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Summary

  1. Updates for Thursday 12 January
  2. AWE workers in Berkshire set to stage two 48-hour walkouts
  3. A Met Office weather warning for snow comes into effect across Berkshire from 10:00 GMT
  4. Reading's Hexagon Theatre is unlikely to be rebuilt soon, says borough council

Live Reporting

By Sarah Lee and Adam Whitty

All times stated are UK

That's all for today!

Sarah Lee

BBC South

Thanks for joining us today!

We'll be back with all the latest news, travel and weather from 08:00 tomorow.

See you then!

Hooray for snow!!

Kayaks at the ready!

Appeal after elderly woman has handbag stolen

Police are appealing for witnesses after an 88-year-old woman had her handbag stolen in Slough.

The elderly woman was walking with the aid of a walking stick southbound along the Farnham Road, near the Three Tun public house, at about 8.15am on Monday, when a man brushed past her and attempted to grab her handbag.

The victim struggled with the offender until he managed to break the handbag strap.

He then ran off with the bag, which contained cash, a bank card, house keys and other personal belongings, along the Bath Road in the direction of Maidenhead.

The offender is described as white, about 18 to 20 years, around 5ft 11in to 6ft 1in and was wearing dark clothing.

The victim sustained bruising and swelling to her left wrist, but did not require hospital treatment.

Snow covers cars in Caversham

Snow at the Madejski Stadium ❄️️❄️️❄️️

Snow in Reading!

Sarah Lee

BBC South

Snow has finally arrived in Reading ... ish!

The rain which filled most of our day turned to snow!

But what does the weather look like for the rest of the night I hear you ask?

Well, the most likely scenario is for 2 to 4 cm to fall above about 100 m elevation across parts of southeast England with 1 to 2cm to low levels in places. 

However, there remains a small chance of snow settling more widely with 5 to 10 cm at low levels this evening, leading to disruption to road, rail and air services as well as interruptions to power supplies and other utilities.

Be careful out there! 

Snow
BBC
Sleet starting to fall in Emmer Green

Heavy snow falling in Calcot

Lane blocked due to broken down vehicle on A34

Reading is UK's priciest station car park

Sarah Lee

BBC South

The UK's most expensive railway station car park costs £23.70 per day, complaint service Resolver has claimed. 

The Reading Station charge is the highest of 100 commuter towns and cities, the company added. It is followed by Southampton Airport Parkway at £15 per day, Guildford at £14.50 per day and Brighton at £13.10.

Resolver founder James Walker said the prices left some people "really concerned" about making ends meet. 

"With increases on the horizon on everything from household goods to mortgage costs, the people I speak to are really concerned about making ends meet in 2017", he said. 

Data pic
BBC

Lauren Moses, of Reading said: "I never ever park there [Reading station car park]. The most I'll do is drop my partner at the station. It's better to park elsewhere and walk to the station or get the bus."

Nicola Toomey said: "I parked there once a few years ago when I went to London for the day. If I remember right, it cost as much to park as to get the train." 

Rail fares in Britain increased by an average of 2.3% on January 2.

Data pic
BBC

BBC reporter Ben Moore reports live from Reading as first flakes arrive

Travel: M4 partially blocked due to a shed load near Reading

BBC Travel

  • M4 westbound J11 (Reading), exit slip road partially blocked due to a shed load, heavy traffic
  • M3 southbound J3 (Lightwater/Bagshot) broken down vehicle, one lane blocked, slow traffic 

Gritters stuck in slow traffic as snow starts to fall

Ulderink: "QPR have quick players up front"

Andries Ulderink knows that QPR could pose a threat on Thursday night.

Reports of snow hitting Newbury

Sarah Lee

BBC South

What's that I smell? It smells like snow...

BBC Berkshire can officially confirm that snow has begun to fall in the lovely village of Woolhampton and beyond.

Snow is due to spread throughout the Royal County as night rolls in. Stay tuned!

Snow
David Beale

Berkshire's latest headlines

Sarah Lee

BBC South

Liam Moore believes Thursday night is the perfect time to play

The Reading FC centre-back wants to close the gap on the Championship top two.
The Reading FC centre-back wants to close the gap on the Championship top two.

"It's back to the bread and butter now, it's a really important game, we need to kick on.

"We've been doing well in the league, it's a great opportunity to get three points on the board earlier than everyone else.

"We've done well this season, especially at the Madejski.

"We do look at the table, we look at what's around us, and we're definitely going to be looking to put three points on the board."

Latest weather forecast: Widespread ice overnight

We're still waiting for snow in Southampton but we have had lots and lots of rain!

