10/01/2012 North West Tonight


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Tonight with Ranvir Singh and Roger Johnson.


Our top story: revisiting the scene of the tragedy - the mother who


lost four children in a fire returns home. The fire service say


smoke alarms at the family's bungalow didn't work.


Also in the programme: faster trains to London move a step closer


- a boost for business or an environmental eyesore? We need good


access to London. Businesses have been crying out for this sort of


transport investment. Alan Shearer's body has been in this


shirt. Big bucks from cast-off kits - the


local firm selling the shirts off the stars' backs.


And is this the world's most expensive chicken? We meet Amelia,


The mother of four children who Supporters say it's the answer to


overcrowding on our railways and will benefit both commuters and


businesses with hugely reduced journey times. Today the prospect


of high speed trains connecting the North West with London in just over


an hour moved a step closer after the Government gave the green light


to the first phase of the project. But critics fear the scheme will


carve up the Cheshire countryside. Abbie Jones reports.


It's no secret our trains are chronically overcrowded. By 2020


the West Coast Main Line will be full. The hope is these new high


speed trains will take the strain. They'd have over 1,000 seats. And


reach 225 miles an hour. Businesses like Manchester Airport say they'll


bring more passengers within their reach. We need to join up air, road,


rail, bus, and this is the sort of move that will make the UK


competitive again. We need good access to London. Businesses have


been crying out for such an investment. It now takes Manchester


passengers two hours and eight mins to get to London. That would drop


by an hour. And there wouldn't just be faster journey times for places


on the high speed network. Preston, Wigan and Lancaster would also see


travel times cut. And although there are concerns trains wouldn't


run right into Liverpool, the journey to London, now two hours


ten minutes, would take an hour and 46. If it reduces journey times, it


is more likely that people will come on short breaks to the likes


of Liverpool. We want to see jobs created, some of which I want to


see go to people who are qualified and perhaps even unemployed in the


Liverpool area. But there's no guarantee yet the


trains will run through the north west. Today the first phase from


London to Birmingham was approved. Supporters hope that means the


second phase up here will be too, but that route won't be chosen


until 2014. A worry for campaigners who fear it may carve up the


Cheshire countryside, without actually stopping at places like


Goostrey, Holmes Chapel and Styal. I don't think it is the major area


or where we need investment in the transport infrastructure. Where we


needed is on the commuter lines. And for that matter, commuter buses.


The trains themselves may be faster than ever, but it will be 2032


before North West passengers can get on them.


A little earlier I spoke to the Rail Analyst Christian Wolmar. I


asked him if he thought HS2 would be a good thing for the North West.


First, I would not be so short that HS2 is going to happen. There is a


parliamentary process. We only have to look in Parliament at the debate


and to see a lot of Tories are unhappy about it. There will be yet


more consultation, and of course then they will have to sort out the


precise route to Manchester and Leeds. It is likely to happen, the


government intends it to happen, but there is still a long way to go


and tell it opens to Birmingham in 2036. Not an Manchester until 2033.


Should it happen? It worries mean that it will take away all rail


investment from other parts of the country and concentrated just on


this one Coral. The other problem is that it has no great


environmental advantage. When the project was put forward, the idea


was that it would be a green project. But it is clear that at


best, it is carbon neutral and it will lose -- used as much C02 in


the present situation. At worst, it might use more carbon.


Environmental concerns are paramount for people who will be


affected by the route. Many people in Cheshire. Have they done enough


in what they have announced today it in terms of the route to


Birmingham to mitigate against the concerns of people? They have made


a lot of effort and that suggests that as the route is designed


further north, they will also ensure that as many mitigating


measures are introduced in order to allay opposition. The ordinary


railways cost a fortune to travel on any rivals to this will be for


rich businessmen, isn't it? Ordinary people will not be able to


afford it. Looking at other countries with high-speed rail, you


tend to have to pay more to go on those services ban on conventional


services. That is logical. On high- speed one, which runs between St


Pancras and the Channel Tunnel, there are pretty good fares for the


Kent commuters who also use that line. I think it will be quite


expensive, certainly I don't think the idea of commuting between


London and Manchester will be feasible, apart from very well-off


people. Thank you very much. Pleasure.


