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Papal seal found in field is landmark for museum

A 700-year-old papal seal has been discovered in a ploughed field in Shropshire.

Metal detectorist Andy Bassett made the find, which is the 1,500,000th to be recorded by the British Museum's Portable Antiquities Scheme.

Seal
British Museum Portable Antiquities Scheme/Birmingham Museums' Trust

Peter Reavill, the Portable Antiquities Scheme finds liaison officer for Shropshire and Herefordshire, said the seal may have ended up in Shropshire because the Pope was trying to obtain Henry III's support in his claim for Sicily.

Or it may have been given as an "indulgence" to a rich, powerful individual who gave money to the church in exchange for "so many years out of purgatory".

Plans for hotel and steak restaurant at roundabout

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Plans have been submitted for an 80-bed Premier Inn, a Miller and Carter restaurant and a Costa drive-through on the outskirts of Shrewsbury.

The Battlefield Roundabout site already has a Travelodge, pub, petrol station, Starbucks and Burger King and the planning application estimates up to 97 jobs would be created.

Battlefield services
Google

The developer, Maximus Aequus, also wants 222 parking spaces and electric car charging points at the site, which is also close to Shrewsbury's cattle market.

Agents acting for the company said traffic is expected to grow, once Shrewsbury's North West Relief Road is built.

Coronavirus: Truffle farmer can't sell £30k harvest
With restaurants only just starting to open, Mike Collison is struggling to sell his £30k harvest.

Weather: Thick grey cloud and some rain later

BBC Weather

We're forecast thick grey cloud today, with the possibility of some rain later.

And that rain is expected to continue overnight and into tomorrow, but the weather should improve by the end of the week.

Grey clouds and horse
Peter Steggles

Furniture store customers given promise by new owners

BBC Shropshire

Customers who had orders with the Alan Ward furniture chain before it went into liquidation have been told they will have them fulfilled by the new owners.

More than 100 people based in Shropshire, Staffordshire and Cheshire were told they had lost their jobs when the company went out of business. They are still waiting to hear whether they will be taken on by Birmingham-based Cousins.

Alan Ward
Google

Alan Ward started in Shrewsbury in 1970 and expanded to have stores in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Winsford and Chester.

What's the weather got in store?

BBC Weather

After a dry start rain will gradually move in, becoming heavy at times, with highs of 17C (63F).

It was a lovely start to the day in Crewe, where BBC Weather Watcher AlexG595 captured this image of sunrise.

Crewe
BBC Weather Watchers/AlexG595

What's the weather got in store?

BBC Weather

It will be a windy day with sunny spells but also scattered showers with highs of 19C (66F).

This was the scene in Warwick earlier taken by BBC Weather Watcher Ryan Lewis.

Warwick
BBC Weather Watchers/Ryan Lewis

'Don't drink three months worth of alcohol'

A paramedic for West Midlands Ambulance Service has warned people as the pubs reopen, not to "drink three months' worth of alcohol in one night".

He told his Twitter followers: "You don't want to end up in an ambulance like this one".

View more on twitter

Dates revealed for reopening of council play areas

Allen Cook

BBC News

Families will be able to use some council-run outdoor play areas and gym equipment across the West Midlands from tomorrow but not every place is working to the same deadline.

Play equipment
Lichfield District Council

Several local authorities have said on their websites or social media their play areas will be available from Saturday and they include:

But some councils have said their outdoor play areas will only start to be available from next week:

While Cannock Chase District Council said its play areas and outdoor gym equipment would remain out of use until all risk assessments have been carried out and signs put up.

Both Bromsgrove District Council and Redditch Borough Council said their play areas would stay shut over the weekend while work continues to make them safe but didn't reveal a reopening date.

We'll update for other local authorities as and when we get the information.

Play area
Warwick District Council

What's the weather got in store?

BBC Weather

It will be a cloudy day with a few outbreaks of rain and turning windy with highs of 18C (64F).

This lovely picture was taken by BBC Weather Watcher Z70 in Ranton, Staffordshire.

Ranton
BBC Weather Watchers/Z70

Positive Covid-19 test results fall across West Midlands

The number of people testing positive for coronavirus across the West Midlands is falling in every council area, according to new figures.

The data from Public Health England shows the number of positive tests for every 100,000 population tested in hospitals and the wider community in the week up to 28 June.

Test centre
PA Media

For the West Midlands, the figures in alphabetical order of council are:

  • Birmingham 6.5
  • Coventry 1.4
  • Dudley 2.2
  • Herefordshire 1.6
  • Sandwell 5.5
  • Shropshire 7.2
  • Solihull 6.5
  • Staffordshire 7.9
  • Stoke-on-Trent 14.1
  • Telford and Wrekin 5.1
  • Walsall 3.2
  • Warwickshire 5.6
  • Wolverhampton 7.6
  • Worcestershire 3.6

By comparison, the figure for Leicester in the week is 141.3 testing positive out of 100,000 people.

