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  1. News, sport, travel and weather updates resume at 08:00 on Thursday.

Live Reporting

By Chris Brown and Anna Browning

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Our news coverage through the day

That's all from BBC Local Live for today.

We'll be back from 08:00 on Thursday with the latest news, sport, travel and weather updates for Oxfordshire. Join us then.

Two women praise a new mental health partnership for turning their lives around

Witney Gazette

Two women from Oxfordshire have praised a new mental health partnership for turning their lives around.  

Evening TV: The hospice that wants us to talk about death

On South Today at 18:30:

A hospice in Oxford is calling on everyone to talk about dying and their final wishes. 

Sobell House

Sobell House offers end of life care to the terminally ill and says making preparations can save heartache and problems for those left behind. 

Join us on BBC One for this and all the day's top stories.

Oxford United chairman on the Kassam's fourth stand

West Oxfordshire council leader voted in

Bethan Phillips

Political reporter, BBC Radio Oxford

West Oxfordshire's first new council leader for 15 years has been elected. 

Witney Conservative councillor James Mills was voted in unanimously at a meeting today.

He replaces Sir Barry Norton, who's stepped down for health reasons. 

James Mills
James Mills

Weather: Heavy showers dying out to leave dry night

BBC Weather

A few heavy showers will continue to drift slowly south-east this evening, before dying out at about midnight. This will leave a largely dry night with clear spells. Low temp 8C (46F).

Oxford weather 18 May

Latest headlines: Inquest hears of doomed attempt by friends to save Ellis Downes

Chris Brown

BBC News

Your top stories this evening:

Headington hospital pipeline: NHS trust says project is worth the wait

Plans for a controversial pipeline set to cross a part of Headington have gone on show - four months after roads were dug up and then filled back in again. 

The £15 million pipeline to connect the heating systems of the John Radcliffe and Churchill hospitals is supposed to mean the buildings are less reliant on the national power grid during the winter.

But contractors Vital Energy had to call a stop to work after complaints from residents that it didn't have planning permission

Claire Hennessy from the hospitals trust says that the project is worth the wait.

View more on twitter

Travel latest: Accident on the A34 and delays in Abingdon and Banbury

BBC Travel

  • There's very slow traffic on the A34 northbound between Weston-On-The-Green and Bicester, because of an accident earlier on. All lanes have been re-opened, but there are queues to Peartree Interchange
  • There are delays on the A415 Ock Street in both directions in Abingdon between the B4017 Drayton Road junction and the East Saint Helen Street junction
  • And there's slow traffic on the A361 South Bar Street in both directions in Banbury at Banbury Cross

Tiggywinkles’ starring role in Blue Peter

Thame Gazette

Blue Peter descended on St Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital to film special scenes for the show.

Rail union says train fire shows need for guards

A rail union says the actions of a guard on a train which caught fire this morning in Berkshire shows the "nonsense of trying to undermine and abolish these posts".

The RMT said if there had been no guard "the potential consequences would have been horrendous".

The union's call comes after hundreds of trains were cancelled as Southern rail conductors staged a second 24-hour walkout this morning as part of a dispute over the role of guards.

Horse owner backing 100,000 petition to limit fireworks

A man from Oxford whose horse was so upset by fireworks it had to be put down is backing calls for them to be banned, except on specific nights of the year. 


Garry Donnelly is among more than 100,000 people who've signed a petition saying bangers and rockets should should only be allowed on dates like New Year's Eve and Guy Fawkes night.

MPs will debate the petition in the House of Commons on 6 June. 

Headington residents calling for compensation for £14.8m pipeline project

Oxford Times

Headington residents are calling for compensation for a £14.8m project, which will see their roads and lives "turned upside down".

MP calls for stop to speculative housing developments

Wantage MP Ed Vaizey says a Local Plan is desperately needed in South Oxfordshire to prevent speculative development.

Ed Vaizey MP
Getty Images
Ed Vaizey MP

He is backing a campaign against a proposed development of 170 homes between Didcot and East Hagbourne, which campaigners say is driven purely by profit rather than need.

South Oxfordshire District Council is to vote on the outline planning application tonight. 

Will the MP's intervention make a difference though?

It's really important we get a Local Plan in place so that we get development where it's needed and not speculative development. This {Green Gap development plan] has been hanging over me as an MP for the last three or four years. People are very angry. They don't feel they have a say in planning in our local area.

