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Over the last 10 years cities in the South grew at double the rate of cities elsewhere in the UK

The Centre for Cities 2015 report analyses population and jobs growth from 2004 to last year. During this period the reports says the population of southern cities increased by 11.3% - compared to 5.5% in cities elsewhere.

Population growth in cities since 2004 Credit: Centre for Cities

The highest growth in the ITV Meridian region was in Swindon with the population rising between 13 and 16%. Bournemouth, Brighton, Crawley, Oxford and Southampton all saw population growth of between 6 and 12%. In Chatham, Reading, Aldershot, Portsmouth, Worthing the report says the growth was between 6 and 8%. Growth was less in Hastings - between 1 and 5%. The figures come from the Office for National Statistics.

The report says cities in the South also saw a much larger increase in the number of businesses since 2004. Swindon saw the highest rise - 29% putting it fourth in the UK. It wasn't all good news though for our cities, Southampton only saw a 5.5% rise, Worthing's change was 4.7% and Hastings only 3.1% - putting them all in the bottom 10. The average for the UK was 15.5%

Theme Park say they deeply regret 'isolated incident'

Chessington World of Adventures regards the Health & Safety of its guests and employees as its number one priority. The Resort has an excellent safety record with no previous convictions or enforcement notices against it, and every year invests significant resources in maintenance and safety measures.

What happened to the young child was an isolated incident which we deeply regret, and from the outset we have put in place a package of support for the child and the family which will continue for as long as is required.

We also co-operated fully with the HSE investigation. This showed both a rigorous inspection and maintenance regime, and evidence not only of very swift action by staff, but also that the paling was dislodged by the application of exceptional force upon it shortly before the accident. Nevertheless, following the incident in 2012, we worked with the HSE to act on all their comments, including putting some additional measures in place such as the installation of a new metal safety fencing along the queue line.

– Chessington World of Adventures

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Theme park fined after girl suffers 'life-changing' injuries

Chessington World of Adventures was today sentenced for safety failings that led to a four-year-old girl suffering life-changing head injuries when she fell from a raised walkway while queuing for a ride.

The youngster, from Kent, fell nearly four metres while waiting in line for the Tomb Blaster ride with her family at the theme park in Surrey on 7 June 2012. She suffered a fractured skull, bleeding to the brain and broken ribs and was in hospital for a month. She still needs extensive rehabilitation treatment and specialist support.

The walkway area where the girl fell

Chessington World of Adventures Operations Ltd., of Market Close, Poole, Dorset, was fined £150,000 and ordered to pay £21,614 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated and prosecuted Chessington World of Adventures Operations Ltd after finding the girl had fallen through a gap in a wooden fence.

A hearing at Guildford Crown Court heard HSE had identified that a rotting paling in the fence had fallen out on the morning of the incident and that the whole fence showed evidence of serious weakening.

The gap in the fence

After the sentencing, investigating HSE inspector Karen Morris said: “This was a disastrous and horrifying incident for the child and her parents. They had travelled from their home in Kent for a fun day out together at this well-known attraction only to find themselves hours later in an intensive care ward with their daughter.

– HSE inspector Karen Morris

Port of Dover: 'Customers remain our priority'

Following today's tribunal ruling, the Port of Dover said its priority was to ensure an effective ferry operation for customers.

Tim Waggott, Chief Executive of the Port of Dover said: "Our immediate thoughts are with those who are directly affected by this decision.

"The ruling comes at a time when Europe’s busiest ferry port has just achieved record freight volumes and so our priority is to ensure that our customers continue to be provided with a great level of service and choice.

"We will also work tirelessly on delivering our ongoing major investment plans to provide extra capacity and significant new job opportunities for local people.

"We will continue to consult regularly with all of our major ferry customers, and community groups, in the days and weeks ahead as we plan our way forward to future success.“

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Ferry closure appeal dismissed

An appeal against closure by MyFerryLink, the cross-channel ferry service operated by Eurotunnel, has been rejected by the Competition Appeal Tribunal.

It was originally ordered to stop running in a ruling on June 6th, 2013.

MyFerryLink stemmed out of SeaFrance which went into liquidation in January 2012. Three of their ships were bought by Eurotunnel who set up MyFerryLink and a battle with the existing ferry operators ensued.

Those companies claimed it gave Eurotunnel dominance in the market but Eurotunnel insists MyFerryLink is a free-standing company that's totally separate from them.

The competition commission's now agreed with the traditional ferry operators so the MyFerryLink service will have to shut down.

Ferry firm has been ordered to stop operating Credit: ITV Meridian

Swanage Railway breaks records during 2014

Record-breaking year for Swanage Railway Credit: Meridian

Swanage Railway volunteers and staff are celebrating after their heritage line carried a record-breaking 216,267 passengers during 2014 - that's more than the combined populations of Bournemouth, Wimborne and Bridport.

And there is further cause for celebration because festive 'Santa Special' steam trains carried a record-breaking 9,205 passengers.

Villagers oppose plans for quarry in beauty spot

Families, fighting plans for a quarry near their homes in Oxfordshire, may be one step closer to victory.

Neighbours living in Clifton Hampden, Long Wittenham, Appleford and Culham have managed to get a section of the land declared as a site of national archaeological importance.

They're desperate to stop 160 acres of land bordering the Thames being used to dig for sand and gravel. Kate Bunkall reports.

Cowley-based MINI has record sales

MINI recorded record sales last year Credit: Lewis Whyld/PA Archive/Press Association Images

MINI recorded record sales last year - up three point three per cent on 2013. Four out of five models produced at the car manufacturer's plant at Cowley in Oxford are exported to customers around the world. Four thousand people are employed there - with eight hundred in Swindon.

  • More than 53,600 MINI vehicles were sold in the UK last year
  • Fleet sales up 17 per cent with introduction of MINI 5-Door Hatch
  • More than three million MINIs produced since 2001
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