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  1. Former Aston Villa player Ugo Ehiogu dies
  2. JLR 'to stay in UK'
  3. Harry Redknapp: Geranium killer
  4. Birmingham's interest in 2022 Games bid
  5. Updates from Friday 21 April 2017

Live Reporting

By Alex Homer

All times stated are UK

General election 2017: How do I register to vote?

Don't get left outside on polling day. Here are details of what you need and where you need to go to register for the general election on 8 June:

The deadline to register is 22 May
Ian Bell

Warwickshire captain Ian Bell misses out on a century but the Bears show fight to draw with Surrey at Edgbaston.

Read more

Gym to become a supermarket: Have your say

A Stirchley leisure centre caught up in a controversial planning application by supermarket chain Lidl is being forced to close.  

We asked you on social media - do residents' views count when it comes to planning matters?

Adrian Stanley: "Council don't listen to residents... look up the road in Northfield where people wanted the beautiful swimming baths frontage incorporated into the new plan but they just went ahead and smashed it down. Stirchley is a massive traffic jam but council wouldn't listen when they messed up the roads."

Fitness First in Stirchley, Birmingham

Tracy Edgington: "Disgusting this gym is so busy we are one big family. No one wants it to close."

Steven Malam:  "With any such planning, by the time the public get to hear about it the council have already decided what's going to happen."

Gregory Ralph said: "Just what Brum needs, another supermarket!!!!!!!" 

Richard Wilkinson added: "Let's just hope that planning is still never granted and Lidl end up with a very expensive piece of land that they can do nothing with."   

Join the conversation on the BBC Midlands Today Facebook page.

View more on twitter

General election 2017: How do I register to vote?

Don't get left outside on polling day. Here are details of what you need and where you need to go to register for the general election on 8 June:

The deadline to register is 22 May

Watch: The London Marathon finish line

Stephanie Barnard

BBC Local Live

Do you know someone who ran the London Marathon yesterday or maybe you ran it yourself?

You can watch a feed of the finish line, showing everyone who finished between 2hrs 30mins and 6hrs.

Find out their time and you can catch the moment they crossed the line.

From tears of joy, limping over the line, through to some rather tired faces - watch six hours (or skip forward) and see friends/family/loved ones cross the finish line via the BBC iPlayer.

Entertainment on the train for cross-city rail passengers

Peter Plisner

BBC Midlands Today

From tomorrow some London Midland passengers will be able to make use what's claimed to be one of the first ever free on-board entertainment system. 

It doesn't come via a screen on the back of seats, but through tablet computers and smart phones. 

It's all part of the long awaited introduction of a wifi system on the operator's trains. 

For people who just want to work there's also free wifi. 

London Midland train

But London Midland is pretty late in the game with on board wifi. Virgin Trains has had it for years, but it's only free in first class and it's a similar picture on board with Cross Country trains. 

Both Chiltern Railways and Arriva Trains Wales allows free access to all of their customers. 

The new train entertainment system will be available on all London Midland long-distance routes and some local services, including all trains on Birmingham's cross city line. 

General election 2017: How do I register to vote?

Don't get left outside on polling day. Here are details of what you need and where you need to go to register for the general election on 8 June:  

The deadline to register is 22 May

Weather: A chance of snow overnight

Charlie Slater

BBC Weather presenter

It seems a bit late in the year for snow, but with chilly temperatures forecast overnight, there's a chance we might see some in Staffordshire.

The rest of us will have a cold night, with showers in places.

Charlie Slater has your forecast

Villa v Blues: Five men charged over allegedly invading the pitch

Five men have been charged following a pitch invasion during the derby between Aston Villa and Birmingham City on Sunday.

West Midlands Police say five men aged between 18 and 30 were arrested after going on the pitch following Villa's 1-0 win.

Villa Park

A 21-year-old man from Dudley, arrested on suspicion of assault, has been released on bail.

