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  1. Fans of The Beautiful South can catch up with former members of the much-loved band when they headline at the newly-named Gallagher Park Live Music Festival in Bedlington this summer. The South - featuring Alison Wheeler and Gaz Birtles - will be heading north to get the party going at the free family-friendly festival - formerly part of Northumberland Live - on Saturday, July 27. Besides having a new title - named after its town location - the festival will have a new look too, while the Blyth leg of Northumberland Live is set to continue as usual. Also on its line-up for the day will be rising teen star Chloe Rose - a singer-songwriter who has performed at the likes of Old Trafford for Wayne Rooney’s testimonial and - one bound to delight young ones - CBeebies presenter Sid Sloane. Older music lovers will no doubt welcome a chance to hear favourite songs played live, courtesy of Wheeler and Birtle who front The South, which grew from the ashes of The Beautiful South - following its split-up in 2007 - and is now celebrating its 10-year anniversary. Sax player Birtles now joins Wheeler in singing duties since Dave Hemingway left at the end of 2016 and the nine-piece band continue to keep alive all those original hits such as Song For Whoever - now a remarkable 30 years old - plus the likes of Perfect 10; Rotterdam and number one hit A Little Time.
  2. A Newcastle illustrator has been left in disbelief after one of his designs was used to mock Piers Morgan. The outspoken TV presenter has not been shy in sharing his disdain for Greggs' popular vegan sausage roll. So one viewer settled on the perfect wind-up for the Good Morning host - sending him a vegan-inspired birthday card. The early birthday card reads "I love Greggs vegan sausage rolls more than you", and even includes a fake coupon for a free vegan treat. Newcastle illustrator James Dixon - known under the business name Lines Behind - designed the card as part of his "I love you more than" card range to feature at Greggs festive bake exhibition last year. The 30-year-old, from Bedlington , was woken by friends tagging him in the Instagram post.
  3. The Northumberland Labour leader has responded to the recent airing of concerns about council-owned Arch , again describing it as a "witch-hunt". Coun Grant Davey, who will be standing down as the group's leader in May , also said that he has answered questions on these matters and "the ratepayers have already covered the huge costs of having me interviewed on three occasions". It followed Friday's two-hour meeting of Northumberland County Council's audit committee to discuss a 98-page report into arrangements at the wholly council-owned development company under the previous Labour administration. Arch has since been replaced by Advance Northumberland. This report was commissioned after the Conservatives took over at County Hall in May 2017 and completed in October that year, but has not been released until now at the request of Northumbria Police . The force has since confirmed to the council that it would not object to the report's disclosure and have now said "no criminal offences have been identified". However, having discussed a number of the issues in the report, which raised concerns around nepotism, collusion and a "culture of entitlement", as jobs and perks were handed out to "the chaps", the committee members still had questions.
  4. Cemetery-walking dog owners who allow their animals to foul graves and headstones are to be targeted by enforcement officers. Northumberland County Council is stepping up patrols to combat an increase in reported incidents of dog fouling and owners failing to keep dogs on leads in cemeteries. Enforcement Officers will be on patrol in cemeteries where dog owners have been sighted allowing their dogs to roam around cemetery grounds. Council cemeteries are subject to dog control orders which require dogs to be kept on a short lead, not more than 1.5 metres in length, at all times and must be under control. An extendable lead is not permitted. As in all other public places, it is an offence to allow a dog to foul and not clean up. Signs at all the entrances to the cemetery instruct dog owners to keep their dogs on leads. The council has received an increasing number of complaints of dogs fouling in cemeteries, especially in the Bedlington and Blyth area and say this is particularly distressing for those visiting the graves of loved ones.
