05/01/2017 South East Today


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05/01/2017

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Today's main headlines in the south-east:

:00:00.:00:08.

Driver-only operated trains are safe says a new report,

:00:09.:00:10.

as direct talks are agreed between the Government and the RMT Union.

:00:11.:00:13.

Controversy as Dreamland Amusement park is to borrow up to ?10 million

:00:14.:00:16.

After a sunny winter's day it is a frosty nights to come.

:00:17.:00:41.

It's been a day of rapid developments in the bitter dispute

:00:42.:00:45.

between Southern rail and the unions with just days to go before

:00:46.:00:48.

At 11 o'clock the Office of Road and Rail issued

:00:49.:00:53.

a report confirming - for a second time -

:00:54.:00:55.

that Southern's driver-only operated trains do meet legal requirements

:00:56.:00:57.

At midday Sussex MP Huw Merriman called for new laws to be

:00:58.:01:01.

introduced, to prevent the RMT and Aslef from calling

:01:02.:01:03.

And at just before 2pm this afternoon, the RMT

:01:04.:01:11.

agreed to direct talks with

:01:12.:01:14.

the Transport Secretary Chris Grayling.

:01:15.:01:16.

Could rail strikes like this soon be banned?

:01:17.:01:21.

One Sussex MP is threatening action against the unions if they do not

:01:22.:01:24.

accept today's report that, in principle, driver-only

:01:25.:01:26.

If the unions do not come to their senses on the back of this

:01:27.:01:34.

very detailed report which shows the driver-only operated technology

:01:35.:01:37.

is safe on Southern, that is what the unions asked for,

:01:38.:01:40.

if they are not willing to accept that is the end of the matter

:01:41.:01:43.

and the only conclusion that counts, then I think we will need

:01:44.:01:46.

Southern wants more of its drivers to operate the train doors,

:01:47.:01:52.

The unions argue the quality of the images is poor,

:01:53.:01:57.

but today's report states CCTV quality was varied but adequate.

:01:58.:02:02.

Inspectors did identify stations when lighting,

:02:03.:02:05.

foliage or overcrowding could obstruct the driver's view,

:02:06.:02:08.

but the report concludes there were some clear safety

:02:09.:02:10.

benefits compared to the traditional approach using a guard or conductor.

:02:11.:02:16.

If you have the right equipment, competent staff and the right

:02:17.:02:23.

processes and procedures, driver-only operation

:02:24.:02:27.

The unions say the report is a whitewash.

:02:28.:02:33.

It calls into question the integrity of the regulator and it leads us

:02:34.:02:36.

to believe that there is no safety body left in this country

:02:37.:02:39.

that is not under the influence of the train companies

:02:40.:02:41.

There is a difference between a three-car train in 1986

:02:42.:02:47.

or 1990 with the volume of passengers that we then

:02:48.:02:50.

were running, and running 12-car trains with 1100 people on them,

:02:51.:02:52.

with 30-people-deep on the platform where you can't really

:02:53.:02:55.

But the passengers are the ones suffering.

:02:56.:03:00.

If you work for the public sector you already by definition usually

:03:01.:03:07.

If they are not good enough for you just change

:03:08.:03:10.

I think the concerns are legitimate of the unions.

:03:11.:03:13.

Trains are already running driver-only and there seems to be

:03:14.:03:16.

no problems with it, so it seems to me it's

:03:17.:03:18.

more of a political issue than a safety one.

:03:19.:03:20.

It may have been a day of significant developments,

:03:21.:03:22.

but next week's three-day driver strike is still on.

:03:23.:03:26.

Jon, there have been more political developments tonight.

:03:27.:03:33.

Pressure is mounting on Chris Grayling, the Transport Secretary,

:03:34.:03:40.

pressure from the public, pressure from his own MPs and from the

:03:41.:03:43.

opposition, some even suggest his position could be in jeopardy. One

:03:44.:03:53.

