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  1. Updates on Friday, 10 February 2017
  2. Labour wins Corby council by-election
  3. Cobblers fans 'would like to stand at matches'
  4. Today's weather: Cold and cloudy, wintry showers

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Peter Atilla

A former soldier who was accused of raping a woman while he was asleep is cleared by a jury.

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Bath's Semesa Rokoduguni

Gary Smee

BBC Sport

Rhys Priestland's dramatic last-minute penalty earns Bath victory over Northampton in a Premiership thriller.

Read more

That's it from us

Live updates for Northamptonshire have now finished for the week.

We'll be back on Monday at 08:00. Any breaking news will appear here through the evening and weekend.

You can scroll down through the day's events, but here are some of highlights:

Northampton Hospital cancelled 256 operations, figures show

Nic Rigby

BBC News

New NHS figures show Northampton General Hospital cancelled 256 operations in the last quarter of 2016. 

Northampton General Hospital

This compared with 282 the previous quarter, 229 in April to June 2016 and 207 between January and April last year. 

A spokeswoman for Northampton General Hospital said: “We are very sorry that there are times when we have to cancel appointments at very short notice.

"Unfortunately, we experience periods of extreme pressure when we simply have more patients than available beds.

"If your appointment has been cancelled, the likelihood is that we’ve had to use that bed space to admit an acutely unwell patient."

Weather: Rain, sleet or snow expected in places

Julie Reinger

BBC Look East weather

Further outbreaks of rain, sleet or snow and this could lead to a covering of snow in places across the BBC East region tonight.

It's also likely to turn quite murky at times with the risk of frost and ice, as temperatures fall. 

Minimum Temperature: -1C (30F).

Weather chart

Saturday will be cold and cloudy with further wintry showers feeding in on a light-to-moderate north to north-easterly wind. 

These showers are likely to turn mainly to rain by the afternoon. 

Maximum Temperature 4C (39F).

More details from BBC Weather:

Remember this? Shoes being stitched in Northampton in 1964

Fifty three years ago this month, a photographer caught on camera uppers being stitched at a shoe factory in Northampton. 

For hundreds of years the town was the centre of the British shoe-making industry.

Uppers being stitched at a shoe factory in Northampton
Getty Images

Injured North may be fit for Wales

BBC Sport

Northampton Saints' George North has taken part in light training ahead of Wales' Six Nations match against England in Cardiff tomorrow.

North is recovering from a dead leg and will be given until one hour before kick-off to prove his fitness.

George North
Getty Images

Saints' Brookes on Bath game: 'We can match challenges'

Northampton Saints play away tonight against Bath in the Premiership - a challenge which prop Kieran Brookes believes they can match. 

Brookes, 26, told "The atmosphere at the club is very positive. 

"We reviewed the game from last weekend and found a lot of things we think we did well, but some things we can work on and improve heading back into the Premiership cycle.

Keiran Brookes
Getty Images

"Bath bring some huge challenges, especially up front, but we are going into the game with a lot of confidence and believe we can match those challenges."

He went on to say Saints need to show the same kind of attack they showed in the final 20 minutes of that game to get the win tomorrow.

M1 roadworks completion delayed until December

A £94.1m scheme to reduce congestion on the M1 by making it a "smart motorway" has been delayed. 

As reported in the Northampton Chronicle and Echo, the delay may extend to December.

Map showing affected route

A statement on the Highways England website said: "We had aspired to complete phase one of the project (between junctions 16 and 19) by this Spring. 

"However, challenges to the project, including a delayed start to the work and additional essential maintenance works, have meant the programme has been extended to a revised completion date by the end of December 2017."

The hard shoulder in both directions will be converted to an extra traffic lane as part of the project.

Work started on the scheme in November 2015.

It's snowing! Sort of... so here's your afternoon forecast

Kate Williams

BBC Local Live

We knew it was cold, but here was the scene in Irchester this morning where a light smattering of snow was snapped by Weather Watcher DeeEmBee.

Weather Watcher's pic from Irchester, with some snow

And it's set to stay cold. This afternoon BBC Weather says during the afternoon the showers are likely to become more scattered and lighter, but it'll feel very cold in brisk winds.

Tonight it will be cloudy overnight with occasional snow showers continuing. Winds will strengthen by dawn and a widespread frost will form. It'll feel very cold, with a low of 0C (32F).

Severe disruption: M40 Oxfordshire northbound

BBC Travel

M40 Oxfordshire northbound severe disruption, between J11 for A361 and J12 for B4451.

M40 Oxfordshire - One lane blocked on M40 northbound between J11, A361 (Banbury) and J12, B4451 (Gaydon), because of a broken down vehicle. Traffic is coping well.