Maternity deaths police inquiry: 'I felt sick when I heard'

A woman whose birth of her daughter left her with long-term health problems said news of a police inquiry into the hospital trust that treated her left her "feeling sick".

Andrea Bates, 44, was left with an open wound after the birth of her daughter Eva via forceps at the Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Hospital Trust (SaTH) in February 2015.

She also suffered incontinence problems due to a prolapsed bowel.

Andrea Bates and her daughter Eva
Andrea Bates

Mrs Bates' case is part of the independent review into maternity services at SaTH, led by expert Donna Ockenden who says she is working with police to identify relevant cases.

"I felt sick when I found out, it brought it all back," she said.

"I just hope the police uncover the truth and get answers for the families."

Government asked 'to make good on promise' to councils

The government has been asked to "make good on its promise" to local authorities and help Telford and Wrekin Council plug an expected £19m funding gap caused by coronavirus.

The call has been made by Rae Evans, the councillor responsible for finance, who said the burden is "on top of the £123m we have saved from our budget in the last 10 years because of austerity".

Council offices
Google

The council has said it expects the total cost of the pandemic to be about £29m and so far it has received £10m in government funding.

The extra costs include the purchase of PPE, the cost of finding homes for rough sleepers, the loss of income through business rates and taxes, plus the loss of income from leisure centres, catering services and the theatre.

Inquest into death of racecourse chairwoman to open

The inquest into the death of Rose Paterson, the chairwoman of Aintree Racecourse, is set to be opened and adjourned in Shrewsbury later.

The 63-year-old's body was discovered in woodland close to her home near St Martin's, Shropshire, last week.

Rose Paterson
Jockey Club

Mrs Paterson was the wife of North Shropshire Conservative MP and former Cabinet member Owen Paterson.

What's the weather got in store?

BBC Weather

It will be a cloudy day with some bright spells but also some showers, with highs of 19C (66F).

BBC Weather Watcher Dammo took this snap in sunny Knowle.

Knowle
BBC Weather Watchers/Dammo

'New and ongoing concerns' at hospitals

"New and ongoing concerns" have been identified at the hospitals in Shrewsbury and Telford by the Care Quality Commission.

The trust that runs the hospitals is still in special measures and the CQC said an inspection last month raised issues "around patient safety on the medical wards which led to enforcement action against the trust".

PRH sign
Google

Heidi Smoult, CQC’s deputy chief inspector of hospitals, said: "Urgent discussions are taking place with NHS England and NHS Improvement to find a way forward.

"In the last two years conditions have been imposed on the trust on five occasions and three warning notices have been issued."

Further arrest after ex-nightclub cannabis farm discovery

A man has been arrested in connection with the discovery of a cannabis farm at a former nightclub in Shrewsbury.

Last October, West Mercia Police found drugs with an estimated street value of up to £1.6m growing at what was the Liquid and Diva club on Raven Meadows.

Former nightclub
Google

Earlier this year five warrants were carried out in Shrewsbury and Birmingham with three people arrested.

The force said the latest arrest was made in Kent last night, on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of cannabis.

Council might have to take emergency measures

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Shropshire Council might have to take emergency measures to help it cope with the costs of coronavirus.

The local authority’s finance chief has warned it may not be possible to meet the council’s legal obligation to achieve a balanced budget.

Shirehall
BBC

In a worst-cast scenario it might have to issue a section 114 notice, preventing it from entering into any further financial commitments, until an emergency budget is prepared.

It would continue to provide statutory services and safeguard vulnerable people however.

A BBC investigation last week found some of the largest UK councils may have to declare themselves effectively bankrupt unless the government agrees to further support.

Shropshire Council was one of a handful of councils which didn't respond to that study.

Virus data released for West Midlands

Allen Cook

BBC News

Figures have been released showing the number of people testing positive for coronavirus in each council area.

It comes after Leicester became the first city to have a local lockdown imposed following a rise in cases.

A woman being tested for coronavirus in Leicester
AFP/Getty Images

The data from Public Health England shows the number of positive tests for every 100,000 population tested in hospitals and the wider community in the week up to 21 June.

For the West Midlands, the figures in alphabetical order of council are:

  • Birmingham 9.6
  • Coventry 5.7
  • Dudley 3.7
  • Herefordshire 2.1
  • Sandwell 7.3
  • Shropshire 13.7
  • Solihull 4.7
  • Staffordshire 9.4
  • Stoke-on-Trent 18.0
  • Telford and Wrekin 8.4
  • Walsall 4.6
  • Warwickshire 10.3
  • Wolverhampton 9.9
  • Worcestershire 5.7

By comparison, the figure for Leicester in the week is 140.2 testing positive out of 100,000 people.

Towns to share £17m fund

Shropshire's three largest towns are getting £17m to regenerate land and create new training and health facilities.

