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Welcome to South East Today, I'm Rob Smith.
Tonight's top stories: Southern talks are to take place
between the RMT Union and the Government -
as a report says driver only operation is safe.
That is what the unions ask for and if they are not willing to accept
that is the end of the matter I think we will need to look at
legislation. We'll speak to the RMT Union
about the latest developments. As debts at Dreamland mount -
the Kent attraction gets a controversial ?10 million loan
from an offshore hedge fund. Also in tonight's programme: No fire
drill in three years - the Kent hospital criticised
for failures in its basic Back to school - the unique scheme
being pioneered in Kent to persuade students to become teachers
at their own school. And 100 miles for 100 years -
the history trails being created to let everyone discover our links
to the First World War. It's been a day of rapid
developments in the bitter dispute between Southern rail and the rail
unions with just days to go before At 11 o'clock the Office
of Road and Rail issued a report confirming,
for a second time, that Southern's driver-only operated
trains do meet legal requirements At midday Sussex MP Huw Merriman
called for new laws to be introduced, to prevent the RMT
and Aslef from calling And at just before 2pm
this afternoon, the RMT agreed to direct talks with the
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling. Our reporter Charlie Rose has
the latest on the days developments. Could this soon be back? -- band.
Industrial action by real opinions on issue of safety causing a month
after month of misery for commuters. One Sussex MP has plans in place to
make it illegal and he says he will set the wheels in motion next month
if they reportedly on the issue of driver only operated trains fails to
bring an end to the dispute. If the unions do not come to their senses
on the back of this detailed report that shows the driver only operated
technology is safe on Southern. If they are not willing to look at
legislation. The driver only operated trains are where the driver
rather than conductor opens and closes the door is, using CCTV to
check it is safe. Southern want to roll it out but unions say it is
dangerous. To the chief inspector of the Railways said providing that
certain measures are in place driver only operation is safe. If you have
the right equipment, competent staff and the right processes and
procedures driver only operation can be safe. The drivers union Aslef has
described the report as a whitewash and says it does not get driver only
operation a clean bill of health. There is the difference between the
three car train in 1986 or 1990 and people running 12 car trains with
much more people on them and very busy platforms and you only get a
couple of seconds to assimilate the images on the train and you cannot
rely on the technology that is meant to support. The trains are already
running driver only and does not seem to be problems which seems to
be more of a political issue. If anything the unions are the icing on
the cake of this issue. A day of significant developments but with
more strike action in the pipeline that does not seem too much hope
from passengers there could be an end to this dispute any time soon.
Let's have a look in a bit more detail at the Office
The rail regulator tested safety of driver only operated
trains already running in the Southern region.
They found that the quality of the CCTV images drivers can see
varied but adequate - though Southern have been told
The inspectors did identify stations where lighting,
foliage or overcrowding could obstruct the driver's view -
and Southern say improvements are being made at those stations
or additional staff provided to help.
Overall the report says there are some 'clear safety
Paul Cox from the RMT Union joins us live from Westminster.
Mr Cox, driver-only operated trains have been ruled safe today -
many commuters will be thinking that it's now time
for you to call off future strikes, and ask your members
Let me first say tender introduction you attributed all the disruption
that has gone on from months to industrial action by trade unions
and that is clearly untrue. I believe you know that so I am quite
upset at the bias displayed by BBC south-east. There has been a lot
of... That was deliberate bias. It was enacted it. If you are going to
tell the people in your region then you should report accurately. That
was a factual statement and most of the action has not been caused --
the destruction has not been caused mainly by industrial action and this
attitude by BBC south-east is recovering. I can answer the
question on the Office of Road and Rail report, if you want. It is down
to whether or not commuters will get the chance to get to work, isn't it?
The report... That is biased again. The report from Office of Road and
Rail is completely detached from reality. It is not an accurate
reflection of what is happening out on the trains. Drivers are reporting
the dreaded working, the they cannot see the doors on the trains because
of lighting issues -- a depleted working. The office of the rail
regulator know this. We have been told repeatedly but decided to
ignore it. It is just not true. It calls into question the integrity of
the regulator. That leads us to believe that is no safety body left
in this country that is not under the influence of the train companies
and the Government. You are choosing this programme of
bias and I can assure you that is not the case. If we had Chris
Grayling on the programme we would question him an equally robust way.