Three fans who were arrested yesterday over alleged disorder during the Blues-Leeds fixture last month have been charged with using threatening or abusive words / behaviour.

Sight loss runner completes marathon

Here's how another of our region's runners got on in the London Marathon on Sunday.

Lucy Edwards, who lost her sight at the age of 17, competed the run with her guide and managed an excellent 6:27.

The 21-year-old, from Sutton Coldfield, has a rare genetic disorder called Incontinentia Pigmenti.

Lucy Edwards

She took up running last August to help her deal with depression after her diagnosis. 

She said it had become a "real passion" of hers.

Lucy was raising money for Guide Dogs UK. 

Man wanted after failing to appear for trial

An appeal to find an 18-year-old from Birmingham has been made by police after he failed to appear in court.

Morgan Helsby was charged following a series of attempted robberies which started on a train from Birmingham to Redditch in March 2015.

A man was threatened with a knife and another person punched in the face, British Transport Police (BTP) say.

Morgan Helsby
British Transport Police

BTP say he failed to appear for trial last month and is believed he could be in the Weston-Super-Mare area.   

Port Vale caretaker-manager Michael Brown

Port Vale caretaker manager Michael Brown says his side have to win their last two games, starting at Walsall on Tuesday.

Read more

Free parking to boost town centre shopping

Daz Hale


Free parking is being offered by a council as a way to get more people shopping on the high street.

From today, if you're visiting Sedgley, Dudley, Brierley Hill and Halesowen you could park for up to two hours for free.

Free parking for two hours - signs

The trial will run until the 2 July at 16 car parks across the four areas. 

Drivers will still need to get a ticket from the machine but it won't cost them a penny.

Some of our residents and traders have expressed a belief that reduced parking charges could help to boost trade here in Dudley borough. The two-hour free parking scheme trial is being piloted in different types of retail centres across the borough and we are keen to see how this could affect the numbers of shoppers coming into the areas."

Alan LuntDudley Borough Council

Local unimpressed as Theresa May targets Black Country

Express and Star

She may have been met by adoring Conservative supporters ahead of her speech at Netherton Conservative Club, but just hours earlier Theresa May had been given a grilling by one unimpressed Black Country resident.

Severe disruption: A3400 Warwickshire both ways

BBC News Travel

A3400 Warwickshire both ways severe disruption, at M40 J16.

A3400 Warwickshire - A3400 in Hockley Heath closed and slow traffic in both directions at Henley In Arden, because of a police incident.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Free entertainment coming to a train near you

BBC Midlands Today

Free entertainment and wifi services are coming to some London Midland train services.

Peter Plisner is following the story today and it certainly looks like he's swapping his magazine for a phone.

Peter Plisner on a train filming

The entertainment firm behind the new system says there's something for everyone, from films to Peppa Pig - plus onboard wifi.

'Tragedy' for bike club after burglary


Thieves have broken into a cycle speedway club in Birmingham and taken seven bikes.

Officials from the Birmingham Monarchs arrived at their Perry Hall track yesterday morning and discovered the break-in. 

A new decking area had also been vandalised, which has been described as a "tragedy".

View more on twitter

MP backs new bank holidays

Louise Hancock

Newsreader, BBC WM

The Labour MP for Erdington is backing Jeremy Corbyn's promise of four extra UK-wide bank holidays.

The holidays would be on each nation's patron saint day - St David's Day on 1 March, St Patrick's Day on 17 March, St George's Day on 23 April and St Andrew's Day on 30 November.

It is right that we celebrate the unity of Britain and in particular St George's Day - that would be a bank holiday."

Jack DromeyLabour MP

The Conservatives have warned it would damage the economy. 

Jeremy Corbyn said yesterday it would be good for people to spend more time with their families and lost productivity would be balanced out by more spending.

Severe disruption: M6 West Midlands northbound

BBC News Travel

M6 West Midlands northbound severe disruption, between J6 for A38 and J7 for A34 affecting J5 for A452.

