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Plans for 150 homes in Somerset rejected

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Plan for the homes
Clifton Emery Design

Crewkerne residents applauded as councillors rejected plans for a major new housing development on the edge of the town.

James Tizzard of Land Value Alliances LLP applied to build 150 homes between Kithill and the railway line, at the town's southern edge.

South Somerset District Council’s area west committee voted in August to refuse the plans, claiming it would create a “death trap” on the busy Cathole Bridge Road.

The council’s regulation committee – which has the final say on major housing developments – upheld this decision on Tuesday, prompting residents at the meeting to break out in applause.

To mitigate the extra traffic the housing would generate, Mr Tizzard proposed putting in a new junction, improving passing places and widening sections of Cathole Bridge Road where it was physically feasible.

But councillor Robin Pailthorpe – who represents Crewkerne – said he was doubtful whether this could be achieved.

The committee voted to refuse the plans by a margin of eight votes to two (with one abstention), prompting applause from residents in the public area.

Workplace mental health campaign set to launch

Image of woman at window
Getty Images

Businesses in Somerset are being encouraged to sign up to a new mental health campaign which launches next week.

It's being run by the charity MIND in Somerset and is aimed at preventing poor mental health in the workplace.

Stress and depression or anxiety accounted for 40 per cent of work-related ill health, according to the most recent figures for 2017.

Jess McKeith said businesses will benefit from this because when they sign up to the pledge "they will have access to lots of free resources".

Pilot knife crime scheme could be extended

Image of a person holding a knife
Getty Images

A pilot scheme looking to reduce the number of teenagers getting involved in knife crime could be extended by Avon and Somerset Police.

It's been run by the force with help from NHS staff and the courts with the aim of tackling the root causes and help young people make better decisions.

Police and Crime Commissioner, Sue Mountstevens, says she has been impressed with the scheme and it could be cost effective to extend it further.

Ms Mountstevens said it costs police services more than £1m for murder investigations.

As a result, she wants to invest in projects like this which work with young people so they do not become "victims or perpetrators".

Students taught to mind their 'pees and poos'

A water company is hoping to help students keep their digs blockage free, by teaching them 'toiletiquette'.

Wessex Water is visiting UWE Bristol and the University of Bath to encourage freshers to only flush "paper, pee and poo" down the loo.

Up to 75% of sewer blockages are caused by disposable items, such as wet wipes, being flushed down the toilet, the firm said.

Freebies to "help" students out will be handed out at UWE Bristol on Friday and University of Bath on 27 September.

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Severe accident: M5 Somerset southbound

BBC News Travel

M5 Somerset southbound severe accident, at J21 for A370.

M5 Somerset - M5 exit slip road closed and queues southbound at J21, A370 (Weston-Super-Mare), because of an accident earlier on.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Appeal to find HMP Leyhill absconder

Paul Easby
Avon and Somerset Police

Police have launched an appeal to help them find an absconder from HMP Leyhill.

Paul Easby, 42, was last seen at the prison in South Gloucestershire at about 6pm on Sunday

He is currently serving a custodial sentence for GBH.

Easby is described as white, 6ft 1ins tall with short brown hair.

He is believed to be wearing a white t-shirt and black Adidas tracksuit bottoms which have three white stripes down the legs.

Easby is thought to have travelled to the Plymouth area where he has links.

Anyone with information about his whereabouts is asked to contact Avon and Somerset Police.

RAF veteran gears up for island survival challenge

An RAF veteran from Somerset is preparing for a challenge which will see him dropped on an island and left to survive for five days.

Darren Squires, 38, is the chairman of the Chard branch of the Royal British Legion and will be raising money for the charity.

He said he and the other 19 people taking part in the survival challenge have been given very little information and will be dropped on the island with the bare minimum of kit.

Mr Squires left the RAF in 2007 and said the Legion helped him when he was struggling to adapt to civilian life.

The challenge starts on 20th September.

Man treated in hospital following house fire

A man has been taken to hospital after a fire at a house in Curry Rivel, near Langport.

A vehicle fire spread to the building in the early hours of this morning and seven crews - including fire engines from Somerton, Taunton and Martock - were called to tackle the flames.

Fire crews gave first aid to an elderly woman and a man - he was taken to hospital for further treatment after possible smoke inhalation.

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service says the cause is still being investigated.

Severe accident: A361 Somerset both ways

BBC News Travel

A361 Somerset both ways severe accident, at East Woodlands Road.

A361 Somerset - A361 in Blatchbridge partially blocked at the East Woodlands Road junction, because of an accident. Traffic is coping well. On the roundabout.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Hospital's four-hour performance drops

Weston General Hospital
Weston Area Health NHS Trust

The number of patients seen and either admitted or discharged within four hours at Weston General’s A&E has fallen by more than 16 per cent in a year.

