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  1. Thursday 20 July 2017

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Our live coverage throughout the day

Martin Lewes


We've now finished posting news, travel reports, a regular weather forecast and other things that might catch our eye, for today. Here's a reminder of what's happened:

  • The Barrow and Furness MP John Woodcock held the first of what will no doubt be many meetings, after the announcement by the pharmaceutical firm GSK that it would not build a new factory in Ulverston, and might sell the one it has there now;
  • Plans to electrify the Lakes railway line from Oxenholme to Windermere were scrapped as ministers decided to go instead for a "flex-train" - one that would be able to run on electricity and diesel;
  • And as the rain poured, film-makers creating a documentary on the famous South Cumbrian "drainman" Archie Workman, went looking for a flood to feature in their documentary about him. They didn't find one.

We'll do it all again tomorrow from 08:00.

If you can help with news you think we should know, or want to share a photo with the county, you can email them to us, send them using Twitter where we're @BBC_Cumbria or head to our Facebook page.

Have a very good evening.

Town 'will survive factory shock' says MP

Neil Smith

South Cumbria journalist, BBC Cumbria

Barrow's Labour MP John Woodcock says Ulverston is still open for business, after GSK cancelled their expansion plans and cast doubt on the long-term future of their antibiotics plant.

Glaxo sign

GSK has announced that it's scrapping plans for a new £325m factory at the Ulverston site, and may sell its existing works there.

Mr Woodcock, speaking after a meeting with managers and union representatives from GSK, said: "We have to make the case crystal clear that Ulverston remains an amazing place for an investor to come in."

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Reaching for the skies: Cumbrian sculptor honours Spitfire metal

Silhouetted against the sky, a skeletal representation of the famous World War Two fighter, the Spitfire, appears to soar upwards; it's the latest work by the Cumbrian sculptor Chris Brammall.

Chris Brammal with sculpture
Chris Brammal

The five-metre (16ft) high steel structure stands in the entrance of a new headquarters for DCS Group, in Banbury. It's on the site where the aluminium for Spitfires was produced from the 1930s.

Denys Shortt, the chief executive of DCS, said: "Staff and visitors alike are blown away by the finished sculpture - it's just incredible."

Cable takes the strain of Lib Dem leadership

The Cumbrian MP Tim Farron today finally handed over the reins of the Liberal Democrat party he's led for almost exactly two years, as the veteran party member Vince Cable was unopposed to succeed him.

Here's Mr Farron's farewell tweet.

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Gove vows to continue protection of Cumberland sausage name

Environment Secretary Michael Gove says he wants to maintain the protection given to food that has a particular geographical connection, such as traditional Cumberland sausage.

European law means the sausage can only be sold under that name if it's made in the county to the right recipe, but once Britain leaves the EU, butchers and factories across the union will be able to use the name on their own sausage without risk of action in the European Court of Justice.

Michael Gove

Mr Gove told the Commons: "We want to ensure that outside the European Union, that British food from whichever part of these islands it originates can have its status and its provenance protected at the heart of effective marketing."

Watch: The barriers go up in practice for the next Kendal flood

In December 2015, water swept down this path, surging over it and into Kendal.

Today staff from the Environment Agency practised how to stop the next time.

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Cumbria's weather: Clear at first

BBC Weather

There'll be some clear spells to begin with this evening.

However, the skies will turn increasingly cloudy towards midnight, with showers or patchy rain later.

The lowest temperature will be about 12C (54F).

Weather graphic

You can find the latest weather forecast for where you are, here.

Police mark 300 years in total jail sentences for drugs gangs

Police say the sentences handed down to people involved in the supply of drugs in Cumbria in the past year now total 300 years.

Officers say those convicted range from organisers down to couriers.

Det Chief Insp David Stalker said officers are dealing with criminals who move into the county from Merseyside and Greater Manchester and exploit vulnerable people to find a base and sell the drugs for them.

Det Ch Insp David Stalker

The public have a big part to play in this as their information can be vital. Drug dealing, even at a street level, is often part of a chain of events that can lead to further serious-level criminality occurring.”

Det Ch Insp David Stalker

Drug dealer who assaulted ex-partner is spared jail

A man subject to a suspended jail sentence because of earlier drug dealing convictions was back before Carlisle Crown Court today accused of assaulting his former partner.