Check local traffic and travel reports for:

Operation to free woman trapped in man's body

BBC Radio Northampton

David from Northampton discovered he was a girl trapped in a boy's body at an early age.

He kept his secret for 40 years before finally coming out to his family and work colleagues. 

Last week he had major surgery to finally change him physically into a woman called Claire. He's been speaking to us about the operation...

Claire is now home after her gender reassignment operation.

'You can get so many benefits from it'


Alex Scott urges you to sign up for the 2017 FA People's Cup

England player Alex Scott "would've loved the opportunity to have a competition like this when I was younger".

What's she talking about? The FA People's Cup - the country's biggest free five-a-side competition which gives you the chance to make your way to Wembley.

"When I was younger, playing in a football cage, the dream was always to play at Wembley," adds Scott.

"The FA People's Cup gives anyone the opportunity to sign up to a local team in your area. You don't have to rely on your mates.

"It's a chance to meet different people, socialise in different environments. It's more than just signing up, you can get so many benefits from it."

So what are you waiting for? Sign up for the FA People's Cup - but hurry as the deadline for entries is the 19 February!

Police football liaison officer supports safe standing at home games

Northamptonshire Police's football liaison officer says having "safe" standing areas at home games could be "brilliant". 

He said: "From a policing point of view... it saves that argument between a steward, who's trying to keep people safe by telling people to sit in a seated area.

"So if there's an area where people could stand, and support safely, brilliant, let's do it."

He added that as a fan, he'd like to see it introduced.

His comments follow a survey showing 85% of Cobblers fans would like standing introduced at Sixfields, echoing a new area developed at Celtic.

The government says it "remains unconvinced" by the case to reintroduce safe standing to the top two leagues of English football.

Northampton Town said it would be inappropriate to comment as it's just an idea by fans at this stage.

Safe-standing: Richard Conway explains Celtic's new rail seating

What are the benefits of standing at Northampton Town games?

Standing at football matches brings a wealth of positives for supporters, says Tom Reed from the Cobblers Safe Standing group. 

He said: "The choice of being able to stand up or sit down, it negates quarrels between those that do want to stand and stewards that are trying to get them to sit down. 

"There's also the atmosphere side of things - a choir doesn't sit down to sing, it stands, and you know, people that are like-minded can congregate together in an area, so that's always a good thing to improve atmosphere. 

Sixfields Stadium
Getty Images

"There's the safety side... if you stand up or celebrate a goal in an all-seater stadium, there's a trip hazard with a seat in front of you, so you can potentially fall down over your seat if someone pushes you by accident. 

"With safe standing, you negate that trip hazard, that's a good thing. And then probably the last thing for me is that in winter it gets really cold, so to stand up, you can jig about, not sit down in the seat with the cold going through you!"

Meanwhile, Northampton Town Football Club says it's only an idea by fans at present and has declined to comment. 

Rikki Clarke has rejoined his first county Surrey, from Warwickshire

With the 2017 county season here, keep up to date with the latest signings, departures and rumours ahead of next season.

Read more

To sit or to stand, that is the question

More now on the concept of safe standing at home games for Cobblers fans, who say they'd like "the choice".

Sixfields was built as an "all-seater" stadium following legislation passed in the wake of the Hillsborough Disaster. 

Sixfields Stadium

But since then systems of "safe-standing", which are widely used in Germany, are here in the UK at Celtic.

Now 85% of Northampton Town fans surveyed by the supporters' trust say they'd like the option to stand.

James Averill, from the trust, said: "I think there's a growing demand for it and a wish to see supporters given the choice of whether to sit or stand at a match, and I think having that choice would be a good thing.

"We're seeing a growing demand in the Premier League for it as well."

Labour wins Corby council by-election

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

Labour has won a council by-election in Corby.

Isabel McNab topped the poll in the Kingswood and Hazel Leys ward with 610 votes - 358 more than Conservative Stan Heggs in second place.

The Green Party's Michael Mahon came in third with 82 votes.

The seat on Corby Borough Council was left vacant when Kenneth Carratt was disqualified for not attending council meetings.

Cobblers fans 'would like to stand at matches'

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

Northampton Town fans would like the choice of being able to stand at home games, a survey commissioned by the supporters trust has concluded.

Sixfields stadium
Getty Images

The Sixfields stadium was built as an all-seater stadium following legislation passed in the wake of the Hillsborough disaster, but since then systems of safe-standing have been developed which are used widely in Germany and in the UK, at Celtic.

Tom Reed from the Cobblers Safe-Standing group, said: "The survey we conducted in alliance with the supporters trust speaks for itself. It came back with an 85% approval rating for the choice of safe standing.

"You can see a desire for people to stand, not just hear it... if you look at the North Stand at Cobblers matches, the Shoe Army are often on their feet."