The hospital trust blamed increased demand and the number of patients waiting to be discharged into the community.

It is struggling to recruit doctors but said this is due to a nationwide shortage which is not linked to Brexit or the overnight closure of its A&E.

The trust has started exploring different ways to recruit specialist doctors, including offering additional training and unpaid leave.

Phil Walmsley, director of operations, told the trust this week: “Our performance in A&E was 16 per cent lower than last year.

Last August was particularly good, but this August was particularly difficult. “Our four-hour performance has declined steadily since July last year.

“We regularly get 10 or more patients overnight. It’s taking all morning to clear that backlog.

“By October 10 we will be working on 2.5 whole-time equivalent middle grade medical staff in post. We’ve struggled to maintain the pipeline of middle grades. That’s a significant concern.”

A trust spokesperson said the shortage of middle grade medical staff would not affect patient care as it has regular locums and agency staff and its own staff who work additional shifts to ensure “seamless” care.

Rejected St Pauls student housing plans given the go-ahead by council

image of design for new student flats in St Pauls
AWW architects and Watkin Jones Group

Housing for 345 students is set to be built in St Paul’s after a developer whose plans were rejected by Bristol City council appealed the decision and won.

The Watkins Jones Group applied to turn a warehouse space, two car parks, a commercial printers and an art and dance studio next to Wilder Street into three student blocks stretching from three to six-storeys high.

Its proposals were rejected by a Bristol City Council planning committee over fears that the development would open the “floodgates” to students in the area close to Stokes Croft.

The Watkins Jones Group appealed the decision made by elected councillors in September 2018.

Following the appeal, a government planning inspector ruled in the developer’s favour.

Inspector Brendan Lyons, who visited the site in July, said in is decision, despite fears, the development will not contribute to any "overt forms of detrimental effect on local amenity such as refuse and waste, poorly maintained buildings and grounds, and noise and disturbance”.

However, Labour councillor, Don Alexander, said he was "disappointed" by the planning inspector’s decision.

The inspector has invited the developer to seek and agree on costs with the council.

Severe accident: A38 Somerset both ways

BBC News Travel

A38 Somerset both ways severe accident, from A370 Bridgwater Road to M5.

A38 Somerset - A38 Bristol Road in East Brent closed in both directions from East Brent roundabout to Edithmead Roundabout, because of an accident. Traffic is coping well.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Severe disruption: M5 Somerset southbound

BBC News Travel

M5 Somerset southbound severe disruption, from J23 for A39 to J24 for A38 Taunton Road.

M5 Somerset - One lane closed on M5 southbound from J23, A39 (Bridgwater North) to J24, A38 (Bridgwater South), because of a vehicle on fire. Traffic is coping well.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Ambulance collision numbers rise

Ambulance
BBC

The number of collisions involving ambulances in the West has risen.

Nearly 800 were recorded last year, around 200 more than in 2016.

South Western Ambulance Service says it has invested in technology to help learn from accidents and support drivers.

It added the overall figure represented less than 1% of the calls the service attend each year.

Campaigners protest to save fire station

Anna Varle

BBC News Online

People in Ashburton have been campaigning to keep their fire station open.

People in Ashburton took to the streets again to campaign to keep their fire station open.

It is the latest demonstration over planned changes to the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service which could see eight stations close.

The fire service says it needs to focus more on prevention and that there is a big drop in the number of incidents.

However, the Ashburton crew claim they were called out six times in the past week.

Half way through the march, they got another call to go to Ivybridge as standby because of a shortage of appliances in the area.

A consultation is underway looking into the proposals.

Kev Lewis, the officer in charge of Ashburton Fire Station
BBC

It just emphasises the case for keeping every appliance and every station in the service open and hopefully keep us fully crewed so that they're all available to do these kind of moves."

Kev LewisOfficer in charge of Ashburton Fire Station

Burning car found on roof in Buckfastleigh

Charley Adams

BBC News Online

burnt out car on roof
Buckfastleigh Fire Station

Fire crews were called to reports of a car on fire in the early hours of Sunday morning.

On arrival, the crew from Buckfastleigh found a car on Church Hill that was on its roof and on fire.

All passengers had fled the scene.

The crew put out the fire and searched the area.

car on fire
Buckfastleigh Fire Station

BBC local radio headlines for the West

Radio studio
BBC

Radio Bristol: A BBC investigation has found a waste company, close to fly-infested homes in Avonmouth, breached environmental rules 16 times in a year.

BBC Somerset: Avon and Somerset Police are trying something new in an attempt to reduce knife crime. It is putting teenagers through an intensive week-long course in which they are shown the brutal reality, often in shocking detail.

