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Brigades in bid to prevent deliberate fires

Nisha Joshi

BBC broadcast journalist

Three of the region's fire services have joined together to launch a campaign to prevent deliberate fires throughout the North East, where call-outs are more than double the national average.

The Northumberland, Durham and Tyne and Wear brigades have launched their Fire Stoppers service, which aims to prevent serious fires which, they say, are placing additional stress on the emergency services.

An anonymous hotline has been set up, together with an online form for reporting arson. The fire authorities say any reports will be treated confidentially.

Train lines reopen after overhead powerline damage

Northern Rail is reporting all lines between Newcastle and Durham are now reopened after earlier problems with damaged overhead power lines.

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Rail services hit by power line damage

Rail passengers are being warned of significant delays and cancellations after damage to overhead power lines near Darlington.

The problems are affecting all operators, including LNER, which has already cancelled several services to and from London on the East Coast Main Line.

Some Scotland bound services are also terminating at Darlington or Newcastle.

Cross Country, Transpennine and Northern services are also affected.

Travellers are urged to check services before setting out on journeys.

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England's World Cup win a proud day for Durham - Killeen

England's astonishing World Cup win has been the talk of the whole country all day of course, even those who previously didn't like cricket.

But it went down particularly well in County Durham, where two of their local boys Ben Stokes and Mark Wood played such big roles.

And especially in the Durham dressing room, where the players watched following the end of their day's play in the home County Championship game with Worcestershire.

"Ben’s innings was phenomenal," Durham bowling coach Neil Killeen told BBC Radio Newcastle. "After going through what we went through in the T20 World Cup, that will mean everything to Ben. That’s the type of bloke he is.

Ben Stokes had the support of his Durham team-mate Mark Wood for that last dramatic ball at Lord's
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Ben Stokes had the support of his Durham team-mate Mark Wood for that last dramatic ball at Lord's

"He’s a true professional. And he thoroughly deserved it. And obviously Mark Wood did well with the ball early on. Both lads are Durham through and through. To see them stand up and be presented with the trophy was a proud day for the club and the whole of the North East.

"The last half an hour was so exciting, especially with our head coach James Franklin being from New Zealand. The lads have been giving him some stick.

“I’m sure this will all have a huge knock-on effect. Kids are going to want to bowl like Jofra Archer and Mark Wood and bat like Ben Stokes.”

Australia trial game call for Bancroft

Durham 88-6 v Worcestershire

Martin Emmerson

BBC Newcastle

Durham skipper Cameron Bancroft has been called up by Australia ahead of them naming their squad to play England in this summer's Ashes series

Australia are to stage a match in Southampton in 10 days' time featuring their Test side and their A team, who are also currently over here in England on tour.

They will use that match to decide who should be in the team for the first Test at Edgbaston, starting on 1 August.

Cameron Bancroft
Getty Images

Bancroft has not played for Australia since being given his nine-month ban for ball tampering during the ill-tempered third Test match in South Africa in March 2018.

Captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner were banned for a year, but returned to play for Australia in this summer's Cricket World Cup.

Bancroft had scored 477 in his previous six Championship innings going into the Durham Worcestershire game, which started here today in Chester-le-Street.

He made just eight, but that took him past 6,000 first-class runs in the process.

Clean bill of health for Northumberland care teams

Health care planners in Northumberland have improved their service after being put into special measures following a poor inspection report.

The NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group has now been rated "good" by the Care Quality Commission.

It means that the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is again fully independent after three years in special measures.

CCG chair Janet Guy says that patients across the country will feel the benefit.

She says that the CCG was also rated outstanding for cancer care and mental health provision.

Residents in Stakeford say problems with crime and antisocial behaviour are not improving.

Residents in Stakeford say problems with crime and antisocial behaviour are not improving, one year on.

Last July a petition was given to the council by a number of people living near Riversdale House, who were fed up of the state of the area.

