By Emlyn Begley
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Essex County Council has announced that the first 16 of its libraries will reopen on 6 July.
It is hoped a further 44 libraries can reopen on 16 July, but the reopening of the remaining 14 libraries will be kept "under review".
Susan Barker, cabinet member for Essex Libraries, said: "It has been vital to plan to reopen sites in stages in order to ensure that we could carry out appropriate risk assessments and put procedures in place to ensure our customers and employees remain safe."People will be able to return and borrow books, as well as have some limited time to browse the shelves.
BBC Online EastCopyright: Getty Images
A bid for more than £12m aimed at transforming the centre of Northampton has been submitted to the government.
Northampton Forward, made up of partners including the borough council, the university and the Royal & Derngate Theatre, has submitted the bid to the Future High Streets Fund.
If successful, the money will be put towards the redevelopment of the town's historic Market Square. Plans for the area are part of Northampton town centre masterplan, which includes proposals to radically reinvent the town centre as a shopping and tourist attraction.Copyright: Northampton Borough Council
Borough council leader Jonathan Nunn said the "bold and ambitious" plans would lead to "more quality jobs, better entertainment, better homes, better public spaces, better town centre events and better connectivity".
Northampton Forward is also developing proposals in the form of a Town Investment Plan as part of a bid for a share of the £3.6bn Towns Fund which will focus on improved transport, broadband connectivity, skills and culture.
- Copyright: Watford Borough Council
A new confidence mark showing that taxi drivers have gained anti-coronavirus safety accreditation is to be rolled out in Watford.
The borough council scheme will see drivers complete a tailored programme of support specifically designed to get the trade back to work as lockdown eases.
Elected Mayor of Watford, Peter Taylor, said: "The council wants to make sure people can feel confident when taking a taxi and minicab that as much as possible has been done by the driver to keep them safe and reduce the spread of the virus."
Chairman of Watford Hackney Carriage Association, Shafiq Ahmed, called the programme "a real boost".
- Copyright: Roman River Music
A free live-streamed concert featuring the first Rasumovsky quartet by Beethoven is to take place on Saturday evening.
The event is being put on by Roman River Music and will take place in the garden of a neighbour of artistic director, Orlando Jopling.
The Roman River Festival usually holds regular concerts throughout the summer in the Colchester, north-east Essex coast and River Stour valley area, but events have had to be cancelled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
It is hoped this will be the first of a series of Roman River live-streams.
A foodbank needs new premises after becoming a victim of its own success during the coronavirus crisis.Copyright: BBC
Stowmarket Foodbank said it was helping about 60 families a month before the pandemic, but that figure has increased to 160.
The group has been storing food at the town's community centre, which is preparing to reopen.
Mike Smith, who manages the foodbank, said the centre needs the room back by 13 July meaning they will be "begging, borrowing garages, whatever, to stock food in".
"We still need 1,000 to 1,500 sq ft for the food bank to flourish," he said.
By Matt Precey
- Copyright: East Suffolk Council
Work on a new cafe and restaurant on Felixstowe's seafront is due to start this summer.
East Suffolk Council commissioned Barnes Construction to work on the building, which will take about a year to complete. Once finished, it will be known as The Kitchen @ Martello Park and will be run by the Dedham Boathouse Group.
The council's cabinet member for economic development, Craig Rivett, said it was important for Felixstowe to have new facilities as "we hopefully begin to emerge from the coronavirus impact".
The £1.5m project will be jointly funded by the council and the government's Coastal Communities Fund, which was started in 2012 to promote sustainable economic growth and jobs.
Cameron and Claire Marshall, owners of the Dedham Boathouse Group, said they were "super excited" by the project.
By Kate Scotter and Laura Devlin
Three pieces of high value art, including a painting of a nude woman by the man who designed the cover for The Beatles' White Album, have been stolen.
Hertfordshire Police is investigating a burglary at a property off Long Lane in Chorleywood during which the distinctive pieces were taken.
It is believed the burglary happened between 20:00 on 26 May and 16:00 the following day.
The three pieces of art are a sculpture of a gold dress, a framed print of the gold dress and a Richard Hamilton painting of a nude woman.
Hamilton designed the White Album cover after becoming friends with Paul McCartney.Copyright: Hertfordshire Police
- Copyright: South Cambridgeshire District Council
A 168-bedroom hotel is to be built at the site of the Imperial War Museum in Duxford.
Planning permission for the Hampton by Hilton hotel was granted by South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Planning Committee.
The six-storey, L-shaped hotel, which will feature a gym, bar and dining area and employ 40 staff, will form part of a complex which already boasts a conference centre.
The museum's executive director of commercial services and operations, John Brown, said the hotel had been "a long held aspiration of ours" giving visitors the option to stay overnight.
The council's lead Cabinet member for planning, Dr Tumi Hawkins, said it makes "perfect sense" to build a hotel so visitors can see the "spectacular displays" which take place at the war museum.
It is expected to open to guests in spring 2022.Copyright: South Cambridgeshire District Council
Weapons including a chainsaw were seen during an assault which has led to four men being arrested.
The incident took place in The Hide in Netherfield, Milton Keynes on Tuesday afternoon.
The victim, a man in his 30s, was chased and assaulted.
He suffered injuries to his head, ribs and left arm, as well as cuts and bruises that required hospital treatment. He has since been discharged.
Four people, three men and a woman, all from Milton Keynes, were arrested and released on bail following the incident.
Det Sgt Luke Grove of Thames Valley Police said the victim "was subjected to a sustained assault in which he sustained grievous bodily harm level injuries".
A new train travel scheme is aiming to support people with "hidden" disabilities.
Passengers with learning disabilities will be given sunflower lanyards and ID cards by Greater Anglia staff.
The sunflower initiative is a way of signalling someone may need additional help or more time when travelling.Copyright: Greater Anglia Trains
Paul White, from Hidden Disabilities, said living with a hidden disability "can make daily life more demanding" and the new scheme "helps by discreetly indicating to people that those who choose to wear it, have a hidden disability and may need additional support, help or a little more time".
Greater Anglia’s accessibility manager, Rebecca Richardson, added that the company was committed to "making rail travel accessible for everyone".
Public health bosses in Northamptonshire are urging caution as the number of coronavirus cases finally starts to fall.
In recent weeks, Covid-19 cases and deaths across the county had not fallen in line with national levels. As recently as Wednesday, the seven coronavirus deaths at Northampton General made it the hospital with the highest increase in deaths in the whole of England.Copyright: BBC
Northamptonshire County Council's director of public health, Lucy Wightman, said the number of new cases was now falling, but added that "the virus continues to be in circulation and the risk posed by local outbreaks remains significant".
With town centres starting to reopen, she warned that measures such as social-distancing, hand-washing and wearing face coverings where appropriate "should remain part of our everyday lives until such time as we are able to find a vaccine".