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  1. Updates on Wednesday 11 January 2017

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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  1. Our live coverage across the day

    That's it for today's coverage. Thank you for joining us today.

    You can still find the latest news on BBC TeesBBC NewcastleLook North and online.

    We'll be back with more news, sport, weather and travel at 08:00 tomorrow.

    You can get in touch using TwitterFacebook, or via email at  

    See you tomorrow. 

  2. Weather: A cold and windy evening

    Strong winds will continue throughout the evening with further gales. 

    There will be the chance of blustery showers in places, heavy at times and wintry, especially over the hills.

    It will feel very cold with a widespread frost.  

  3. Newcastle University to conduct live music census

    The first ever census of the UK's live music scene is to be carried out.

    Researchers will audit gigs in seven cities, from street performers and choirs to pop bands playing arenas.

    Described as a "Springwatch for music," the project will be conducted by the universities of Edinburgh, Newcastle and Glasgow.

    They aim to discover the challenges facing artists and venues at a time when live music is under pressure.

    Live gig

    The census will run for 24 hours from midday on 9 March in Glasgow, Newcastle, Oxford, Leeds, Birmingham, Southampton and Brighton.  

  4. Schoolgirl hit by car seriously injured

    A girl was seriously injured when she was hit by a car in North Tyneside.

    The girl was struck on the A1056 Kilingworth Way, in Killingworth, at 15:50 this afternoon.

    The road was closed and Northumbria Police are appealing for any witnesses to contact them.

  5. Government thumbs down for Northumberland school merger

    Northumberland County Council has said it is disappointed that the government has "rejected" plans for a school merger and new academy in the west of the county. 

    The proposals would have involved moving pupils and staff of Haydon Bridge High School (HBHS) to the site of Hexham's Queen Elizabeth Academy.

    There would then be the creation of a £46m "super school" in Hexham by 2020.

    In a letter to the council, education minister Lord Nash said: "The council's proposal to close Haydon Bridge High School cannot be reconciled with its legal duty to take all reasonable steps to facilitate the conversion of the school into an academy". 

    Councillor Robert Arckless, cabinet member for education and skills described the decision as "disappointing" and said: "No detailed explanation is given as to why consultation cannot go ahead so we must assume this decision has been taken ... purely on the basis of the current ideological approach taken by central government to academisation of schools."

  6. Power supply work continues in 'challenging conditions'

    Northern Powergrid has said it is working in "extremely challenging conditions" to restore power to the properties which remain without supply.

    More than 39,250 properties across the North East and Yorkshire were affected, after gusts of up to 70mph damaged lines.

    About 2,350 are still unconnected, and engineers are carrying out repairs, or diverting electricity through alternative routes, to solve the problem.

    Northern Powergrid engineer

    A spokesman for the electrity distributor said: "Strong gales, like what we have seen today, can cause damage to our power network as result of fallen trees and windborne debris coming into contact with our network. 

    "If anyone spots any damage to overhead power lines or equipment they should stay away and contact us immediately." 

  7. Three-day traffic closure for Newgate Street

    The legacy of this morning's strong winds are continuing to cause problems in Newcastle City Centre.

    Newgate Street was closed when an air conditioning unit was swept off the roof of the Debenhams store, taking tiles off neighbouring buildings.

    It has now been announced the area will remain closed to all traffic for about three days, and pedestrians for one day, while the area is made safe.

    Newgate Street closure
  8. Oh yes it is! Hartlepool pantomime a 'big success'

    Hartlepool's first ever professional pantomime has been hailed as a big success by council bosses.

    Aladdin - featuring former Coronation Street actor Terence Maynard - attracted audiences totalling 4,000 during its run at the Town Hall Theatre betweeen 16 and 28 December.

    The joint initiatve between the council and Elite Pantomimes was also awarded third place in the North East Theatre Guide's Most Entertaining Pantomime category.