  5. It's been almost a year since Miss Newcastle took us on a magic carpet ride for its Arabian Nights themed final and now we know the identities of the first nine girls in the running for this year's title. Over 300 girls from across the region applied to be Miss Newcastle 2019 , which is a record for the competition, and now the first nine finalists have been announced for the annual event which will once again raise money for The Chronicle's Sunshine Fund. The theme for this year's glittering final, hosted by the Gainford Group at The County Hotel, is Aphrodite and the goddesses already in the running for the Miss Newcastle crown are: Amy Conway, 21, Wallsend Charlotte Moore, 23, Newcastle Chelsea Simpkin, 19, Cramlington
  6. Angry and disappointed residents remain unconvinced about the future of Bedlington town centre, after its redevelopment stalled earlier this year. The latest time-scale for the regeneration project focused around the town's former Tesco site, which is being led by the county council-owned company Advance Northumberland, is aiming for the 12-month construction of the new shops to start in the autumn. But this would still mean the scheme would not be completed until the back end of 2020 at the earliest. And, as Advance's managing director Ken Dunbar told a lively Cramlington, Bedlington and Seaton Valley Local Area Council meeting last night (Wednesday, March 20), this all hinges on getting the anchor tenant - a major supermarket - to sign on the dotted line. This key store was lined up, but chose to review its options around the time the enabling works to prepare the site got under way, meaning the project stalled when these preparations were completed in January. Mr Dunbar said that nine other retailers - eight of which would be new to the town - are 'very interested' in taking on some of the other units, but that they needed the anchor store in place to guarantee the footfall.
  7. Angry and disappointed residents remain unconvinced about the future of Bedlington town centre, after its redevelopment stalled earlier this year.
  8. A prolific thief has been banned from all Sunderland's main shopping outlets. Samuel Metcalf, 35, is forbidden from setting foot in The Bridges Shopping Centre, Hylton Riverside Retail Park, Roker Retail Park and Pallion Retail Park for the next two years. The restrictions are set out in a Criminal Behaviour Order which came into effect last month (February) as a result of theft offences he has committed across the city. Metcalf, of Norfolk Street, Sunderland , has had four shoplifting convictions since August 2018 and was also convicted of a public order offence after becoming aggressive and threatening a shop worker when confronted about his behaviour. He is now no longer permitted to enter any of the city’s prime shopping outlets until 2021, and faces prison if he fails to comply or ignores any of the order’s strict conditions. Metcalf must also leave any other shop or commercial premises if asked by staff.
  9. A new home at Cambois has been given the go-ahead after councillors rejected the planners' view that the site was in the open countryside. Plans for the construction of a two-storey house and detached garage, between Berristock and Debdon House, were recommended for refusal at Wednesday night's (March 13) Ashington and Blyth Local Area Council. But members unanimously backed the scheme, as they did not consider it was in the open countryside, that it was on previously developed brownfield land and that a refusal - saying development was unsuitable in this area - would essentially split Cambois in two. The ward councillor, Jeff Gobin, and East Bedlington Parish Council had both supported the application as well. Coun Brian Gallacher said: "If this applicant didn't build his house there, what else is going to go there? You are going to end up with a patch of wasteland." Coun Grant Davey added: "I would like to see Cambois rebuilt as a very lively village."
  10. A teenager is due to appear in court charged with arson and explosive offences following an incident in Northumberland. The 17-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, will appear before magistrates sitting at Newcastle Crown Court on Saturday following the incident in Glanton. Shortly before 9pm on Tuesday, the Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service called police to a blaze at an address on South View. Officers attended and say a number of potentially hazardous substances were found inside the property. A cordon was put in place and four nearby homes were evacuated as a precaution. A 17-year-old male was arrested and an investigation was launched.
  11. Bot

    Student engineer’s place at UK finals

    A Bedlington student is hoping to light up a science and engineering competition this month.
  12. A shocking video has emerged of a sickening street fight between a teenage gang and two adults in Northumberland. The video - which has been shared widely on social media - shows the conflict spill out from a bus into the road on Ravensworth Street, Bedlington, on Friday night. The start of the clip shows an heated argument between a man stood outside the parked Arriva bus and the youths inside the vehicle at about 11pm. After a brief period of time, the man puts down a bag and steps on to the bus when the violence ensues. The fight quickly moves back to the pavement, and the footage shows five teenagers kicking the man several times as he lies on the ground. The violence then moves into the street itself, where a woman has joined the fight and the man is thrown to the tarmac twice.
  13. Two men have made their first appearance in court charged with attempted murder after a gun was allegedly fired at a van. Mark Exley and Christopher Embleton were arrested following an incident in Kingston Park. At about 7.45am on February 22, police received a report that a gun had been shot at a white van as it waited at traffic lights on Windsor Way. Nobody was injured and the driver of the van was able to flee the scene before later contacting police. Officers launched an investigation and a number of people were arrested in connection with the incident. On Tuesday, Exley and Embleton were brought into the dock at South East Northumberland Magistrates' Court in Bedlington, both charged with attempted murder and possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life.
