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Northumberland woman's killer is dying from cancer

BBC Newcastle

Australia’s most infamous serial killer has been diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Among his victims were two British backpackers. One of them - Caroline Clarke - was from Slaley in Northumberland.

The 22-year-old was killed in 1992, one of seven people killed by Ivan Milat, who was jailed for life in 1996.

It's reported in Australia that the 74-year-old has been diagnosed with oesophageal cancer which has spread to his stomach and that he's unlikely to return to solitary confinement.

Ivan Milat, laughing as he leaves the Supreme Court after representing himself in his appeal against conviction in July 1996 of the murders of seven backpackers, 4 November 1997
Getty Images

Ivan Milat was photographed laughing as he left the Supreme Court in 1997, after representing himself in his appeal against his conviction.

Holiday park could be built in old Longframlington quarry

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Plans to create a holiday park at a disused quarry on a Northumberland farm are recommended to get the go-ahead, despite parish-council concerns.

Planning application showing proposed location of new holiday park
One Associates Ltd

The outline application is for 35 units of accommodation, a mix of luxury chalets, static caravans and camping pods, at Framhill Farm, to the north-west of Longframlington.

The site is proposed to be accessed from a new junction off the A697.

The application is recommended for approval at next Tuesday’s meeting of the North Northumberland Local Area Council.

However, Longframlington Parish Council has raises concerns about the additional visitors it will bring to the area.

The traffic on the A697 has already increased by some 10,000 vehicles year on year which already causes many issues throughout the village and creates major parking issues at the village centre. The A697 is dangerous enough it does not need this extra volume."

Parish councillorLongframlington Parish Council

Milfield development plans for former school resubmitted

A bid to build 30 new homes on a former north Northumberland school site is back before councillors next week.

A resubmitted application for the former county first school site in Milfield, north of Wooler on the A697, is again recommended for approval when it goes before the North Northumberland Local Area Council for a decision next Tuesday.

The school has not been in use since 2009 and the "closed and overgrown" site, off Wheatriggs, is to be sold to the applicant, Gleeson Homes, by the county council.

The British Masters returns to the North East

The British Masters golf tournament will return to Close House in Northumberland next year.

The tournament will be hosted by former world number one Lee Westwood from 30 July 30 to 2 August 2020.

The prestigious competition was held at Close House in 2017 when it was won by Paul Dunne.

Lee Westwood
Getty Images

Results reflect national picture, as big two lose out

Laura Kuenssberg

BBC political editor

It's not over - it's far, far from over.

Many hundreds of seats are yet to declare. Many individual political stories yet to be told. So be very aware - the final shape of wins and losses for the government and the main opposition is unclear.

But at this stage of the morning, there is one message to both of the main parties at Westminster from this enormous set of elections - it's not us, it's both of you.

Polling station in country

Local elections are about different issues in our villages, towns and cities. But at count after count, Tory and Labour candidates have been paying the price for Westminster's failure so far to settle the Brexit question. Council leaders from both parties saying openly that voters can't trust them any more because of how they have dealt with the issue - whether that is a sentiment among Leave voters in Sunderland who don't trust that we'll ever leave, or Remain voters in Bath who are furious that we likely will.

Or more simply maybe, now we are nearly three years on from the referendum itself, this is a verdict on the competence of Westminster's biggest parties, on the mess of handling Brexit.

The beneficiaries? A Lib Dem recovery of sorts, a marked pick-up for the Greens, and independent councillors gobbling up seats in different pockets of the country. By traditional measures at this early stage, Labour is far from making the strides of a party marching towards Number 10. The Tories have so far escaped the worst. But their divisions over Brexit have cost them both - and neither of them have an obvious way out.

But as I say, many more results are yet to come in, and you can keep up with them here throughout the day.

World War One soldier will finally be laid to rest

BBC Look North

North East and Cumbria

The long-lost remains of a World War One soldier from the North East will finally be buried in France today.

The bones of the Northumberland Fusilier, along with another soldier, were discovered near the village of La Boisselle in 2015 - almost a century after the Battle of the Somme.

Despite DNA tests, it hasn't been possible to identify either soldier but both will be buried with full military honours in the nearby Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery this afternoon.