Northampton Town Football Club said as it is only an idea at present, it would be inappropriate to comment.

Today's weather: Cold and cloudy, wintry showers

Elizabeth Rizzini

BBC Look East weather

Many places in the region saw a light dusting of snow yesterday and there'll be the risk of further wintry showers - not only today, but also into Saturday.

It will be cold and cloudy to start with, although we are mostly starting off with temperatures just about freezing. There could be some sleet around later, but generally the further west you are the drier it will tend to be.

The maximum temperature will be about 3C (37F), but in reality it will feel colder than that because of the bitterness of the easterly wind.

For more head to BBC Weather.

Welcome back to live updates from Northamptonshire

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

Good morning and welcome back to the live page where we'll bring you updates of the latest news, weather, travel and sport for the three counties until 18:00.

This morning we'll start by looking at how Northampton Town fans have said they would welcome the chance to stand during matches at Sixfields.

But first, as the weather continues cold, we'll have a full regional weather forecast. 

Severe disruption: A45 Northamptonshire eastbound

BBC Travel

A45 Northamptonshire eastbound severe disruption, at A508.

A45 Northamptonshire - A45 exit slip road closed eastbound at Queen Eleanor Roundabout, because of a spillage on the road. Traffic is coping well.

Check local traffic and travel reports for:

Severe accident: A14 Northamptonshire eastbound

BBC Travel

A14 Northamptonshire eastbound severe accident, between J8 A43 and J9 A509.

A14 Northamptonshire - A14 closed and slow traffic eastbound between J8, A43 (Kettering) and J9, A509 (Kettering), because of an accident.

Check local traffic and travel reports for:

That's it from us

Pete Cooper

BBC Local Live

Live updates for Northamptonshire have now finished.

We'll be back between tomorrow at 08:00. Any breaking news will appear here through the evening and over night.

Scroll down throught the day's events, but here are some of highlights:

A cold night, with the risk of snow flurries

Alex Dolan

BBC Look East weather

This evening will stay cloudy and cold, with the risk of further snow flurries moving in from the North Sea.

This could bring a dusting of snow in places by morning, and the risk or a frost and icy patches.

Staying above freezing on the coast, but inland temperatures will fall to -2C (28F).

Weather chart for 15:00 Friday
BBC Weather

Some parts of the region could wake up to a dusting of snow tomorrow, and the risk of snow showers will continue through the day and overnight.

A bitter north easterly wind will push snow showers further inland during the day.

Temperatures reaching a high of 3C (37F).

Town develops its own lottery idea to fund voluntary groups

Martin Heath

BBC Radio Northampton

Daventry could get a step closer to having its own community lottery tonight.

Politicians at the district council are expected to recommend that an online game is set up to raise money for local charities.

Daventry District Council

As other sources of public funding are dwindling, charities are turning increasingly to district councils for funding. 

And they don't have much money either, so at least three of Northamptonshire's authorities are looking at setting up a lottery to plug the gap.

In a survey, eight out of ten voluntary groups said they liked the idea and six out of ten residents said they would buy a ticket at least occasionally.

It would be a pound to enter and it's likely that half of that would go to a participating charity nominated by each entrant. If the council's strategy group approve it tonight, the full council will make a final decision.

Six Nations: North given until kick off to prove fitness

Chris Jones

BBC rugby reporter

Despite being named in the Welsh starting XV, there are no guarantees George North will play for his country against England on Saturday.

Interim head coach Rob Howley says the Northampton wing will be given every opportunity right up until kick off to prove his fitness.

George North

North played on after suffering a bruised thigh in the second minute of Wales win over Italy last weekend.

Head coach Rob Howley said the 24-year-old had taken a limited part in training during the week.

"George hasn't done too much this week," he said.

"We'll go to the day of the game. It's a big game, [George North] wants to be part of that game as you'd expect."

Severe disruption: M1 Northamptonshire northbound

BBC Travel

M1 Northamptonshire northbound severe disruption, between J17 for M45 Dunchurch and J18 for A5.

M1 Northamptonshire - Slow traffic and one lane closed on M1 northbound between J17, M45 (Dunchurch) and J18, A5 (Rugby), because of a broken down car.

Check local traffic and travel reports for:

Adult social care funding plea

Sam Read

BBC Radio Northampton politics reporter

The Conservative leader of Northamptonshire County Council has repeated her call for more central government funding for adult social care.

Earlier Heather Smith said she had written to the county's MPs asking them to "fight for fairer funding for us" as Northamptonshire's adult social care needs are "far greater" than in Surrey.

The Conservative leader says she's been assured there was no special deal for Surrey after yesteday's political row. 

County Hall
Northamptonshire County Council will agree it's new budget later this month.

