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New playpark will make 'massive difference'

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Ben O'Connell

A new play park will make a "massive difference" to children in a Northumberland town, councillors have been told.

West Bedlington Town Council has been given the green light to build the facility on land known as 20 Acre Field, off Church Lane.

A meeting of the Cramlington, Bedlington and Seaton Valley Local Area Council was told it would provide a small football pitch along with a number of items of play equipment of varying height, all enclosed by a 1.2-metre, round-top metal fence.

The plan was in response to a number of requests from families in the Millfield estate, as the two other play areas in the parish were on the west side of town.

Councillor Mark Swinburn said it was "essential to provide these facilities", but "a shame" it fell to local councils rather than being provided by housing developers.

Site of play area

Fire crew rescues ditch-stranded horse

Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service pulled of an "amazing rescue", after a horse fell down a ditch.

Its rider used the What3Words app to give an exact location, and if you've not heard about it before, here's an explanation.

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Severe accident: A697 Northumberland both ways

BBC News Travel

A697 Northumberland both ways severe accident, from Embleton Close to Rothbury Road.

A697 Northumberland - A697 Front Street in Longframlington closed in both directions from the Embleton Close junction to the Rothbury Road junction, because of an accident. Traffic is coping well.

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

North East areas added to 'at risk register'

Mark Denten

BBC Look North

Two Northumberland sites have been placed on Historic England's "at risk" register, which is out today.

Conservation areas in Hexham and Blyth are among the 247 new sites considered to be at risk by the organisation. You can see the Heritage at Risk map here.

Meanwhile, 310 sites - including St Andrew's Church in Sunderland - have been removed from the register as they are regarded as saved.

Northumbria Healthcare Trust rated outstanding

Anna Snowdon

BBC Local Live

The services provided by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust have been rated as outstanding for a second time by the Care Quality Commission

Inspectors assessed urgent and emergency services, medical care and maternity at Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital, medical care at North Tyneside General Hospital and maternity at both Alnwick Infirmary and Berwick Infirmary.

The trust also maintained its previous ratings of outstanding for being effective, caring and responsive and good for being safe.

In the emergency department, there had been no patients who had waited longer than 12 hours without being admitted. The department also met the national four-hour target for eight months between March 2018 to February 2019.

We found many of our previous concerns had been addressed well and the trust was working hard to advance its services overall. Our findings have been made clear to the trust and where we have found concerns we will follow these up through our ongoing engagement with them. We will continue to monitor the trust and return to reinspect when appropriate.”

Sarah DronsfieldHead of Hospital Inspection

Plastic bag found in stomach of dead sperm whale

Anna Snowdon

BBC Local Live

A plastic bag has been found in the stomach of a sperm whale which died on the Northumberland coast.

The whale became stranded and died last week and a safety cordon was put in place due to harmful bacteria and to stop trophy hunters from taking the whale's teeth.

The whale has now been removed from the beach between Cambois and Sandy Bay and an autopsy was performed on the carcass, during which a large plastic bag was found in its stomach.

It is not believed the bag was the cause of the whale's death.


Woman unable to lift head gets surgery lifeline

A woman from Northumberland who has a rare condition called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome has undergone a life saving operation in Spain.

Liv Woodburn, 35, from Embleton, has the condition which prevents her from walking and supporting the weight of her head.

Earlier this month she was flown by air ambulance from Newcastle to Barcelona and underwent specialist surgery.

Meanwhile, family and friends and her husband Gary are still trying to hit a fundraising target of £100,000 to cover medical bills.

Liv Woodburn

Tests to be carried out on sperm whale

Tests are due to be carried out on a sperm whale which died after being washed up in Northumberland.

The 43ft (13m) mammal was first sighted off Newbiggin-by-the-Sea and then in the Wansbeck estuary, between Cambois and Sandy Bay, on Friday.

It had been struggling off shore before the tide went out, leaving it stranded.

Members of British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) said the young male's prognosis had been "incredibly poor", even if refloating it had been possible.

People are now being urged not to touch it because of the risk of infection.

Sperm whale
Owen Himphreys/PA

Sperm whale struggling off Nothumberland coast

A sperm whale has been seen struggling in the water off the Northumberland coast.

The 15ft mammal has been spotted not far off the coast and people who gathered on the shore described it as a sad sight.

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Northumberland man saved by pet dog after collapse
Ilah the labradoodle comes to the rescue after her owner collapses during the night.

Severe accident: A697 Northumberland both ways

BBC News Travel

A697 Northumberland both ways severe accident, from B6341 to Muncaster Steads.

A697 Northumberland - A697 closed and it's slow in both directions from New Moor Crossroads in Edlingham to the Muncaster Steads junction in Longframlington, because of a serious accident. Diversion in operation - traffic travelling towards Scottland should use the A1 and 1068.

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

Woman and children rescued after being cut off by tide

BBC Newcastle

A woman and three small children were rescued after being cut off on a sand bank by the tide, according to Seahouses RNLI.