Labour MP Paul me tonight -- told me tonight passengers are nearing

:03:54.:03:57.

breaking point and the risk to Chris Grayling is not necessarily from

:03:58.:04:03.

within his own party but a public story, tragedy, even that could go

:04:04.:04:05.

straight to Chris Grayling's door. straight to Chris Grayling's door.

:04:06.:04:09.

But conservative Huw Merriman says he has the full support of his MPs

:04:10.:04:14.

and his position is not at risk than he is doing a good job, he says.

:04:15.:04:15.

Thank you. And we're broadcasting

:04:16.:04:19.

a special debate about You'll be able to watch that

:04:20.:04:23.

on Monday the 9th of January The troubled Thanet amusement park,

:04:24.:04:27.

Dreamland, has been given the go ahead to borrow up to ?10 million

:04:28.:04:31.

from a hedge-fund based The investment's being made

:04:32.:04:33.

as an attempt to keep Dreamland opened 18 months ago

:04:34.:04:39.

after a major restoration project and has struggled to generate cash

:04:40.:04:43.

from paying visitors. A financial expert has called

:04:44.:04:45.

the new loan "very concerning" for a business "that has always

:04:46.:04:48.

looked very weak". Dreamland opened with a lot

:04:49.:04:50.

of public money invested - ?18 million by Thanet council,

:04:51.:04:58.

including ?6 million from the

:04:59.:05:00.

Heritage Lottery Fund. But the private operators could not

:05:01.:05:04.

attract enough visitors and went into administration and are

:05:05.:05:06.

now relying on a big loan for It is a long way from

:05:07.:05:10.

the original vison of the park being run by a not-for-profit

:05:11.:05:15.

organisation. Now that we have got Arrowgrass

:05:16.:05:18.

investing ?10 million, that means it is likely that those

:05:19.:05:21.

profits will not find their way back Dreamland opened in June 2015

:05:22.:05:25.

after an ?18 million But by last August

:05:26.:05:32.

the operator's owed creditors ?8 million and now

:05:33.:05:38.

the administrators say a loan of up to 9.9 million will be used

:05:39.:05:41.

to invest in the site to get

:05:42.:05:43.

it ready for sale. Looking at the size and value

:05:44.:05:48.

of the business and the size of the loan,

:05:49.:05:51.

it does seem out of proportion, will have to be asked

:05:52.:05:54.

as to what the overall thrust and idea of this business

:05:55.:06:01.

proposition will be. Arrowgrass refused to comment,

:06:02.:06:03.

but supporters of Dreamland It is a significant milestone

:06:04.:06:05.

in the life of Dreamland. We know that Dreamland needs a lot

:06:06.:06:09.

more investment, it would always be We know the lease

:06:10.:06:12.

protects its life as a Heritage amusement park

:06:13.:06:15.

so we think it is a good thing. Mixed views in Margate

:06:16.:06:18.

on whether more It has had its day and

:06:19.:06:19.

it is time to move on. This is the tiny little lifeline

:06:20.:06:28.

we have, so let's give it our all, Thanet Council said it was aware

:06:29.:06:32.

administrators were working with investors to secure

:06:33.:06:35.

the future of the park. Our reporter Piers

:06:36.:06:42.

Hopkirk is in Margate. It's long been a part

:06:43.:06:44.

of regeneration plans there Piers, I think this investment from some

:06:45.:07:02.

questions over the future of Dreamland. Does this company want to

:07:03.:07:09.

make an investment or half an eye to taking over the running of the park,

:07:10.:07:14.