M6 West Midlands - One lane closed and slow traffic on M6 northbound between J6 A38(M) Aston Expressway and J7, A34 (Great Barr), because of a broken down vehicle. Travel time is around 20 minute. Congestion to J5, A452 (Castle Bromwich).

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Leisure centre to close to make way for discount supermarket

A leisure centre in Birmingham at the centre of a controversial planning application by supermarket chain Lidl is being forced to close.

Fitness First in Stirchley is shutting down after the site landlord agreed to a takeover by Lidl.

Last month, Lidl's planning application was revoked after mistakes were made in the decision-making process.

Fitness First, Stirchley

It's with great sadness we confirm that we'll be closing the Fitness First club in Stirchley on Wednesday 31 May. Lidl confirmed they'd like to take over the site and so the landlord of the building made the decision to sell the site."

Martin SeiboldUK Managing Director at Fitness First

Local residents have mounted a legal challenge based around the loss of sporting and leisure facilities.

Wyre Forest Lib Dems name their parliamentary candidate

The Liberal Democrats have announced that Councillor Shazu Miah will be their candidate for the Wyre Forest constituency in the general election. 

Mr Miah says he will be campaigning against a hard Brexit and for keeping Britain in the single market.

Shazu Miah
Wyre Forest Liberal Democrats

Thirty six percent of Wyre Forest residents voted to remain in the EU and many more oppose the reckless decision of this hard-right Conservative government to pursue a 'hard Brexit'. Only the Lib Dems here in Wyre Forest are truly fighting her plans and fought to Remain."

Shazu MiahLib Dem parliamentary candidate

The deadline for nominating candidates is 11 May, but most parties will want their representatives in place well before that. 

We'll bring you the latest on the election campaign as we get it.

Bell and Ambrose steer Bears into calmer waters

Warwickshire 332 & 280-5 (87 overs) v Surrey 437

Mark Church

BBC Radio London commentator

A good morning for the hosts under leaden skies in Birmingham. Ian Bell played a captain's innings in every sense of the word and deserved a hundred. 

He was done by a lovely piece of bowling from his opposing leader, Gareth Batty, who found Bell's outside edge on 99 and Ben Foakes did the rest behind the stumps. 

Batty caused problems from the City End, finding bounce and turn which would have made Jeetan Patel sit up in the dressing room. Tim Ambrose has played very nicely, passing 50 for the first time this season but the weather could have the final say in this game which would be a real shame.

Warwickshire lead by 175 runs, but Surrey would still fancy a chase with the ball turning. Sadly it is very, very dark above Edgbaston and rain brought an early lunch.

Woman questioned on terror related offences

A 21-year-old woman is being questioned by police after being arrested in Birmingham this morning on suspicion of terrorism offences. 

Police say the arrest relates to the on-going investigation in which a brother and sister were arrested and charged with terror offences earlier this month. 

Ummariyat Mirza, 21, of St Agathas Road, is accused of plotting a terror knife attack.

His sister, Zainub Mirza, 23, from Eastfield Road, Bordesley Green, is charged with sending Islamic State propaganda videos to others. 

Police officers say today's arrest was pre-planned and there is "no risk to the public’s safety".  

BreakingWoman arrested on suspicion of preparing for acts of terrorism

A 21-year-old woman has been arrested on suspicion of preparing for acts of terrorism, says West Midlands Police.

The arrest is part of an on-going investigation in Birmingham by officers.

Bananarama head to Birmingham as they announce they are back together

BBC Entertainment and Arts

The original line-up of Bananarama have reunited and are going on tour.

Sara Dallin, Siobhan Fahey and Keren Woodward were the biggest girl band of the 80s, scoring hits including Venus, Shy Boy and Love In The First Degree.

Sara, Siobhan and Keren give Chris the lowdown on their big comeback.