  14. Two men have been charged with attempted murder after a gun was allegedly fired in Newcastle. At about 7.45am on Friday, February 22, police received a report that a gun had shot at a white van as it waited at traffic lights on Windsor Way in Kingston Park. Nobody was injured and the driver of the van was able to run off before later contacting police. The alleged shooter was also seen by witnesses getting into the passenger side of a blue Rover 75 Saloon and being driven away. This vehicle was quickly abandoned and burnt out on South Benwell Road. A police investigation was launched immediately and extensive inquiries have taken place to identify those responsible.
  15. Forced to lie in its own fifth, a starved puppy was rescued from a "putrid" fly-infested dump after being neglected by her owners. The 10-month-old husky, named Missy, was found in Ruth Lane and Lee Kiernan's North Shields family home. Old food was piled up on the floor and it was so high, RSPCA officer's struggled to open the door to rescue Missy. When they did, the puppy was so hungry she "rushed " from her cage to eat some of the leftovers. Both Missy and a white tabby cat named Cuddles were neglected so badly their former owners have been warned they could be jailed - despite their solicitor claiming they are "unsuitable" for prison. Friday's sentencing heard how Kiernan told one RSCPA officer to "f*** off" before calling them a "cocky s****" for trying to check on the pet's welfare.
  16. Assurances have been given that the proposed phased approach to a new passenger rail line in south-east Northumberland will not leave any towns out. Transport Secretary Chris Grayling recently visited the county to take a ride along part of the route and hear more about the £190million plans for what's now being called the Northumberland line, linking Ashington to Newcastle Central via Bedlington and Blyth. It came as county councillors signed off on approximately £3.46m of spending to develop the next steps, with the aim of submitting an outline business case and proposal for the detailed design by the end of the year, and services planned to start in 2022. During Mr Grayling's visit, council leader Peter Jackson said that while the total cost of the project is estimated to be £190m, it can be broken down into phases with a £90m first phase being 'perfectly achievable' given the 'billions being spent on HS2 and other projects in the south of England'. This sparked questions from Labour councillors, who were concerned that the line will only be part-opened, but the Conservative leadership has now offered assurances that the phasing would simply hold back some of the infrastructure work and trains would still run all the way to Ashington. Coun Deirdre Campbell, the Labour member for the Newsham ward through which the line will run, had described it as 'extremely concerning news', suggesting that perhaps the reason behind the dropping of the long-established Ashington, Blyth & Tyne name was 'because the supposed phasing the council leader refers to means it will not reach Blyth, never mind Bedlington or Ashington'.
  17. Labour has continued its attack on cuts to council-tax support in Northumberland, as figures show how the reductions will disproportionately impact wards it represents. From April, all households in the county will have to pay a minimum of eight per cent of their council-tax bill, following approval for changes to save £1million a year. At Northumberland County Council's full meeting in January, members agreed a reduction in the level of council-tax support for working-age claimants from 100 to 92 per cent. The change attracted some fervent criticism, but was passed by 31 votes to 26, with six abstentions, while an amendment to drop the cut as part of last week's budget debate was not put to the vote as it had already been passed the previous month. Now, Labour has released information obtained under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, in which, they say, 'the unfair nature of balancing the county's books is laid bare'. A breakdown of the number of people to be affected in each of the 66 council wards shows that there is a large discrepancy between different areas, much of it along party-political lines.
  18. Changes which will mean increased home-care charges for some in Northumberland have been approved in the face of criticism from opposition councillors. A number of amendments to Northumberland County Council's charges for care and support services for adults were given final approval at the full council meeting on Wednesday, by 36 votes to 26 with one abstention. Setting out the "complex" recommendations which include six main changes to the charging policy for non-residential care and support services, Coun Veronica Jones, cabinet member for adult health and wellbeing, said: "I don't think any of us will be welcoming these changes, but in the overall financial context, I believe they are necessary." But Labour's Coun Susan Dungworth said: "I don't want to get bogged down in what is a very detailed report, I want to focus on who it is we're talking about here and what we are talking about again is very, very vulnerable people in our communities. "It's like the proposals that have already gone through this council in terms of reducing council-tax support, we are attacking the most vulnerable in this community, people who are already struggling." To illustrate her point, she read out a series of consultation responses from those receiving the care that were included in the report to councillors.
