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Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

  1. By Mike Henson

    BBC Sport

    Jack Nowell

    Exeter Chiefs have just enough to keep Racing 92 at bay and clinch their first Champions Cup title in a thrilling final at Ashton Gate.

    Read more
  2. University students banned from mixing for another week

    Daniel Clark

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    Aerial view of Exeter's Streatham Campus

    A ban on University of Exeter students mixing with other households has been extended for a further seven days in a bid to tackle the spread of coronavirus.

    The latest statistics from Devon County Council showed there were 262 positive cases in Exeter up to 14 October, with Public Health England confirming more than 70% of these were linked to the university.

    The university said it remained in a "fragile position" and was "steadfast" in its commitment to fight the virus.

    Registrar and secretary Mike Shore-Nye added it would need to see "a clear trend" before lifting the restrictions.

    Dr Virginia Pearson, Director of Public Health for Devon, said new cases in the community showed the virus was spreading among the non-student population, and urged the city's residents to be "extra vigilant" in following public health advice.

  3. Ryanair cuts Newquay to Alicante flight to weekly service

    Richard Whitehouse

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    Newquay airport entrance

    Ryanair will be cutting the number of flights it operates from Cornwall Airport Newquay due to "government mismanagement" of EU travel.

    The budget airline is to axe one in three routes across its Europe operations this winter due to low demand caused by coronavirus travel restrictions.

    The airport, which is owned by Cornwall Council, said Ryanair will be reducing its flights to Alicante from twice weekly to just once weekly as part of the changes.

    The Alicante route is the only one which the airline operates from Newquay through the winter – its route to Faro will end at the end of the month as scheduled.

    Ryanair said it will only maintain up to 65% of its routes between November and March and is also closing bases in Ireland and France for the five-month period.

    It described demand for flights as "heavily curtailed" to and from the UK, Ireland, Austria, Belgium, Portugal and much of central Europe.

    Group chief executive Michael O’Leary said: "While we deeply regret these winter schedule cuts, they have been forced upon us by government mismanagement of EU air travel.

    "Our focus continues to be on maintaining as large a schedule as we can sensibly operate to keep our aircraft, our pilots and our cabin crew current and employed while minimising job losses."

  4. Nine jobs to go at Cornwall otter park

    Rebecca Thorn

    BBC News

    Nine jobs will go at a wildlife park in Cornwall when it closes at the end of October.

    The Tamar Otter Park near Launceston announced earlier it had been forced to shut its doors on 31 October due to the effects of Covid-19.

    The losses will affect two seasonal members of staff, three others who work during the main season and part time in the winter, and four students who work in the holidays and at weekends.

    John and Mandy Allen, who have run the site for nearly 15 years, said while it is "a very difficult time", they had been "overwhelmed" by messages of support.

  5. 'Urgent plan of action' required over traveller sites

    Daniel Clark

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    Travellers set up in a car park

    An "urgent plan of action" is required to tackle unauthorised traveller sites in the South Hams, Devon County Council is set to hear.

    The region does not have an authorised site for travellers to move on to, making it more complicated to evict illegal camps.

    A report to councillors at Thursday's meeting says the council will need to identify a piece of land to act as a "transit site".

    A minimum of three to four encampments arrive at the council-owned land in Langage Business Park in Plymouth each year, according to specialist placemaking officer Alex Rehaag.

    She said the council did not have a plan in place to address the "recurring issues", which had caused tensions to rise within the community.

    "There is significant pressure on the authority to resolve unauthorised encampments as soon as possible and the settled community could be a lot more accepting to gypsy and traveller groups if they were on a managed site where they paid for services such as waste collection, rent and council tax."

    If councillors endorse the plans, approval for a selected site would be sought around spring 2021.

  6. Social housing plans submitted

    Daniel Clark

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    Sherborne House in Newton Abbot

    Plans to convert part of a town centre building into apartments for social housing have been submitted by Teignbridge District Council.