Grave stones in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery at La Boisselle

Woman's Blue Peter Badge restored after 40 years

Charlie Charlton

BBC Newcastle presenter

A Northumberland woman has received a replacement for her Blue Peter Badge after she lost in the 1970s.

Pauline Thompson from Amble got the award in 1961, when she was 10.

The badge was in recognition for her creativity - she'd designed a pink raincoat and a hat for her doll Julie.

It acted as an inspiration for her to win other awards as she got older.

But the badge got lost when her brother wore it on his jacket on a night out 40 years ago.

Pauline thought it would just remain a memory from childhood until a family conversation sparked her interest.

Pauline Thompson
Pauline Thompson

The grandmother-of-five decided to get her hands on another one from the BBC in order to prove to her children and grandchildren that you can have dreams and achieve things.

Pauline didn't expect the BBC to answer, but they sent her a cloth version of the Blue Peter badge which filled her with the same delight as all those years before.

Unfortunately, her doll hasn't fared so well.

Pauline said: "I think Julie the doll's been retired in a plastic bag or in a cupboard in a box somewhere.

"Somebody drew biro all over her face and her hands and feet.

"Nobody would admit doing it, of course

"The raincoat had disappeared a long time ago as well."

The Blue Peter Badge

Council under pressure to keep using Show Racism the Red Card charity

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Nearly 4,000 people have signed a petition asking that Northumberland County Council reverses its decision to end its contract with 'Show Racism the Red Card.

The North East-based anti-racism charity was receiving £16,800 to provide workshops in schools.

A public rally supported by unions Unison and Unite is set to take place outside County Hall in Morpeth next Wednesday.

Northumberland Council Council has re-emphasised that it is appalled by the campaign that has been mounted against the authority's completely legitimate decision.

We are clear that any form of prejudice or discrimination is unacceptable and we want to use our resources to ensure a broad range of support is available equally to all 165 of our schools – and not just the relatively small number reached previously by this work."

Northumberland County CouncilSpokesperson

Local elections: What are they all about?

The local elections are taking place on 2 May.

We'll get to choose who decides on things like where houses get built, who runs the buses and which pubs get late licences.

But last year only one in three people went to the polls. So what is the vote all about?

Reporter Jennifer Meierhans explains

Local elections: What are they all about?

Congratulations, it's... an egg

Damian O'Neil

BBC Look North

Mr and Mrs YA, a breeding pair of ospreys, have produced their first egg since returning to their nest in Kielder, Northumberland.

The birds have been on super-secret Nest 1A for two weeks. They produced the egg on Sunday.

Northumberland Wildlife Trust says it's delighted with the news and adds it's good timing as Osprey Watch launches at Kielder this weekend - running every Saturday, Sunday and Monday behind the Boat Inn.

Ospreys Mr and Mrs YA in their nest
Northumberland Wildlife Trust

Parents find out about primary school places

Families in England will find out today whether their children have got into their preferred primary schools.

Last year about one in 10 families missed out on their first choice, but 98% got one of their top-three places.

There are big regional variations each year - with authorities such as the East Riding of Yorkshire, Northumberland and Rutland having more than 97% of families getting their first preferences.

But the lowest success rates tend to be in London, with only 68% of families in Kensington and Chelsea and 77% in Camden getting their first choice last year.

Children in classroom with their hands up

Plans lodged to renovate Haydon Bridge High School

Plans have been lodged to renovate a Northumberland school which was saved from closure last year.

In May 2018, Northumberland County Council agreed to step in to rescue Haydon Bridge High School, which is in special measures, following the withdrawal of Bright Tribe Trust as academy sponsor.

The decision came as part of the overhaul of education in the west of the county and the local authority pledged a £1.54m rescue package as well as taking on the school’s £600,000 debts.

The council also earmarked £3.1m to invest in buildings and facilities at the high school and a planning application for these works has now been submitted.

As well as renovation and upgrades inside, it seeks permission for a redesign of the front of the school with a new entrance canopy, a revised car park and entrance layout with extra spaces, and two new sports pitches.

