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Archbishop brings visit to two counties to a close

The Archbishop of Canterbury is bringing to a close his three-day visit to the Herefordshire Diocese.

He's been to Hereford Sixth Form College, visited a messy play session at All Saints Church in Hereford, held a question and answer session and chatted with farmers over a bacon sarnie at a farm near Much Wenlock.

Archbishop of Canterbury
Diocese of Hereford
Archbishop of Canterbury
Diocese of Hereford

The Most Reverend Justin Welby also went on a prayer walk up the Clee Hill, shared a drink at Ludlow Brewery, went to morning prayers at Hereford Cathedral and paid a visit to Hereford livestock market.

The itinerary was designed to enable the Archbishop to see some of the the work led by the Rt Revd Richard Frith, the Bishop of Hereford, who retires later this year.

Archbishop of Canterbury
Diocese of Hereford
Archbishop of Canterbury
Diocese of Hereford
Archbishop of Canterbury
Diocese of Hereford

Dry night ahead but chance of a shower

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

Staying mainly dry tonight, although there's the chance of the odd shower around in the West Midlands:

Alex Hamilton

Keep up-to-date with the latest forecast for your area by heading to the BBC Weather website at any other time.

Rail users asked to be patient with 'real change' promised

Transport for Wales has asked passengers to be patient and promised there will be "real change" over the next four to five years.

It took over the Welsh rail franchise from Arriva Trains Wales a year ago and runs services that pass through Herefordshire and Shropshire.

Transport for Wales train
TFW

It has promised to run seven extra services from Shrewsbury to Aberystwyth, a new service between Liverpool and Cardiff that will stop in Shrewsbury and a fleet of new trains by 2022.

These investments are part of a pledge to spend £5bn on the network between now and 2024.

Early rain should clear away

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

Any early rain should soon clear this morning to leave it mainly dry if cloudy:

Alex Hamilton

You can keep up-to-date with the weather in your area by heading to the BBC Weather website.

Video: What's the weather got in store?

Shefali Oza

BBC Midlands Today

It will be a dry night with some clear skies and lows of 8C (46F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Health commissioning groups merger on hold

Plans to merge Shropshire's two healthcare bodies have been put on hold.

Telford and Wrekin and Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Groups had wanted to combine forces next April, saying the move would save money.

David Evans (pictured below) was selected to lead the merged body.

David Evans
Shropshire CCG

The two CCGs had applied for permission from NHS England, but were told their application needed more work and the merger wouldn't work in the timescale they had planned.

In a joint statement, Dr Julian Povey, Chair of Shropshire CCG and Dr Jo Leahy, Chair of Telford & Wrekin CCG said: “We are both disappointed".

Fire authority to consider closer alliance

A closer alliance between the fire service for Shropshire and the Hereford and Worcester fire service could be agreed today.

They're been sharing computer systems, fire control and risk management for the last year and now want to work together on procurement too.

Fire service
BBC

Shropshire's fire authority approved the move last week and Hereford and Worcester's fire authority will be asked to do the same today.

Police arrest 14 and seize drugs and weapons in raids

Fourteen people have been arrested in a week-long drugs operation.

Police targeted county lines gangs in Shropshire and raided five homes and stopped 75 vehicles.

Police car door
BBC

The force said it seized "large quantities" of Class A and B drugs, firearms, machetes, knives and £14,500 in cash.

Pine marten conservation pioneer recognised

A conservationist will be given a special award, for his work to protect rare British wildlife.

Pine Marten
Stuart Edmunds

Stuart Edmunds, from Shropshire, started a research survey on pine martens, which were thought to be extinct - but by using camera traps he was able to film them in the wild.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare will honour his dedication to conservation at the House of Lords later.

It described him as "a great example of animal welfare in action".

Shropshire earthquake 'shook the house'

A minor earthquake was felt in Shropshire on Monday.

The British Geological Survey (BGS) confirmed a magnitude of 2.3 was felt in Bishop's Castle at 16:51 BST.

A 1.6 tremor was also felt in Newport on 5 October.

Earthquake update
British Geological Survey

A number of people posted on BBC Radio Shropshire's Facebook page they'd felt the quake.

Veronica Pryce in Cross Houses said she'd heard a "big boom" before the house shook and upset the dog.

Debbie Holland in Cantlop said "so glad I wasn't imagining it!"

Vicky Royce-Pagett from Midlands Storm Chasers said she initially thought the quake was a tractor going past the house.

"I was so surprised to see an alert come up and tell me that indeed there was a tremor pretty much down the road."

Video: What's the weather got in store?