That is his opinion. And we'd like to know what you think about a high


speed rail link from this region to London. Get in touch via email,


The mother of four children who were killed in a house fire three


days ago attended a church service in their memory today. Michelle


Smith joined schoolchildren, parents and friends at St John the


Divine Church in Lytham. Four-year- old twins Holly and Ella, two-year-


old Jordan and their elder brother, Reese, who was 19, died in the


blaze in Freckleton on Saturday night. Meanwhile investigators say


it's highly probable that smoke alarms in the family home weren't


working at the time. Our reporter Peter Marshall is at the scene of


the fire in Freckleton now. Peter, I understand that Michelle


Smith returned to the scene today for what must have been a difficult


return? Yes, Michelle Smith and her family have been through so it


street -- some extremely dark days. Today, she came back to spend some


time looking at the many floral tributes that have been left it and


the message is that where the tragedy happened on Saturday night.


She took time to read the messages and just see how people have been


touched by this. The messages have been from friends, relatives and


total strangers from the community who have been affected by the scale


of this tragedy. Their name of Don to St John the Divine Church for a


special vigil. They lit candles for all the children who died,


including 19-year-old Rhy. I spoke with the vicar of the Church early


and this is what he said. When you lose four children, you cannot put


it into words, you cannot imagine how they are feeling. We will find


out more about that in the days to come.


Peter, we saw Michelle Smith today. We heard from the children's


grandfather yesterday. How are the family coping?


One can only imagine the sort of Tom more oil but they are going


through, to Louis four children from one family. -- the turmoil.


The baby was just two years old. The family has said that the


support they have been shown by so many people in the community has


been such a great help to them. I am sure that the service this


afternoon was a great help as well. Peter, we heard about the probable


inefficient firearms in the property. What is the latest on the


investigation there? A well, the fire service is saying that its


initial investigation shows that it is highly probable that the fire


alarms were not working before the fire. Their tests on the alarms


after the fire show that they were not working, but they had not been


damaged by flames so it is most probable they were not working


before. That probably explains why the fire was able to develop so


fatally and before anybody could react to get in there and stop it


from developing so badly with the outcome that week saw. I spoke to


have Simon Bowen from Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service and he said


to me how important it was that if you have fire alarms installed,


that you check them regularly. the alarms are fitted, clearly you


need to ensure that people maintain them. You need to keep checking and


to ensure that their work. They are an early warning in case of fire.


They are crucial. The smoke alarm provides the early warning.


The investigation into the cause of this awful tragedy continues. We


have still no word on the exact cause of the fire. Peter, thank you


very much indeed. Apologies for the background noise at the start of


A student who went missing after a night out in Manchester has been


found dead in a river near to the city centre. Gurdeep Hayer has been


missing since leaving a nightclub on the 2nd of January. Greater


Manchester Police say they are no suspicious circumstances


surrounding his death. Geologists in the UK say it's


extremely unlikely that "fracking" a controversial process of drilling


for shale gas will lead to water pollution in Lancashire. The


practice which originates in the US and involves pumping high pressure


liquid underground has been deemed as low risk by the British


Geological survey. Fracking by energy company Cuadrilla was halted


in Blackpool last year following concern that it had caused


Back at the start of the recession, we decided to follow a group of


people through the perilous waters of the downturn. They were our Nine


in 09. Among them, the artisan chocolatier who risked it all for a


dream. The estate agent who was living the dream, before it came


crashing down. Well, today we were warned we could be heading towards


the dreaded double dip recession. So, what became of our Nine in 09?


Here's our Economics Correspondent Nine lives, 12 months, one


recession. But what about now? 'Hello again!' Today I went back to


Liverpool to meet Bala. Her chocolate shop had been inspired by


a romantic novel. A gamble, especially in a recession. 'It's


secured on the house, basically it's got to work. Three years on,


this is it. The shop closed after Christmas. It is heartbreaking, it


is sad that it did not work out. When I last came here, the economy


had just crept into economy. Today we are told to expect it to


contract, at least in one quarter. We need two it for it to reach that


dreaded double dip back into recession. So how was the recovery


for Mark, our man in manufacturing? Business boomed in 2010. But in


2011, his biggest customer collapsed. A costly hit. Unemployed


Stephanie Pound is now employed. Agency work, but still work. The


Penney's retirement pot is still pinched by those historic low


interest rates. Rates which show no sign of rising. And how about our


people in property? The crash affected Estate Agent Jonathan


directly. In 09 the posh pad and the hot tub went on the market, as


business dried up. We used to have great parties there. The money was


pouring in at one time. Back today. Well, the money definitely isn't


pouring in, but we're still here.' I honestly don't think that the


market will pick up for another five years. His house never sold.


Neither did that of his client Miranda who we'd also followed.


