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Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

  1. Decision deferred on holiday park in Suffolk

    Proposals to develop a 59-cabin holiday park on a former quarry in Wenhaston, near Halesworth in Suffolk, have been deferred until council planners have visited the site.

    Suffolk Coastal District Council's planning committee was presented with Taylor Bray Ltd's plans to create the cabins, a boating shed, lakes, facilities building and workshop on the site off Heath Road.

    The land is considered greenfield since quarrying stopped there three years ago, but concerns have been raised over traces of arsenic on the site.

    Thursday's committee opted to request greater clarity from the county council for its position on restoring the site to nature.

    The proposals are expected to come back before the planning committee in May or June.

  2. Ipswich bypass plan 'ready by end of year'

    Jason Noble

    Suffolk Local Democracy Reporter

    A full business case for a northern bypass around Ipswich will be tabled by the end of the year, it has been revealed – as transport secretary Chris Grayling said some improvements in the area will "have to happen".

    Mr Grayling was in Ipswich to help canvass for the Conservatives in the upcoming local elections, as well as look at the site for the Upper Orwell Crossings.

    He hailed the Upper Orwell Crossings as part of a “fantastic vision for the centre of Ipswich”.

    The Conservative leader of Suffolk County Council, Colin Noble, said: "We have also talked about the northern relief road and the £650,000 that Suffolk public sector leaders have allocated to the business case, and we hope to have that on his desk towards the back of this year."

    Councils in Suffolk are currently discussing a growth plan called Suffolk 2050, which aims to promote economic and housing development in the county.

  3. Wenhaston holiday homes plan on hold

    Proposals to develop a 59-cabin holiday park on a former quarry in Wenhaston, near Halesworth, Suffolk, have been deferred until council planners have visited the site.

    Suffolk Coastal District Council’s planning committee was presented with plans lodged by Taylor Bray on Thursday to create 59 holiday lodge cabins, a boating shed, lakes, facilities building and workshop on the disused quarry off Heath Road.

    The land is considered greenfield since quarrying stopped there three years ago, but concerns have been raised over traces of arsenic on the site, as well as worries over the surrounding road network.

    The committee opted to request a site visit for later this month, so that more information could be obtained about the area.

  4. Crematorium granted planning permission for second time

    Campaigners who oppose the opening of a crematorium in Aylesbury have said they will continue to make legal challenges against it.

    Watermead Crematorium was again granted planning permission by Aylesbury Vale District Council this week, despite an initial application being quashed by the Court of Appeal last year.

    Sue Severn, chairwoman of Watermead Parish Council, which brought the first appeal, said the crematorium was "the wrong building in the wrong place, in full view of people's homes" and that the parish council will appeal the decision for a second time.

    The managing director of Westerleigh Group, which has built the crematorium, said there was a need for it to open as the crematorium in Amersham is extremely busy. He said the building "won't have the impact that the parish council fears".

    The application will need to be approved by the Local Government Secretary before it is given the go-ahead.

  5. Sports minister rejects stadium standing plea on safety grounds

    Three Norfolk MPs are to lobby the government further in a bid to overturn its position on allowing a safe standing section at Norwich City FC's Carrow Road stadium.

    Carrow Road stadium

    Minister for Sport Tracey Crouch has rejected on spectator safety grounds a campaign for rail seats requested by North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb along with the Norwich MPs, Labour's Clive Lewis and Conservative Chloe Smith.

    The club wants safe standing for about 3,000 fans at home games, saying those standing up already at matches are putting others at risk or blocking views of seated fans.

    The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said the safety of fans was "the government's priority".

    "We have no plans to change the all-seater policy but we will continue to monitor the issue of spectator accommodation and the use of safe standing where it is permitted," it said.

  6. Luton Airport workers to vote on strike action

    Workers at Luton Airport will vote on whether to carry out strikes over pay and zero-hours contracts next week.

    London Luton Airport

    The results will be announced in mid-May and any industrial action could take place by the end of next month.

    Members of Unite, including firefighters, security guards and baggage handlers who are employed by the airport directly or other companies will be able to take part in the ballot.

