England, United Kingdom

Latest Stories

Bank holiday road and rail warnings

BBC News England

Long delays are expected over the August bank holiday weekend on the M6 near Birmingham and in Staffordshire

Queuing traffic on motorway
Getty Images

More than 50 sets of roadworks are staying in place, including 18 miles on the M6 from J13 to 15, near Stafford, and 14 miles on the same motorway, near Birmingham, from J2 to J4.

Railway work
Network Rail

On the railway Virgin Trains services on the West Coast Main Line will be reduced.

Services between London Euston and Holyhead will run between Crewe and Holyhead only.

In addition, industrial action is set to hit CrossCountry services on Sunday with passengers for services between Yorkshire, the North East and Scotland being asked not to travel.

Dozens of new traveller sites planned

Phil Bowers

Journalist, BBC Radio Stoke

Locations for dozens of permanent traveller pitches are being proposed across Cheshire.

Land earmarked in Crewe

People are now being given the chance to comment on the plans which are part of the latest phase of Cheshire East Council's local plan.

The proposals set out which areas of land within the authority's area are earmarked for certain developments, to try and avoid speculative schemes.

They include 53 sites for permanent gypsy and traveller pitches, including eight off Wettenhall Road, Nantwich, and seven on land at Coppenhall Moss, Crewe.

The consultation started today and runs until 30 September.

Crewe Alex boss pleased with 'best scoreline in football'

Graham McGarry

Crewe Alexandra commentator, BBC Radio Stoke

Crewe Alexandra manager David Artell reckons his side has improved defensively after their first clean sheet of the season against Walsall.

David Artell
Getty Images

The Alex have now recorded back-to-back wins in League Two with defender Eddie Nolan scoring the only goal in their 1-0 victory over the Saddlers.

If you win 1-0, some people say it's the best scoreline in football. I'd rather take 3-0 because I want to live beyond 60. It was a really pleasing afternoon off the ball and one or two bits to work on on the ball."

David ArtellCrewe Alexandra manager

Crewe fire: Thousands pledged to help fire victims

Allen Cook

BBC News

Nearly £2,000 has been donated to a council to help the victims of a fire that destroyed much of a retirement complex.

The remains of the complex
Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service

One hundred and twenty three residents were saved from the Beechmere residential apartments in Crewe when the fire took hold on Thursday.

Donations have poured in from across the town and the local council said on Facebook it would hold on to the cash until "things stabilise" and it would then manage how it's handed out to those affected.

The local authority's also said it could act as a central fund for other collections if organisers want to get in touch.

What's the weather got in store?

Sara Blizzard

BBC Weather

Well it's going to be a very wet day today so make sure you pack an umbrella.

There's also a weather warning in place for possible heavy thundery showers across the region.

West Midlands weather 14 August 2019

Crewe fire: 'Some don't know what they've lost'

Lee Thomas

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

Some of the residents at a retirement complex largely destroyed by a fire still haven't realised what they've lost, a carer and councillor said.

Hazel Faddes said the enormity of it all means some of the 150 people who lived at the Beechmere supported living apartments were still coming to terms with it.

Some have lost all their belongings and memories, she said.

Hoses spraying water on the building after the fire
Cheshire Fire Service

Fire crews evacuated the centre before the fire swept through the building on Thursday.

Thousands of pounds has since been raised for residents as 123 homes were destroyed.

Cheshire East Council said it could take some time to find new, permanent homes for all the residents to meet their specific needs.

Cause of retirement complex fire still unknown

Jennie Aitken

Reporter, BBC Radio Stoke

The cause of a fire which destroyed much of a retirement complex still isn't known but a fire service's said it's "relatively confident' it wasn't arson.

The ruins of the building

On Thursday evening, the blaze ripped through the Beechmere residential apartments in Crewe, forcing the evacuation of about 150 people.

Fire crews have been monitoring the site since then for hotspots and on Monday said they are still making sure there are no pockets of fire left.

As well as the cause, Cheshire Fire Service said it also wants to work out why the fire spread as fast as it did, adding that this will take a little bit longer.

Cheshire East Council said the evacuated residents have been found temporary accommodation and they're now working on how best to get their needs met in the future.

Your photos: Return of blue skies

BBC Weather Watchers

Bright, blue skies have been spotted across the West Midlands and snapped by our BBC Weather Watchers.

These three are from users Ryan Lewis in Clent, Worcestershire, OnTheCut in Nantwich, Cheshire and Steve in Darlaston, Walsall:

Ryan Lewis
Steve in Darlaston

Crewe fire: Arson 'not believed to be the cause'

Lee Thomas

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

Arson isn't thought to be the cause of a fire which ripped through a retirement complex, a fire service has said.

Firefighters at the building
Cheshire Fire Service

About 150 residents were evacuated from the Beechmere residential apartments in Crewe when the fire took hold on Thursday afternoon.

The building after the fire
Cheshire Fire Service

Cheshire Fire Service said they know the blaze started in in the roof but are examining how it was able to spread so rapidly.