The identity has agreed to hold face-to-face discussions with the
Transport Secretary. -- the RMT. Do you see Chris Grayling as part of
the solution of the problem. He has had his hand on this dispute and MPs
who are biased toward trade unions have decided to take up the fight
against trade unions whereas before they had a meeting in Parliament in
June with everything from Southern all the wanted to do was see the
back of Southern because at that point they recognised Southern what
basket case who were incapable of running a service. It targets of
attacking trade unions seems to be more appealing to Conservative MPs
in the South East. That is where the whole process has been distorted.
Chris Grayling is behind this. We will have to leave it there for the
moment but thank you. You are very welcome.
We'd like to know what you think about the planned strikes which take
or do you feel that they still have a case to fight
over their safety concerns with driver only operated trains?
A warning more homeless people could die in the cold weather
this winter unless more help is given to rough sleepers.
The troubled Thanet amusement park, Dreamland, has been given the
go-ahead to borrow up to ?10 million from a hedge-fund based
The investment's being made as an attempt to keep
Dreamland opened 18 months ago after a major restoration project
and has struggled to generate cash from paying visitors.
A financial expert has called the new loan "very concerning"
for a business "that has always looked very weak".
Dreamland opened with a lot of public money invested -
?18 million by Thanet council, including ?6
million from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
But the private operators could not attract enough visitors
and went into administration and are now relying on a big loan for
It is a long way from the original vison of the park
being run by a not-for-profit organisation.
Now that we have got Arrowgrass investing ?10 million
that means it is likely that those profits will not find their way back
into Thanet and its economy, but will find themselves in the bank
accounts of wealthy people who have invested in Arrowgrass, and that is
Dreamland opened in June 2015 after an ?18 million
But by last August the operator's owed
creditors ?8 million and now the administrators say a loan of up
to 9.9 million will be used to invest
in the site to get it ready for sale.
Looking at the size and value of the business and
the size of the loan, it does seem out of proportion
will have to be asked as to what the overall thrust
and idea of this business proposition will be.
Arrowgrass refused to comment but supporters of Dreamland
It is a significant milestone in the life of Dreamland.
We know that Dreamland needs a lot more investment, it would always be
We know the lease protects its life as a
Heritage amusement park and we think it is a good thing.
Mixed views in Margate on whether more
It has had its day and it is time to move on.
This is the tiny little lifeline we have, so let's give it our all,
Thanet Council said it was aware administrators were working
with investors to secure the future of the park.
Simon Jones is in Margate and joins us now, So Simon,
Some big questions tonight such as Dua Arrowgrass ultimately want to
take over the running of the park, they would not comment. Is it
financially viable in the long-term? Visitor numbers have gone up so you
get them for free and pay per right but if it is not financially viable
could the site to be sold off for housing? The council says that will
not happen but it is certainly clear it is set to be in a lot year for
Dreamland. -- another turbulent year.
It's emerged that up to 34 new wind turbines could be built off Margate
as part of plans to extend the Thanet offshore windfarm.
When it opened in 2010 it was the largest offshore
Owners Vattenfall say the new turbines would be taller
than the 100 that already exist, potentially almost
It's been revealed today that a lorry in Kent where a stowaway
was found crushed to death under Christmas catalogues had been
searched only a short while earlier by French authorities in Calais.
An inquest heard that piles of the books had fallen
on the unidentified man, believed to be in his 30s,
who's body was discovered at the Airport cafe truck stop
in Sellindge, near Ashford in October last year.
Our reporter Leanne Rinne has been at the inquest
other migrants had been removed from the same lorry
Yes, that's right. The inquest was told the lorry driver heard of
people trying to get onto the back of the lorry while he approached the
port of Calais actually pulled over and the French authorities removed
them migrants from the vehicle. Along the side of the lorry was a
large slash so it was not secure and police are not sure if the man found
dead was aboard the lorry at the time of the search or not. The
assistant coroner said this was a tragic accident. He said he was
probably somebody's son, brother, friend.
It's been revealed that one of our busiest hospitals didn't
This programme has seen a report into Fire Safety Management
at the Medway Maritime Hospital in Gillingham.
It reveals that along with the lack of fire drills,
fire wardens haven't been trained, fire alarms not maintained
and many of the buildings would not be able to contain a fire.
The hospital trust say they are now
"on the way to being fully compliant"
Our Health Correspondent Mark Norman reports.
