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Welcome to Spotlight. so it's goodbye from me,
As we go on air tonight a major incident has
has been evacuated, we will have the has been evacuated, we will have the
latest from the scene. Also Tonight as council tax bills go
up in Cornwall and services are cut, Well, my message to Government
is that they're not helping us. My message to the Government is that
austerity can only go on for so This simple wooden frame is
transforming a woman's life. It's revolutionised my life,
really, I would say. Living together separately,
the co-housing idea which is gaining popularity, we'll find
out how it works. First tonight, a major incident has
been declared in Exeter. The Riverside Leisure Centre has
been evacuated after Fire crews were called just
after four O'clock this afternoon and the health suite was described
as "well alight". Swimmers were forced to flee
the building after the pool I just remember what I was told at
school, left everything and got out. Grabbed my coat but everything else
was left in there. Obviously you are thinking of safety so you just get
out. I've just been speaking to the
incident commander. The fire is still burning, the Fire Service
believe it has spread to the roof. They have an aerial platform up
there trying to make sure it is contained. It started in the sauna
and quickly filled the centre with smoke. They evacuated the people to
a nearby cafe where they are being cared for. This major incident is on
one of the major routes through Exeter and is causing severe traffic
problems. One piece of good news, we have just heard there were only two
casualties with only my -- minor injuries.
Of course we'll keep across developments and bring
There are also all the photographs and information on our BBC Spotlight
page. "Many believe local
Government is under assault." The words of the leader
of Cornwall Council John Pollard, as the authority today became
the latest in the south west With council tax rises
and cuts to services, The average household in Cornwall
will have to pay an extra ?50 per year on its council tax
bill from April. It's a rise of nearly 4%,
half of which will go Cuts of ?33 million have also
been given the go-ahead. Cornwall's decision comes days
after Devon and Dorset councillors approved increases of almost 5%
along with a near 4% rise in Somerset
which prompted angry protests. Tamsin Melville has been following
the days events in Truro... It is becoming a bit like an annual
production. The same themes, largely the same characters and plot seems
to end the same way for the people of Cornwall, bigger bills, fewer
services and this plea from the lead leader. My message to the Government
is they are not helping us. My message is that austerity can only
go once so long, that needs to change. My message is please invest
in adult social care. Since 2010 Cornwall Council is made savings of
nearly ?200 million. In the coming year there will be another ?33
million cut. Not many areas of spending escape but off-loading
libraries and leisure centres is key this year. Council tax bills are
going up again by ?1 a week for an average band D household. Part of
this is the screws of leak for adult social care. Personally I'm happy
that's really good. They need to be that's really good. They need to be
looked after and not thought of as a nuisance. Surge in the pit of my
heart just thinking, more money, more money. We can rob Peter to
people as long as we like but not people as long as we like but not
everyone will benefit. Councillors could have put another 1% on council
tax for social care but this was rejected, with some conservatives
themselves angered at the thought. We have to stand firm and canvas
central Government and say on social care it is a nationwide problem and
they need to fund it from the centre. And what will the ?5 million
raised actually fund? A lot of that will get sucked up through the
increases to the living wage, the national living wage obviously
influence those hikes to the lowest paid, which I absolutely agree with
and should happen. So the 2% really will only just cover that. Today's
vote also paves the way for around 300 further job losses by 2020.
Meanwhile the Government is insisting its financial settlement
councils is fair. Tamsin Melville is at
County Hall in Truro. So what is the Government saying
about its sale settlement councils? It is saying that they have put more
money into social care and that the four-year Central meant they are
giving councillors means they can plan ahead. But it is not just
hearing Cornwall there taking issue. Councils across the south-west
grouping together saying there needs to be an urgent review and that
Whitehall simply isn't addressing the crisis in social care funding.
MPs at Westminster will be tomorrow debating the settlement but it is
looking unlikely that any new money for adult social care will be making
its way from central Government. Thank you.
The pub trade in the South West has added to the growing pressure
on the Government to rethink controversial changes
Recently we featured concerns from some owners of holiday
lets who also face a big increase in bills.
Now some pubs say they are also being penalised.
The Babbacombe Inn in South Devon says its rates
But the Government says increases will be capped and the average bill
Martin Strange has been here for 18 years, and
has invested heavily in the Babbacombe Inn.
His business has grown and so have his business rates.
The rates assessment of his pub has risen 650%.
Over the next five years it will triple,
It's taken away the stimulus to invest in this market and this
Because the busier you are, the better you are, the more you
grow your business, the more you're going to get taxed.