A statement by Gradon Architecture, which was commissioned by the county council for this scheme, says: "The renovation seeks to provide an improvement and overhaul of the existing school buildings to create a more attractive study and working environment through internal amendments and new external site and landscaping to boost the pupil attendance numbers in the catchment area, which incidentally is the largest in England."

The proposals include converting the existing design and technology block into a new vocational centre to the rear with an out-of-hours entrance arrangement, so that it can be used for adult education classes during the evenings.

Haydon Bridge High School

Looking lovely in Coanwood, Northumberland

Check out this BBC Weather Watcher's photograph of Coanwood, Northumberland.

You can get involved by visiting the BBC Weather Watchers website.

Coanwood, Northumberland

Funding for community street-cleans

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Ben O'Connell

Towns across Northumberland are to share in more than £55,000 to help existing groups carry out community-led street and town centre cleans.

About £12,000 of the cash, from the Government’s £10m High Streets Community Clean-Up Fund, will be spent on graffiti-removal kits and litter-picking equipment to be offered free to community groups.

The remaining funds will be distributed to organise clean-up events in Morpeth, Alnwick, Berwick, Hexham, Blyth, Ashington, Cramlington, Ponteland, west Bedlington, Haltwhistle, Prudhoe and Amble.

Litter generic

Councillor Scott Dickinson, chairman of the Labour group, welcomed the funding but questioned the decision to split it between the 12 large towns.

He said: “It makes you wonder if anyone actually looked at the litter problem across the county and thought ‘let’s allocate it where it’s needed most'."

A spokesman for the council said: "Following the letter from central government outlining their criteria for spending this money supporting activity on high streets and in town centres, we decided that the best way to meet that was to distribute some of the money through the 12 ‘main’ town councils.

“We did this as it’s consistent with the definition of town as used to assess eligibility for the Future High Street Fund, which this is linked to, and work that we are doing on town-centre regeneration across the county."

Plans to replace former pub with homes under way

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Ben O'Connell

Plans to build seven new homes on the site of a former pub on the way into Amble in Northumberland have been put in place.

Hindmarsh Homes wants to build the "high-quality and inherently sustainable" terraced row of properties on the current site of Artique, formerly the Marina Arms, on the A1068.

Each four-bedroom house would have a three-storey main building facing on to the A1068 with a single-storey section to the rear connecting to an attached garage.

Artist impression of what the new homes could look like
Artique Homes

A design and access statement submitted as part of the application says:

‘From the outset of the scheme, it has been imperative that the privacy enjoyed by existing properties surrounding the development is not adversely affected by proposed development.

‘As a result, development along the north-western part of the site has been orientated with front aspect over the public highway, taking advantage of views of Warkworth Castle and the countryside."

The building currently on the site is to be demolished.

The bid has so far sparked one objection from a neighbour in Riverside Park.

A1 reopens in both directions

The A1 in Northumberland between Felton and Chevington has now reopened.

The road was closed both ways after a fatal crash early this morning.

A 28-year-old man died in the accident.

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A man has died in A1 Northumberland crash

A man has died in a crash on the A1 in Northumberland early this morning, police have confirmed.

The collision happened at 01:30 near Felton when a car and a lorry collided head on.

The 28-year-old driver of the car died shortly after arriving at hospital.

The road remains closed in both ways.

Dry and clear tonight ahead of more sunshine tomorrow

Tonight will remain dry and clear, with a chance of patchy mist and fog forming towards dawn. It will feel chilly.

Friday will be fine and dry with plenty of sunshine and highs of 13°C.

The weather forecast for tonight
Red squirrels are making the most of the Wallington sun
The young animals are making the most of the sunshine at Wallington by going searching for food.

Weather remains dry tonight, but rain expected tomorrow

The weather tonight

It will remain largely dry tonight, with clear spells and mild breeze from the south.

Western areas will have more cloud and the chance of patchy drizzle.

Tomorrow morning will be dry again, but rain will spread from the North West later on.

Council orders clampdown on cemetery dog fouling

Stephanie Finnon

BBC Newcastle

Patrols are being stepped up at cemeteries across Northumberland after a big increase in people complaining of dog fouling and owners not keeping their dogs on leads.

The council said staff would be handing out on-the-spot fines to offenders.

A spokesman urged people to be vigilant and report any dog owner not cleaning up after their pet.