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Speed camera catches out nearly 19,000 motorists

Daniel Clark

Local Democracy Reporting Service

One Devon speed camera caught more nearly 19,000 drivers breaking the speed limit in the last three years.

The camera on the A386 Alma Road in Plymouth was activated a total of 18,838 in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

The road, which is two lanes of dual carriageway, has a 30mph speed limit.

Over the three-year period, the camera was activated once every 105 minutes, although the number of activations also includes emergency service vehicles attending call outs.

The camera was also the one across Devon and Cornwall that led to the most most Fixed Penalty Notices being issued during the period.

There were 3,116 issued, with other motorists caught breaking the speed limit either offered a speed awareness course or sent to court due to the severity of the offence.

speed camera

A Freedom of Information Request to Devon and Cornwall Police asked for the roads on which the top 10 highest recorded speeding offences took place.

The highest recorded speed was on the A30 at Victoria in Cornwall, in which a motorist was caught doing 126mph on the 70mph road.

Information provided by the force also revealed that in 2018, there were 293 speeding offences where motorists were caught doing over 100mph, an increase on the 258 in 2017.

A361 crash: Three people taken to hospital

Hayley Westcott

BBC News Online

Three people were injured in a two-car crash on the A361, police have said.

Officers were called to Beaples Barton at about 16:20 on Wednesday after the crash involving a red Honda Jazz and blue Vauxhall Corsa.

A man and woman, both in their 20s, were taken to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital where the woman was treated for minor injuries and the man remains there awaiting surgery for a broken kneecap and toe.

The driver of the Vauxhall Corsa, a woman in her 40s, sustained multiple serious injuries to her leg, hip and pelvis and remains in Derriford Hospital in a stable condition.

Devon and Cornwall Police are appealing for witnesses.

Dying man marries 'love of his life'
Myles Harrison was married within two weeks after being told his brain tumour was terminal.

Dad campaigns for organ donors in daughter's memory

Lucy Wilson

BBC Radio Devon

Steve Gazzard

A man whose daughter died while waiting for a lung transplant has convinced over 6,500 people to become organ donors.

Steve Gazzard's daughter, Sarah, died in 2012, after being diagnosed with a lung condition.

He started a campaign to raise awareness of the shortage of organs.

The man from Devon hopes the upcoming change to the organ donation register where people will have to "opt out" if they do not want their organs used after death will prevent other families from going through the same heartbreak.

Across the UK, 39% of people have signed up to become organ donors and the latest figures show that in June this year, more than 6,000 people in UK were waiting for an organ transplant.

"I think it's a great tribute to Sarah," he added.

organ donor card

Drones, VR and books - the vision to save Devon libraries

Daniel Clark

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Devon’s libraries could soon be hosting drone racing as part of plans to buck the trend in declining usage.

The number of people who used Devon’s libraries fell by 6% in 2018, compared to the previous 12 months, with stock issues falling by 7%.

The number of events and activities that took place, though, rose 14%.

Drag Queen Story Time and live streaming events from the Royal Shakespeare Company have already taken place.

And, speaking at last month’s Devon County Council Corporate Infrastructure and Regulatory Services Committee meeting, Alex Kittow (pictured), Libraries Unlimited’s new chief executive, said he had plans to reverse the decline in visiting, floating ideas around children’s parties, personal shopping experiences, and even drone racing as potential future activities.

He told the committee books were in the library before they were in the home, the same with computers and the internet, so they were looking at what may be next, with a plan to introduce virtual reality, among other exciting developments, in the next 12 months.

Alex Kittow

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, he said: "We want communities to look to the library when they want something to do, whether it’s parent and toddler groups, Lego and Code clubs, knit and natter, dementia cafes, author visits or fundraising events organised by one of our supportive Friends Groups."

While the core service of a library remains around book issues, Alex said libraries nowadays have to offer more than just books to find other ways of utilising their space to draw in people.

He said: “I was chatting with someone about drones and about how you can fly them indoors, and I was thinking that with the layout of a library, you can get great obstacle courses to do drone racing which would be great fun."

Other suggestions mentioned at last month’s council meeting included running children’s parties and personal shopping experiences.

But he warned: "The short message to people, though, is use it or lose it."

'Forest for Devon' considered by council

Daniel Clark

Local Democracy Reporting Service

A 'Forest for Devon' that could see thousands of trees planted to help tackle climate change is being considered.

Cornwall Council recently revealed a plan to create a 20,000-acre forest as the flagship project in Cornwall Council’s climate change and carbon-neutral action plan.

Councillor Rufus Gilbert, cabinet member for economy and skills, said specialists had been appointed in September 2019 to develop a draft plan by summer 2020.