It is a busy hospital, more than 4000 staff caring for 400,000 people
locally and they see half a million patients a year. What would they be
safe if there was a fire? The public should not be worried. Since I have
been here we have done a thorough review and is no safety issues and
never have been to both patients, staff and the public. This report
highlighted some serious issues. It said had been no fire because of
rehearsals in the past 2-3 years and there were no plans to have any,
they had not been -- they had been no fire warden training and there
was limited evidence of maintenance of the fire alarm system. Add to
that problems with risk assessment, fire doors damaged and unclear
evacuation procedures. It is a bit quite serious. Training is an
essential component of the work of all staff and if it is all that long
operational staff it would not be a problem but if it is people pooling
of high dependency patients it could be life threatening. -- dealing with
high dependency. We have reviewed the processes and looked at the
maintenance regimes and evacuation procedures and updated the pilot
policies and done a significant amount of work on fire training with
all staff. The trust tell us things have improved for a number of years,
fire safety was a major concern here. The last fire drill was in
December with the more planned this January. -- three more planned.
Our top story tonight: Direct talks are to take place between the RMT
Union and the Transport Secretary as the Southern Rail
It comes as a report published by the Office of Road and Rail says
that driver-only operated trains are safe.
100 miles for 100 years, how a series of trails to commemorate the
First World War has been created. It has been a crisp winter day to
day. Chile through tonight but less called toward the weekend. The
details later in the programme. -- less cold.
After two homeless people were found dead on the streets
of chatham over Christmas, Homeless charities are warning
there could be further deaths in Kent this winter unless more help
Medway Council currently provides shelters when temperatures drop
below zero for three consecutive nights.
While the council says it's doing as much as it's budget allows,
local charities say more needs to be done.
Chrissie Reidy has tonight's Special Report.
Tributes line the doorway with the homeless man,
Michael McCluskey, was
His daughter, who did not want to appear
on camera, says more emergency shelter
I hope the council pull their finger out and do something
about it because I do not want it be someone else's dad or grandad
Because it is not nice to think your dad was dying there while people
were walking past them in the street.
Medway Council only open shelters when temperatures have
fallen to zero for three consecutive nights,
but people I have spoken to
say communication has been so poor and there
is no way of knowing when
they are open or even getting to them.
I tweeted the council in November and said to them, what is the policy
And they said, "we are advised to take guidance from the
Instead of just sticking their head outside and going, "oh, my God,
Just days after Michael McCluskey was discovered police were
called to the death of another homeless man in the next street.
They've got to wait three consecutive nights for it to fall
below zero before they will put them somewhere.
This should not be going on, it is upsetting, it is
Charities say the system is failing those in desperate need.
So whenever somebody goes for help they get help.
They get help to prevent homelessness or if they become
homeless they get emergency assistance into accommodation or
night shelter right there and then because we have seen the tragic
consequences if that does not happen.
We need the council to engage with the groups out here on a
regular basis, meeting the homeless, speaking to them and looking after
them, we could do with sitting down with the council.
They should have to come down and speak to people and see
Currently we have got to tell them you're homeless.
With numbers of rough sleepers up 30% in
the last few many say emergency provision is now made more than
Almost a third of new teachers who started jobs in English
state schools in 2010, had left the sector by last year.
Now the Valley Invicta Academies Trust, based in Maidstone,
has devised a unique way to try to protect themselves from
The trust is encouraging and financing current students
to return to their former school - as teachers.
It's thought they're the first trust in the country to do it.
Our Education Correspondent Bryony Mackenzie has more.
In my first year seven class one of them asked me
if she needed to use a
So that was quite an interesting question.
My name is Amy and I'm a sixth form student.
Amy has been at Invicta Grammar for seven years.
She is now considering moving to the very front of the class as a
And did you not put any of the parchment paper?
This is an amazing school so coming back
to a good school to become a
I like helping out and showing them what to do as well.
It is nice passing on what I learned through my
The trust runs eight schools in the Maidstone area
and students who show an interest in teaching can get funding towards
their university course and preference over other graduates for
An hour a day I'm with my A-level physics teacher, him teaching
year 13 so I'm sitting observing lesson and sitting
We're educating all these young individuals, very talented, great
Quite often you get lots of people who go
off to university and then do not even come back to Kent, and so this
was a way of getting them to come back to Kent but, most importantly,
get them to come back to us so that we have got rich talent.
If they change their minds, well, they do have to hand
But keeping careers in the family, it is hoped it
Kent County Cricket club have appointed a new coach. Walker spent
the last three seasons as assistant to Jimmy Adams who left the club in
September. The 43-year-old batsmen who made his debut for the company
as a teenager said he is delighted to be working alongside him.
30 trails through towns and countryside in Kent will lead
walkers to discover places, people and events which were
The plan is to research and mark the trails so that people can
It's called 100 miles for 100 years - the idea
stemmed from commemorations for the centenary of the conflict.