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

After a wet evening it should be a drier night with some clear spells and lows of 12C (54F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Drugs, guns and cash seized in county lines crackdown

Allen Cook

BBC News

Machetes, guns, drugs and cash have been seized by police in a week-long county lines crackdown across Shropshire.

Cannabis plants
West Mercia Police

The crime sees gangs using dedicated phone lines and couriers to move drugs from cities to smaller towns.

West Mercia Police said five houses had been searched and 14 people arrested over the seven days in the county.

Seized money
West Mercia Police

As well as "large quantities" of Class A and B drugs, the force said it had also sezied £14,500 in cash.

Flood risk warning as heavy rain returns

Parts of the West Midlands could face flooding as heavy rain moves across the region.

The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning for between 12:00 and midnight.

View more on twitter

The Met Office said the wet weather will move northwards across much of England on Monday, with the heaviest rain forecast for the afternoon and evening.

Flood alerts have been issued in Warwickshire, Herefordshire and Shropshire.

Video: Your 50-second weather forecast

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

It will be increasingly wet with heavy rain and highs of 13C (55F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Schools funding news welcomed

Seven councils in the West Midlands are among a group of 42 across the country campaigning for fairer funding in schools.

The F40 group includes some of the lowest funded local authorities in England and says it wants "fairness and equal opportunities in education for all children, regardless of where they live".

Graphic
BBC

The F40 group includes:

  • Cheshire East Council
  • Herefordshire Council
  • Shropshire Council
  • Solhull Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Staffordshire County Council
  • Warwickshire County Council
  • Worcestershire County Council

Responding to today's news, Shropshire Council said it was "generally pleased with the settlement" and acknowledged it came at a time when schools "have been experiencing challenges in balancing their budgets".

“Shropshire’s schools have not been well funded and so we would hope this is a fairer settlement in relative funding terms with those schools in other areas, who have historically attracted higher levels of funding per pupil," Ed Potter, cabinet member for children’s services, said.

The F40 group has previously said while it recognised that those schools with pupils with higher additional needs should receive more funding, "the way this is applied across the country is inconsistent and unfair".

Graphic
BBC

West Midlands to get an extra £175m for schools

Schools in the West Midlands will receive an extra £175m over the next three years, but it is the second-lowest increase in funding per-pupil in the country.

The figures are laid out in the government's provisional spending plans and the West Midlands will see an average increase of 3.6% per pupil by 2020-21.

Only London is expected to see a lower per-pupil increase with 3.2%.

Cash
Getty Images

The spending plans will increase the total budget for the region to £3.97bn by 2020-21.

The prime minister has promised to boost spending in UK schools by £14bn over the coming three financial years.

Video: Your 50-second weather forecast

Rich Davis

BBC Weather presenter

It will be a windy day with showery rain and highs of 13C (55F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Video: What's the weather got in store?

Rich Davis

BBC Weather presenter

It will be a breezy night with some showers and lows of 12C (54F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Your photos: Cloudy and calm ahead of more showers

BBC Weather Watchers

We're forecast more heavy rain over the next few days, but it's been dry and cloudy across most of the West Midlands today.

These photos were taken by BBC Weather Watchers in Bidford-on-Avon, Church Eaton and Ellesmere.

Bidford-on-Avon
Super Sayers
Church Eaton
Shaun
Ellesmere
Treehunter

Parkinson's sufferers 'failed by hospital trust'

BBC Shropshire

People living with Parkinson's disease are being let down in Shropshire, according to a charity.

Since June 2018, just one specialist nurse has employed by Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust to help care for more than 1,100 patients with the condition.

"People living with Parkinson's have been left without support for far, far too long," Parkinson's UK campaign manager Jack Grant said.

"All what we're asking now is for the trust to do the bare minimum."

Protesters
Parkinson's UK

The charity funded the service for an initial two years, and said the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust made a commitment to continue paying for the second post when that ended.

Parkinson's UK says specialist nurses are "crucial" to supporting patients and their families, including monitoring and altering medication, and providing advice.

Shropshire's neurology service has been closed to new referrals since 2017, in part because a national shortage of neurologists.

In response, the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust says it's working closely with commissioners on a new service model and there's a meeting this month with a potential provider for Parkinson's services.

Shropshire's clinical commissioning groups says it pays for the neurology services and it's up to the hospital trust to provide the necessary staff to deliver it.

People who cannot talk to a nurse will have to go and talk to a consultant or if they reach crisis point they will have to go into hospital. And both those things cost far, far more money than hiring a Parkinson's nurse."

Jack GrantParkinson's UK

Charity rugby match for Oscar Saxelby-Lee

West Mercia Police beat Warwickshire Police by 45-5 in last night's charity rugby match at Sixways.

