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  1. Richard Slee

Plans for thousands of new jobs and homes in Portsmouth

Plans for thousands of new jobs and homes came a step closer today - as the Minister for Portsmouth handed over land - earmarked for development - to the city council.

Tipner Firing Range and Horsea Island East - were previously owned by the Ministry of Defence and will be redeveloped.

The Minister also officially opened the city's new Centre for Maritime Intelligence Systems.

Richard Slee reports:

Lyndhurst Park Hotel to close after making losses

Operators of Lyndhurst Park Hotel have announced that they are planning to close the 59-bedroom hotel in the New Year after making losses.

Located on the High Street in the centre of the New Forest village, St James’s Hotel Group acquired the three-star hotel after the collapse of the parent company Forestdale in March this year.

Nicholas Crawley said he believes "the redevelopment of the site will bring major benefits to the town". Credit: LyndhurstParkHotel

Nicholas Crawley, managing director of St James’s Hotel Group, said:

Unfortunately, the hotel has continued to lose money this year. It is an old building in a poor state of repair which would require huge amounts of further investment to bring it up-to-date and give it a viable future as a hotel.

We have, therefore, accepted an offer for the purchase of the site which is likely to result in the total redevelopment of the site and the opening of some new type of serviced holiday accommodation.

We have already informed all staff that their current positions will cease to exist and we are working with them to find alternative roles within the group where possible.

– Nicholas Crawley

The hotel, which employs 13 full-time staff plus eight casual staff, has accepted an offer for the purchase of the four-acre site for redevelopment.

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Fire service explains how it will tackle £12m cutbacks

The region's fire and rescue services are facing a number of ongoing challenges over the past year including firefighters going on strike and shrinking budgets.

Fire chiefs in Hampshire- one of our biggest counties in the South - will have to make £12 million pounds of savings by 2018 - leaving the service with £58 million pounds to keep residents safe.

ITV Meridian interviewed Dave Curry, the Deputy Chief Fire Officer of Hampshire Fire & Rescue Service.

The fire service has launched an online survey to allow people living in Hampshire to have their say on how to shape the county's fire service of the future.

The public's views will be factored into proposals that will be put to the county's fire authority for approval next year. The online survey closes on 7 December 2014.

Decision day on long-running bin dispute

Decision on bin dispute due Credit: ITV news

Residents of Brighton and Hove will find out today whether a long running dispute between binmen and the council is over. Refuse drivers have been offered a review of their job descriptions by the council who have said they will come back to them by the end of December.

Drivers first walked out in a series of strikes in a row over pay and following a break down in talks with the council.

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  1. David Johns (@davidjohns_itv)

Paramount theme park plans go on display

It's a two-billion pound plan to transform a neglected part of Kent into an entertainment complex the size of Disneyland Paris.

Now, updated plans for the Paramount theme park at Swanscombe are to go on public display for a fortnight to hear what local people think.

David Johns has been to see them, speaking to project developer Fenlon Dunphy.

Making waves - new ship simulation facility

A maritime centre in Oxfordshire has launched the world's 'most sophisticated' ship simulator.

The marine modelling facilities will help engineers to improve the design of ships and structures such as oil rigs. HR Wallingford's UK Ship Simulation Centre and the Fast Flow Facility are at Howbery Business Park in Oxfordshire.

The Fast Flow Facility is a 75 m long, 8 m wide dual-channel flume which can hold a million litres of water, generate 1 metre high waves and produce fast tidal currents to simulate the way waves, tides, sediments and structures interact.

The new facilty features a 75 m long flume which can hold a million litres of water

"What makes the Fast Flow Facility unique is the way we can simulate sediment movement, big waves and fast tidal currents at the same time. No one else can do this, certainly not at such a large scale.

"We can now look at the way waves and currents move sediment on the seabed in deep water at a large scale, and understand what this means for fixed or floating structures such as marine terminals, offshore wind turbines, wave and tidal energy devices, telecommunication and power cables and pipelines. Modelling large structures and arrays without compromising on scale will help us to reduce uncertainty, optimise designs and more effectively minimise project risks for our clients during the very early stages of a project."

– Professor Richard Whitehouse, Technical Director of the Fast Flow Facility
Lord Heseltine launches new ship simulation facility

Banbury-based Marussia F1 team goes into administration

Geoff Rowley and Geoff Carton-Kelly, partners of FRP Advisory LLP, the specialist restructuring and recovery firm, were appointed joint administrators to Manor Grand Prix Racing Limited trading as the Marussia F1 Team.

The Group is located in Banbury, Oxfordshire, and employs nearly 200 staff.

The Marussia F1 Team builds and operates racing cars that compete in the FIA Formula One World Championship (“F1”).

"Whilst the team has made significant progress during its relatively short period of operation, the highlight of which included securing two constructors championship points in the current F1 season, the position remains that operating a F1 team requires significant ongoing investment. With the existing shareholder unable to provide the required level of funding, the senior management team has worked tirelessly to bring new investment to the team to secure its long term future, but regrettably has been unable to do so within the time available. Therefore, they have been left with no alternative but to place the Company into administration. With the Marussia F1 Team now in administration, the joint administrators have assessed that, given the current financial circumstances of the Group, it is not viable for the Marussia F1 Team to participate in the next race, the 2014 Formula 1 United States Grand Prix, due to take place this weekend in Austin, Texas. The Company will continue to operate while the joint administrators assess the longer term viability of the Company in its present form. Following Austin, there are two further rounds of the 2014 championship remaining, in Sao Paulo and Abu Dhabi, and the team’s participation in those races will depend on the outcome of the administration process and any related negotiations with interested parties in what is a very limited window of opportunity. No redundancies have been made following the Company's entering into administration and all staff have been paid in full to the end of October. The ongoing staff position will however be dependent on whether the Company can secure new investment in the limited time available. We remain highly focused on engaging with interested parties."

– Geoff Rowley, joint administrator, and partner at FRP Advisory
  1. David Johns (@davidjohns_itv)

Future of Ebbsfleet under discussion

Architects, investors and political leaders attended a planning summit today to discuss multi-billion pound schemes set to transform north Kent.

First and foremost - the creation of a new garden city at Ebbsfleet, where the first homes are now under construction. Then there is Paramount Park, the vast entertainment resort proposed for the Swanscombe Peninsula between Gravesend and Dartford.

Also - the prospect of a second Thames crossing. And the possibility of Crossrail being extended to Ebbsfleet. David Johns reports.

He spoke to design expert Chris Lamb; architect Sir Terry Farrell; and Councillor Paul Carter, leader of Kent County Council.

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