It claimed that drugs were rife and the elderly were scared of sitting in their gardens due to the constant police presence.

Riversdale House

Empty apartments were left open to vermin and the area around was used as a dog toilet with flytipping and soiled sanitary products.

At a meeting on Monday the Castle Morpeth Local Area Council sounded positive about the progress made.

Head of housing and public protection Phil Soderquest said: “As of June 24, one agent is managing 26 of the 30 flats and is applying proper vetting procedures.

“We continue to monitor it, but there have been no fly-tipping reports since the last update six months ago and police said reports had gone down in recent months."

However the 10 residents who attended disagreed, the meeting heard that one tenant was "shifted from Blyth" and let his brother live with him despite being ordered to live alone, had carried out a burglary of a nearby house, so it’s "not very good vetting".

Mr Soderquest will report back to the September meeting of the local area council.

WICKET Anderson goes - Lancashire all out

Lancashire 337 & 247, Durham 281

Jimmy Anderson's appearance as last man batting with a runner takes up 17 minutes - and helps to add 11 runs - before he is last out.

Recalled Australian Nathan Rimmington, coming in round the wicket, bowls the left-hander with an inswinger that removed Anderson's off stump to finish with 4-42, for career-best match figures of 8-116, after his 4-74 in the first innings.

Lancashire have a lead of 303, with no Anderson to help them defend it, following his pre-Ashes calf strain scare on Tuesday. But could those 11 runs come in handy later?

Anderson got four of them, while helping Saqib Mahmood move on to 31 not out.

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Designers of Angel of the North rival hope to appeal rejected plans

Stephanie Finnon

BBC Newcastle

The team behind designs for a sculpture in Northumberland three times the height of the Angel of the North say they will appeal after plans were rejected by councillors.

The Ascendant, intended to commemorate the Queen, was to be built on the summit of Cold Law near Kirkwhelpington.

The planned structure would have been The 183ft (56m), made from steel and feature a spire pointing towards the sun.

The proposal was denied on grounds it was inappropriate for the location.

The team behind the plans say they're hopeful it will be approved through the National Planning Inspectorate and they'll be lodging an appeal.

Artist impression of The Ascendant

Close of play at Sedbergh School

Lancashire 337 & 204-7, Durham 281

Sedbergh School, on day three of the Lancashire-Durham game
Getty Images

Well, even in the short history of first-class cricket at Sedbergh School, that was a pretty dramatic day.

A calf injury to Jimmy Anderson that took him out of the attack.

Then a Durham collapse as their last five wickets went down for just 18 runs in 10 overs, followed by an extraordinary start to the Lancashire innings as they were reduced to 10-2 inside the first four balls of Chris Rushworth's first over.

At 59-5, fuelled by a daft run-out, Lancs led by only 115. But, by the end of the day, Lancs skipper Dane Vilas had made 74 to steer his side into a 260-run lead.

That ought to be a matchwinning lead already. But, don't forget, Lancashire will not have use of Anderson tomorrow. He will be having treatment on his calf strain as he begins his battle to be fit to face the Aussies at Edgbaston on 1 August.

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More than 500 people oppose plans for Northumberland sculpture

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Ben O'Connell

A protest group formed three weeks ago to oppose a 183ft (56m) sculpture on a Northumberland hilltop has attracted more than 500 members.

The Elizabeth landmark is three times the size of the Angel of the North.

Mary Ann Rogers, is one of the founder members of the objecting Facebook group called Keep the Wannies Wild.

The award-winning artist, who lives at West Wodburn, said: “I felt strongly that this particular piece was entirely wrong for this location.

“It soon became clear that most people locally had no idea of the proposal, and of the few that did, little understanding of the scale of the artwork.”

Artist impression of The Elizabeth Landmark
Simon Hitches

Emma Anderson, who is also part of the group said: “Keep the Wannies Wild will represent the views of all the objectors at County Hall, Morpeth, today when the county council’s strategic planning committee meets to consider the application for a second time.