Oscar Saxelby-Lee
Family handout

A crowd of just over 2,000 turned up to help raise money for the Oscar Saxelby-Lee appeal.

The five-year-old from Worcester, who's battling an aggressive form of leukemia, is currently having more tests to see whether he's well enough to travel to Singapore for potentially life-saving treatment

An appeal has raised almost £563,000.

Video: Your 50-second weather forecast

Rich Davis

BBC Weather presenter

After a bright start it will be a cloudy day with some showers and highs of 15C (59F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Fire authority backs closer alliance

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Shropshire's fire authority has voted in favour of a closer alliance with the Hereford and Worcester Fire Service.

The two fire services have been sharing fire control, risk management and computer systems for the past year, but plan to share procurement in the future.

Fire engine door
BBC

Hereford and Worcester Fire Authority will discuss the proposal when it meets next Tuesday.

Shropshire's fire authority wanted to stress it didn't see this as a merger.

Dry night for the West Midlands

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

We're in for a dry night in the West Midlands and it'll be quite breezy:

Alex Hamilton

Get a latest forecast for your area at any other time by heading to the BBC Weather website.

Library services being reviewed again

The increase in the number of visitors to Shropshire's libraries comes as Shropshire Council is considering making further changes to the way they're run.

Two years ago, the local authority announced a five-year plan, which grouped library services into three tiers, based on their size, but it now says a "refreshed strategy" is needed, "following a period of significant change".

Shrewsbury library
Shropshire Council

People are being asked what they think the priorities should be for the library service, with the consultation period due to end on 8 November.

Liberal Democrat councillor Andy Boddington has previously said he feared it could spell the end of the mobile library service.

The council said the increase in visitor numbers, up by 15,000 when comparing the first quarter of this year with the first quarter of last year, are partly explained by the launch of new e-book services.

LDRS: Bronze Age site to be protected as homes planned

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Here are three of the stories covered by the Local Democracy Reporting Service in Shropshire today:

  • There are plans for 150 homes next to the Meole Brace retail park in Shrewsbury, which will preserve a late Neolithic to early Bronze Age double ring ditch, found there by archaeologists.
  • An extra 12,000 people visited Shrewsbury's Theatre Severn in the first quarter of this year and there were 15,000 more visits to Shropshire's libraries.
  • Shropshire Council has 1,000 fewer full-time employees compared with six years ago.

MP wants hospital funding withheld until A&E promises made

The MP for Telford has said the government shouldn't hand over the money to reorganise hospital care in the county unless there's a commitment for a full accident and emergency department at the Princess Royal Hospital.

And she said it must be open 24 hours a day and staffed by consultants.

Under plans approved by the health secretary last week, the hospital would see its A&E replaced by what's being called an A&E local - but it hasn't yet been said what that means, how it will be staffed and how many hours it will be open.

A&E
BBC

The Future Fit plans already pledge a 24-hour urgent care centre for Telford, but not staffed by consultants.

The plans, involve making Shrewsbury the main centre for emergency medicine and moving specialist women and children's services there, from their current base in Telford.

The government said in March 2018 it would set aside £312m for the changes.

Police force hopes to get more recruitment funding

West Mercia Police is expecting the Home Office will announce funding for more officers, on top of the extra 93 the force has been allocated today.

Last month, West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion said he hoped to eventually get between 300 and 360 as a result of a pledge by the chancellor of £750m to fund 20,000 police officers across the UK.

John Campion
West Mercia PCC

Sajid Javid's promise included £45m to hire 2,000 police by March next year and the West Mercia PCC's office said these extra 93 officers were seen as part of that first tranche of spending.

It hopes further announcements will bring it closer to that aim of 300-360 extra officers.

Last autumn, West Mercia Police announced it was recruiting an extra 100 officers and in February it confirmed it would hire another 115 on top of that.

All 215 of those recruits should have started work by December this year.

Fire services could form alliance

BBC Shropshire

Plans for two fire services to enter a formal alliance are going to be discussed later.

Sign for Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service
BBC

Shropshire's fire brigade has had a loose partnership with their neighbours in Herefordshire and Worcestershire since autumn last year.

It's so far focused on IT resource-sharing as well as risk management planning.

Now, Shropshire's fire authority's being asked to approve a draft agreement to formalise the arrangement and commit both services to closer collaboration in the future.

The Hereford and Worcester fire authority is due to meet to discuss the proposals later this month.

New officer targets set for police forces

BBC Midlands Today

Police forces across the West Midlands will be able to recruit 590 new officers in the first year of a government pledge to hire an extra 20,000 by 2022.

