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Jackie Roberts: Megan's death especially difficult as universities resume

Jackie Roberts, whose daughter was one of three people who drowned in York's rivers last winter, has been speaking to ITV Calendar about coping with the loss of her daughter.

She explained how this has been an especially difficult time as students return to York University where Megan would have been due to start her third year.

Jackie told Christine it would also have been Megan's 21st birthday this week:


Families launch York river safety campaign

The loved ones of three young people who have drowned after nights out in York this year today joined forces to spearhead a new safety campaign to try and prevent further tragedies.

In the space of a just a few weeks, 20 year-old Megan Roberts, Ben Clarkson who was 22 and 18 year-old Tyler Pearson died in the city's rivers.

Today, as police and the local council outlined their own safety campaigns, the families released emotional videos highlighting the trauma of their loss.

Lisa Adlam reports:

Bereaved families' emotional river safety films

The families of three young people who drowned in York's rivers this year have made individual films highlighting river safety.

The personal and highly-emotional videos have been made by Jackie Roberts, mother of Megan Roberts, Steve Pearson, father of Tyler Pearson and Rachel Peatfield, girlfriend of Ben Clarkson as part of a new safety campaign to try to prevent further tragedies.

Clampdown on illegal car parks

Illegal car parks in Leeds are being clamped down on as Leeds City Council takes action on firms who have failed to make the sites they use safe and secure.

Following a decision in March 2012, which saw the council approve 12 temporary long stay commuter car parks on cleared private land, firms running a number of car parks were given planning permission on the basis that a variety of improvements would be made such as landscaping, surfacing, clearly marked spaces, security lighting and signage.

Despite repeated written reminders from the council, West Register - who ran various car parks on Globe Road - failed to implement environmental improvements.

Although given over 18 months to complete the environmental improvements, including the Planning Inspector giving six months’ notice following an enforcement appeal, they still failed to do so.

It’s very disappointing that due to the failure of the organisations running these car parks to make sure they met reasonable obligation, they have to close.

"They’ve had plenty of time and reminders of what they need to do, yet still the work hasn’t been done.

"They’ve been continuing to operate as a profitable business, so they have no excuse for not making sure that the car parks are safe and pleasant for motorists to use and don’t blight the area.

"These were key factors when the planning decision was taken. Unfortunately, we have reached the point where prosecution is the only remaining option.”

– Cllr Peter Gruen, Executive Member for Neighbourhoods, Planning and Personnel

It is important to remember that these car parks were only put in place as a temporary measure due to delays in developments at these sites as a result of the economic downturn.

“Although inconvenient for users, action had to be taken against these car parks otherwise it would be unfair on other car parking organisations that have complied with the rules and actually invested in their sites.

"It is also important that cark parks don’t just look like bomb sites if we’re serious about making our city attractive.

“There are plenty of alternative car parks for drivers including the city’s park & ride at Elland Road which has seen a steady increase in users since its opening which is expected to continue.”

– Cllr Richard Lewis, executive board member responsible for transport and the economy

Speed limit increased on Grimsby route

North East Lincolnshire Council has approved plans to raise the speed limit on the Grimsby stretch of Peaks Parkway from 30mph to 40mph.

Councillors unanimously supported a recommendation made by a Cabinet working group set up to look into the issue earlier this year following a petition signed by almost 2,000 people calling for an increase to the limit.

The change will be to the 30mph zone from the traffic lights at B&Q to the 50mph zone past the Weelsby Road junction and should be in place by the end of October.

In addition, members also agreed to keep the average speed cameras in place in the area, along with a scrutiny panel looking into the consistency of the use of speed cameras across the borough.

We believe the decision to increase the speed limit in this way not only addresses the needs of the local community, but also the needs of business and visitors to Grimsby and other parts of North East Lincolnshire.

“We are doing the right thing to change this policy, but I would also stress that while we have increased the speed limit to 40mph, members of the public need to drive accordingly.