Radio Gloucestershire: A new scanner is being donated to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital that will revolutionise treatment for thousands of children. The AccuVein is being donated by the family of nine-year-old Henry Bromberg who died in 2016 from a rare heart condition.

BBC Wiltshire: There's been a cyber attack at Swindon College. Bosses say the hackers got access to information about former staff and students after breaking into the computer system. Police are investigating.

Severe disruption: M5 Bristol southbound

BBC News Travel

M5 Bristol southbound severe disruption, from J19 for A369 Martcombe Road to J20 for B3133 Ettlingen Way.

M5 Bristol - One lane closed on M5 southbound in Somerset from J19, A369 (Portishead) to J20, B3133 (Clevedon), because of a break down.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Severe disruption: M5 Bristol northbound

BBC News Travel

M5 Bristol northbound severe disruption, from J19 for A369 Martcombe Road to J18 for M49.

M5 Bristol - One lane closed on M5 northbound in Somerset from J19, A369 (Portishead) to J18 M49, because of a break down. Traffic is coping well.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Severe disruption: M5 Somerset northbound

BBC News Travel

M5 Somerset northbound severe disruption, from J24 for A38 Taunton Road to J23 for A39.

M5 Somerset - One lane closed and queues on M5 northbound from J24, A38 (Bridgwater South) to J23, A39 (Bridgwater North), because of a lorry having a tyre changed.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Severe accident: M5 Somerset northbound

BBC News Travel

M5 Somerset northbound severe accident, from J23 for A39 to J22 for .

M5 Somerset - Temporary closure and queues on M5 northbound from J23, A39 (Bridgwater North) to J22, Burnham-On-Sea, because of an accident.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

National League

Yeovil climb to fourth in the National League after beating AFC Fylde 3-2 in an action-packed match at Huish Park.

Read more

Severe accident: M5 Somerset southbound

BBC News Travel

M5 Somerset southbound severe accident, from J24 for A38 Taunton Road to J25 for A358.

M5 Somerset - M5 partially blocked and it's slow southbound from J24, A38 (Bridgwater South) in Huntworth to J25, A358 (Taunton) in Somerset, because of an accident.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

'Desperate need' for special school places

A Weston-super-Mare special school has been given the go-ahead to expand to meet a "desperate" need in North Somerset.

Westhaven is the only school in the south of the district for children with complex learning difficulties and currently takes 120 pupils aged seven to 16.

Finding somewhere for the first three years of education causes real struggles for parents so the Ellesmere Road school will swell to 138 spaces and start taking children as young as four.

Councillor Catherine Gibbons, who is responsible for children’s services and lifelong learning, told Wednesday’s executive meeting there was a shortage of SEND provision in North Somerset.

“This school has worked tirelessly to offer an excellent provision for our children," she said.

“They have identified the need to extend the age range. It will provide 12 new key stage one places.

"This has been a problem for parents with younger children. It’s been a considerable difficulty.

“Demand is increasing. The cohort has grown by 40 per cent since 2015. We have an ongoing need.”

EU rights group raises concerns about Settled Status for EU workers

Maike Bohn
BBC
Maike Bohn says people are struggling to understand the implications of Settled Status

Just under half of Bristol's 21,000 EU citizens have applied to try and secure their rights after Brexit.

EU citizens in the city are being offered free help and are being encouraged to apply for Settled Status.

But the government's scheme has been criticised by a campaign group called the 3million, who fight for EU citizens rights. They say people are struggling.

Co-founder of 3million, Maike Bohn said: "Settled status is neither secure nor permanent, nor that easy to understand or maintain.

"There's so much uncertainty and confusion and that's why people panic and that's why people are deeply worried for one reason or another."

Home Office MP Brandon Lewis, says the system is "working very well" and thousands of people are applying to gain this status.

More than 130 council jobs lost over past year

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Protesters outside the meeting in 2018
LDRS

More than 130 county council staff have lost their jobs since last September.

It’s one year on since Somerset County Council held an emergency budget meeting, where £15m of cuts of services up to April 2020 were approved despite strong public criticism.

The council began a consultation with staff in August 2018 about possible redundancies, indicating that around 130 jobs could go.

The authority has now revealed a total of 134 staff have left the organisation since September 1, 2018 – though not all may have directly left as a result of the cuts.

The cuts were agreed by the council’s cabinet at Shire Hall in September 2018 – a meeting which lasted all day and was attended by vocal protesters.

Severe accident: M5 Somerset northbound

BBC News Travel

M5 Somerset northbound severe accident, from J24 for A38 Taunton Road to J23 for A39.

M5 Somerset - One lane closed and queues on M5 northbound from J24, A38 (Bridgwater South) to J23, A39 (Bridgwater North), because of an accident.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time