Business rates for shops are based on rents and
floor space, but for pubs it takes into account turnover as well.
This means the more successful you are the more you pay.
But in turn it also means a like-for-like pub not
doing so well will pay much less for selling exactly
The hospitality trade body ALMR is calling on the Government to
At the moment pubs across the country are
subsidising the business rate burden by about ?500 million a year.
That is ?500 million we think they are paying more than they
So we are asking for some temporary help.
But whilst some pubs are unhappy, other businesses, like
retailers, are expecting their rates to fall because our economy
That said, the fall might not be as much as they hope.
Retailers, for example, that think they may be in line for a
big decrease, they are not going to do as well
because that decrease bytransitional relief is being offset
against the increases elsewhere in the country.
The Department for Communities and Local Government
says the average bill for pubs in the south-west will go down.
There will be caps on rate rises and there
will be transitional relief where the increase is high, and that
Martin, though, will be one of those who loses out.
And he says it could mean he'll have to put his expansion plans on hold.
Businesses are now calling on the Government to drop
Our Political Editor Martyn Oates is in Westminster for us tonight.
As you say this is by no means confined to tour by. At beginning of
the year we heard concerns from St Ives. I am joined by their MP who is
one of a few Conservative MPs very unhappy about this. It is worth
pointing out that for many businesses in Cornwall the business
rate revaluation is positive. More than half will be taken out of
business rates altogether. I think the Government has done good work in
most respects. But the average increase is 24% across most
businesses. But for some it is 60% going up to 100% increase. ?1000 a
month sums for in St Ives. Rubicon tolerate that. The secretary has
been pretty unsympathetic. He says it is the result of distortion and
scaremongering. 32 small businesses have approached me and given me
their rent figures on how their rates have increased. We are taking
each one of those to the valuation office to get them to look again. I
believe there is a mistake being made wasn't Ives, I believe they
have concentrated on big business and perceived prosperity there. We
need to make sure this formula works so that the small businesses who
work hard in St Ives, to then put an extra ?1000 on their business rates
they have to get that whether they work or not. Personally business
rates doesn't work. It's just an arbitrary figure. Thank you. As I
said the Communities Secretary has not been to be sympathetic. There is
a rumour that the Chancellor could be rather more is pathetic in his
budget in two weeks' time. Thank you.
A privately run home in Cornwall that provides care for adults
with learning and physical disabilities is being investigated
after allegations were made about the care being provided.
Bowden Derra Park near Launceston currently has 70
Cornwall council says no-one is at immediate risk of any harm.
As you can see behind me, this is a sprawling estate. At the top you can
couple of the properties. It is in those properties where they care for
the adults who have learning and physical disabilities, some of them
also have rather complex health care needs. This morning is when we were
first alerted to a situation. A joint statement came out saying a
number of allegations had been made about the care being received. They
have suspended all placements to the home whilst those allegations are
currently investigated. What we have also know is that yesterday the Care
Quality Commission sent in a team of inspectors. We don't know their
findings, but we do know that when they last came in in March 2016 they
rated it of overall a good standard. All sides have met today to discuss
the allegations which have been public rereleased will stop we know
70 adults are being currently cared for here. Just over half of those
are on council funded places. The ferry has stressed this afternoon
that the allegations have not raised concerns that anyone is at immediate
risk of harm. Some of the families who have loved ones in the home have
been in contact with their local MP to praise the on-site care. In a
statement released this evening the care home has made it clear that the
health, safety and well-being of the individuals it cares for is its top
priority. It will continue to work closely, it says, with Cornwall
Council but its focus remains to providing the same excellent care it
has done here for over 38 years. Stay with us for the animated
version of Archie the Fire dog. And later news of a
change in the weather. Well, Storm Doris has been named
but what impact will it have on the south-west when it
hit us on Thursday? I'll have all the details
later in the programme. A woman from Devon has
described a simple wooden Sally Morgan has multiple sclerosis
and hasn't been able to stand She is now able to be upright
for around an hour a day. The frame isn't universally
available on the NHS, but now academics at Plymouth University
are leading a trial to assess Our health correspondent
Jenny Walrond has more. It's a simple but sturdy frame
and for Sally Morgan it She has multiple sclerosis
and hasn't been able to stand up for Sally has been taking
part in a study run by Plymouth University, looking
at whether the standing frame is effective in helping people
improve their strength. Oh, it's revolutionised my life,
really, I would say. Obviously, when you are sedentary,
when you are sat down most of the time, all
