Bedford

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Rescued: Train from trenches discovered in Barrow

An armoured train which was used in World War One has been fully restored and mobile again after it was found rusting in a scrapyard in Barrow.

Armoured locomotive
Ollie Bayliss/BBC

The bizarre-looking steam engine is the last surviving locomotive of its kind and was built to move munitions on the Western Front.

It was brought back to work in a quarry near Barrow until it was eventually abandoned.

After 10 years, volunteers in Bedfordshire have finally restored it to its former glory.

How is your local A&E doing?

Bedford Hospital NHS Trust, which runs Bedford Hospital, missed its A&E waiting target of seeing patients in less than four hours last month.

Hospitals are meant to treat, assess or discharge 95% of patients in that time. Bedford Hospital Trust saw 81.7% according to figures released for April. This is down on the figure for 12 months ago, which was 91.7%.

How is your local A&E performing?
BBC

At Bedford Hospital NHS Trust a total of 1,334 patients were not seen within the four-hour window in April.

The trust was ranked 70 of 129 trusts of hospital trusts in England.

As a whole, the NHS has failed to meet this target since July 2015. A hospital trust's performance figures include the main accident and emergency department and any minor injuries or care centres it runs.

NHS England has asked patients only to attend A&E department with "genuine life-threatening emergencies".

Check NHS cancer, A&E, ops and mental health targets in your area.

This story has been generated using NHS data, BBC analysis and some automation.

How is your local A&E doing?

Luton & Dunstable University Hospital NHS Trust, which runs Luton and Dunstable hospital, met its A&E waiting target of seeing patients in less than four hours last month.

Hospitals are meant to treat, assess or discharge 95% of patients in that time. Luton & Dunstable Hospital Trust saw 97.4% according to figures released for April. This is down on the figure for 12 months ago, which was 98.6%.

How is your local A&E performing?
BBC

At Luton & Dunstable University Hospital NHS Trust a total of 316 patients were not seen within the four-hour window in April.

The trust was ranked 1 of 129 trusts of hospital trusts in England.

As a whole, the NHS has failed to meet this target since July 2015. A hospital trust's performance figures include the main accident and emergency department and any minor injuries or care centres it runs.

NHS England has asked patients only to attend A&E department with "genuine life-threatening emergencies".

Check NHS cancer, A&E, ops and mental health targets in your area.

This story has been generated using NHS data, BBC analysis and some automation.

'Horse riding turned my life around'
Horses are being used to help troubled children learn new skills and get back into education.

BreakingBedford Borough Council: No change - no overall control

Bedford Borough Council remains with no party in overall control, but the directly-elected Liberal Democrat mayor Dave Hodgson will be in charge.

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BreakingBedford Mayor: Lid Dem Dave Hodgson re-elected

Liberal Democrat Dave Hodgson has retained his position as directly-elected Bedford Mayor.

Focus shifts to Bedfordshire

We've still got three results from Bedfordshire to come:

Central Bedfordshire Council is something of a Conservative stronghold. But with a few wards still to declare it's clear the opposition parties have made gains but are unlikely to wrestle control from the Tories.

While in Bedford there there are two counts under way.

One is for Bedford Borough Council, where no party has overall control, but the Conservatives are the largest party.

There is also Bedford Mayoral election, with Lib Dem Dave Hodgson hoping to retain his role.

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Not a good night for Tories in Herts and Beds

Andy Holmes

BBC Three Counties Radio political reporter

We're not even halfway there with the results yet, but 3 May is not a great day to be waking up as a Conservative in Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire.

Although they've held on to Broxbourne, Hertsmere, Dacorum and East Herts councils, they've lost overall control of both Welwyn Hatfield and St Albans, where Tory Leader Alec Campbell has lost his seat.

The Lib Dems have been the biggest benefactors from all of this, gaining more than 20 seats, while Labour have held Luton and Stevenage.

Friday's counts include all of Central Beds, Bedford's Mayoral election and a third of Milton Keynes Council, where the Tories are defending 12 seats.

And that means the day could yet get worse for the Conservatives.

Bedford's mayoral election

Andy Holmes

BBC Three Counties Radio political reporter

In Bedford, five candidates are contesting the mayoral elections this year.

It's important to win the mayoral contest as that gives the winning party the chance to form an executive and choose who makes the key decisions, even if that means bringing in councillors from other parties.

The Liberal Democrats have held the post since Dave Hodgson took over from the late Frank Branston in 2009, but he'll face strong opposition from the Tory, UKIP, Lib Dem and Green candidates there.

The picture in Bedfordshire

Andy Holmes

BBC Three Counties Radio political reporter

All the seats on Central Bedfordshire, Bedford Borough and Luton Borough councils are being contested.

Luton Town Hall
Google

Central Bedfordshire currently has 52 Conservative councillors, with seven others made up of Independents, Labour and Lib Dems.

In the unitary authority's 10-year history, the Tories have never had fewer than 49 councillors so it would be a national news shock if the authority didn't stay blue.

The Labour-run council in Luton has had an interesting few months. On the non-political side, it's just appointed a new chief executive, plus plans for a new stadium for the town's football club have got the green light, subject to a call-in from opposition.

There have also been some de-selections of Labour councillors. Some are not standing, one is going independent, and one now standing as a Conservative candidate.

Three candidates are standing for Best4Luton, a party started by a couple of former Luton Conservatives.

Local elections 2019: The view from Peterborough, Milton Keynes and Bedford

Ben Schofield

Political correspondent, BBC Look East

ballot box
PA

Most of these council seats were last contested in 2015. If a week is a long time in politics, then four years is a lifetime.

Back then, the Conservatives won a surprise majority in the General Election and the party’s national popularity helped local Tory groups pick up dozens of council seats.

It means that while Labour and the Liberal Democrats are defending around half their total number of seats on our councils, the Conservatives are defending three quarters of them. That’s a huge ask, even before policies or the public’s mood come into it.

Peterborough will be closely scrutinised. Anger remains over the former Labour MP Fiona Onasanya’s criminal conviction and refusal to quit. Conservatives hold the council with a majority of just one – a small shift could lead it into no overall control or further strengthen their standing.

Labour has minority control of Milton Keynes Council, supported by Liberal Democrats. But the Tories are the largest party. Will Labour pick up enough seats for an outright majority? They would need to pick up eight, which will be tough.

Elsewhere, Bedford will elect a mayor. Can the Liberal Democrat incumbent Dave Hodgson secure a fourth term?