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School set to reopen after safety issues solved

Severnbanks Primary School
Google

Severnbanks Primary School in Lydney is set to re-open on Monday after an issue with its fire alarms was solved sooner than expected.

The school is closed today for safety reasons and a message on its website this morning said it may remain shut until next Thursday. However, pupils are now expected to return at the beginning of next week.Headteacher Pam Howell said: “The safety of both pupils and staff is our paramount concern.

"We are working with Gloucestershire County Council and Stroud Alarms to rectify the problem as soon as possible. We apologise for the inconvenience this has caused.”

Climate Strike: Around 2,000 join Stroud action

Thousands of people are marching through Stroud during today's Climate Strike action. Our reporter at the scene says about 2,000 people have joined.

People march through Stroud
BBC

Climate Strike: Emily wants a better future for children

Emily Thwaite
BBC
Emily Thwaite

Emily Thwaite, 62, from Redmarley, Gloucestershire is one of the thousands at Gloucester's climate change protest today.

She said: "My first grandson was born last November and I started becoming very worried about what kind of future we're leaving to him and all our grandchildren.

"I'm here today because of Greta Thunberg, seeing her and all the young people around the world. All these young people who are already in climate crisis with floods and awful things happening for them."

Thousands of people are now marching through the city to protest against the ecological emergency.

Crowds gather outside Shire Hall in Gloucester
BBC
Crowds gather outside Shire Hall in Gloucester

Climate Strike: Crowds gather outside Shire Hall

Crowds of people have gathered outside Shire Hall in Gloucester to protest against climate change.

Crowds gather outside Shire Hall in Gloucester
BBC
Crowds gather outside Shire Hall in Gloucester
BBC

About 200 people are currently outside the hall, waving placards.

Crowds gather outside Shire Hall in Gloucester
BBC

£2m boost for Lydney Harbour

Lydney Harbour
BBCV

Lydney Harbour is to receive £2.1m from the Government’s Coastal Communities Fund.

The money will be used to create new transport routes and develop the area for recreation and tourism.

This will include improved signage, art displays and an arts-based walking trail.

Existing buildings will be upgraded with new toilets, a heritage information point and a new café.

Mooring and seating points will be installed and improvements made to cycle routes. A community rowing boat building project is also planned.

Lydney is one of five coastal areas sharing £10m from the fund.

The projects receiving funding today were designed by local people who know best what will bring the biggest benefit to their community.

Jake Berry MPMinister for the Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth

Global event highlights climate change impact

Climate change banner
BBC

Events to draw attention to the impact of climate change are taking place across the West today.

It's part of a "global climate strike" organised around the world.

It's estimated there will be 2,500 events in 150 countries including dozens in the UK.

In Bristol, wildlife film-makers will dress in black and carry coffins to illustrate the number of species made extinct or endangered by climate change.

Primary school closed for several days

Severnbanks Primary School
Google

A Gloucestershire primary school looks set to be closed for several days due to a health and safety issue.

In a message on its website, Severnbanks Primary School in Lydney said that it was closed today and was likely to remain so until next Thursday.

Gloucestershire County Council's Closed Schools alert service says it is shut due to a 'premises issue'.

'Human swan' to become 'human osprey'

Watch: Sacha Dench prepares to migrate with ospreys

A conservationist, who flew with Bewick's swans three years ago, is planning to follow the migration of ospreys from the UK to Africa.

Sacha Dench became known as the "human swan" when she followed the birds from arctic Russia to Slimbridge in Gloucestershire.

She is now training to follow the ospreys' migration from Scotland to Ghana in west Africa.

She will cross more than 15 countries and cover almost 10,000km using a parachute wing with a small propeller engine strapped to her back.

Plaque unveiled for 'Britain's loudest man'

Alan Myatt
Alan Myatt

A plaque to mark the spot where "Britain's loudest man" broke two world records has been unveiled.

Alan Myatt, Gloucester's town crier, made it into Guinness World Records in 1991 with a 112.8 decibel shout.

As well as being the loudest crier he also set the world record for vocal endurance, issuing a 100 word proclamation every 15 minutes for a period of 48 hours.