your muscles contract. Whereas now the muscles
behind my knees and my quads in my legs, all my those types of things
have suddenly become more stretched and my upper body strength has
improved and it is freeing up The frames have been made
by a family firm for some time. They cost around ?500
but, in order to get them commissioned on the NHS,
academics must prove that they are effective in improving things
such as core strength We are hoping to find out,
firstly, to see whether this intervention is effective,
because without that kind of evidence then we are unable to often
provide this kind of equipment because we need evidence to
demonstrate to commissioners of care who purchase these kind of aides
and equipment to see whether it is relevant for people and whether it
does make a difference to their lives and whether it
is cost-effective. For Sally and her husband Matt
the change has been obvious. Her legs are less swollen,
she is now able to stand for about an hour, and finds it easier
to transition from her Well, it's been amazing for Sally -
it really has transformed her life. Dealing with MS on a day-to-day
basis was really tough for both of us, but it has
made her physically more positive, she feels she is able to do
more, much more. The trial is ongoing
and still needs more volunteers. If the results show that others
benefit as Sally has, this could become
available on the NHS. There are details about that study
on our BBC Spotlight facebook page. You don't have to be a member
of facebook to find them. Now a quick round up of some
of the other stories tonight An official site built to house
travellers at a Devon beauty Teignbridge Council wants
to build three more units at the Haldon Ridge
site near Exeter. A decision on the additional pitches
is expected in April. Plans to pedestrianise parts
of Taunton town centre have Taunton Deane Borough Council wants
to ban traffic from East Street, Hammet Street and St James Street
for an 18-month trial period. The plans are on display
at Taunton Library. People are being asked
for their views on scrapping free deckchairs for the over 60s
on Weymouth Esplanade. Weymouth and Portland Borough
Council says scrapping the free pass for those who live in the borough
would save ?5,000 a year. The deckchairs have been free
of charge for the past 30 years. The Somerset trained horse
Thistlecrack that was favourite to win this year's Cheltenham Gold Cup
will miss out due to injury. Its not all doom and gloom
at Colin Tizzrd's yard though as he does still have the second
and third favourites. It's a familiar part of student
life, but now communal living is becoming increasingly popular
among older people. It's known as co-housing
and involves residents living in smaller properties and sharing
a kitchen, dining area The idea may help to ease the
growing pressure on housing and could be rolled out across the
south-west. A number of sites have already been earmarked. Our reporter
has been to one scheme in Dorset to see how it works.
They live side-by-side but they are not students.
They get on well but some have only just met.
They eat together but this is not a house
There are 14 separate homes here at the
But when it comes to gardening and cooking
They have one central kitchen and dining
For them it is a greener way of living, a
And they are therefore each other if they need support.
Actually, what this was very important for me was
that my son stopped worrying about me,
because he knew there were lots
of people around who would look out for me.
It's sending a message, really, to other people that these things
can be done and sustainability is not
just about the green aspects and the environment, it's about people
living together within a sustainable community.
Co-housing is a microcosm of humanity.
You have exactly the same issues that any group of people
have, it's just that it's an intentional community,
so we intend to make the effort to get on with
each other and do things together and enjoy life together.
According to the most recent figures, there
are 7 million single person houses have sold in the UK.
And we although about the shortage in housing
Well, here in Bridport, 40 miles away from the Threshold Centre, one
local group are hoping another co-housing scheme can help to
The co-housing movement started in Denmark in the 1960s.
It is now growing in popularity with other schemes near
In Bridport, they are now confident work will begin here in the spring.
We are looking at the sort of lives we want to live in the future and
the constraints we may face on our lives in the future, and I think
that co-housing will answer many of them
because it is flexible and
people can have as little or as much company as they need.
I suppose a real hermit would need somewhere
else, you know, they wouldn't like it.
But for most people there are benefits.
Particularly single parents, there is a distinctive benefit.
The town is very supportive of us, the sort of people that live
here, a lot of people are interested in what we are doing and interested
The first residents will be moving in to the Bridport co-housing scheme
For now, at the Threshold Centre, there are chores to be done.
Now they're man's best friend and we must admit
We were more than a little pleased to see these
dogs with jobs arrive at our studios this morning.
Devon and Cornwall Police's Cosmic and Tara, accompanied
by their handlers and volunteer puppy walker were here
for an interview with Radio Devon's David Fitzgerald.
But they're not the only dogs with an important
You may remember Archie from the Cornwall Fire
and Rescue Service, who appeared on Spotlight last year.
Well, now he has a starring role in his very own animation.