Economic woes haven't been shared by all. In 09 our Ann's dreams of


an empire beyond fish suppers were in doubt. She'd struggled to get


finance from the banks. But today. Ta darrr! Her chip shop training


academy is open. Over at the coffee shop, she's helped more than 500


people on line. All good news for Woodley where business is finally


picking up. We were closing down at a rate of one every month or so,


but it's really thriving now. And it isn't all over for Bala. The


shop might have closed - the business hasn't. She's still


trading via the internet and farm shops. How confident are you now?


100% actually, because I've learnt so much. A new beginning, hopefully


not in a new recession. Nice to see them all again. Great


news about the chip shop. Three schoolchildren from


Warrington have been injured after a double-decker bus they were


travelling on went through a low bridge. The roof of the bus was


ripped off and the driver is being treated for shock after the


incident this morning in Grappenhall. It is understood the


bus had taken a wrong turn. A senior Labour councillor from


Rochdale has resigned after a video emerged of him allegedly smoking


cannabis. Farooq Ahmed, the councillor for Wardleworth, was


suspended by the Labour party when the matter came to light. Mr Ahmed


denies he was smoking cannabis. Oldham Athletic has praised the way


Liverpool Football club dealt with racism directed towards one of


their players. Defender Tom Adeyemi broke down in tears after


apparently being subjected to racist abuse from a supporter in


the stands at Anfield during an FA Cup clash with Liverpool. Oldham


thanked both Liverpool and Merseyside Police for the way the


Going with a swing - Steve Parry hears from our top gymnasts on


their preparations for London 2012. I think we are almost like sisters.


There will be times when I will be in a mood and she will know how to


stay away! Meet the Cheshire chicken with one


The RSPCA is nursing dozens of seal pups back to health after they were


battered by the recent storms. One of the juveniles was washed up near


a scrapyard at Liverpool docks as it battled against high winds along


the North West coastline. Two of pups are being cared for at a


specialist wildlife hospital in Cheshire from where our Environment


Correspondent Colin Sykes reports. A fish for Steptoe. A fitting name


for this male grey seal pup washed up near a scrapyard at Liverpool.


He's only a couple of months old and swimming in the high seas


proved too much. He was one of those young seals that wasn't just


coping. We had the is storms and the seas have been very choppy and


for the inexperience to seals, it has been very tricky. He was washed


ashore. Steptoe's making good progress.


He's starting to put on weight but it'll be months before he's strong


enough to be released. Seals can normally cope with whatever nature


throws at them, but the last few weeks have been difficult. The


RSPCA is looking after a total of 60 seals. High winds over the last


few weeks have made sea conditions difficult for the grey seal pups


which have only just been weaned and are not strong swimmers Next


door Rudolph is on antibiotics. She's a Common Seal, slightly older


than Steptoe. She was washed up with injuries on the Cumbrian coast.


She had a few wins so the thought is that she was washed up on be


beat and got injured of the rocks. The wounds have picked up


infections as well so I am treating out. Both seals should make a full


recovery They'll be released back They are so cute! Isle of the names


they give to them, Rudolph, There is no doubt that the next two


gymnasts have a unique relationship. Best is Britain's most successful


gymnast ever. Hannah from stop what is the young prodigy who is now


British champion and in the world top 10. In the latest of Our


Special Reports, Steve has been to meet the Dewar at their training


base. Top step has had a reputation for


many things over the years. One thing people don't know is that it


has the most successful gymnastics A lot of that is down to death and


Hanna. They share a coach, a training centre and dreams of


Olympic success. It was not always that way. I used to be a fan when I


was younger. I remember having a picture with her. I was like


everyone else. When I came here, I was like, oh my God, it is best.


But I'm used to what now. No longer star-struck, Hannah And Deaths


stand together as Britain's best gymnasts. -- Hannan and F.


almost like sisters now. We are very friendly and we just catch up.


She knows when to stay away when I am moody. He is more moody? She is!


That is the highest and hardest routine the world has ever seen.