A plaque to mark the spot on North Quay where he set the record, was unveiled on Wednesday night

Gloucestershire police officers working full-time teaching positions
The force's new programme, Schoolbeat, has officers teaching at secondary schools around the county.

People evacuated from workshop fire

Congresbury fire
Clive Burlton

Three people were evacuated from a workshop in Congresbury after it went up in flames during the early hours of this morning.

Fire crews from Clevedon, Winscombe, Yatton, Weston and Southmead were called to Bristol Road at 02:41 BST.

The nearby A370 was closed as a result of the fire and Bristol Airport, located six miles away, tweeted to warn travellers to seek an alternative route.

A spokesman for Avon Fire & Rescue said the cause was thought to be accidental.

Closure of respite centre for disabled children

Hop Skip and Jump
Google

A respite centre for disabled children in Cheltenham has been forced to close its doors due to a lack of funding.

Parents say a vital lifeline has been taken away after the closure of Hop, Skip and Jump, located at Seven Springs.

Kim Moxham from Gloucester says the care provided for her autistic son benefited the whole family and called the closure "devastating".

A statement on the Hop Skip and Jump website said the decision "followed a lengthy but ultimately disappointing consultation with Gloucestershire County Council over additional resources."

"Sustaining the level of care that the centre provides requires £250,000 per year and despite our best efforts we have been unable to secure this level of funding," it continued.

"We thank all the staff, volunteers, donors, patrons and families who have helped to maintain the centre over the 37 years it has been in operation. Closing the centre has not been an easy decision for any of us."

Gloucestershire County Council said funding for the centre had increased year on year for the past three years.

Hundreds of homes, nursery and shops set to go ahead

Plans for the new homes, shops and nursery
pad Design Ltd

Plans for 763 homes, a community centre, nursery and shops on the edge of Bristol are set to be approved despite dozens of objections.

The detailed proposals for land at Harry Stoke will be decided by councillors on Thursday (September 19) following a previous decision to grant outline permission.

South Gloucestershire Council officers are recommending giving the go-ahead in the face of opposition from 78 residents and Stoke Gifford Parish Council.

The development forms a significant part of the Harry Stoke Strategic Allocation for 1,200 homes, a local centre and a primary school, the latter of which is subject to a separate application and has also received outline consent.

Plans for the new homes
Focus On Design

But campaigners and parish councillors claim the finalised proposals do not conform with the original “design code”, adopted back in 2012, and that there will be no GP or dental surgery.

They say the appearance and design of properties on the “rural edge” fronting Harry Stoke Road go against what was envisaged seven years ago and that large, four-storey apartment blocks were not included in the document at the time.

But a report to strategic sites delivery committee members said: “The proposal is considered to be acceptable in respect of design, materials and layout, and any deviation from the 2012 design code would not result in material harm.

“The principle of four-storey apartments in this location is already fully accepted. “The design and layout of the community building are considered to be acceptable.”

Knives and firearms to be surrendered to police

Police car
BBC

A knife and firearms surrender has started in Gloucestershire to help take weapons off the county's streets.

Police want people to hand over items that could have the potential to be turned into working firearms, ammunition or knives.

Amnesty bins have been set up at the stations in Hester's Way, Bearlands, Stroud, Cirencester and Coleford.

Circumstances surrounding light aircraft landing under investigation

Light aircraft at Gloucestershire Airport
BBC

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch has confirmed it is investigating an incident involving a light aircraft landing at Gloucester Airport, on Sunday.

"It was reported to us and we are investigating. We will publish the findings when the investigation has concluded," a spokesman said.

Gloucestershire Airport has been contacted for comment.

Light aircraft at Gloucestershire Airport
BBC

Prisoner absconds from Leyhill

Paul Easby
Avon and Somerset Police

A prisoner who is serving a sentence for GBH has absconded from Leyhill open prison in South Gloucestershire, police said.

Paul Easby, 42, was last seen at 6pm on Sunday.

Avon and Somerset Police said he may be heading for Plymouth and should not be approached if seen.

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.

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.

Equipment installed to trace 'bad smell'

Nose
Getty Images

The Environment Agency is installing equipment this autumn as it continues to try to identify the cause of a bad smell in parts of South Gloucestershire.

People living in the Lyde Green and Emersons Green areas have been reporting a mysterious odour that comes and goes, and is said to be particularly bad at night time.