  7. Police stop car with taped-up door

    Road traffic officers in Hertfordshire have stopped a car that had its driver's door tightly taped shut.

    The force said the driver even had to climb out of the passenger side to be spoken to and received an "immediate prohibition for dangerous condition" of the car.

    Car taped shut with gaffer tape

    Officers spotted the car near the weighbridge on the A405 North Orbital Road in Watford.

    Police told the driver the car could not be driven and had to be collected by a recovery vehicle. Once repaired, the vehicle would have to go for a full MOT before the prohibition was lifted, police said.

    The driver was also reported for the offence of driving a vehicle in a dangerous condition.

  8. Prof Hawking memorial backed by Cambridge city councillors

    Councillors have unanimously backed a motion to create a permanent monument or memorial to Prof Stephen Hawking in Cambridge - where he lived and worked.

    The theoretical physicist died on 14 March at the age of 76.

    Prof Stephen Hawking

    Ideas suggested so far include a "Stephen Hawking Day", a black hole sculpture, a science festival bearing his name and a public telescope so anyone can gaze up at the stars at night.

    At a city council meeting on Thursday evening delegates were told it was "only right for, not just the university, but this city to establish a permanent monument in his honour", the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

    Although the idea is in the early stages, the council said any tribute would need to be approved by Cambridge University, the professor's family - and that the public would also have a say in the decision.

  9. Man 'lying in road' inquest opens

    A man who was believed to be lying in the road in Essex when he was killed by a car died of head and chest injuries, an inquest has heard.

    Andrew Cheffins, 23, of Halstead, was pronounced dead at the scene in Braintree Road, near Halstead, in the early hours of 1 April.

    A full inquest is scheduled for August.

    Andrew Cheffins
  10. Milton Keynes Council boss announces departure

    Milton Keynes Citizen

    Milton Keynes Council chief executive Carole Mills has announced she will be joining Derby City Council as its chief executive later this year.

  11. Minor surgery unit used to house emergency patients during winter

    Patrick Byrne

    BBC News

    A hospital was forced to use its day procedure beds to accommodate emergency patients overnight during the winter months, it has been revealed.

    The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital's day procedure unit carries out minor surgery but the presence of longer stay patients on its wards reduced operating theatre capacity.


    Demand on the emergency department hit unprecedented levels and the day procedure unit became an "escalation area", the hospital said. More than 14,000 emergency admissions were made in December, January and February - 6% higher than the previous winter.

    The day unit carried out more than 3,500 procedures and 61% of cancelled operations in February were due to the severe adverse weather.

    "Demand on our emergency department has been unprecedented at times and during spikes in demand we have used the day procedure unit (DPU) as a designated escalation area to maintain patient safety," Richard Parker, chief operating officer said.

    "We reduced the use of DPU as an escalation area during March and stopped on 11 April."

  12. Driver stopped at more than twice the speed limit

    Police in Stevenage stopped a driver of a Range Rover Sport travelling at 90mph - in a 40mph zone.

    Officers described the incident on Thursday night as "absolutely outrageous" and said the driver faced losing their licence.

    Hertfordshire Police officers were conducting a speed enforcement operation on Gunnels Wood, near the junction with Leyden Road, when they clocked the vehicle, which they stopped near J6 of the A1(M).

    A man in his 20s has been reported for driving with excess speed.

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  13. Greater Anglia to add ANPR to more car parks

    After introducing automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) car parking at Ipswich railway station, Greater Anglia is to roll it out at four other railway stations.

    Ipswich railway station car park
    Image caption: Ipswich railway station's car park has ANPR on entry and exit

    It will be installed over the coming months at car parks at Colchester and Shenfield in Essex; Cambridge; and Broxbourne in Hertfordshire.

    The train operator said it would also be spending £20m to create 1,700 extra car parking spaces across its network.

    The first phase will start this year at Attleborough in Norfolk; Hockley, Marks Tey and Shenfield in Essex; and Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk.

  14. Have your say on Bromham Bridge closure plans

    The first public consultation is set to take place today to explain plans to close Bromham Road bridge in Bedford so the electrification of the Midland Main Line can continue.

    No date has been set yet for when the work will start, as Network Rail says it needs to "secure additional land and air rights near the bridge".