Here's the latest forecast.

Reading hope to end the QPR curse

Reading v QPR (20:00 GMT)

Adam Whitty

BBC South

I was reporting for BBC Radio Berkshire when Reading last played QPR at the Madejski Stadium in December 2015.

I can safely say it was one of the most boring games I have ever had to sit through.  

Nedum Onuha
Rex Features
Nedum Onuha consigned Reading to defeat last time these teams met at the Madejski Stadium.

QPR's late goal gave them a 1-0 victory, and put the final nail in the coffin for Steve Clarke's reign in charge of the Royals.

But they prepare for tonight's match in completely different circumstances.

Jaap Stam
Rex Features
Jaap Stam has taken Reading to third in the Championship table

Reading are going for their sixth straight league victory, and can close the gap on the Championship's top two to just three points.

With QPR in 17th, you would think that Reading can end their record of nine matches without a win against The Hoops tonight.

Considering previous experiences though, forgive me if I don't risk buying a ticket...

Man arrested in Windsor robbery probe

Adam Whitty

BBC South

A man has been arrested after a robbery in which an 18-year-old was threatened with what has been described as a hunting knife.

During the incident, which took place on Burton Way in Windsor on Tuesday night, the victim and two friends were approached by a man with a knife and had a quantity of cash stolen.

Burton Way
Google

Thames Valley Police are still looking for the knife used in the incident, described as a hunting knife with a silver coloured blade about 30cm long.

The force believe it might have been discarded in a local garden.

Witness to ambulance moving incident comes forward

Sarah Lee

BBC South

A Newbury resident who witnessed a man move an occupied ambulance to free up a parking space for himself has come forward, police have said.

The driver released the ambulance's handbrake before parking in the space on Pelican Lane, Newbury, on 29 December.

South Central Ambulance said there could have been "serious consequences" for the patient who was being treated for a critical medical condition. 

Thames Valley Police said it was still continuing to appeal for witnesses. 

Ambulance
BBC

Flights cancelled at Heathrow

Adam Whitty

BBC South

Up to 100 flights departing and arriving at Heathrow have been cancelled due to the snow that's expected this afternoon.

The wintry weather will reduce the number of aircraft able to take off and land each hour. 

Heathrow Snow
Getty Images

Meanwhile, the Met Office yellow weather warning for snow across Berkshire has been updated. 

It now runs from midday to midnight, with between 1cm and 2cm in low areas. 

There’s also a new weather warning for ice tomorrow between midnight and 11:00 GMT.

Reading's Fosu stays Posh

Reading academy product Tariqe Fosu is set to continue his footballing education at Colchester United until the end of the season.

The 21-year-old has scored two goals for Posh this season in 15 appearances.

He has only made one appearance for The Royals so far, as a substitute in May 2015.

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"We do lose out on a lot of the great shows"

Strictly's Ian Waite thinks Reading will miss out if the Hexagon isn't improved.
Strictly's Ian Waite thinks Reading is missing out because of the Hexagon's old design.

"We had a choir last year on our tour, and we had nowhere to put them really, espcially before they went on stage. I do think it's a shame we don't have another theatre in Reading.

"We need to do as much as we can to support it, and make it bigger.

"We were on tour about then years ago with Strictly pro tour...and they wouldn't come to the Hexagon because the actual stage wasn't fit for purpose."

The weather warning for Berkshire

Reading's Hexagon survives demolition

Adam Paylor

BBC South

Plans to replace The Hexagon, in Reading, with a new 2,000 seat venue have been mothballed due to cost.

A consultation by Reading Borough Council suggested that a number of organisations would be very keen to work with a new venue - but can't afford to run it without subsidy from the council. 

The Hexagon has been host to a range of high-profile events from snooker's World Grand Prix to The Smiths in 1985.

It appears it will continue to stay as Reading's main concert venue for the foreseeable future.

Public asked to think before attending A&E

Adam Whitty

BBC South

Patients are being asked to continue to think carefully before attending accident and emergency departments in Berkshire.

The message comes from the Royal Berkshire NHS Trust, who have been under "sustained pressure" in the Christmas and New Year period, and want to to relieve pressure on the service.

Ambulance outside A&E
Getty Images
NHS A&E departments in Berkshire have been under "sustained pressure"

They state that people should seek help from minor injuries units, walk-in centres and pharmacies unless they have lost consciousness, have a suspected heart attack or stroke, cannot breath or are bleeding heavily.

Mary Sherry, chief operating officer at the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust, said, “whilst the situation is still manageable, it is important that people consider other NHS services first and only use emergency departments for emergencies.”   