Air monitors, which detect very low levels of methane and hydrogen sulphide, are now due to be placed in the area.

Call to plant more trees to tackle climate change

Trees
Getty Images

There are calls for more trees to be planted across Gloucestershire to help tackle climate change.

The county council has already committed to an 80 per cent reduction in corporate carbon emissions by 2030.

Now a motion is being put forward asking the council to pledge to plant two trees for every resident in the county and get tenant farmers to plant trees on pasture land.

Rare Fabergé sedan chair sells for £380k

Rare Fabergé sedan chair
Cotswold Auction Company

A miniature gold, jade and rock crystal sedan chair by Fabergé has been sold at auction in Gloucestershire for £380,000.

Dating from 1899, the "exceptionally rare" model was bought for £75 in 1929 by Mr Wollcombe-Boyce and remained in the family collection.

The miniature fetched more than three times its highest anticipated price at the Cotswold Auction Company in Cirencester.

Auctioneer Elizabeth Poole, said: "There are only six or 10 of these in the world.

"They're like hen's teeth, they don't come up very often but it was a surprise it made that much."

Gloucestershire Conservative councillor quits his party

Glos County Council meeting
bb

A Gloucestershire councillor has quit the Conservatives, saying the party has become "very right wing".

Keith Rippington split from the Tory group at today's meeting of the county council.

He also posted a statement on Facebook, stating the party was "very right wing and made him feel it’s absurd and not in touch with younger people and only appeals to typical older people".

Council leader Mark Hawthorne has said he was sorry to hear of his decision to leave the Conservative group, "which is solely on national issues".

Leader of Lib Dem’s Paul Hodgkinson added: "A principled councillor makes a stand.

"I would ask all other reasonable Conservative councillors fed up with the extreme direction of their party to think seriously about what is in the interests of Gloucestershire."

South West unemployment drops 2.5%

BBC Business News

Unemployment in the South West has continued to fall to a low of less than 2.5%, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The latest 2.4% figure of people aged 16-64 unemployed between May and July 2019 is lower than the UK-wide figure of just under 3.8%.

The official figures also showed earnings nationally grew at an annual pace of 3.8%.

The ONS said rising employment was being driven mainly by more women in work, partly due to the rise in the state pension age.

South West unemployment
BBC

Hospitals hosting World Suicide Prevention Day events

Gloucestershire Royal Hospital
Getty Images

A number of charities will be offering advice, guidance and support at hospitals in Gloucestershire as part of World Suicide Prevention Day.

Winston's Wish, Samaritans and Suicide Crisis will be among the groups at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital and Cheltenham General Hospital.

Each organisation will have a 30 minute slot to speak in the chapel at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital from 11am-2pm and will be on hand to answer questions afterwards.

There will also be an area in the chapel for quiet reflection and candles will be available for people to light in memory of loved ones.

At Cheltenham General Hospital, representatives from the charities will be available between 12-2pm. The events are free and there is no need to book.

Gloucestershire now home to nearly 300 Syrian refugees

Bombing of Aleppo
AFP

Almost 300 Syrian refugees have moved to Gloucestershire since the launch of a resettlement scheme four years ago.

More than 6.6 million people have fled Syria due to civil war in the past eight years - with ten percent living in camps.

The UK has helped 17,000 displaced people since 2015 - and wants to provide homes for 20,000 refugees by next year.

BBC local radio headlines across the West

Radio presenter
BBC
  • BBC Radio Bristol: A 17-year-old boy is due before magistrates this morning - in connection with the stabbing of a Bristol newsagent.
  • BBC Gloucestershire: Plans for a new early morning train serving Cam and Dursley station have been welcomed by transport campaigners.
  • BBC Somerset: Over the past four years more than 160 Syrian refugees have been resettled in Somerset and Bath and North East Somerset.
  • BBC Wiltshire: The parents of a Calne teenager who was murdered are meeting the home secretary later. Ellie Gould died of stab wounds in May.