Although they scored 10 top 10 hits, the trio never toured before Fahey quit to form Shakespears Sister in 1988.

The split was acrimonious, but the members recently reconciled and have announced a 15-date UK tour for winter, including a stop in Birmingham.

Tickets for the 23 November Barclaycard Arena gig go on sale on Wednesday morning.

Bananarama on TOTP

First match of the season for Birmingham City Ladies

Blues Ladies drew 0-0 with Sunderland in their opening game of the new Women's Super League season. 

Villa Ladies beat London Bees 3-2 on Saturday in WSL2.

View more on twitter

Warwickshire v Surrey: Play about to start on final day

Warwickshire skipper Ian Bell believes Surrey are in a "really good place" despite leading his side to a 57-run lead with an unbeaten 68 on the third evening at Edgbaston.

View more on twitter

The Bears were heavily beaten in their first two games of the summer - including by Surrey at The Oval - and need Bell to make a big score if they are to avoid defeat in this one.

"You always look back at games and the little one-per-centers. We should have got 400 in our first innings and maybe could have bowled a touch better," he said.

You can follow live updates on today's play here.

Bears' captain Ian Bell leads fightback at Edgbaston

BBC Sport

Warwickshire captain Ian Bell led a spirited fightback with his best first-class score in more than a year to help take the beleaguered Bears' game with Surrey into a fourth day at Edgbaston.  

Ian Bell
Getty Images

The prospect of a third straight defeat for the bottom side remains very real as they lead by only 57 runs on 162-4.

But with Bell, still an England hopeful at 34, well set at the crease on 68, they can yet save this game.

Villa 1-0 Blues: It took Gabby a year but it was worth waiting for

BBC Sport

He hadn't scored for over a year for Villa but he popped up with the winner on derby day.

Gabby Agbonlahor gives the bragging rights to every Villa fan heading into work this morning with his fifth derby goal against Blues. 

Gabby Agbonlahor celebrates his goal
Getty Images

Despite Steve Bruce describing it as the "worst game of the season" the fans are happy.

The result leaves Blues two points above the relegation zone with two to play.

Harry Redknapp
Getty Images

They (Birmingham under Gianfranco Zola) had won two out of 24. When you look at that record, it scares you to death. Confidence has been low but the lads showed good attitude and responded well. We could not have worked any harder. We just didn't get the break. It won't be easy against Huddersfield, but we've got every chance if we keep playing like that."

Harry RedknappBirmingham City manager

Severe accident: M6 West Midlands southbound

BBC News Travel

M6 West Midlands southbound severe accident, between J5 for A452 and J4 for M42 affecting J6 for A38.

M6 West Midlands - Two lanes closed and very slow traffic on M6 southbound between J5, A452 (Castle Bromwich) and J4, M42 (Coleshill), because of an accident. Travel time is around 35 minute. Congestion to J6 A38(M) Aston Expressway.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Villa v Blues: Men arrested following football derby disorder

Six men have been arrested following disorder during the Aston Villa v Birmingham City match yesterday.  

Five were arrested following a pitch invasion and a 21-year-old from Dudley was taken into custody after a steward was racially abused, say West Midlands Police.

Officers also arrested three fans from Birmingham in connection with disorder at the Bullring Tavern during the Blues-Leeds fixture last month. 

Watch: What's the weather doing today?

Charlie Slater

BBC Weather presenter

After a cloudy start with some light showers, it should be a dry and bright day with highs of 12C (54F).

You can find a detailed forecast for your area on the BBC Weather site.

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Severe disruption: M42 Warwickshire southbound

BBC News Travel

M42 Warwickshire southbound severe disruption, between J9 for M6 Toll and J8 for M6 affecting J10 for A5.

M42 Warwickshire - One lane closed and very slow traffic on M42 southbound between J9, M6 Toll (Curdworth) and J8 M6, because of a broken down vehicle. Congestion to J10, A5 (Tamworth).

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time