The family were at Budle Bay, Northumberland, at 13:00 on Saturday when they were caught out by the tide which came in quickly.

Lifeboat operations manager Ian Clayton said: "We urge the public to be aware of the speed tides can come in, cutting off the unwary. On this occasion we had a good outcome, but it could've been different."

Meanwhile, the coastguard at Holy Island was called out when a car was cut off by the tide on the causeway yesterday afternoon.

Man killed in Northumberland A1 crash

A man died in a crash on the A1 in Northumberland yesterday.

A number of vehicles were involved in the collision near Belford at about 18:15.

Thomas Allen, 38, from Throckley, was driving a Nissan Note on the road northbound when it was involved in a collision with a Toyota Auris, travelling the other way. His car also then collided with an Audi Q5.

Mr Allen died at the scene and Northumbria Police said their thoughts were with his family.

A man and woman in the Toyota are in a critical but stable condition in hospital. Two young children also in the car were taken to hospital with minor injuries.

Sgt Pinner Rana, of Northumbria Police’s motor patrols department, described it as a "devastating incident". The road was closed for more than eight hours.

Severe accident: A197 Northumberland westbound

BBC News Travel

A197 Northumberland westbound severe accident, at Whorral Bank Roundabout.

A197 Northumberland - A197 Morpeth Bypass in Morpeth blocked and it's heavy westbound at the Whorral Bank Roundabout junction, because of an accident.

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

Children hurt in A1 smash

Nisha Joshi

BBC broadcast journalist

Two children were injured in a serious accident that closed the A1 in north Northumberland last night.

Police said four vehicles were involved in the incident near the B6349 junction close to Belford.

The road was shut in both directions from the early evening. Several ambulances and two air ambulances were sent to the scene.

A man and a woman were also among those reported hurt. The road has since reopened.

Severe accident: A1 Northumberland both ways

BBC News Travel

A1 Northumberland both ways severe accident, from B6349 to Cragmill Road.

A1 Northumberland - A1 in Belford Station closed in both directions from the B6349 junction to the Cragmill Road junction, because of accident investigation work. Traffic is coping well.

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

Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome: Couple need to raise £100,000
Liv Woodburn and her husband need to travel to Spain to receive specialist treatment.
Northumberland zoo in bid to save rare wildcats
A Northumberland zoo is taking part in a scheme to breed rare Scottish Wildcats in captivity.

Ambulance crews sent to South Bank incident

The North East Ambulance Service said it had sent six resources including a specialist hazard team to the former SSI plant in South Bank.

Fire crews are also on the scene.

An ambulance spokeswoman said there were no details about any casualties.

We will bring you more details when we have them.

Man completes Newcastle to Kielder River Tyne swim challenge
Fenwick Mark Ridley was granted special permission to complete his challenge at Kielder Water.

Severe accident: A1 Northumberland both ways

BBC News Travel

A1 Northumberland both ways severe accident, between A1068 and Causley Park turn off.

A1 Northumberland - A1 closed and it's heavy in both directions between Alnwick South Junction and the Causley Park turn off junction, because of an accident and an accident involving a tractor. Diversion in operation - Stobswood, B1337 and A1068.

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

Have your say on the A69 upgrade

BBC Look North

North East and Cumbria

People interested in finding out more about a major upgrade of the A69 will be able to see the plans at an information session in Northumberland today.

Work is due to start on the multimillion-pound project at Bridge End roundabout in October.

Temporary changes to the road layout will be put in place while the new section is created under the roundabout.

Anyone wanting to ask questions about the scheme can chat to Highways England at Hexham Community Centre between 12:00 and 17:00.

Northumberland school exclusions fall

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Ben O'Connell

The number of school exclusions in Northumberland has dropped from a spike last year as work continues to tackle the issue.

Last November, we reported that pupils were permanently kicked out of schools in the county at an average rate of one a day during the first half-term of that academic year.

Over the previous three years, permanent exclusions had increased by 203% and fixed-term exclusions by 209%, but the trend has reversed since then.

The issue was discussed again at Tuesday’s meeting of the county council’s cabinet where members agreed to proceed with a tender exercise to create a framework to support the provision of alternative education for permanently excluded children.

Exclusions have been of concern to the family and children's services committee for some time and a task and finish group has been looking at the issue, while the council has also spoken to headteachers in an effort to share good practice.

Since this has been taking place, the number of permanent exclusions in Northumberland has reduced by 28% and the number of fixed-term exclusions by 26%.

Berwick leisure centre given go-ahead by planners

Berwick's new leisure centre is a step closer after planning permission was granted by Northumberland County Council.

The £20m facility, which is being funded by the local authority, will replace the Swan Centre in Tweedmouth. It will be run by Active Northumberland, the charitable trust that manages leisure services across the county.

Work is due to start in November with phase one, which includes a new swimming pool and fitness suite, set to open in April 2021. The full building is expected to be open in summer 2022.

Artist's impression of the new leisure centre at Berwick
Northumberland County Council