05/01/2017 South East Today

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Today's main headlines in the south-east:


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


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


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


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


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


between Southern rail and the 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.


Could rail strikes like this soon be banned?


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


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


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


very detailed report which shows the driver-only operated technology


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


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


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


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


The unions argue the quality of the images is poor,


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


Inspectors did identify stations when lighting,


foliage or overcrowding could obstruct the driver's view,


but the report concludes there were some clear safety


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


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


processes and procedures, driver-only operation


The unions say the report is a whitewash.


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


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


that is not under the influence of the train companies


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


or 1990 with the volume of passengers that we then


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


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


But the passengers are the ones suffering.


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


If they are not good enough for you just change


I think the concerns are legitimate of the unions.


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


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


more of a political issue than a safety one.


It may have been a day of significant developments,


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


Jon, there have been more political developments tonight.


Pressure is mounting on Chris Grayling, the Transport Secretary,


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Thank you. And we're broadcasting


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


on Monday the 9th of January 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 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


so 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. Our reporter Piers


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


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


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


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


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


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


change the developing strategy visitor numbers are up but if it


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


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


that simply will not happen. And 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. Owners Vattenfall say


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


potentially almost After two homeless people


were found dead on the streets of Chatham over Christmas,


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


unless more help is provided Medway Council currently provides


shelters when temperatures drop below zero for three consecutive


nights. Tributes line the doorway


where the homeless man, Michael McCluskey, was found


on Christmas eve morning. His daughter, who did not


want to appear on camera, says more emergency shelter should


have been made available. 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 lying there while people were walking


past him 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 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, And they said, "We take our guidance


from the "Met Office," 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. Charities say the system is failing


those in desperate need. So that 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 They need to come down and speak


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


to them we're homeless. With numbers of rough


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


needed more than ever. We'll have the national


weather in a moment, first here's the forecast


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


winter's day with temperatures struggling to get above three


Celsius and through tonight we hold onto those clear skies and


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


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


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


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


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


in the afternoon and added as temperatures slightly milder than


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


temperatures for many holding up above