“We will continue to do all we can to oppose this misguided proposal.”

At the last meeting, one of the applicant’s representatives, who worked on other public art features such as the Angel of the North, The Couple at Newbiggin and Northumberlandia, said: “All of these projects cause concern, but we have to do things that are different and that are inspiring.”

He reminded the meeting of the unpopularity of the Angel at first and how it has become a national landmark.

Planners meet later today.

Cold Law
Emma Anderson

Injury scare over Anderson

Lancashire 337, Durham 234-5

Slight injury scare over England paceman Jimmy Anderson at Sedbergh School - just a month away from the first Ashes Test.

He has pulled up in his run-up and, after three attempts to bowl the third ball of the 84th over, he has walked off. Josh Bohannon is completing the over.

Hopefully, just a precautionary measure, wit the Ashes series due to start in a month's time at Edgbaston. The BBC commentary team suspect it might be an Achilles injury, based on the stretching exercises Anderson was trying.

Jimmy Anderson took his 950th first-class wicket at Sedbergh School yesterday
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Jimmy Anderson took his 950th first-class wicket at Sedbergh School yesterday

Lancs also had a slight scare over England opener Keaton Jennings.

He apparently made a visit to Lancashire Royal Infirmary yesterday after injuring a finger trying to field the ball in the slips. But he is back out there this morning.

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Sculpture bigger than Angel of the North to be discussed

Planners meet today to decide whether to give permission for a controversial monument measuring three times the height of the Angel of the North to be installed in rural Northumberland.

The sculpture is being called the Elizabeth landmark to honour the Queen.

Planning permission is being sought to put up the structure - on the top of Cold Law - a hillside near Kirkwhelpington.

The structure has been designed by Simon Hitchens and features a large steel spire pointing at an angle towards the sun "at its zenith on midsummer's day".

There would also be a viewing area, 17-space car park, a bronze map on a stone plinth and steel inserts on the floor denoting the Commonwealth flag and distance markers to member-state capitals.

There would be no toilets, visitor centre or amenities and signage would be used to direct visitors to facilities, including pubs and shops, in Ridsdale, West Woodburn, Sweet Hope Loughs, Knowesgate and Kirkwhelpington.

The Structure

Close of play at Sedbergh School

Lancashire 337, Durham 199-5

Sedbergh School day two
Rex Features

Another thoroughly decent day's cricket at this already very popular new first-class cricket venue.

Still a very well balanced game of twists and turns.

After resuming this morning on 275-5, Lancs might have hoped for a few more.

But Durham battled back well to bowl the hosts out for 337, before Cameron Bancroft and Alex Lees then put on 70 for the first wicket - the highest opening partnership made by any side against the Red Rose this season.

At 136-1, Durham were then looking very good until old masters Graham Onions and Jimmy Anderson suddenly clicked into top gear, with three wickets for no runs in 17 balls. But Durham have again battled back well and, although they lost Jack Burnham just before the close, they are well in this match.

Seven taken to hospital after collision between bus and car

Seven people were taken to hospital after a collision between a bus and car in Newcastle.

It happened shortly after 15:00 on Ponteland Road.

North East Ambulance Service said three people were taken to hospital by emergency ambulance. None of them appear to be in a critical condition.

Four people were also taken to hospital and are described as being "walking wounded."

Bus crash

Sedbergh - Lancashire's new jewel among out grounds

Lancashire 275-5 v Durham - match resumes 11:00

Of all the 23 County Championship matches to be played at out grounds this season, none of have received quite as much fuss and attention as Lancashire's arrival at Sedbergh School for their meeting with Durham.

Scenically situated in the rugged Cumbrian fells, and rather conveniently exactly halfway between both Manchester and Chester-le-Street, each 75 miles away, it proved so popular on Sunday that it was admission for members only.