It is clearly still very early days in our investigation, but what we do know is that the fire started in the roof area and spread rapidly. It appears, at this stage, to not have been a deliberate act."

Lee ShearsCheshire Fire Service

Donations pour in after retirement complex blaze

Stuart George

Presenter, BBC Radio Stoke

Hundreds of volunteers are sorting through donations made after a blaze at a retirement complex in Cheshire.

Volunteers a the lifestyle centre

Fire crews are expecting to spend most of the weekend monitoring the Beechmere supported living complex in Crewe, checking for hot spots.

Donations of items including blankets, food and clothing have poured into collection points around the town after 150 residents had to be evacuated.

Cheshire East Council has this afternoon asked people not to bring in any further donations to Crewe Lifestyle Centre as it's been "overwhelmed" with how many have already come in.

Fire-damaged retirement complex 'didn't have sprinklers'

Jennie Aitken

Reporter, BBC Radio Stoke

A retirement complex that has been devastated in a huge fire did not have sprinklers fitted, the fire service has confirmed.

The fire
Cheshire Fire Service

Dozens of fire crews from across three counties were called in to fight the blaze at the Beechmere supported living complex in Crewe which started yesterday afternoon.

Today, Cheshire Fire Service said the fire spread quickly "at an unusual pace" and confirmed the lack of sprinklers in the building.

Avantage Cheshire Limited, which runs the complex, which was only 10 years old, has been approached for a response.

Regulations in England mean that only buildings built since 2007 and which are taller than 30m are required to have sprinklers fitted.

Drivers unable to collect cars for 24 hours

People with vehicles parked at the Beechmore complex, which as been destroyed by fire, are being advised not to collect them, as "it's not considered safe", police said.

They're unlikely to be able to collect them for the next 24 hours.

View more on twitter

Ashes of husband and son lost in fire

A woman has described how her mother-in-law lost the ashes of both her husband and son in the Beechmere complex blaze.

Tracey Heath said her mother-in-law Julia Heimes had been left with only the clothes she was standing in and a handbag.

Scene of fire
Darren Faloona

She said a wooden urn containing her husband's remains had been lost along with a locket containing her son's ashes.

"It's things like that you can't replace," she said.

"I phoned her this morning and I said to her 'you sound really calm' and then she just broke down, she went 'no I'm not, I don't know where to go, I just don't know what to do'.

"She said 'I'm stood here in just the clothes I've got on with nothing, and a handbag'."

Fears weekend's high winds 'could fan flames'

Fire crews are set to be at the site of the blaze across the weekend and are battling to try and make sure forecast high winds don't reignite the flames, Cheshire Fire Service has said.

Smoke from the building
Cheshire Fire Service

The Met Office is warning of strong winds across the county tomorrow and assistant chief fire officer Gus O'Rourke said the fire service was looking to bring in digging equipment to get to hot spots.

Otherwise he said the forecast weather could cause "significant problems" if it fanned the flames.

Evacuation decision 'saved a lot of lives'

Jennie Aitken

Reporter, BBC Radio Stoke

A decision to evacuate the retirement complex during the fire rather than have residents stay put "saved a lot of lives", according to a senior fire officer.

The fire being fought
Cheshire Fire Service

The blaze at the Beechmere supported living complex in Crewe spread faster than firefighters expected, Cheshire Fire Service has said this afternoon.

Neighbours, fire crews and police officers helped evacuate 150 residents from about 16:00 yesterday.

There was a policy in place of stay put. The initial incident commander made a decision to overturn that and start an evacuation. In my personal opinion, that decision saved a lot of lives. The fire was developing and escalating at an unusual pace."

Gus O'RourkeCheshire Fire Service

Fire evacuation: 'We just helped as best we can'

Phil McCann

Cheshire Political Reporter, BBC News

Two brothers who helped rescue elderly residents from a residential complex say they "kicked down doors" in order to get people out.

Stefan and Joseph Rogerson

Stefan and Joseph Rogerson said they'd acted before fire crews got to the site.

"In the time that they got here the roof could have collapsed and someone could have been in there," said Joseph.

Scene of fire

Beechmere is home to residents with different levels of need spread across 132 apartments.

Some have dementia and physical disabilities, with others needing specialist support.

"We had to swap some residents into proper chairs that we could carry," said Stefan.

"Basically just helping as best as we can."

Neighbours praised for 'real heroics'

Jennie Aitken

Reporter, BBC Radio Stoke

Neighbours and people who helped evacuate residents from the retirement complex showed "real heroics", police have said.

Fire in the building
Cheshire Fire Service

Relatives have told BBC Radio Stoke of knocking down doors to get elderly residents out of the Beechmere supported living site in Crewe as the roof collapsed.

Cheshire Police said they were a "tremendous help" in evacuating 150 residents.

Work's now under way to find care and support for them. Cheshire East Council said it was working with health officials to find them "appropriate accommodation".