"You have got what you wanted, but if you speed above the limit you will rightly get a ticket.”

– Cllr Chris Shaw, North East Lincs Council leader


Families make films highlighting river safety

The families of three young people who drowned in York's rivers this year are to take part in a new safety campaign to try to prevent further tragedies.

The local police and council are due to announce their plans today on how to tackle the drinking culture which has been a factor in a number of drownings in the city.

Jackie Roberts from Wetherby, whose daughter Megan drowned after a night out has made a film highlighting river safety - as have the loved ones of Ben Clarkson and Tyler Pearson who also died.

Leeds Council leader calls for more devolution

The Scottish Referendum has proved people feel passionately about, and want to get involved with, political debate when it directly involves them and their local communities.

"This result reinforces the widespread belief that further devolution must happen, giving local people much more say and control over spending and investment in their areas to promote growth, job creation, stronger communities and prosperity for all.

"For this to happen we need a true commitment to decentralisation and there needs to be a genuine timetable in place, with strong direction as to how this will happen.

"Leeds City Council and its partner neighbouring local authorities in the Leeds City Region will continue to call for significantly more devolution from Whitehall, not only for countries but for cities and city regions, in terms of greater decision-making powers and financial control including local tax retention.

"This is vital if we are to be able to take the local action we know we need to improve transport connections between different economic markets - to promote growth, create jobs and in turn rebalance the national economy to benefit the north.

"As we referred to in the Commission on the Future of Local Government document, there is no longer a one size fits all approach to be taken in the UK.

"Devolved powers to Scotland and Wales have already created very different environments for local government, and this needs to be built on across the whole country. Councils are becoming increasingly innovative and effective in the way they deliver services and are closer to the communities they serve, and therefore better placed to deliver locally.

"All of the main political parties agree that the national economy must be rebalanced, and we look forward to them delivering on those words as quickly as possible so the Leeds and wider northern economy can be allowed to grow and realise its immense potential for the benefit of millions of people and the country as a whole."

– Cllr Keith Wakefield, Leeds Council leader

River safety camapign launched in York

The families of three young people who drowned in York's rivers are to take part in a new safety campaign to prevent further tragedy.

Megan Roberts who drowned in York Credit: North Yorkshire Police

The local police and council are due to announce later today their plans on how to tackle the drinking culture which has been a factor in a number of river related deaths in the city.

Three short films highlighting river safety in York made by the family and friends of three young people who have died in the city over the past year will also be launched.

There is one film each by Jackie Roberts, mother of Megan Roberts, Steve Pearson, father of Tyler Pearson and Rachel Peatfield, girlfriend of Ben Clarkson.

Judicial challenge over cattle market sale

Councillors in Louth have agreed to start a judicial review against the process taken by East Lindsey District Council to sell Lincolnshire's only surviving cattle market.

Louth Cattle Market Credit: ITV Yorkshire

The decision will see Louth Town Council working in partnership with the community interest company, Keep Louth Special to start a judicial review into ELDC's process in selling Louth Cattle Market to Asda.

The town council also claim that the cattle market could actually be under the ownership of the Louth Mayor not East Lindsey District Council if it can be proved that the 1848 Louth Markets and Improvement Act was not dissolved following the introduction of the 1974 Local Government Act.

If that act still stands then essentially the district council do not own the cattle market. It is in fact, the responsibility of the Mayor.

"This could alter what happen in Louth for years to come.

"The judicial review is about the decision making process. We believe that process is flawed and having spoken to the barrister, he believes exactly the same.

"Like everything in life there are no guarantees. There is always a chance you can lose in the court room.

"Keep Louth Special has subsequent funds already in place pledged by members of the public before they have even invited donations.

"This includes £10,000 by one businessman and £1,000 from another and they have not even asked for any money yet. They could possibly reach the target themselves."

– Mayor of Louth, Cllr Andrew Leonard
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