Opposing captains Dane Vilas (left) and Durham's Cameron Bancroft

And the players quite like it too, especially Durham paceman Chris Rushworth, who spearheaded his side's attack with 2-50 from 21 overs.

"It's a glorious place," Rushworth told BBC Newcastle. "Everyone loves playing at out grounds and when you come somewhere as picturesque as this it's quite hard not to enjoy it.

"The overhead conditions looked like it would be perfect to bowl but the wicket probably didn't do as much as we thought it would. We've done a decent job. Equally, Lancashire will be quite pleased how they've gone. If we're being picky though, if you choose to bowl first, you're probably looking at having them more than five down."

Man left badly injured following assault

Stephanie Finnon

BBC Newcastle

A man was badly injured in an assault in Northumberland.

The 35-year-old was attacked by two teenagers outside Morrisons on Regent Street in Blyth in the early hours of yesterday morning.

He managed to get home before a friend contacted police and he's now being treated in hospital.

Police are still hunting those responsible.

Heavy rain kills baby birds off Northumberland coast

Puffins fighting
Getty Images

Seabirds nesting on the Farne Islands in Northumberland have been hit by heavy rain which killed many of their young, the National Trust has said.

Arctic terns, puffins, guillemots and shags all suffered losses as chicks including pufflings - baby puffins - were battered by nearly 5in (13cm) of rain in 24 hours on 13 June.

Gwen Potter, countryside manager for the National Trust, said: "The significant rainfall sadly caused many ground-nesting Arctic tern chicks to perish due to exposure to the elements.

"We don't know the full impact yet but estimate that tern numbers are likely to dip by up to 35% this year.

"We also know that 300 pufflings perished on one of the islands. Puffins are ground-nesting birds and unfortunately their burrows flooded. "

NHS to trial new way of working in Northumberland

A team of paramedics from the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) will work alongside GPs in a new scheme being launched in Northumberland.

The joint initiative between the NEAS and the NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) will provide healthcare for the community of Berwick and surrounding areas.

The scheme, which is a three-month pilot, will explore a new way of delivering NHS services with paramedics visiting patients and helping with care plans.

The pilot will operate across the Well Close Medical Group, the Union Brae and Norham Practice and Berwick Infirmary minor injuries unit and will see a paramedic available to support GPs 12 hours a day, seven days a week.

The NEAS says the initiative aims to provide improved access to community-based healthcare, minimise response time to emergencies and use NHS resources more effectively.

The nearest emergency department is almost 60 miles away.That’s a long journey for a patient and means an ambulance is unavailable for other incidents in the area for at least three hours. The paramedics are really enthusiastic about this pilot".

Ruth CorbettClinical Operations Manager for NEAS north Northumberland

Hydro power cable links Norway to Blyth

Stephanie Finnon

BBC Newcastle

A 450-mile cable being laid between Blyth in Northumberland and Norway will help reduce carbon emissions by 17% by 2030, National Grid says.

Work is already under way on the world's longest "interconnector", which will hook up the two countries' grids and eventually mean water flowing from mountains in Norway will help power British homes.

The renewable power will be carried under the North Sea to a converter station at Blyth and enter the British grid - enough to meet the peak winter power demand of three cities the size of Newcastle.

The £1.8bn collaboration between National Grid and Norwegian Statnett will be completed in 2021 with claims it could reduce customer bills because hydro electricity is cheaper to produce than carbon-based alternatives.

Fire service criticised by watchdog

Nisha Joshi

BBC broadcast journalist

Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service has been criticised in a report by the Fire Service Watchdog.

Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services said the service required improvement over the next 12 months - particularly in its work in understanding the risk of fire and other emergencies, and responding to them.

It also called for improvements in training.

In response, the service said it had worked hard to address the issues highlighted and that the report did point out that it was good at responding to national risks.

Neighbouring Tyne and Wear Fire Service was rated as good overall.