Ed VaizeyWantage MP

Ellis Downes inquest

The inquest into the death of Ellis Downes has also heard about the recovery of his body. Remember, Thames Valley Police is to be investigated by the watchdog IPCC after it referred itself over its handling of the case. 

Ellis's body was found two days later, on 9 May, near Donkey Bridge between Culham and Abingdon and certified dead at 22:56.   

His inquest has been provisionally listed for 2 August.

Ellis Downes inquest

A police statement read to the inquest heard Ellis had arrived with friends just before 20:30 on Saturday. 

He removed his clothes a while later and entered the Thames in his boxer shorts. He swam across to the other bank and was on the way back when he got into difficulty. Two of his friends jumped in to help but he went under before they reached him.

A post-mortem examination gave his cause of death as drowning.

Ellis Downes inquest

The inquest into the death of 16-year-old Ellis Downes, who died after getting into difficulty in the River Thames, has opened and adjourned.

The hearing gave some details of what happened on the evening of Saturday 7 May when he disappeared, and two days later when his body was found.

Ellis Downes
Downes family

Three-year-old girl dies in Oxford hospital after M4 crash

A three-year-old girl involved in a crash on the M4 last week has died at Oxford's John Radcliffe Hospital.

A 37-year-old woman, a man in his late thirties and two girls aged three and five were in a car that left the carriageway and crashed into a tree near junction 11 for Reading on 7 May.

The woman died at the scene, and police have revealed today that the girl also died.

The man and the five-year-old girl have now been discharged from hospital.  

Dancing the dementia blues away

Dancing and music are being used in Henley to help people with dementia. 

This group is part of a pilot in Oxfordshire connecting social care with the arts

This group is part of a pilot in Oxfordshire connecting social care with the arts.

Weather: Cloudy afternoon with rain clearing

BBC Weather

It will be a rather cloudy start to the afternoon with outbreaks of rain clearing eastwards.

Some brighter spells may well then develop, but also some slow-moving heavy showers with the risk of thunder. High temp 14C (57F).

Oxford weather 18 May 2016

Latest headlines: MP calls for block on profit-driven housing schemes

Chris Brown

BBC News

A fourth stand at the Kassam?

If ever there was a good reason for finishing Oxford United's stadium...

View more on twitter

Let's talk about dying

South Today

A hospice in Oxford is calling on everyone to talk about dying and their final wishes. 

Sobell House offers end of life care to the terminally ill

Sobell House offers end of life care to the terminally-ill. It says making preparations can save heartache and problems for those left behind.  

GWR services get back to normal after train fire

Delays to some rail services on the GWR line are still expected after a train fire this morning in Berkshire.

Emergency services were called at 08:55  to the 08:08 Great Western Railway service between London Paddington and Oxford.

The train has now been moved and all lines have now reopened, but disruption is expected to trains for another hour.

Stadium rent increase only threat to fourth stand plan at Kassam

Oxford United could get a temporary fourth stand at the Kassam Stadium next season, but there's a risk the owner could put the rent up if it's installed, according to the leader of Oxford City Council.

Kassam Stadium
Kassam Stadium

Bob Price told us this morning he expects a planning application to be put in soon and didn't see any objection to it in principle. 

With the U's heading for the heights of League One, you'd expect the extra seats to be filled pretty easily.

But there is a threat that the owner Firoz Kassam could put the rent up, which might make it not financially viable for the club, he said.

Suspected train fire causing major rail delays

Rail services between Oxford and London face major delays this morning after a reported fire in an engine near Twyford.

Great Western Railway says all lines are blocked as emergency services deal with the incident.

Train services running between Reading and Slough may be cancelled, delayed or revised, with disruption expected until 10:30.

Cowley Road stabbing victim could take year to recover

Police in Oxford say it could take a year for a man who was stabbed in the city last week to recover from his injuries.

Cowley Road was shut between Union Street and Princes Street after the attack
Cowley Road was shut between Union Street and Princes Street after the attack

The 18-year-old, who was attacked on James Street, just off Cowley Road, has been discharged from hospital.

Officers are still appealing for anybody who saw what happened just before 15:00 on 9 May to come forward.

Four men have been arrested and bailed on suspicion of attempted murder.

Council chief exec replacement named

A replacement for the chief executive role at South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse district councils has been named. 

David Buckle retires later this year and David Hill will take up the post. 

Mr Hill has been the chief executive at Humber NHS Foundation Trust and has 18 years of local government experience.