Police cars
BBC

The Home Office has set out recruitment targets for the first year with West Midlands Police given the biggest of 366.

Warwickshire will be able to hire an extra 41, Staffordshire 90 and West Mercia 93.

Home Office figures show that forces in England and Wales lost 20,564 officers between March 2010 and March 2019.

Boris Johnson pledged the extra 20,000 officers earlier this year although the College of Policing at the time warned of "logistical challenges", partly because of concerns of a lack of instructors for training.

A breezy day ahead

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

After a damp start in places, today should stay mainly dry but breezy.

Alex Hamilton

You can keep up-to-date with the latest weather forecast for your area at any other time by going to the BBC Weather website.

Video: What's the weather got in store?

Rich Davis

BBC Weather presenter

It should be a mainly dry night with the odd shower and lows of 11C (52F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Risk of flooding remains a week after heavy rain

A week after heavy rain led to flooding across the West Midlands, the Environment Agency still has flood alerts in place in Shropshire and Staffordshire.

It says water levels are falling but warns people to be careful on land around the rivers Vyrnwy, Severn, Sow, Penk and Trent.

Wet field
Peter Steggles

The Environment Agency also warned that flooding could worsen with more rain forecast in the next few days.

Force failing to record nearly one in 10 reported crimes

West Mercia Police has been criticised for failing to record more than 8,900 of the crimes reported to it each year.

That figure amounts to just under 10% of the crimes reported to the force going unrecorded, a study by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services says.

Police car
BBC

The force was also found to be failing to record more than 4,200 reports of violent crime.

Inspectors have told West Mercia to immediately improve how it records violent crimes, particularly harassment, stalking, domestic abuse, coercive and controlling behaviour and modern slavery.

The force says it accepts that it still has more work to do and recognises it doesn’t always make the correct crime-recording decisions.

Video: Your 50-second weather forecast

Rich Davis

BBC Weather presenter

After a fine start blustery showers will move in with highs of 10C (50F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Video: What's the weather got in store?

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

Rain will gradually clear leaving a dry night with lows of 12C (54F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

End of police alliance 'could cost millions'

BBC Shropshire

The breaking up of an alliance between two police forces could end up costing taxpayers millions of pounds, according to one of the men who helped set it up.

Police car for Warwickshire and West Mercia Police forces
BBC

The forces have been sharing services since 2012, but West Mercia Police wants to pull out, saying it is subsidising Warwickshire Police, which it denies.

The alliance was due to end tomorrow, but Warwickshire Police sought Home Office intervention, saying it had not had enough time to split services.

Over the weekend, the Home Office told the pair to stay in the alliance for three more months to ensure vital services are maintained.

Barrie Sheldon was deputy police and crime commissioner for West Mercia for four years from 2012.

There's going to be hundreds of thousands of pounds, if not millions, spent on legal fees and the potential of millions of pounds being paid out to put Warwickshire Police back into a state where they can get back to becoming a viable force."

Barrie SheldonFormer deputy police and crime commissioner, West Mercia Police

Video: What's the weather got in store?

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

After a cloudy start rain will spread from the west leading to a wet and windy afternoon with highs of 15C (59F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Video: What's the weekend weather got in store?

Rebecca Wood

BBC Midlands Today

It should be a dry night with some clear intervals and lows of 9C (48F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Police forces split: Warwickshire 'saddened' over Home Office request

Warwickshire Police said it was "saddened" to request the Home Office step in to help agree its break-up plans with the West Mercia force.

The two forces have been in talks since the West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion and Chief Constable Anthony Bangham announced they wanted to end their strategic alliance by 8 October.

West Mercia said negotiations have now ended without an agreement.

Police officers
PA Media

The Warwickshire force has now written to the government and asked it to require West Mercia to continue to collaborate with them "across joint business areas" past the split deadline.

A joint statement from Chief Constable Martin Jelley and Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe said: "We are saddened that it should have ever been necessary to make this request to the Home Secretary.

"Throughout the last 12 months of negotiations with West Mercia, we have remained focused on achieving an orderly separation which protects the interests of our communities and our workforce.

"We have made multiple offers to this effect, which have been refused on each occasion by West Mercia."

The Home Office has been approached for a comment.

Flooding 'could worsen over the weekend'

The Environment Agency says flooding across the West Midlands could worsen this weekend, with more heavy ran expected.

It still has two flood warnings in Shropshire and a number of flood alerts across Shropshire, Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Staffordshire.

River Severn
WanderLass

The agency said river levels have been slowly falling since the rain earlier this week, but they remain high.