They are always chasing me and making me improve, my team-mates. I


cannot sit back on what I have already achieved. What they both


want to achieve his success in London. She wants that medal so


much and we want her to get it. I would love to finish my career with


a medal. That is the one medal but I am missing and that is why I have


carry on training. How do you think Hannah can do it? She has done


really well recently, nine that the world championships. She can


definitely move into the top spots. It would be a massive result.


are not just draining together for 30 hours a week, they live together


as well along with fellow hopefuls. He spent a lot of time with each


other. I guess it would be horrendous if he did not like one


another. Luckily we get on so it is not an issue. With that type of


team spirit, the only issue for these two is to help each other to


the Olympic glory. They will do it for us's. They


will! We will step -- support them every


They have turned over �1 million trading used football shirts. Our


reporter has been finding out the Big names, big clubs and big wages,


so getting one of these shirts of their backs would said to back a


pretty penny. In 2006, football fans sold their first sherd from


their student home. Role for five years and they are running a big


business, turning over �1 million last year from selling classic


football shirts on line. The first one week salt was a man Utd Brian


Kidd shirt which we sold for 1,200 pounds. That is a players' shirts


from 1989, 1990. I quite like this one, I like the colours. That is a


shirt from 1986 worth about �400. 400 quid! OK, I need a football


expert to explain to the white people are so happy to pay hundreds


of pounds for a bit of polyester. It is unique. There are only so


many match one shirts. Anybody can buy a replica, stick that up with a


replica -- an autograph. If you know and it has been won by a


player and in a specific match, you are getting a piece of the match.


I'm in a stockroom and some of the shirts are not nice, but if I had


to pick one already worn by a player, it would have to be this


one: Alan Shearer's body has actually been in this shirt. Better


still, how about that one? The lads are doing really well, with �2


million of business forecast for next year. They have just bought 15


years of AC Milan's kits. All of the material they used in games,


shirts, socks, even down to underparts. Not so great.


Next, not why but how did the chicken cross the road? Answer?


With a bionic leg! A Cheshire Chicken has undergone major surgery


after breaking its femur in a mystery accident.


Amelia is a rescued battery chicken, and so had a tough start in life.


So when her owner found her struggling, she refused to give up


on her, whatever the cost. Nina Warhurst reports.


Dancing away on her Plumley Farm, you'd never guess Amelia stared


death in the face when she snapped her thigh bone. Her owner had two


options: have her put down or pay for the leg to be saved. Like I


said to the vet, I would have done it to Mike dogs and cats so that


she was my pet, why not do it for her as well?


On the right you can clearly see the snapped bone, then this x-ray


shows where metal pins were placed to secure it with a mini scaffold


on the outside to keep it in place. How much did all that cost? �600!


You realise that people will think you are a bit Crackers spending


that money. Yes, they do. They don't mind


telling me. I have got used to it now. Perhaps it was wise for Sue to


wait until the bill was paid before telling her husband whose


relationship with Amelia has had its challenges.


What relationship you have with the ticking? It is fraught to. The


first time I met her, she paid to me in the eye and since then I have


kept my distance. As you can see, she is back socialising with the


other chickens, but there is some concern that her new-found


celebrity status might prove a bit devices. I think they might be a


bit jealous! But I hope they don't break her leg to get in the papers


and on the telly! I cannot do with the stress, it is too expensive.


Sue's pets haven't put her and John off eating chicken, but from now on


they'll only eat breast. Chicken leg is strictly off the menu.


Oh my word! That is an expensive chicken leg. They will have to get


her insured. Let's get the weather A very mixed day today. Some places


sort it sunshine while others saw cloud. -- sort sunshine. But the


trend is for colder weather. By the time we get to Saturday, daytime


temperatures will have fallen from 12 to around four degrees. That is


only half the story because tonight, temperatures will be low. On Friday


they will be in minus figures. We are definitely going to feel the


contrast. This is what we will see tomorrow: It continues to be cloudy


and drizzly from time to time. It will also be mild so make the most


of it. Where weather crossing the region tonight. For the most part,


it is light and patchy. If anywhere avoids it, it will be parts of


Merseyside and Cheshire. We could all see rain as the night goes on.


The temperatures will be really good tonight. Almost up to 10


degrees. Tomorrow, you wake up with cloud cover and some rain will


linger. This is the weather front that will move away as the morning


continues. Into the afternoon, most places become a drier. I cannot


promise you anything to bright, maybe the Isle of Man will see good


spells of sunshine. Maybe Cheshire and Merseyside as well. They get


the best of the shelter. But for most of us, it is cloudy and mild,


make the most of it because it will be a long time before we see those


temperatures hit 11 again. Before we go, let's get some of


your comments on Facebook. Amanda Jopson says, "Waste of money, sort


the country out first. It's going to take 14 years to build. Very


poor. . Peter Barlow is more positive:


"Why moan, guys? They are doing it to make our lives easier! Es Walker


is a bit worried. He says: "Unless phase two is granted at the same


time, there is no point even starting phase one. The chances are


costs and environmental concerns will spiral to such an extent that


a future government will be pressured to cancel additional


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