Think of future generations, East Hagbourne developers say

Developers, who want to build 170 homes near East Hagbourne, say the housing needs of younger generations must be taken into consideration.

Ed Vaizey MP has supported a campaign against the development
Ed Vaizey MP has supported a campaign against the development

The plan will go before South Oxfordshire District Council this evening. 

The council says the site was not allocated for development but "we have to consider each application on its merits".

But a campaign against the plan has drawn support from the likes of Ed Vaizey MP, Didcot Town Council and East Hagbourne Parish Council.

It is the view of the council officers that the application should be approved, delivering new open-market and affordable housing. Our plans would ensure the designs and style of the homes would be thoughtful and would be of a quality which complements East Hagbourne and Didcot.

Grainger plcDeveloper

McDonnell criticises report recommendation on Oxford anti-Semitism claims

The shadow chancellor has criticised a Labour peer's report into anti-Semitism at the Oxford University Labour Club.

John McDonnell
John McDonnell

People thrown out of the Labour Party for anti-Semitic views should not be banned for life, Baroness Royall says.

John McDonnell said he disagreed with Baroness Royall, saying the party had to be "extremely firm" on any kind of racism.

He told BBC Newsnight: "I don't want these people to be members of our party, so we have a difference of view on that."

Mind the Green Gap: Campaigners say housing plan is just for making money

Campaigners against a 170-home development between Didcot and East Hagbourne say the plan is purely a money-making scheme and provides no benefit for the community.

East Hagbourne
Mind the Green Gap

Nick Wright, from the Mind the Green Gap group, says south Oxfordshire is one of the best places to live in the country, thanks in part to its historic villages and open green spaces - which the development threatens.

This particular site, the Green Gap, has not been identified as a site for development. So it seems to us that a developer coming in to look at building houses here is doing it for speculative profit rather than for the overall benefit for the community.

Nick WrightMind the Green Gap

Sport headlines: Marathon star hopes drug clampdown will be telling blow for cheats

Ross Heaton

BBC Oxford Sport

  • Oxford's former Olympic marathon runner Mara Yamaouchi hopes the latest clampdown on doping could strike a telling blow against drugs cheats
  • Oxford City Stars Ice Hockey club are staging a fans forum this evening at the Kings Arms Pub in Holywell Street

Fears for village life as vote on 170-home development plan looms

Planning for 170 new homes between Didcot and East Hagbourne could lead to more development there and would have adverse affect on a conservation area. 

East Hagbourne
East Hagbourne

That's the view of some residents who fear the village could eventually become a suburb of the town. 

South Oxfordshire District Council will decide on the outline application tonight.

Weather: Cloudy and wet start to the day

Emily Wood

BBC Weather

It will be a rather cloudy start to the day with outbreaks of rain, turning heavy in places as it moves eastwards. 

Emily Wood brings you the forecast for today

Some brighter spells may develop this afternoon, but also slow-moving heavy showers with the risk of thunder, particularly towards the west. High temp 14C (57F).

Steep rise in number of serious injuries for bikers

There's been a steep increase in the number of motorcyclists being seriously injured on roads in the county. 


According to figures from Oxfordshire County Council, in the past decade the figure in Oxfordshire has risen by almost 60%.

But, there has been a steep fall in the number of bikers killed during the same period.

Motorbike injuries: the key figures

Oxfordshire motorbiker injuries graphic

Travel latest: Slow-going into Oxford this morning

BBC Travel

It's slow-going into Oxford this morning:

  • There's heavy traffic on the A4165, A44 and A40 around the Wolvercote and Cutteslowe Roundabouts roadworks
  • It's slow on the B4044 Oxford Road southbound in Swinford at The Toll Bridge junction in the roadworks area
  • And it's busy on the A34 southbound in Weston-on-the-Green around Bicester and northbound at Hinksey

More details on your morning commute on the BBC Travel site.

Latest headlines: Criticism for Oxford anti-Semitism report life ban recommendation

Chris Brown

BBC News

Kicking off your day with the top stories in Oxfordshire this morning:

  • Shadow chancellor John McDonnell has criticised a Labour peer's report which says people thrown out of the party for anti-Semitic views should not face a life ban  
  • The number of motorcyclists seriously injured on the county's roads has gone up by about 60% in the last decade
  • People in a village near Didcot fear it'll become a suburb of the town if outline planning for 170 homes is approved tonight