  19. Locals fear teens are "running wild" as they gather in this Northumberland town late at night. But police in Bedlington say they're cracking down on ringleaders who are making innocent members of the public feel unsafe. Despite an overall reduction in criminal activity over the last year, over January and February locals say they've felt menaced by groups of teens hanging about in the streets and parks. Police say teenagers are known to be travelling from across Northumberland to meet up in the town. With youngsters as young as 12 and as old as 19 sometimes meeting in the same parks and public places, officers say younger children are at risk of coming into contact with alcohol and drugs. ChronicleLive visited Bedlington to find out what was happening, and sat down with Northumbria Police to find out what's being done about it. Outside supermarkets in Bedlington, many shoppers said they'd noticed a recent spike in groups of teenagers causing disruption around the town.
  20. A drunk woman hurled shoes at passers-by and told police officers who offered her a lift home to "f**k off". Lauren Nash was screaming and swearing at members of the public and throwing her shoes outside Market Tavern in Bedlington, Northumberland, overnight between January 12 and 13. Northumbria Police officers were called to the scene on Market Place to reports of an "intoxicated female" by the owner of the pub. Nash attempted to run away from officers, and told one “go f**k yourself you c**t” when she was offered a lift home. Nash appeared at South East Northumberland Magistrates' Court on February 7 and pleaded guilty to one count of being drunk and disorderly in a public place. Prosecutor Laura Lax said: "Police were called to attend the Market Tavern following a report of an intoxicated female.
  21. Egged on by his friends, this drunk dad tried to get his mate kicked out of a hotel by telling police he was building a bomb. Dad-of-one Steven Lambert enjoyed a night drinking Stella Artois at his home in Bedlington, Northumberland, before deciding to dial Northumbria Police. In a bid to get a friend kicked out of the Royal Court Hotel in Coventry, the 28-year-old falsely claimed his pal was making a bomb. Officers investigated and soon discovered the report to be false, and arrested the 28-year-old the same day. Lambert, of Corchester Road, Bedlington, pleaded guilty to a charge of communicating false information on a bomb hoax after appearing at South East Northumberland Magistrates' Court on February 7. He was sentenced to 18 weeks in prison - suspended for 12 months - and ordered to 300 hours of unpaid work and to pay £155 in court costs.
  22. A man has appeared in court accused of sparking a bomb scare in Newcastle city centre after a fake device was allegedly found in a supermarket. Tesco on Clayton Street, Newcastle , was evacuated on January 15 after a "mobile phone with wires to a battery pack" was found on a shelf. James McDonnell, 53, of Appleby Gardens, Gateshead, appeared at Bedlington Magistrates' Court on February 11 charged with the offence. He is also accused of stealing £160 worth of whisky. Mr McDonnell pleaded not guilty to the bomb hoax matter and did not enter a plea to the theft charge. He will appear at Newcastle Crown Court on March 12.
  23. Tributes have been paid to Holywell councillor Bernard Pidcock MBE, who died at the weekend.
  24. An £8 billion black hole by 2025 could swallow up popular - but discretionary - council services, local government leaders have warned. Just to stand still and deliver the same services currently being provided today - which have already been significantly cut in the last decade - the Local Government Association (LGA) estimates that councils would need an additional £8billion more than they are expected to have by 2024-25. The organisation has launched a campaign to influence the forthcoming Spending Review by warning about the growing risk to vital local services if the Government does not take action to secure the financial sustainability of councils. But the LGA also said that, with the right funding and powers, councils can continue to lead their local areas, improve residents' lives, reduce demand for public services and save money for the taxpayer. Between 2010 and 2020, councils will have lost almost 60p out of every £1 the Government had provided for services. The LGA's chairman, Lord Porter, a Conservative, said: "The money local government has to provide vital services is running out fast and huge uncertainty remains about how councils will pay for services into the next decade and beyond.
  25. Police are searching for a missing man who may have travelled to Scotland. Andrew Malcolm, 46, was last seen on Bolam Place, Bedlington on Tuesday February 5 and officers are becoming increasingly concerned for his welfare. It is believed that he may have travelled to the Dumfries and Galloway area and anyone with information is urged to get in touch. A spokesperson for Northumbria Police said: "Officers are growing increasingly concerned for his welfare and are keen to make sure he is fit & well. "Andrew is described as white, of stocky build with a bald head. He was last seen wearing a navy blue T-shirt, black jeans, a black hoodie and black Timberland boots. "‪It is believed he may have travelled to the Dumfries and Galloway area of Scotland.
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