    It says parking spaces will be lost at the railway station while the work is being undertaken, but it is working to provide temporary parking elsewhere.

    Map of Bromham Road works

    A public consultation on the work runs until 24 May and a public event is taking place at Bedford Corn Exchange from 12:00 to 18:00 today.

  15. Biggleswade fire to be monitored 'for some time'

    A fire at a food packaging warehouse in Biggleswade will be monitored for "some time yet", according to Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service.

    Firefighters are scene of fire at night

    An investigation is under way into the fire, which started at about 19:00 last night at Bedfordshire Growers on Potton Road.

    Firefighters are scene of fire at night

    Nearby residents are being reminded that there is still some smoke in the area and are being advised to keep their windows closed.

  16. Crackdown on drug-dealing and violent crime brings 33 arrests

    A crackdown on drug-dealing and associated violent crime in Norwich called Operation Gravity has brought 33 arrests.

    Raids were made during the week-long operation on 17 properties in Orchard Street, Cromer Road, Gentry Place, Penn Grove, Wellington Green, Reepham Road, Northumberland Street, Magdalen Street, Spindle Road, Seaman Tower, Woodside Road and Barnards Yard.

    Police raid

    Police also raided properties in Poll Close in Wymondham, Fakenham Road in Great Witchingham and Atkinson Close, Costessey.

    Large quantities of Class A drugs have been seized, along with cash, knives and mobile phones, police said.

    A total of 31 people were arrested in Norfolk and 21 of those have since been charged with offences related to the supply of Class A drugs. In London two men were arrested and charged with similar offences.

  17. Biggleswade fire: Farm shop closed

    The Bedfordshire Growers farm shop will be closed on Friday following a fire at the firm's packaging warehouse next door on Thursday evening.

    The shop was not affected by the blaze but lorries are having to use the car park. It is therefore closed to the public for health and safety reasons.

    Bedfordshire Growers fire

    Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service said it had operated a "relief service" throughout the night at the site.

    Watch commander Laurence MacEwen said: "Crews have stood by to make sure that the fire hasn't spread any further and also that it doesn't spread into unaffected areas.

    "The fire is now under control and contained. It is just a few isolated hotpots that we need to make sure don't re-ignite and spread further."

    He also said National Grid had been on site on Friday morning to assess the power lines above the affected building and was "happy with the structural integrity" of those lines.

  18. Biggleswade warehouse fire: Firefighters remain at the scene

    Firefighters are still at the scene of a fire at a food packaging warehouse which broke out on Thursday evening.

    Bedfordshire Growers fire

    About 70 firefighters from Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue, with support from the Cambridgeshire service, tackled the blaze at Bedfordshire Growers on Potton Road in Biggleswade at just after 19:00 BST.

    The service said that the main fire has been put out but there are still quite a few hot spots in the building and at the moment firefighters cannot go in because it is structurally unsafe.

    Up to 10 fire engines attended the blaze which covered an area of about 20m by 30m (65ft by 98ft) across a range of single-storey buildings.

    It is not believed that anyone was injured.

    Bedfordshire Growers fire
    Bedfordshire Growers fire
  19. 'Largest ever' cannabis farm worth £1.5m found after tip-off

    The "largest ever" cannabis farm to be discovered in Hertfordshire has been found hidden behind false walls in a unit on an industrial estate.

    Hertfordshire Police made the discovery at Woodside Industrial Park in Letchworth Garden City after members of the public tipped them off.

    Cannabis farm

    More than 1,300 plants with a crop worth £1.5m were recovered from seven growing rooms, alongside a living area and drying room. The plants have been destroyed.

    Sgt Richard Balderstone said: “This is a great result and an excellent example of just how key the public are in helping us to tackle drug crime in the county."

    Cannabis farm
  20. Ted Hughes' desk and chair acquired by Cambridge college

    A battered desk and chair that once belonged to the poet Ted Hughes has been acquired by his former college.

    Pembroke College - which has a collection of his papers and poems - was where the future poet laureate studied from 1951.

    The college says it hopes "they will be an inspiration for future poets and readers of Hughes’s poems".

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