Gareth Beatty, 36, of Brierley Road in Cleator Moor, admitted grabbing hold of Carmel Dodgson and throwing her on to a bed, Judge Peter Hughes was told.

However the judge was also told Hughes had made "positive steps", finding work and giving up drugs.

He was sentenced to a 18-month community order, a three-month curfew, and a rehabilitation requirement, and he was also banned from contacting Miss Dodgson for three years.

Sellafield firefighters to vote on new pay offer

The GMB union says it'll be asking firefighters at Sellafield to vote on a new pay offer.

The crews had planned to strike on 24 July and 31 July, saying that they had been getting involved in more duties such as paramedic work, while their pay had fallen behind inflation.

Chris Jukes from the union described the new offer, made at talks this morning, as "significantly improved".


Agency engineers test flood barriers in Kendal

Temporary flood barriers have been put up in Kendal to allow the Environment Agency to see how they would be used if the River Kent was threatening the town again.

Men putting up steel barriers

Up to 40km of barriers are available across the country, some of it stored in Carlisle for deployment if the river rises.

At a maximum it would take 12 hours to get it here, so we would look to get these barriers a day or so in advance.

This stretch has been put up in an hour and a half and that's just in training. In a real flood it would be much quicker."

Mike HarperEnvironment Agency

BreakingSellafield firefighters call off strikes

Firefighters at Sellafield have called off industrial action while they consider a new pay offer.

Members of the GMB union were due to strike on 24 July, saying they'd fallen 5% behind inflation since 2009.

MP says watchdog report on ward must not be excuse for closure

The Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron has urged health officials to increase staffing at a Kendal mental health ward after a critical report from the Care Quality Commission.

Westmorland general hospital

The report rated inpatient services run the the Cumbria Partnership Trust as requiring improvement; the Kentmere ward at the Westmorland General Hospital was threatened with closure a year ago after a previous report said it didn't meet modern standards.

Lib Dem Mr Farron says the reasons for the Kentmere ward needing improvement mainly related to staffing, so it should not be used as a reason to try to close the ward.

The trust said: “We know we still have more work to do to improve the areas highlighted in the report and will be continuing with the work already in place to address these issues."

MP meets GSK managers after new factory is cancelled

Neil Smith

South Cumbria journalist, BBC Cumbria

The Barrow Labour MP John Woodcock is meeting senior managers from the pharmaceutical firm GSK after the announcement that it's scrapping plans for a new factory at the plant in Ulverston.

Mr Woodcock was joined by local councillors and union officials at the meeting, which is also considering fears for the future of the existing factory after the company said it might be sold.

GSK gate

The plant employs 345 people making antibiotics, and GSK says it's profitable and should attract a buyer, but it's not known whether there's already a buyer in the wings.

New trains will use both electric and diesel power

The train operating company Northern has released more details about how new trains will be introduced on the Lakes Line from Oxenholme to Windermere.

Oxenholme station sign

They are designed to deal with the problem that rail lines in the Manchester area will soon be able to take only electric trains, which would mean direct services from the Lakes Line could only go as far as Preston.

The so-called "flex trains", which are being converted from diesel sets, can move seamlessly from electrical to diesel power.

They will be introduced from 2018, and enable direct services to Manchester Airport can be reintroduced.

Northern has also been asked to develop new trains that can run on alternative energy sources such as hydrogen, starting in 2021.

Cumbria's weather: Getting brighter

BBC Weather

It should become drier and brighter with some sunshine.

There'll be light winds and temperatures reaching 18C (64F).

weather graphic

You can find the latest weather forecast for where you are, here.

BreakingPlans to electrify Lakes line is cancelled as new trains are promised

Plans to electrify the Lakes railway line from Kendal to Windermere have been cancelled.

The news was part of a bundle of announcements, including reintroducing direct services from Windermere to Manchester Airport next year, and putting new trains on to the line in 2019.

Chris Grayling

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said this morning that he wanted the operating company, Northern, to pilot new trains that could run on either electric or diesel power.

He said it was these trains that meant some electrification schemes would no longer be necessary, and he added that this would mean the Lake District could be "protected" from electrification gantries.

Tougher inspection rules put Kendal College under pressure

Kendal College's principal says new tough inspection standards are the reason some of its gradings slipped in a new Ofsted inspection.

