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Huge increase in applications for University of Reading

Applications rise for undergraduate courses Credit: University of Reading

The University of Reading has bucked the national trend by seeing a 21 per cent increase in applications. That's 10 times the national figure. Applications are up by more than 4,000 compared to this time last year. Just over 23,000 students have applied to the University - which represents six applications for every place. Some courses, such as Economics, Geography and Environmental Sciences, are seeing 10 applications for every place available.

There has also been a strong rise in the number of overseas applications with 3,756 applications being received to date, compared to 2,753 at the same point last year

Surgery put in special measures after 'serious failings'

A GP surgery in Reading has been placed into 'special measures' after inspectors found failings so serious they said patients' safety was at risk.

The Priory Avenue Surgery in Caversham is one of the first in the country to be told by the Care Quality Commission to make major improvements - or risk being closed down.

Among the issues: Not enough staff, out of date patient records - and difficulty in seeing the same doctor. Mel Bloor reports.

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Six month trial 'switch off' for traffic lights in Reading

Traffic lights at a major junction in Reading are to be switched off Credit: Bing

Traffic lights are being switched off at a major junction in Reading town centre from 10am today to improve access for pedestrians and speed up bus journey times. Reading Borough Council says that if the six month trial of 'shared space' is successful the changes at the junction of West Street, St Mary Butts, Oxford Street and Broad Street could become permanent - following a consultation.

"The latest figures on bus journeys confirm what we already know - that more and more people are choosing the bus as their preferred way to travel. Over 2,000 buses, covering more than 25 bus routes, travel through this junction everyday. By switching off these traffic signals we estimate that journey times will be cut for the many thousands of passengers on these buses.

"This is being done on a trial basis for at least six months. At the end of that trial, together with Reading Buses, we will look at the effect on bus journey times and the benefit to their passengers.

"We know that many towns and cities across the UK are seeing the benefit of introducing 'shared space' junctions, where buses, cars, cyclists, pedestrians and taxis all share the same space. Evidence from other places suggests it can improve safety, as all road users slow down and look out for other road users when crossing junctions. It also makes for a much more pleasant environment for everyone. We want to examine the results of this trial and obviously listen to public feedback, especially from pedestrians, the bus companies and taxis. We will then decide later this year whether or not to make it permanent."

– Cllr Tony Page, Reading Borough Council, Lead Member for Strategic Environment, Transport and Planning

Man and woman mown down by car on pavement

Man and woman critically injured after being mown down on pavement by car in Reading.

Couple in their 30s were walking in town's Caversham Road, when a silver Vauxhall Astra mounted the pavement and knocked them down before demolishing a wall.

One victim was thrown more than 30ft through the air by the high speed impact. Man and woman victims believed to be visiting Reading for Christmas when incident happened.

Two men have been arrested.

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Man missing from Reading

Viet-Anh Luong hasn't been seen since Tuesday Credit: Thames Valley Police

Thames Valley Police is appealing for the public's help in tracing a man missing from his home in Reading.

Viet-Anh Luong (usually known as Val), is 33-years-old. He was last seen at his home in Ian Mikardo Way, Caversham on Tuesday but was reported missing yesterday.

Viet-Anh is described as Asian, between 5ft 10ins and 6ft, hunched over, slim, with short black hair and a black beard. He has brown eyes. He was last seen wearing a brown coat.

Anyone with any information about Viet-Anh's whereabouts is asked to contact Det Sgt Crowther at Thames Valley police via 101.

"We are concerned for Viet-Anh's welfare. He has not been in contact since Tuesday . He has not gone missing before so we would urge anyone who knows of his whereabouts or has seen him to give Thames Valley Police a call on 101. He is believed to have links to the Stepney area of East London."

– Det Sgt Will Crowther from Force CID at Reading Police Station

Reading sack manager Nigel Adkins

Nigel Adkins has been sacked Credit: ITV

Reading have sacked manager Nigel Adkins.

Club statement: "The Club met with Nigel in person today and we would like to place on permanent record our thanks to him for his hard work and diligence since his appointment in March 2013.

'Following this weekend's 6-1 defeat at Birmingham, the board feel that a change in manager is necessary, with the club 16th in the Sky Bet Championship"

"As part of this process, Assistant Manager Andy Crosby and First Team Coach Dean Wilkins will also be leaving the club, and we would also like to thank them for their efforts.

"The board of Reading Football Club are committed to taking this club forward and will make a further announcement to our supporters in due course."

Police resume search in missing woman case

Catherine Nee was 31-years-old when she was last seen Credit: THAMES VALLEY POLICE

Police investigating the disapperance of a woman more than a decade ago will resume their search in Berkshire today.

Catherine Nee, from Reading, was estranged from her family - they last saw her in 2002. She was thirty two years old. Searches will continue in the Burghfield area of Reading.

Police divers find shoes in missing woman search

Police divers searching two woodland ponds in a hunt for a woman presumed murdered who went missing 12 years ago have found footwear which may have belonged to her.

Detectives revealed the find a day after searches began at a pond the size of a football pitch in secluded woodland.

However, officers were unsure if the footwear was linked to the disappearance of Catherine Nee.

Ms Nee was aged 32 years when she was last seen by her family, from whom she was estranged, in 2002 and it was initially thought she had simply moved away to another area.

However police launched a missing persons investigation a decade later and a 48-year-old man from the Thames Valley area was arrested on suspicion of her murder last February, but was later released without charge.

The grandmother-of-six, who would now be aged 44 years, was originally from Reading, Berks., but was living in the Ilfracombe area of Devon at the time of her disappearance.

Police were expected to continue searching the woods at Burghfield in Berkshire after receiving a new lead in the case.

Detective Inspector Kevin Mahon said the newly-discovered footwear would have to be analysed to find out if it was relevant to the case.

Det. Insp. Mahon said officers were working to discover if the footwear was the same size as Ms Nee wore.

"I can't say if it's going to be relevant at this time," said the detective.

"It's very difficult to know what she was wearing at the time she went missing because we don't know at what point she actually went missing."

The officer said poor underwater visibility had made searching the pond a tricky task for divers but that they would remain in the area until he was satisfied it had been thoroughly scoured.

Det. Insp. Mahon refused to go into details of how officers were tipped off to search the wooded area.

"Our inquiries have led us to this area," he said.

He added that police were not given specific information about the ponds but that they seemed an obvious place to search.

"It's an area where there's a possibility that something could be disposed of," said Det. Insp. Mahon.

"We have still got some work to do to satisfy myself that we have followed up that line of inquiry."

The officer said no other searches were planned beyond the woodland but added: "If we get some new information coming forward we will see where it takes us."

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