Heather Smith also said she was "not comfortable" with proposing a 4.98% rise in council tax for the next financial year, but felt the authority had little choice.

Northamptonshire County Council's difficulties in funding are replicated across the country - but the authority is trying to make its case as loudly as it can, she said.

Local paper round-up: Northampton clean-up, new school in East Northants, and Daventry college campus

Pete Cooper

BBC Local Live

Elsewhere in Northamptonshire:

  • The Northampton Chronicle and Echo say that the extra funds raised by the upcoming increase in Northampton’s tax bill should be used to keep "deprived" estates clean and to provide more services for the elderly - a consultation has found
  •  A new school will soon be operating from the building where East Northants Council is based. Planning permission was recently given for the change of use of part of the existing offices used by the council in Cedar Drive, Thrapston, to a school, reports the Northamptonshire Telegraph
  • The Daventry Express writes that the launch of a new college campus will help provide an ‘industry-ready workforce of the future’ for Daventry

Six Nations: North selected to face England on Saturday

BBC Sport

Northampton Saints wing George North has won his fitness battles and is named in Wales's team to face England on Saturday.

He has recovered from leg injury sustained in the the 33-7 Six Nations win over Italy in Rome, and will face the reigning champions in Cardiff.

George North

He'll be up against his Saints team-mates Dylan Hartley and Courtney Lawes.

Christmas Day baby finally home

Harborough Mail

The baby daughter of poorly mum Katherine Boulton was discharged from hospital this week, and returned home to Market Harborough. 

Weather: Cold with a few sleet and snow showers

BBC Weather

It will stay cold and rather cloudy this afternoon with one or two very light sleet or snow showers.

The odd brighter spell is possible but, with brisk easterly winds, it will feel especially cold with a high of just 2C (36F).


There are more details on the BBC Weather website.

Foden continues on the wing and Harrison returns for Bath game

Northampton Saints have announced their team for the Premiership game against Bath tomorrow.

With fellow Saints Tom Wood and George North with their international squads, Ben Foden once again captains the side and stays on the wing.

Teimana Harrison plays in the back row after being released by England.

View more on twitter

Severe disruption: M1 Leicestershire southbound

BBC Travel

M1 Leicestershire southbound severe disruption, between J19 for M6 and J18 for A5.

M1 Leicestershire - One lane closed and heavy traffic on M1 southbound between J19, M6 (Catthorpe Interchange) and J18, A5 (Rugby), because of a broken down lorry.

Check local traffic and travel reports for:

Traffic and travel: Problems persist on A47

BBC Travel

We told you earlier about the four-vehicle crash on the A47 in Wansford which closed the road in both directions.

We're now being told that the road has reopened - but traffic is still very slow in the area.

Rushden Lakes shopping and leisure park plan approved
Plans are approved for a retail and leisure park where developers wanted more shops, despite objections from nearby town centres.

Northamptonshire's needs 'far greater' than Surrey

Pete Cooper

BBC Local Live

The leader of Northamptonshire County Council has said she has contacted the county's MPs to get a similar budget deal to the one given to Surrey.

Yesterday, the government said Surrey had asked to take part in the pilot of a new business rates scheme after they were accused of offering a "sweatheart" deal by Labour, to stop a referendum over a 15% rise in council tax to pay for the rising costs of social care.

Heather Smith, Conservative leader of Northamptonshire, say the county's adult social care needs are "far greater" than Surrey's...

View more on twitter

Downing Street said all conversations between the government and Surrey had been "entirely appropriate" and there was no "sweetheart deal".

Surrey County Council has restricted the increase to 4.99%, so a referendum was no longer needed.

Northamptonshire MPs back Brexit bill

MPs have overwhelmingly agreed to let the government begin the UK's departure from the EU as they voted for the Brexit bill.

The draft legislation was approved by 494 votes to 122, and now moves to the House of Lords.

All of Northamptonshire MPs, who are all Conservative, backed the bill, including South Northamptonshire MP, and environment secretary Andrea Leadsom...

View more on twitter

Brexit bill: how our MPs voted

Orla Moore

BBC Local Live

Cambridge's Labour MP, Daniel Zeichner (pictured), was the only one in the county to come out against the triggering of Article 50 in last night's crucial Commons vote.

Daniel Zeichner MP

The bill will pave the way for Britain to leave the European Union over the course of two years.

Cambridgeshire's other MPs, all Conservatives, voted for the bill:

  • Lucy Frazer - South East Cambridgeshire
  • Jonathan Djanogly - Huntingdon
  • Stephen Barclay - North East Cambridgeshire
  • Shailesh Vara - North West Cambridgeshire
  • Stewart Jackson - Peterborough
  • Heidi Allen - South Cambridgeshire