The Hexagon set to stay as Reading's main venue

Adam Whitty

BBC South

The Hexagon Theatre in Reading will continue to be the main location for performing arts in the town - for the foreseeable future at least. 

The Reading Borough Council-owned venue was set to be knocked down and rebuilt after councillors approved plans to find a new site and seek investors in 2015.

The Hexagon
BBC
The Hexagon has been Reading's main concert venue since 1977

But a consultation by the council suggests that although a number of arts organisations are very keen to work with a new venue in Reading, they cannot afford to run somewhere without subsidy from the council.

“The Hexagon remains an excellent venue, but long term we want to find a replacement,” says lead councillor Paul Gittings.

“We're working with commercial partners and the arts council to try and make this happen."

Bellowhead at the Hexagon
Rex Features
The venue has hosted a range of high-profile events, from snooker's World Grand Prix to Bellowhead last year

But John Luther, from Reading's South Streets Arts Centre, says the venue does not need replacing.

“The Hexagon it is fit for purpose for Reading, its programme is fitted to the kind of work that people want to see.”

BreakingAWE workers to stage two 48-hour strikes

Adam Whitty

BBC South

A total of 600 workers at Berkshire-based company AWE will stage two 48-hour strikes, starting next week, in a long-running ‘broken promises’ pensions’ row.

They voted by 92% for strike action at the company's two sites at Aldermaston and Burghfield.

They are set to take place on Wednesday 18 January and Monday 30 January, according to the Unite union, who represent the workers.

AWE Aldermaston
BBC
The AWE site in Aldermaston is one of two in Berkshire where strikes will take place.

The dispute surrounds changes to the employees' pension schemes, which Unite claim have "broken promises" given to workers when they were transferred from the Ministry of Defence to the private sector in the early 1990s.

They have already held two days of strike action on 14 November and 6 December 2016.

In response, AWE have released the following statement:

AWE is committed to establishing future pension arrangements that are affordable for our staff and attractive to future employees. We have undertaken detailed contingency planning and have resilient measures in place.”

AWE spokesperson

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

Adam Whitty

BBC South

Prepare yourself for snow-related small talk, some possible travel issues, and the children (and many adults) in your life praying for a day off.

A weather warning has been released by the Met Office for snow across Berkshire, which will come into force at 10:00 GMT.

Snowman boy
Getty Images
It causes nightmares for some, but unadulterated joy for others

A yellow warning has been issued by the Met Office for Thursday for snow across Southern England.

It says there is a chance of "snow settling with disruption to road, rail and air services" as a result.

Keep up to date with any travel issues or developments throughout the day on BBC Radio Berkshire.

Photo of English author DH Lawrence

A letter written by DH Lawrence in which he describes a Berkshire village as smelly has sold for £1,000 at auction

Read more

What's it like on the roads?

Mandy O'Neale

BBC Berkshire travel presenter

  • There is an accident anti-clockwise on the M25 between J14 (Heathrow Airport) & J10 (A3). One lane is blocked, causing nine miles of queues.
  • Temporary traffic lights near Three Mile Cross have produced congestion in all directions for those heading into the centre of the village.
  • There has been an incident between Grazeley and Grazeley Green which is causing delays in both directions along Goring Lane.

Today's weather: Rain and then snow

We're starting off with some rain today, with everywhere turning wet, but then we have a chance of snow later. 

The snow should begin in Oxford around 13:00 and move eastwards towards drivetime. We're going to have a clear night tonight with temperatures of -1C, which will bring the chances of icy conditions. 

Thursday morning's headlines

Adam Whitty

BBC South

  • Reading's Hexagon Theatre won't be rebuilt any time soon. The borough council - which owns the 40-year-old building, says no-one has come forward to rebuild and run it without a council subsidy - which the authority says it can't afford.
  • Strong winds and snow are expected to cause problems across Berkshire later. The Met Office has issued a "be aware" warning from 10:00 this morning, with travel disruption likely during this afternoon's rush hour.
Snow
Getty Images
  • Reading train station has been named as most expensive train station to park at in the UK. It costs £23.70 to park there for a day - eight pounds more than the second most expensive according to complaint service Resolver.
  • Jaap Stam's Reading FC will hope to close the gap on the top two teams in the Championship as they face Queens Park Rangers at the Madejski Stadium this evening.

Good morning

Adam Whitty

BBC South

Good morning and welcome to BBC Local Live for Berkshire. 

We will be bringing you all of the Royal County's latest news, travel, sport and weather until 18:00. 

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