05/01/2017 South East Today

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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.