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Historic bridge closed for repairs

BBC Tees

A historic bridge in Teesdale has been closed to allow for urgent repair work.

Visitors to High and Low Force will need an alternative route to see the landmarks.

Durham County Council said following routine inspections engineers identified that Wynch Bridge needs urgent repairs.

The almost 200-year-old Grade II listed bridge was built for the Duke of Cleveland in 1820 as a replacement for what was said to be the earliest suspension bridge in Europe.

It will be closed for two months to allow for replacement of the timber deck and suspension joints, as well as cleaning and repainting of the iron works.

Wynch Bridge
Durham County Council

Shop that sold alcohol to children keeps licence

Local Democracy Reporting Service

A Tanfield shop caught selling alcohol to children twice in two weeks has been allowed to keep its licence.

The Happy Shopper failed two test purchases organised by Durham County Council’s trading standards team last year, where a member of staff sold wine to a 16-year-old and 15-year-old .

The matter was brought to Durham County Hall for a licence review, backed by Durham Constabulary who raised concerns about alcohol-fuelled antisocial behaviour in the village.

Owner Mrs Jaswinder Kaur Mehat served alcohol during both tests, but her solicitor Matthew Foster said she that was “distracted” at the time over news that her father in India was seriously ill.

Following assurances that the business would improve its training regime and install CCTV, licensing bosses said they were happy for the shop to continue selling alcohol.

The Happy Shopper

Sedgefield MP set for reselection fight

The BBC has learned the Labour MP in Tony Blair’s former Sedgefield seat is facing a reselection battle in his local party.

It’s understood Labour members in the County Durham constituency have voted to accelerate a reselection process – so-called trigger ballots.

Sources within the party say the sitting MP, Phil Wilson (pictured), will face a tough battle to avoid an open selection where challengers could compete to replace him as the Labour candidate at a forthcoming election.

Phil Wilson, MP
UK Parliament

Ron Hogg diagnosed with motor neurone disease

Ron Hogg
Durham Police

Durham Police and Crime Commissioner Ron Hogg, 67, has motor neurone disease, it has been announced.

Steve White was appointed as acting commissioner last Friday after an emergency meeting of the Durham and Darlington Police and Crime Panel.

He said: “I am grateful that the panel has shown confidence in me to take on this important task, although it is with a heavy heart and a sense of duty that I will be performing the role of acting PCVC.

"Ron is unwell having been diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease.

"He has to concentrate on stabilising his symptoms and adapting to the impact of this devastating illness.

"We all wish him and his wife Maureen our best wishes at this difficult time for them and his family and friends."

Ambulance crews sent to South Bank incident

The North East Ambulance Service said it had sent six resources including a specialist hazard team to the former SSI plant in South Bank.

Fire crews are also on the scene.

An ambulance spokeswoman said there were no details about any casualties.

We will bring you more details when we have them.

Nominate your community's unsung hero

It's that time of year again, we're looking for your community's unsung coaching hero. In particular, we're celebrating the projects that have really made an impact in the last 12 months, and we need your help to find them.

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MP hits out at 'mad' government over Sirius Minerals woe

Middlesbrough Labour MP Andy McDonald has reacted angrily to the news Sirius Minerals has been forced to cancel plans to issue a $500m (£403m) bond for a fertiliser mine it is developing near Teesside.

He said: "This government has completely taken its eye off the ball and, like the podium in Luxembourg, Boris Johnson and his hard right pals have gone missing at a time of crisis.

"This mad administration, propelling the country to economic cliff edge, seems determined to do everything they can to destroy the industrial base of Teesside. They’re keen enough to give tax breaks to gambling bankers but won’t lift a finger to help our industries.

"Sirius is critical to Teesside’s future and if government stands aside as they did with the Redcar Blast Furnace they will never be forgiven.”

Sirius Minerals
Sirius Minerals

Ron Hogg seeks appointment of acting PCC after being "unwell"

Ron Hogg, the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for County Durham and Darlington, has asked the chair of the Police and Crime Panel to consider appointing an acting commissioner.