Northumberland fire engine
Northumberland County Council

Drivers make successful pothole damage claims

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Ben O'Connell

Motorists whose cars were damaged by potholes were successful in about 60% of claims against Northumberland County Council, figures show,

In 2018-19, drivers made 253 claims, of which 150 were successful, according to Freedom of Information (FOI) Act figures.

Motorists can only claim if the authority responsible for the road has been negligent and councils have a statutory defence that they cannot be held liable for a defect they are not aware of

In the 2017-18 financial year, there were a larger number of claims - 407 - but 40% (167) were successful.

The total cost to the taxpayer of the successful claims, including legal fees, was £45,966.07 in 2018-19, up from £41,889.10 the previous year.

pothole patching

In April, we reported that Northumberland filled in more potholes last year than any other council in the country.

FOI requests showed that the local authority repaired 69,506 potholes in 2018, 14,633 more than the next best performing council, Lincolnshire.

A Northumberland County Council spokesman said there was a big spike in damage to roads as a result of the bad winter of 2017-18 culminating in the Beast from the East.

“The greater number of defects may have led to more claims than usual being received and more being successful," he said.

“We continue to take the quality of road surfaces and repair of potholes very seriously – and invest considerable time and resources in making ongoing improvements to our road network.”

Body found following flat fire

A person has died in a fire at a first-floor flat in Northumberland.

Three crews from Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service attended the blaze on Milburn Road, in Ashington, at 23:40 yesterday.

The fire had spread throughout the first floor and roof before the body was found.

The cause of the blaze is not yet known and an investigation is ongoing.

Decision delayed on Northumberland hilltop artwork

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Ben O'Connell

A decision about plans for a £1m public artwork almost three times the height of the Angel of the North has been delayed.

Lord Devonport wants to place the 56m (184ft) Elizabeth Landmark on the summit of Cold Law, near Kirkwhelpington in Northumberland.

It was recommended for approval at Northumberland County Council's strategic planning committee meeting yesterday.

After almost two hours of debate, a motion to approve the proposal was voted down by eight votes to six, before a motion to defer the decision so that members could go on a site visit was passed by 12 to two.

This caused confusion among those in attendance, who thought that the monument had been turned down.

However, as is always the case with planning decisions, a separate motion to refuse, with valid planning reasons, would have been required to reject the application.

Planning officers felt that the "wider public benefits of a major new landmark public art feature" and the tourism opportunities outweighed any negatives, but not all locals shared this view, with objections from 29 residents plus Corsenside Parish Council.

Artist's impression of Elizabeh Landmark

Hilltop monument proposal decision due

A decision about plans for a sculpture nearly three times the height of The Angel of The North will be made later.

Lord Devonport wants to erect the 183ft (56m) tall steel structure on his estate on the summit of Cold Law near Kirkwhelpington, Northumberland.

He said the £1m Elizabeth Landmark would commemorate the Queen and the Commonwealth and believes it will boost tourism in the area.

The structure has been designed by Simon Hitchens and features a large steel spire pointing at an angle towards the sun.

Today Northumberland County Council will decide whether to grant permission.

Simon Hitchens

'Unusual' hilltop monument proposal set to get go-ahead

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Ben O'Connell

An "unusual proposal" to build a new monument, almost three times the height of the Angel of the North, is expected to get the go-ahead next week.

Earlier this year, plans were lodged for the construction of a publicly-accessible landmark, commissioned to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II and the Commonwealth, on the summit of Cold Law, near Kirkwhelpington.

Known as the Elizabeth Landmark, the idea for the £1million, 56-metre structure was put forward by philanthropist and retired architect, Lord Devonport, or Terence Kearley.

The planning officer's report of councillors said: "This is an unusual proposal which does not lend itself easily to a conventional site-based evaluation of impact.

"The wider public benefits of a major new landmark public art feature need to be seen in light of the strategic importance attached to place-based tourism in Northumberland."

Ascendant by Simon Hitchens

It has been recommended for approval when it goes before Northumberland County Council’s strategic planning committee on 4 June.