Kendal College
C. Knight

The college, judged outstanding in 2010, was criticised because some apprentices did not complete their training inside the allotted time, but the college says this is because a number of hotels were closed for months because of Storm Desmond.

But the college was judged outstanding for personal development and behaviour of students, and good under all other headings.

Now documentary cameras roll on drainman Archie

The story of a south Cumbrian man who became an unlikely celebrity after he shared his enthusiasm for draincovers with BBC Radio Cumbria is being made into a new film.

Man filming roadside drain
Archie Workman

Archie Workman works as a part-time lengthsman in Colton, near Ulverston, and produced a calendar showing the differing designs and makers of the drain covers he'd cleared.

Andy Oxley, of Screen 3 Productions, said the documentary would be offered to film festivals and might then find a wider audience.

"Archie's got me hooked - we were here last night in the thunderstorm, looking for a drain that was blocked and we couldn't find one, and that's down to him," he said.

Mental health services 'still not good enough' says watchdog

The watchdog that monitors mental health services in Cumbria says improvements still need to be made.

It's the second time in two years the Care Quality Commission has awarded the same rating to the trust that runs community and in-patient services at a number of locations across the county.

Trust logo

The CQC report criticised the number of doctors available at weekends but said patients felt well supported by staff.

The Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust acknowledged improvements still needed and said they were working to address the issues.

Storm brings blackouts and flash floods

A thunderstorm swept across parts of the county last night, causing power cuts and flashflooding on some roads.

Car surrounded by water

The downpour hit the south and east of the county, including Sedbergh (pictured) and Kirkby Lonsdale, hardest.

People in Kirkby reported part of the town's Royal Hotel inundated, and nearby Jingling Lane underwater for a time.

Electricity North West said almost 3,000 customers went off in the Shap area for about half an hour, and the rail operator Northern said its trains between Windermere and Oxenholme Lake District were replaced by buses because of flooding.

Weather on the fell tops: Fog above 2,000ft

  • Temperatures at 3,000ft: Up to 10C;
  • Winds: Moderate or fresh west or southwesterly, gusts 30mph, backing southerly later;
  • Cloud: Variable amounts of cloud above 2,000ft;
  • Visibility: Good, locally moderate in showers and poor in hill fog.

Travel: Roadworks slow traffic through Ulverston

BBC News Travel

Traffic's said to be very slow through Ulverston; there are long-term roadworks at the Lightburn Road junction.

New sports facilities also in doubt as GSK pulls plug on plans

A scheme to develop new sports facilities in Ulverston could also be in doubt because of the announcement by the pharmaceutical firm GSK that it will not proceed with a multimillion-pound factory in the town.

Artists impression

The new plant was to have been built on the company's existing sports ground, and plans had been drawn up to combine with South Lakeland council's ambition to redevelop its facilities.

This morning councillor Graham Vincent was asked about the future of the scheme and said the council will be investigating whether anything can be achieved.

South Cumbria shocked as GSK throws doubt over plant future

Neil Smith

South Cumbria journalist, BBC Cumbria

The decision by the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline to abandon plans for a multimillion-pound development at its factory in Ulverston has been met with "shock and disappointment".

Glaxo plant in Ulverston

There'll be emergency meetings later about the announcement, which also revealed the firm is considering selling its plant in South Cumbria, which makes antibiotics and employs 345 people .

Suzanne Edgley, who chairs the Ulverston Business Association, said local firms had already started investing in anticipation of the opportunities:

There's lots of companies with plans for growth, we should have been having new housing, which would have brought new people, for the families and the people employed by GSK it must be a really worrying time.

You're thinking, if they don't find a buyer, where does this leave us?"

Toilet block

An underused toilet block in Maryport, Cumbria, is to be converted into two homes.

Read more

Cumbria's weather: Getting better

BBC Weather

Any early rain will clear, and there may even be some sunshine later.

It will feel fresher than of late, with light winds and highs of 17C.

Weather graphic

You can find the latest BBC weather forecast for where you are, here.

Good morning: This is BBC Cumbria Live

Martin Lewes


We'll be posting the main news stories and links to the details behind them, travel reports, a regular weather forecast, and maybe a few other nuggets from around the county through until 18:00.

If you can help with news you think we should know, or want to share a photo with the county, you can email them to us, send them using Twitter where we're @BBC_Cumbria or head to our Facebook page.