First test of a £1bn health contract begins

BNSSG CCG and Sirona chief executives Julia Ross and Janet Rowse signing the contract with Sirona chairman Simon Knighton and Dr Jon Hayes, clinical chair of the CCG
BNSSG
BNSSG CCG and Sirona chief executives Julia Ross and Janet Rowse signing the contract with Sirona chairman Simon Knighton and Dr Jon Hayes, clinical chair of the CCG

The first test of a £1bn contract providing “joined up” community health services across the West of England will be ensuring no one “falls through the cracks”.

Sirona care & health will be paid £100million a year for the next decade for services ranging from diabetes support to physiotherapy that are currently delivered by a wide range of organisations.

It was announced as the highest scoring bidder for the contract in July and was confirmed this week after checks of its business case and references.

Julia Ross, chief executive of NHS Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire CCG said: “Sirona has a strong focus on quality and innovation, both of which were emphasised in an excellent bid.

“Their track record of working closely with people who use services was also really well demonstrated.

“We’ve been through a thorough due diligence process since July to test the plans, and we are really excited to be talking this long-term partnership forward.

“Our vision, alongside Sirona’s, is to develop services that will give our skilled community workforce the opportunity to provide much more joined-up care for everyone using them.

“That means better experiences and better health outcomes for everyone in the future.”

Trespassers film themselves at airport
Two so-called urban explorers filmed themselves on the roof of a plane and posted the footage online.

Former Next store to be turned into 24-hour gym

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Woman working out in the gym
Getty Images

Plans to turn a former Next store in the south of Gloucester into a 24-hour gym have been given the go-ahead.

Energie Fitness will open a two-floor gym fit with a spin studio and sun beds in the unit where Next was in the Quedgeley retail park in Bristol Road.

The former Next, a fashion retailer, closed down to become a bigger store in Gloucester Quays which opened earlier this year.

According to a council document, the new gym would employ three full-time staff, three to five part-time and two to five freelance employers.

Councillors on Gloucester City Council’s planning committee approved the gym by a majority of nine, with one abstention.

Historic pub could be turned into flats

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Plans to turn an empty historic pub in the centre of Cirencester into flats could be given the go-ahead next week.

Developer CDMC Properties Limited wants to demolish and alter parts of The Wagon and Horses Inn, London Road, to make five flats.

The proposal to develop the London Road pub is the second time it is before Cotswold District Council’s planning committee, which blocked a similar bid earlier this year.

The Waggon and Horses Inn has been closed since January 2018 when its previous tenants’ lease expired.

According to a council document, the pub would be replaced by four two-bed flats and one one-bed flat.

Cirencester Town Council have objected to the application on the grounds of “detrimental loss to the vitality and viability” of the town centre, and would “diminish” the towns cultural and tourism offerings.

A design and access statement submitted to the district council by the developer said: “The proposals have been carefully considered along side both local and national policy to allow for an appropriate development to be proposed."

Council officers have recommended the planning committee approve the application. Councillors will determine the application on September 10, from 9:30am.

Police chief backs officer safety review

The Police Federation's Andy Roebuck said attacks on officers must be taken seriously

An urgent national review into the safety of police officers is to be carried out after a rise in assaults on officers.

Avon and Somerset Police Federation chair Andy Roebuck said attacks on officers must be taken seriously.

Films and podcasts aim to help students get the most out of uni life

A series of films and podcasts aim to support new students as they settle into uni life.

A series of five films and podcasts have been made by a university, in response to just under 10% of its student population seeking help from wellbeing services in 2017/18.

The University of the West of England in Bristol aims to use the material to help students succeed and take ownership of their own mental health.

A student survey conducted by UWE Bristol on the overall induction and start of year process in 2018 found the biggest concerns new students had were time management (21%), having enough money (17%), making friends (16%) and adjusting to a new way of life (16%).

The films look at these themes and feature student actors who ensured the university was hitting the right buttons.

Students who were offered a place have been sent links to the films and to five modules on themes such as 'discovering your student self' and 'engaging with your course'.

The films will also be shown at course induction sessions with students encouraged to discuss the themes.

Undergraduates at UWE already have access to residence assistants - other students who live in halls - to talk to and a 24/7 team of professional advisers on the different campuses.

"We want to give a bit of leadership to students and help them learn through failing and not be too hard on themselves if they do fail so they learn resilience," said Simon Phillips, Deputy Director of Student and Academic Services.