The proposal will go ahead this year after being awarded a grant
There is an awful familiarity about pictures like these. It is the First
World War film on Cameron is to show people at home for the first time
what the war abroad was like. -- films on movie cameras. Less
well-known scenes of things at home where Kent was the front line.
Military training, arrival of refugees, embarkation is, they were
all part of life in the county closer to the action. They were
arriving in September 1914, you would have seen the 20,000 Belgian
refugees who arrived at the harbour to be welcomed by the local
families. This woman is leading a project designed to bring the story
of World War I and came to life. 30 new walks in pounds from Dartford to
Dover will lead to stories of what was happening. The idea is to get
people to go into the local area, so many of us just walk by without
looking up and realising the significance of the building, not
realising something important happened there. She thought about
him all her life, even until the last few days... The idea stemmed
from the making of the film in which people talk about their own families
are at war like Richard, a Folkestone farrier. I thought it was
wonderful. I love the forge, the smell, which do not get now. 100
years on this is very much a legacy project and it has received funding
from the Heritage lottery fund. 30 trails across Kent Tele future
generations the stories of the First World War as get out and about. --
telling the future. It is a working project with the first trail due to
be ones in the next few weeks. The story of the folks at home revealed
in the places that they knew. It's been a day of dramatic
developments in the Southern rail dispute - the rail regulator has
ruled that driver only operation is safe and the RMT has
agreed to direct talks Speaking on this programme,
Paul Cox from the RMT Union said: It calls into question the integrity
of the regulator and leads us to believe that is no safety body left
in the country that is not under the influence of the train companies and
the Government. Charlie Rose is in
Brighton this evening. Charlie, Hugh Merriman's suggesting
new legislation could be introduced to end further strike action,
how likely is this? We are hearing some commentators are
suggesting this is not just a growing issue for local MPs but also
a problem for Chris Grayling, whose own job as Transport Secretary could
be on the line if a resolution is not found soon. The local MP could
be looking to bring in legislation from next month banning this sort of
strike action, he said it would be a last resort but it would take at
least one year come into effect and that is not much comfort to
commuters who are expecting another bout of strike action on Tuesday.
Lots of your comment on this. Chris Webb says is totally unacceptable
and the public should be held to ransom like this. We're back to the
bad old days of the 1970s and 80s. Sheila says she is wheelchair
dependent and uses Southern a few times a year and if there is no
guard who will help me on and off the train on an unmanned station?
Had concerns of her and her husband. Mike Parker says straight should
never have taken place and driver only trained clearly work otherwise
networks that have used the system for years problems. Another says
people with usually prefer another member of staff on board the train
for safety reasons. Perhaps the solution could be all trains over
four carriages long could have a second member of staff.
And we're holding a Question Time style debate about the
If you live or work in the south-east and want to take part
at the Chequer Mead Theatre in East Grinstead this Sunday then
send an email to with your name, address and daytime phone number.
The programme airs on Monday the 9th of January at 7.30pm here on BBC1.
It is time to check the weather now. It will be less cold toward the
weekend but that goes hand in hand with more cloud and some rain.
Earlier it was a beautiful but bitterly cold. The hard frost to
start the day, lots of sunshine by the afternoon and temperatures not
much above five Celsius. In two tonight, still those clear skies
those temperatures plummet. Overnight lows of minus two Celsius.
Slightly milder along the coast. The main difference through tonight is
we will see some stubborn mist and fog to start tomorrow. Once again a
frosty start and that mist and fog stubborn to clear and eventually we
see that rain but it is moving slower than initially thought so we
will start to see it during the evening. Mostly dry during the day,
frosty and foggy to start the day. Some sunshine around about lunchtime
but by the afternoon we see more cloud cover, winds are
south-westerly, temperature is a little less cold. Friday and
Saturday, we see that warm front bringing some patchy rain, the
little heavy at times. Cleaving through towards the early hours of
Saturday and it means a much milder night. Temperatures only dropping a
degree or sought from daytime values.
Looking towards the weekend, some rain first thing, a damp start but
mostly staying dry. Feeling milder, rather cloudy, perhaps some rain at
times but as high pressure builds it is looking increasingly settled
through Saturday. Temperatures once again in double figures. Similar
story on Sunday before it turned wet and windy on Monday.
That is from us for this evening. I was about to see exactly the same
thing! I will be back at 8pm and 10:30pm. See you then.
Hello and welcome to The One Show with Matt Baker.