warnings

The entire English River Severn is covered by flood warnings which is unusual, the Environment Agency has said.

River levels peaked in Ironbridge overnight but are expected to stay high for a few days.

Flood warnings
Environment Agency
Environment Agency

Workers monitored temporary flood defences in Bewdley overnight at Severnside North.

More than 1,000 homes and businesses had been protected by the Severn flood barriers, the agency said.

Woman injured in multi-vehicle crash on A417 in Gloucestershire

Police sign

Five vehicles were involved in a collision on the A417 in Gloucestershire on Sunday night.

Emergency services were called to the accident on Crickley Hill opposite the turning to Cold Slad at about 21:10 GMT.

One female driver was taken to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, but her injuries are not believed to be life threatening.

Anyone with information about the collision is asked to contact Gloucestershire Police and quote incident number 396.

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