    The scheme for Sherborne House, which is part of wider regeneration plan for Newton Abbot, will see the third floor of the building converted to residential accommodation, while retaining the lower floors for office and healthcare use.

    Ten apartments for social housing are proposed, designed to specifically cater for people aged 55 and over.

    Two other sites have already been approved for social housing by the council, including two houses at Drake Road and five flats at East Street.

    The planning committee will determine the fate of the Sherborne House application at a later date.

  7. Devon town to trial 20 mph speed limit

    BBC Radio Devon

    An entire Devon town is to trial a 20 mph speed limit to see if the roads become safer.

    The default limit in Newton Abbot will be lowered from the current 30 mph.

    It's the first scheme of its kind in Devon, and follows other trials nationwide.

    Residents have expressed mixed views on the idea.

    While one person suggested "anything that can save lives is a good idea", another felt there should be a better "compromise" between safety and free-flowing traffic.

  8. Bear Grylls launches Exeter festival

    Rebecca Thorn

    BBC News

    Bear Grylls

    A new festival is being launched by survival instructor and TV personality Bear Grylls in Exeter.

    The Gone Wild Festival will offer activities such as kayaking and abseiling, as well as "survival" classes including shelter building and campfire cooking.

    Razorlight, Kaiser Chiefs, and the Ministry of Sound Orchestra are also set to play at the festival's music stages.

    The event is due to be held at Powderham Castle on the August Bank Holiday 2021.

    Bosses say 10% of ticket costs will be donated to the RMA Royal Marine charity, which supports serving and former marines and their families.

  9. Tourists from high-risk areas 'should not come to Cornwall'

    BBC Radio Cornwall

    Atlantic Hotel at front of Newquay coastline

    Tourists from Covid-19 high-risk areas should not travel to Cornwall, the county's assistant director of public health has said.

    Ruth Goldstein told the BBC that while she recognised the damage it could cause to the tourism industry, the safety of residents came first.

    "We need people to act responsibly and follow their local guidance", she said.

    Hospitality workers have expressed their concern over the possibility of a circuit-breaker, where tight restrictions are implemented for a fixed period of time to bring the number of cases down.

    Ms Goldstein said Cornwall could not become "complacent" towards the pandemic, even if it was in the lowest risk tier of the government model.

  10. Otter and wildlife centre to close in Cornwall

    Rebecca Thorn

    BBC News

    A wildlife centre in Cornwall will close permanently due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

    The Tamar Otter Park near Launceston said its last day for visitors would be 31 October.

    In a statement on Facebook owners said the animals would only leave "when we are confident that they are moving to a place where they will be as happy and well cared for as they have been with us".

    They added "a few elderly residents" would remain with them.

    The park thanked the public for their support.

    "This is a difficult time for everyone involved with the park and we would like to give a special thanks to all the staff who over the years have helped us to make this the special place it has become."

    The park, which has been open for almost 15 years, has not confirmed how many jobs will be lost as a result of the closure.

  11. Newquay flight diverted to Exeter due to steering issues

    Rebecca Thorn

    BBC News

    A flight from Newquay to London Heathrow was forced to make an emergency landing at Exeter Airport due to a fault with the aircraft.

    Pilots on board the Flybe flight noticed a problem with the control handles used to steer the plane as they took off on 14 November 2019.

    Battling against strong winds, they diverted the plane to Exeter where it made an "uneventful landing".

    A report by the Air Accident Investigations Branch found the incident had been caused by a faulty cable that had been worn down by "internal and external wear".

    FlyBe agreed to review the frequency with which cables were inspected, but was unable to complete all these checks before it collapsed in March.

  12. Mayflower 400 art installed 'in accordance' with rules

    Ed Oldfield

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    No New Worlds sign

    The organisers of the Mayflower 400 programme say the planning application for the Speedwell art installation in Plymouth Sound was handled "in accordance with government regulations".

