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Thousands attend Lexicon development job fair

The Lexicon development in Bracknell is one of the Thames Valley's biggest ever regenerations and thousands of people went along to the job fair to see if they could be part of it.

It is hoped it will create a new heart in the previously run down town centre.

It will include new shops, restaurants and a 12 screen cinema and is set to open to the public in September.

Construction on the £240 million project began in March 2015.

The firm behind the development have promised the creation of thousands of new positions.

Our reporter Mel Bloor went along to meet some of the jobseekers.

Mel spoke to Simon Russian from the Bracknell Regeneration Partnership.

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Rural life celebrated as South of England Show opens

The Duchess of Cornwall was the guest of honour

The Duchess of Cornwall was the guest of honour today at the South of England Show at Ardingly in Sussex.

The royal even took time out of her schedule to 'knight' one of the visitors - the actor Callum Arnott. In the absence of a sword, a Sussex-grown leek was used to mark the occasion.

Actor 'knighted with a leek' - a moment of fun during the tour of Ardingly's South of England Show

The three-day event is celebrating its 50th year at the Ardingly showground and though the skies were heavy and grey, the rain held off, and the crowds turned up. Derek Johnson reports

Residents say new development is a mixed blessing

It's one of the biggest town centre regenerations currently taking place in the UK and aims to make Bracknell a destination of choice.

Two hundred and forty million pounds has been spent on transforming the area into a state of the art shopping and leisure hub to rival the likes of nearby Reading and Basingstoke. But for some residents, the past two years have been blighted with dust and noise pollution whilst the work has been carried out just yards from their front doors.

They told ITV News Meridian that it's had a serious impact on their quality of life and worse still - their health has suffered as a consequence. However, when complete, the development promises to revive the area, and bring thousands of jobs. Mel Bloor has the story.

Duchess visits South of England Show at Ardingly

The Duchess of Cornwall visits the Plumpton College area at Ardingly

The South of England Show has begun with a special visit from Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall. The Duchess is the president of The South of England Agricultural Society. This year marks the charity's 50th year of supporting agriculture and the countryside.

The Duchess of Cornwall takes a tour of the displays

The show at the 150 acre South of England Showground near the village of Ardingly in West Sussex lasts for three days and celebrates the best in agriculture and rural life in the region.

Her Royal Highness has chosen Brooke to be the Society's charity for this year. Brooke is an international animal welfare charity dedicated to improving the lives of working horses, donkeys and mules. The Duchess of Cornwall became Brooke's first President in 2006.

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Urgent talks to avoid new overtime ban on railways

The overtime ban is due to start on Sunday Credit: ITV

Southern is understood to have called an urgent meeting with the train drivers' union Aslef this afternoon in a desperate attempt to try to avert next week's industrial action. Up to 600 trains a day would be cancelled.

Around 1,000 drivers are set to start an indefinite overtime ban on Sunday.

The company is refusing to confirm the peace talks, but union sources say there has been contact with them.

Services will be in chaos for hundreds of thousands of passengers if the action goes ahead.

It is understood both sides will meet at lunchtime.

So far months of talks have failed to reach agreement over driver-only trains.

Protest urges Church to divest from ExxonMobil

Fawley Refinery Credit: ITV Meridian

There is to be a protest outside Fawley Refinery as the Church of England is urged to divest from the company.

A coalition of faith and non-faith groups will be demonstrating there this morning before gathering for a vigil outside Salisbury Cathedral this afternoon.

A letter will be handed to the office of the Bishop of Salisbury requesting that the Church divests from ExxonMobil.

They say the Church should cut its ties with the refinery as a vote is taken in America on climate change.

New call centre to bring 600 jobs to Isle of Wight

John Devlin and Lyle McLean from Ascensos

Up to 600 new jobs are to be created on the Isle of Wight with the opening of a new customer service contact centre.

Staff at the site in Cowes will handle customer queries for the Scottish-based contact centre management specialist Ascensos which manages customer service enquiries for retail companies including Argos; BooHoo; B&Q; Coast; Game; Karen Millen; L.K.Bennett; Monsoon; Oasis; Warehouse; and Wickes.

Ascensos will invest more than £1 million and the Isle of Wight Council agreed to offer a capital investment of £2.1 million as well as a 10 year lease on the site in Cowes - subject to further legal discussions. The local authority has estimated that the business will contribute £35 million to the island's economy. Work to prepare the building will start straight away, and recruitment will also begin so that the business can open by the planned date of September 2017.

“This is a major strategic move for Ascensos, increasing our capacity by 30% and establishing our first UK facility outside Scotland. We’re excited to be coming to the Isle of Wight. The people, the financial assistance and the support in recruitment, training and development made for an unbeatable package.

“Ascensos is growing rapidly and we have become a force to be reckoned with in the UK contact centre sector. We’ve a reputation for doing things differently in this space and we look forward to opening Ascensos Isle of Wight after the summer.”

– John Devlin, CEO of Ascensos

“We’re already in discussions with the DWP and Isle of Wight College and our recruitment campaign will get underway shortly. Ascensos is known as a great employer and we’ll be bringing the same approach to the Isle of Wight.”

– Lyle McLean, Ascensos’ Operations Director , Isle of Wight

“I am very excited that Ascensos has chosen the Isle of Wight as the location for its major UK expansion. The Island is already home to a number of major, global companies and is perfectly positioned to support the ambitions of Ascensos, with a motivated, skilled and enthusiastic local workforce.

"This move also promotes our ambitions of regeneration for the Island, to create a robust and dynamic local economy that will be sustainable now and in the long term for our future generations.”

– Councillor Dave Stewart, Leader, Isle of Wight Council
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