Reporting for duty and ready for the next shout, Archie the fire
dog and his canine colleague Woody have become rather animated.
And my name is Woody and I'm learning to become a
He is not quite three years old and he's part
Archie's role is to assist us in determining potentially the
causes of fires and looking for ignitable liquids or hydrocarbons
stranger to the spotlight. or develop that fire Archie is no
He has already been on our red sofa and is
He's also got an important job to do.
Get ready, Archie - the alarm is ringing!
Archie and Woody's fire investigation adventure shows
everything from the paw protectors going on to Archie arriving at the
We wait for the firefighters to put out the fire.
Now we sniff the whole room, searching for any of the scents we
So what we are going to do is test Archie and see if he can
Now, Mark, what have you put on this?
It's methylated spirits that is on that
stick, which is one of the hydrocarbons that
Now I'm going to hide it under this door frame.
How long do you think it will take him to find it?
Well, with a bit of direction from myself, he is purely
looking on scent, 20 to 30 seconds, maximum.
Archie's skill or mose in helping to find the
possible causes of fires has given the animators plenty to work with.
Since the release of the film in the early part of last week,
we've had several thousand people viewing it already, and we've had
some really positive feedback from all over
the country and all over the world, actually.
And they think it's a great adventure.
But there are some serious safety messages in the film.
Always remember, if a fire does start - get out,
And what about after a hard day's work?
And we'd like to hear from you if you have a dog with a job.
Whether it's a hearing dog, service dog, guide dog or herding dog,
if you rely on your dog day-to-day, why not tell us your story.
There are the usual ways to get in touch.
Let's see what the weather is doing across the south-west.
As long as they're an know whether dogs! We have had a lot of fog
across the south-west. We've had low cloud, mist, generally fairly murky
conditions, but I think tomorrow we should see the breeze pick-up and
that could lift the cloud in places. A largely great, damp day. You can
see we have a fair amount of cloud across much of the UK. We haven't
had much in a way of sunshine. It is all tied in with this weather front.
We are on the southern side of it so we have fairly warm, moist air but
it leaves us with fog. Tomorrow the breeze or pick-up, it could shift
the cloud in places but we will see a largely overcast today. On
Thursday we have Storm Doris, the greatest impact is further north but
we will see gusts of 40 to 50 mph. Acquired today on Friday, light
winds and a little more in the way of sunshine. There's been a lot of
cloud today. You can see we've had light rain and drizzle two. Earlier
today one of our went to the North coast of Cornwall. The breeze is
dropping receives an little but you can see the extent of the cloud,
it's solid, it's low. Poor visibility, low cloud. Many of us
have not seen the sun today. That will continue through tonight. Out
there tonight there is a lot of cloud, tonight there will be light
rain and drizzle. The breeze picks up but they're still could BC and
hill fog. Temperatures by night what you would expect by day, falling to
around eight or 9 degrees. That means tomorrow has a similar start.
Low cloud, rain. Rain is light and patchy but could turn heavier over
them higher ground. The breeze could pick up lifting the cloud but I
think you will be fairly lucky if you see the sun. Temperatures still
doing very well for the time of year, most places making it into
double figures. One or two spots could hit 11 or 12 degrees. For the
Isles of Scilly there will be a lot of cloud, mainly dry, but extensive
mist and fog, and the wind is picking up in the afternoon and
overnight. Here are the times of high water. Roughly three in the
morning and afternoon. In terms of service, we have slightly bigger
waves towards the north coast, down towards the south we have three to
five foot and messy. A breezy day tomorrow, rains from West to
south-west. There will be rain and drizzle on and off through the
course of the day, visibility moderate or good occasionally poor.
Tomorrow is a mild day, very little difference between today and
tomorrow. If anything we will see a little more breeze. Thursday we will
see a spell of rain early on clearing by lunchtime and while many
of us will see sunshine, from lunchtime onwards we will get the
in the warning area but we could see in the warning area but we could see
some strong winds. In Devon and Cornwall we could see gusts of 40 to
50 mph. A slightly cooler at night Thursday into Friday. And we should
then see more in a way of sunshine on Friday but it will be cooler. It
turns milder through the weekend. Wind is picking up on Saturday, a
lot of cloud with some fairly heavy downpours.
A reminder of the top story. Major incident has been declared after a
fire broke out in the leisure centre in central Exeter. One person
received minor burns. We will have the latest on tonight's late news.
That is all for tonight from us. Good night.
Nawal El Saadawi, the world-renowned Egyptian author
A fearless feminist facing a world in turmoil.