The Marches Local Enterprise Partnership said Shrewsbury's Riverside medical practice (pictured below) would receive £2m to relocate to The Tannery on Barker Street.

Riverside medical
Google

Another £7m will be spent to regenerate land at Station Quarter, Donnington and Wellington.

And £5m will go towards infrastructure works in Oswestry.

The Telford projects also include a Marches Centre of Excellence in Health, to develop medical training.

Fall in police cell use 'hasn't compromised public safety'

Just 10 people were held in the police detention cells in Shrewsbury and Kidderminster during April, compared to 421 the previous month.

West Mercia Police said it was keeping them empty in reserve in case another station was put out of action by a coronavirus outbreak.

Shrewsbury Police Station
Google

Ch Insp Keith Gee said public safety wasn't compromised, adding that lockdown brought with it a “dramatic fall” in the number of crimes, arrests and detentions.

BreakingPolice investigating Shropshire maternity care

Police are investigating whether to bring criminal proceedings against a hospital trust where hundreds of maternity care cases are being reviewed following a raft of deaths and other incidents.

The West Mercia force says it is also exploring whether there is a criminal case against staff at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and The Princess Royal in Telford.

The hospitals are run by Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust (SATH), which is subject to an independent inquiry into its maternity standards following concerns over care spanning decades.

The force says it's met with health investigators and is encouraging people with information to get in touch either with itself or the independent Ockenden Review.

Royal Shrewsbury Hospital
BBC

'Amazon' fraudsters steal £70,000 in 24 hours

In the last 24 hours people living in Shropshire and Worcestershire have been conned out of £70,000 by fraudsters pretending to work for Amazon.

West Mercia Police said the culprits had been phoning people to tell them they were eligible for a refund, asking for bank details which they used to clear out accounts.

cash
Getty Images

Det Insp Emma Wright reminded people that "no legitimate company, organisation, government body or police force will ever ask for your bank details, ask you to transfer money, or offer to transfer money into your account".

Parts of town centre to remain car-free

Areas of Shrewsbury will remain car-free for the next three months to encourage people to shop there.

The system will be in place every day from 11:00 to 16:00 until the end of September.

Shrewsbury
BBC

A pedestrian zone was created by closing High Street to vehicles during peak shopping hours, allowing more space for people to walk and queue outside shops while maintaining social distance.

The main Frankwell and Abbey Foregate car parks will remain free of charge for the period.

Flash-flooding possible as thunderstorms arrive

Thunderstorms could cause flooding and travel disruption across the West Midlands later, the Met Office is warning.

Weather map
Met Office

The yellow warning is in place from 12:00 until 09:00 on Saturday.

Lightning and hail are also expected, it added.

Thermal cameras allow visitors to return to care homes

BBC Shropshire

Friends and relatives have been allowed to visit three care homes in Shropshire for the first time in nearly three months after thermal cameras were installed.

Image from a thermal camera
Getty Images

Coverage Care, which runs 14 homes across the county, said it was spending £50,000 on the equipment which can scan people's body temperature.

Anyone with a raised temperature won't be allowed in and chief executive David Coull said if all goes well with these three, other homes will follow next week.

"We've received enormous support from friends and families saying that it is time."

No hot air balloons for Oswestry this year

Local Democracy Reporting Service

The Local Democracy Reporting Service has been covering these stories in Shropshire:

  • A balloon carnival will not go ahead this year in any form after proposals for a smaller scale event due to the pandemic were scrapped. Oswestry Town Council dismissed an idea to pay £7,000 for four balloons to fly over the area for people to watch from their homes after the larger event was cancelled.
Hot air balloons
EPA
  • A new boxing gym has been given permission to open for a two year "probationary" period at a former garage premises in Shrewsbury. Shropshire Councillors said they understood residents' concerns over potential noise from the new facility on Monkmoor Trading Estate and gave temporary permission to allow the impact to be assessed before a permanent change of use could be sought.
  • A summer coach trip for elderly residents to Wales has been abandoned over concerns about coronavirus safety, the availability of toilets and the possibility of infecting the locals. St Georges and Priorslee Parish Council decided not to hold its annual outing to Llandudno in August and instead redirect the funds towards a planned trip in November to Chester.

Drinkers urged to 'pace themselves' as pubs set to reopen

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Alex Moore

Officers are using New Year’s Eve as a “reference point” as they approach the reopening of pubs, a top police officer has said.

Bar worker
Getty Images

Supt Jim Baker, Telford and Wrekin’s local policing commander, said 31 December and the following morning was “typically our busiest night of the year" and it would provide a template for 4 July.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced pubs – along with other facilities, including restaurants and hotels – could reopen from a week next Saturday, as social distancing rules are eased.

Speaking in a live question-and-answer session with West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion, Supt Baker urged the public to “be sensible and pace themselves”.