    Aladdin cast photo

    Jamie Kelly, cultural Officer at Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “The cast and crew were an absolute pleasure to work with and we’d like to thank them for their dedication and commitment to making the show such a big success.

    “The atmosphere was great with adults and children alike really entering into the spirit – the booing and hissing in particular was top class!"

  9. Robots tackle dome interior work

    Robots have been brought in to assist with the restoration of Whitley Bay's Spanish City.

    Robertson North East - the construction company working with North Tyneside Council to bring the iconic structure back to its former glory - said the Brokks (remote controlled demolition devices) would allow essential works to be carried out safely.

    Project manager, Andrew Coleman said: "We've been working very closely with conservation architects to identify key fixtures like the ornate cornicing and wall mouldings which were hidden behind plasterboard.

    "Now that we've identified these details, we are in a position where we can focus on bringing in technology to perform essential works, such as abrasive blasting and remote demolition.

    "The fact that we don't have a man inside Brokks means that the operator can stand at a safe distance and reach areas within the structure that would prove very challenging otherwise."

    Interior of Spanish City dome
    Spanish City
  10. Flood work begins in Corbridge

    Work has started on new flood prevention measures for a Northumberland town badly hit by Storm Desmond.

    The storm, in December 2015, caused major damage to Corbridge, with 40 homes evacuated after the River Tyne reached record levels.

    Corbridge flooding

    In a bid to prevent future flooding, the drains in and around Station Road and Tinklers Bank are being upgraded with a larger pipe to carry surface water away from homes and into the River Tyne.

    The project, by Northumberland Council, is expected to last four months.

  11. Ambulance service 999 calls soar by 46%

    Richard Moss

    Political Editor, BBC Look North

    North East Ambulance Service says 999 calls to them by the public went up 46% from April 2015 to April 2016 - from 30,621 to 44,781. 

    During the same period, the number of life-threatening Red calls rose by 4%.

  12. Rubbish-strewn road closed until evening

    A major road in Northumberland will remain closed until this evening after an HGV spilled its cargo of rubbish.

    The vehicle overturned on the A189 Spine Road at North Seaton Roundabout earlier. 

    Northumbria Police has now said clearing up and repairs to the barrier mean it will be shut between Woodhorn and North Seaton until about 19:00.

    A spokesman thanked drivers for their patience.

    Rubbish on A189
  13. Christmas drink drive arrests 'disappointing'

    More than 170 drivers were arrested in a Christmas drink and drug driving campaign across the Cleveland and Durham force areas. 

    Almost 3,000 were tested during the annual initiative between December and the beginning of January.

    Police made 116 arrests in connection with driving whilst under the influence of alcohol and 57 in connection with drug driving. 

    A spokesman for the Cleveland and Durham Specialist Operations Unit, said that although the number of arrests had decreased slightly from the previous year, it was "disappointing" that 173 still took a risk with their lives and the lives of other road users.

    Breath test
  14. Wind damage clear-up continues

    Clearing-up is under way after gale force winds swept across the North East.

    Hundreds of properties remain without power, and Northern Powergrid said it was hoped all would be reconnected by late afternoon.

    Newgate Street in Newcastle City Centre remains closed after an air conditioning unit was blown off the roof of Debenhams.

    Gateshead Council said it was "really, really busy", having been called out more than 50 times to deal with fallen trees and branches.

    A wind turbine in Burnhope, County Durham, was also a casualty of the gusts, which reached more than 60mph in places.

    Broken wind turbine
  15. Motorists urged to lock up after vehicle theft spate

    Motorists in Hartlepool have been advised to be on their guard against opportunist thieves following a spate of thefts.

    Since the beginning of the month, 21 vehicles have been broken in to, and items including cash, wallets, groceries, perfume, watches, e-cigarettes, satellite navigation systems and hairdressing equipment taken.

    Cleveland Police said 17 of the vehicles were left insecure, and advised people to make sure they locked up after parking.