Arrowgrass? They would not answer any of our questions tonight. As to

:07:15.:07:19.

the long-term economic viability of the park, they tell us since they

:07:20.:07:23.

change the developing strategy visitor numbers are up but if it

:07:24.:07:28.

ceased to be keirin -- ceased to become economic revival would be

:07:29.:07:33.

land be handed over to house in? Thanet District Council tells us

:07:34.:07:35.

that simply will not happen. And it's emerged that up to 34

:07:36.:07:37.

new wind turbines could be built off Margate as part of plans to extend

:07:38.:07:40.

the Thanet offshore windfarm. Owners Vattenfall say

:07:41.:07:43.

the new turbines would be taller than the 100 that already exist,

:07:44.:07:45.

potentially almost After two homeless people

:07:46.:07:48.

were found dead on the streets of Chatham over Christmas,

:07:49.:07:52.

charities are warning there could be further deaths in Kent this winter

:07:53.:07:56.

unless more help is provided Medway Council currently provides

:07:57.:08:01.

shelters when temperatures drop below zero for three consecutive

:08:02.:08:05.

nights. Tributes line the doorway

:08:06.:08:06.

where the homeless man, Michael McCluskey, was found

:08:07.:08:17.

on Christmas eve morning. His daughter, who did not

:08:18.:08:20.

want to appear on camera, says more emergency shelter should

:08:21.:08:23.

have been made available. I hope the council pull their finger

:08:24.:08:25.

out and do something about it because I do not want it be someone

:08:26.:08:28.

else's dad or grandad Because it is not nice

:08:29.:08:31.

to think your dad was lying there while people were walking

:08:32.:08:35.

past him in the street. Medway Council only open shelters

:08:36.:08:37.

when temperatures have fallen to zero for three consecutive

:08:38.:08:39.

nights, but people I have spoken to say communication has been

:08:40.:08:42.

so poor there is no way of knowing when they are open or

:08:43.:08:45.

even getting to them. I tweeted the council

:08:46.:08:47.

in November and said to them, And they said, "We take our guidance

:08:48.:08:50.

from the "Met Office," instead of just sticking their head outside

:08:51.:08:58.

and going, "Oh, my God, Just days after Michael McCluskey

:08:59.:09:03.

was discovered police were called to the death of another homeless man

:09:04.:09:07.

in the next street. They've got to wait three

:09:08.:09:10.

consecutive nights for it to fall below zero before

:09:11.:09:12.

they will put them somewhere. Charities say the system is failing

:09:13.:09:15.

those in desperate need. So that whenever somebody goes

:09:16.:09:25.

for help they get help. They get help to prevent

:09:26.:09:28.

homelessness or if they become homeless they get emergency

:09:29.:09:31.

assistance into accommodation or They need to come down and speak

:09:32.:09:33.

to people and see how bad it is. Currently we have got to prove

:09:34.:09:38.

to them we're homeless. With numbers of rough

:09:39.:09:41.

sleepers up 30% in the year, many say emergency provision is now

:09:42.:09:46.

needed more than ever. We'll have the national

:09:47.:09:54.

weather in a moment, first here's the forecast

:09:55.:09:59.

for the south-east with Rachel. Good evening. It has been a crisp

:10:00.:10:09.

winter's day with temperatures struggling to get above three

:10:10.:10:13.

Celsius and through tonight we hold onto those clear skies and

:10:14.:10:19.

temperatures once again plummet. Slightly milder on the coast. The

:10:20.:10:24.

main change tomorrow is we start the day with some stubborn mist and fog.

:10:25.:10:29.

Eventually through tomorrow evening we will see rain but for others in

:10:30.:10:34.

the south-east corner we should be mostly dry. Misty and 40 frosty

:10:35.:10:39.

first thing but some sunshine in the middle part of the day. More cloud

:10:40.:10:44.

in the afternoon and added as temperatures slightly milder than

:10:45.:10:51.

today. Those winds back to the south-westerly direction, picking up

:10:52.:10:55.

through tomorrow night. Much milder toward the weekend. Outbreaks of

:10:56.:10:57.

rain for Friday into Saturday. creeping up by a notch or two, 10,

:10:58.:11:03.

maybe nine Celsius. Here is Louise with the national picture.

:11:04.:11:11.

Won't it cold and frosty this morning? The coldest night of the

:11:12.:11:18.

winter so far in England. Down to minus 8 Celsius. But widely, the

:11:19.:11:23.

temperatures below freezing. Through the night, cloud and rain, so

:11:24.:11:27.

temperatures for many holding up above

:11:28.:11:28.