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Missing vulture is still at large in Somerset

Have you seen Arthur? Credit: Ben Potter

A vulture which was swept off course during a display at the Royal Bath and West Show is still missing.

Owner Ben Potter, of Birds of Prey Displays - based in Yorkshire - says the carrion-eating bird is not dangerous but warns the public not to approach him as they may spook him.

To let Ben know if you see Arthur, call him on 07849846053.

Fancy living in a converted prison? Plans revealed for historic Shepton Mallet site

Parts of a historic former prison in Somerset are to be turned into flats.

Shepton Mallet prison closed and the last of the inmates were moved out in 2013 when this historic building was sold off by the Ministry of Justice.

The developer which bought it has now applied for planning permission to convert the old cell blocks into rows of apartments - 146 homes in total.

Credit: Artist impression

We'll be knocking a number of cells together to make someone's apartment. In terms of the window, we'd be looking to lower the sills to get a lot more natural light into the room.

– Richard Winsborough, Head of Planning
How's this for a bedroom? Between five and six cells will be merged into one flat. Credit: ITV News

Shepton Mallet Prison has a long and varied history. It was the country's oldest working prison when it closed, dating back to 1610, and several of the buildings are Grade Two listed.

The Magna Carta and the Doomsday Book are said to have been stored there for safekeeping in the Second World War, the Kray twins spent time locked up in the cells, and there's even an execution chamber where American soldiers were hanged for murder when it was a US military prison in the 1940s.

Secure accommodation: a view inside the jail Credit: ITV News West Country

There has been some concern in the town that heritage could be lost.

The developers are promising to set aside a handful of cells as a visitor attraction with museum space and a cafe.

Watch the full report from our reporter Bob Cruwys on development plans for the former prison.


Hope for Shepton cider mill as hundreds offered jobs

There's hope that some of the 127 workers due to be made redundant at the Shepton Mallet Cider Mill will be offered jobs by the Brothers cider firm.

The factory first started production in 1953. Credit: ITV News

C and C, the Irish owners of the mill, are closing the plant but today announced Brothers has bought a new bottling factory.

The sale includes the land and the buildings housing the bottling line which are located on Kilver Street across the road from the principal buildings of the Cidery. The Krones bottling line has capacity to produce 1.5 million bottles a day.

It says it's struggling to keep up with demand for its flavoured ciders and is expanding operations in Shepton but it'll be at least three months before it will have enough equipment to begin operations on the Kilver Street site.

Last batch of cider made at mill

Shepton Mallet cider mill makes last batch Credit: ITV News

Production of iconic Somerset cider brands ceased production this week at the Shepton Mallet Cider Mill.

The Dublin-based C&C Group which owns the mill has now stopped the production of the Somerset ciders Addlestones, Blackthorn, Natch and Olde English. Production will now be at Clonmel in the Irish Republic.

The cider mill is due to close in the summer when production ceases and the pulped fruit is transported to Ireland – the first 40 redundancies have already been announced.


Is this Bob the weather man's smallest fan?

9-month-old Eliza claps when she see's Bob on the TV. Credit: Wendy Newton

Meet Eliza. At 9 months old she's one of our youngest Westcountry viewers, but she's particularly a big fan of our weather presenter, Bob Crampton.

Eliza's mum Wendy sent in the photo of her daughter who "loves seeing Bob doing the weather in the evenings" and claps every time he comes on.

But Eliza from Shepton Mallet also happens to get "very grumpy" if Bob happens to not be doing the weather that day.

Wendy says it makes her smile every time.

Are there any other little fans out there? Get in touch

Unions criticise closing cider factory

Union representatives say workers at a Somerset cider factory have been treated disgracefully after they found out they would be losing their jobs when they read it in a newspaper.

The Shepton Mallet Cider Mill will stop drink production in April, leaving just a skeleton staff to run the apple pulping operation. Production at the Mill, which makes brands such as Blackthorn and Olde English, is being switched to Ireland.

The factory has been producing cider since 1770, and it's closure will mean the loss of up to 120 jobs.

"It is disgraceful and Dickensian that this dedicated and loyal workforce should hear of the closure through the media.

There has been more than 240 years of cider production at Shepton Mallet at a workplace that is synonymous with historic cider production in the south west - and now this is coming to an end.

This is a grievous blow to the workforce, their families, the town and the Somerset economy."


Somerset cider factory to axe 120 jobs

A Somerset firm that's been producing cider since 1770, is set to close with the loss of up to 120 jobs.

Production at Shepton Mallet Cider , which makes brands such as Blackthorn and Olde English, is being switched to Ireland - though apple pulping with remain.

The parent company of the cider mill, the C&C Group, confirmed the move.

Production and packaging will be transferred on a phased basis from the facilities in Shepton Mallet to Ireland, where Clonmel will become the core manufacturing site.

The fruit milling operation at Shepton Mallet will not be impacted by the move, and the company say they will continue to source apples from local farmers. However the loss of 127 jobs from the Somerset site will be a blow to the region.

C&C Group announces that following a detailed review of its manufacturing and operational footprint, it intends to consolidate production from sites in Shepton Mallet (England) and Borrisoleigh (Ireland) into its manufacturing site in Clonmel, Tipperary.

Under the proposal, production and packaging will be transferred on a phased basis from the facilities in Shepton Mallet and Borrisoleigh. Consequently, Clonmel will become the core manufacturing site for bothBulmers and Magners cider, Tipperary Water and our range of niche premium beers and ciders. The Wellpark Brewery in Glasgow is unaffected by the proposal. In support of the proposal, the Group will invest in excess of €10 million in enhancing packaging and logistics capability in Clonmel creating 80 additional roles.

The fruit milling operation at Shepton Mallet is not impacted by the proposal and C&C will continue to source apples on a long-term basis from local farmers. Equally, Borrisoleigh will remain as a key transport hub and both logistics and warehousing operations will be maintained in the town.

Regrettably, net roles lost across the operational network is estimated at 180 of which 127 are in the UK and 54 in Ireland. This has been a difficult decision for the Group and it is sad that the consolidation of production at the Clonmel site is the only viable option to maintain long term competitiveness.

– C&C Group
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