Thursday’s full council meeting also saw Devon County Council agree to look into amending their declaration of a Climate Emergency to include an Ecological Emergency and that in light of the recent climate and ecological emergency protests, the council will reconsider its date for becoming carbon neutral from 2050 to a revised date of 2025.

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Fire service plan: Decision delayed due to 'high response'

A consultation on plans to close fire stations in Devon and Somerset has received about 3,300 completed surveys, 700 written submissions and five petitions.

The "high response" means the decision will now take place on 18 December - instead of November.

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Authority consulted over the summer on proposals to "modernise" the service. It said the proposals aimed to reduce fire appliances and stations in areas of low risk and low activity so the service could reinvest in prevention work to reduce the risk of incidents occurring.

However, unions have been critical of the plans and protests have taken place across the counties.

Lee Howell, Chief Fire Officer. said: "I appreciate that moving the decision extends the uncertainty for our staff and communities who are affected by the proposals. We don’t take any proposals to close stations or remove fire engines lightly which is why it is vital that we take time to thoroughly analyse and carefully consider the responses.”

Woman walking 200 miles to question Thomas Cook
Thomas Cook cabin manager Rachel Murrell is walking from Devon to London to join staff protests.

Ambulance crews to be given body cameras

South Western Ambulance Service staff are to wear bodycams for a trial period.

It's hoped it will reduce the number of crews being assaulted and abused.

Staff will start wearing the cameras for three months from next month.

There were more than 1,000 incidents of violent or aggressive behaviour towards staff in the South West in a year.


The view from Topsham, Devon

BBC Radio 5 Live


5 Live's Sarah Ransome has spent the day in the town of Topsham in Devon which sits on the shores of the Exe estuary.

Sarah spoke to one woman who was on the way back from a mum and baby class: "The whole thing has just been a giant comedy of errors," she said.

"I can't quite believe we are where we are now, but I am not convinced there will be any change. I find the whole thing supremely depressing."

One man who was out walking his dog was supportive of the prime minister.

"I think Boris has got the right idea, just get on and get it finished," he said.

"It's ridiculous the amount of time we've spend on it already. The only way to get past that was to prorogue Parliament. How else was he going to do it?"

Another woman said Boris Johnson should "get his finger out and try being a prime minister, stop being such an idiot.

"I don't know how he [Boris Johnson] can get away with it. I am just so tired of it all and fed up."

Have your say: Call 08085 909 693 /Text 85058 / @BBC5Live

Rural residents in wait for superfast broadband

BBC Spotlight

Residents of rural Devon and Somerset will have to wait at least a year for superfast broadband plans to progress, it has emerged.

The public body in charge of the roll-out, Connecting Devon and Somerset (CDS), cancelled contracts in August given to a firm after "continued delays".

Getty Images

The company had only completed 500 connections out of a target of 28,000 in the two counties.

CDS said it will take at least a year until it appoints a new company to takeover the stalled project.

Later this week, Devon County councillors will discuss the next steps.

GWR offers alternative trains after Thomas Cook collapse

Andrew Segal

BBC South West

GWR passengers affected by the collapse of Thomas Cook can use alternative services on its routes, the South West and West of England rail operator says.

Bosses said those "unable to make their booked train will be permitted to travel on the next suitable service by providing reasonable evidence of a Thomas Cook booking".

View more on twitter

Meanwhile, the rail operator is calling out to Thomas Cook employees, saying it "would love to hear" from those affected as part of moves to recruit new staff.

The tour operator's failure puts 22,000 jobs at risk worldwide, including 9,000 in the UK.

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IT failure leaves Devon hospital on highest level of alert

BBC Spotlight


Hospital managers in Devon are urging patients to avoid emergency departments after a major systems failure caused computers and phones at Torbay Hospital to crash for several hours on Sunday night.

For that time critically sick patients were diverted to other hospitals.

Systems are now back up although the community hospitals are still affected. Managers said late on Sunday night Torbay Hospital remained very busy and on Opel 4 - the highest level of alert.

The problems had a knock on effect at hospitals across the region and patients are being asked to only go to accident and emergency if it is critical.

Boy, 4, seriously injured after being hit by 4x4

Jenna Hawkey

BBC News Online

A four-year-old boy has been seriously injured in a collision with a 4x4 in Plymouth, police say.

Emergency services were called to Maidstone Avenue at 17:50 on Thursday following reports of a crash involving a Skoda Yeti and a young boy.

Maidstone Avenue, Plymouth

The boy, from Plymouth, was taken to Derriford Hospital with serious leg and arm injuries but his condition is not thought to be life-threatening or life-changing.The female driver was not injured.The road was closed but reopened at about 20:10.

HMS Montagu wreck granted protected status
The designation comes following a series of archaeological dives by wounded veterans last summer.