    Questions have been asked about why it was only submitted two days before the public launch of the project.

    The artwork is made up of more than 3,000 lights on a 207ft (63m) long and 20ft (6m) high scaffold fixed to Mount Batten Breakwater.

    The LED lights make up the words ‘No New Worlds’ in capital letters, designed to challenge the idea that North America was a ‘new world’.

    The temporary artwork, funded by Arts Council England and Plymouth Culture, was publicly launched in September.

    Although a pre-planning application was submitted in the summer of 2019, the full planning application for the structure was received by the city council on 2 September, just two days before the launch.

    It took almost two weeks for the application to be processed before being published on the city council’s planning website on 15 September.

    It means planning permission has not yet been granted, and public consultation will continue until 27 October.

    One objector, Gareth Evans, said: "Work should not have commenced on the structure without receiving planning permission."

    The Mayflower 400 responded to the concerns by stating: "The planning application for the installation has been submitted in accordance with government regulations, and the project will respect and follow the outcome of that planning application."

  13. Plymouth Tory leader defended by colleagues

    Ed Oldfield

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    Senior members of the city council’s Conservative group have spoken out in support of the leadership after a series of resignations.

    Six councillors have now left the group, including former leader Ian Bowyer, and all have criticised the way it has been run.

    But in a statement on Thursday, two senior members strongly backed leader Nick Kelly, who replaced Councillor Bowyer in March.

    The statement from current deputy leader Patrick Nicholson and former leader Vivien Pengelly described the resignations and criticism as “very disappointing”.

    They deny allegations about the behaviour of senior members of the group, say those who have left have been unable to accept the democratic change in leadership, and praise the “energetic” approach of Councillor Kelly in holding the city council’s ruling Labour group to account.

    Thursday’s statement said the resignations and comments were “very disappointing when they are all supposed to believe in team work and democracy in order to represent their respective local communities and the wider city of Plymouth".

  14. Deaf academy closes following Covid cases

    Rebecca Thorn

    BBC News

    An academy for deaf people has been forced to temporarily close after seven people tested positives for coronavirus.

    Four students and three members of staff at Exeter Royal Academy for Deaf Education have tested positive since the first case was confirmed during the weekend.

    The academy, now based in Exmouth, has 48 day and residential students.

    It said a number of staff and pupils had been told to self-isolate following consultation with Public Health England (PHE).

    Principal Sylvan Dewing said: "We are working closely with parents to ensure the temporary closure does not have an impact on teaching.

    "We established a successful online academy during lockdown which is in place and has resumed.

    "As ever, education and student and staff well-being remain our utmost priority."

    The academy said it had no confirmed date for when it would reopen.

  15. Coronavirus: Are disabled uni students getting enough help?

    Sue Paz

    BBC South

    "Muffled voices" being difficult to hear during online lectures and a lack of alternative teaching materials made available have been among the complaints voiced by disabled university students trying to cope with adapted ways of studying during the coronavirus pandemic.

    According to a recent National Union of Students survey of more than 4,000 university students in the UK, 27% said they were unable to access online learning during lockdown and 18% said they lacked the support necessary to deal with the pandemic.

    Read the full story here.


    "I have a team of people supporting me, so I have to take extra precautions," said Keron Day, a first year human geography student at the University of Exeter.

    The 19-year-old, who has cerebral palsy and is a wheelchair user, said he "did not feel safe" on campus so he returned home to Helston in Cornwall and has been learning remotely since September.

    "If any of my support team gets Covid-19, it makes the care side of my life very difficult," he said.

    "I think there's been a rush to get students back without necessarily considering entirely what it's like to be more vulnerable, but I don't blame the university.

    "In terms of the support I have been getting, I think it's been very good. I have been in regular contact with my tutor about my work and well-being - both physical and mental health.

    "I don't think they could have done any more for me."

    The University of Exeter said it was "committed to inclusion and success for all" and would continue to support Mr Day's online learning until he was able to return to campus.