Mr Hogg is not standing down, but is "unwell".

The panel will discuss his request on 20 September.

Busty Bank in Burnopfield remains closed this morning

A road in Gateshead was closed yesterday after a lorry crashed into a bridge.

It happened on the Burnopfield Road in Rowlands Gill near the entrance to the National Trust's Gibside estate.

Police closed the road just after 16:00 yesterday afternoon.

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Wildlife expert starts handing out 200 children's books

A man who walked 200 miles this summer to raise money to buy books for Cumbrian children is starting to hand them out today.

Wildlife expert, Jamie Normington, from Old Hutton near Kendal, raised about £7,500 by walking from St Bees to Robin Hood's Bay.

Half of the money will be used to buy 200 copies of the children's wildlife book, "The Lost Words", and the rest will go to the National Autistic Society.

Future radio stars on Teesside called to dazzle for 60 seconds

BBC Tees is looking for new blood to make themselves known during a open audition later this month!

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Durham City bus lane fines warning

A mobile enforcement camera is going on patrol catching drivers using Durham bus lanes illegally.

It's starting in North Road as the county council takes over the enforcement role from Durham Police.

North Road
Durham County Council
North Road, Durham.

The council says it regularly gets complaints about drivers using bus lanes and about the lack of enforcement.

In July last year CCTV recorded 66 contraventions in one nine-hour period.

The camera works on automatic number plate recognition.

For the first two weeks, those caught misusing the bus lanes will be sent a warning letter.

From Monday 30 September, they will be issued with a £60 penalty charge notice, reduced to £30 if paid within 14 days.

Council worker retires after 50 years

Michael Stevens joined Durham County Council as a 15-year-old apprentice and stayed for 50 years.

Now at 65, Michael, from Croxdale near Durham City, is retiring from his job as a fitter maintaining the authority's fleet of vehicles.

He's a keen rower, having represented Durham in the Rowing World Masters and is now looking forward to more rowing, cycling and spending time with his family.

Michael in  the vehicle yard
Durham County Council
Michael Stevens

Former chairman of Darlington football club, Reynolds, guilty of harassment

Ian Reeve

BBC Look North

The former chairman of Darlington football club, George Reynolds, has been found guilty of harassing a Durham county councillor.

Reynolds, 83, went to the home of Heather Smith, had her car photographed and wrote two letters to her. Mrs Smith said they were unpleasant and threatening in tone.

She had previously alerted the council to work being done without planning permission at a proposed development of Reynolds’ - building holiday lodges at Toft Hill near Bishop Auckland.

Reynolds said he was “full of hell” when he wrote the letters but was found guilty at Teesside Magistrates' Court of harassment without violence by district judge Tim Capstick.

He was fined £1,280 and made these subject of a restraining order for two years.

No-deal Brexit impact in the spotlight

BBC Look North

North East and Cumbria

With the possibility of a no-deal Brexit looming, some North East councils are meeting today to discuss how they'll deal with any negative impact leaving the EU could have on the region.

The North East Combined Authority - the body which represents Durham, Gateshead, South Tyneside and Sunderland - will discuss proposals including free ports and a free trade zone.

Boris Johnson faces a showdown in Parliament later as rebel Tories and Labour MPs are planning a bill to stop the UK leaving the EU on 31 October without a deal.

The Government's own predictions are that the North East economy would be the hardest hit if the UK crashes out of Europe without an agreement in place.

Cars targeted at Hardwick Live

Organisers at Hardwick Live stepped up security last night after cars parked in a field were targeted by vandals and thieves.

Several vehicle owners complained on Sunday morning of windows smashed, contents taken and one car owner said he had his catalytic converter taken.

A spokesperson from Hardwick Live told BBC Tees they're very concerned and upset that people have had a bad experience.

They've insisted there was parking security during the event, but the field given over to parking is very large and the offences took place late at night.