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Oxford opens its first ever gin distillery

Credit: ITV Meridian

Once dismissed as an old fashioned drink, gin has seen an extraordinary rebirth in recent years with sales rocketing in bars and supermarkets alike.

Last year, 40 million bottles were sold in Britain - that's enough to make more than one billion gin and tonics.

Credit: ITV Meridian

Its surge in popularity has led to a dramatic rise in the number of gin makers setting up business.

Bombay Sapphire opened its distillery in Whitchurch three years ago and now Oxford has its first ever distillery.

Mel Bloor went along to find out more.

Mel spoke to Tom Nicolson, Founder of The Oxford Artisan Distillery, George Bennett from Sandy Lane Farm and Master Distiller, Cory Mason.


£60 million Cowley development plan gets go-ahead

The heart of Cowley will be transformed Credit: Redwood Consulting

Oxford City Council has approved NewRiver’s plans for the £60 million development of Templars Square in Cowley.

NewRiver REIT plc (‘NewRiver’), the owners of the shopping centre and site, will deliver a major mixed-use regeneration designed in collaboration with Corstorphine & Wright Architects. The proposed plans will revitalise the heart of Cowley and improve the retail and leisure experience for shoppers and the wider local community.

The proposals will preserve the much-loved existing Templars Square shops, while bringing forward a range of significant improvements to the area. These include the addition of a hotel; new restaurant units for leading national operators; new housing; a dramatically improved streetscape and pedestrian routes; upgraded and modernised car parking; and new feature entrances.

Around 60 new jobs will be created, alongside 300 construction jobs.

Residents vie for three thousand new shopping centre jobs

It's cost more than £440m and in less than four months' time, Oxford's Westgate shopping centre is set to open.

With more than 100 stores, 25 restaurants and a cinema - the demand for employees has never been higher.

Yesterday, residents met with prospective employers in a bid to snap up some of the 3000 jobs on offer.

Juliette Fletcher reports.

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.


Bus company and union agree on pay offer

A pay deal has been agreed with the union Credit: ITV

Oxford Bus Company and the union Unite have reached a pay deal which has been formally accepted by its membership. More than 400 bus drivers walked out of depots and joined picket lines in Oxford, causing disruption for passengers across the city.

We're pleased to say that, after a series of constructive meetings, we have made a pay offer that has been accepted by the majority of Unite's members. We look forward to returning to the regular, constructive dialogue with Unite we've enjoyed in the past, so that we can continue to deliver the quality bus services the people of Oxford have come to expect.

– Phil Southall, Managing Director, Oxford Bus Company

Tesco fined £200,000 after worker slips and is injured on shop floor

A member of staff was off work for several months Credit: ITV

Crawley Borough Council has prosecuted Tesco for a Health and Safety accident. The supermarket has been fined £200,000.

The prosecution was taken by the council following an incident at the Tesco store in Hazelwick Avenue, Three Bridges in 2014.

Water leaking onto the shop floor had caused a risk to both staff and customers. A member of staff slipped and was injured, causing her to be off work for several months.

Tesco had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to three offences, breaching its duty under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, and failing to report an injury following an accident within 15 days under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013.

Tesco Stores Ltd was also ordered to pay the council’s costs of more than £51,000.

Councillor Geraint Thomas, Cabinet member for Environmental Services and Sustainability at Crawley Borough Council, said: “This case shows the importance that we place on safety, both for workers and customers who could be at risk through poor practices.

“It’s imperative that business operators maintain a safe working environment for staff and the public and that effective arrangements are made to report similar accidents to the authorities within 15 days.”

Dreamland pushes to recruit local workers

Dreamland re-opened its doors in 2015 Credit: PA

Dreamland in Margate is holding a recruitment fair today, to find seasonal workers for the busy summer months. They're hoping to attract local candidates. 96 per cent of the park's workforce is currently from Kent.

There will be a wide range of seasonal roles to apply for; the park is looking for retail and customer services staff, ride operators, restaurant and bar hosts, facilities and security staff and entertainers.

Those wishing to apply to work at the entertainment park are invited to attend the fair on Friday 17th March 2017 from 1pm until 4pm.

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