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  1. West Country (E)

Crown Estate urged to re-think evictions

Officials of the Crown Estate are being asked to re-think a decision to evict 45 families from their homes in and around Taunton.

Income from the estate goes to the Treasury and some of it is then passed on to the Queen. The estate says it wants to sell the homes and use the money for more profitable urban investments.

It's caused anger amongst residents. Mark Kemp says: "They've openly admitted to us that the reason they want to get out of the rural housing market is they don't want to deal with humans any more because of the emotions and everything else and they can't deal with it."

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  1. West Country (E)

Tenants worried about royal estate sell-off

Concerns over plans to sell off properties in Dunster Credit: ITV News

There are concerns over plans by the Crown Estate to sell off dozens of homes in Somerset, which it's claimed will leave some tenants homeless.

The Crown Estate, which is one of the largest landowners in the country, is planning to sell off up to 45 of its properties around Taunton and Dunster.

Tenants are being given the option to either buy, or up to six months notice period to vacate their properties.

Duke of Gloucester to open Castle House, Taunton

Duke of Gloucester to open Castle House, Taunton Credit: ITV News West Country

Taunton's newly restored Castle House will be officially opened by The Duke of Gloucester today. It's been described as one of the finest medieval buildings of its type in the region.

It's in the courtyard of Taunton castle and is believed to have been the place where Judge Jeffreys stayed during the notorious Bloody Assizes. It was restored at a cost of around a million pounds using original techniques.

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  1. West Country (E)

M5 inquest - smoke ruled out as cause of crash

Smoke from a fireworks display has officially been ruled out as the cause of the M5 pile-up which killed seven people.

That was the summary from the West Somerset coroner this afternoon at the inquest into one of Britain's worst motorway accidents.

Michael Rose said he would be meeting with authorities before making further rulings on safety - including whether there should be tighter controls on fireworks displays near busy roads. David Woodland reports.

  1. West Country (E)

Coroner: Reduced visibility caused M5 crash

Coroner Michael Rose says the deceased died as a result of a road traffic accident as vehicles entered an area of reduced visibility.The Coroner will meet authorities before making a ruling regarding:

  • Education for fireworks operators - whether minimum distances should be set for displays near highways
  • Whether licensing of displays is needed
  • Whether visual detection devices should be installed on this stretch of motorway

The Coroner thanked all emergency services and members of the public.

A minute's silence was held as the names of the dead were read out.

  1. West Country (E)

Smoke from fireworks display not to blame for crash

The Coroner in the M5 crash inquest has dismissed the possibility that smoke from firework display caused the accident.

Some firework smoke carried over motorway - some lower level smoke carried in a different direction.

HSE, British Pyrotechnics Association and highways legislation has been examined - none contain a warning about risk from firework smoke in foggy conditions.

Coroner Michael Rose says "I was left with the impression that fireworks organiser Geoffrey Counsell was a competent operator who had been putting on displays for 20 years".

  1. West Country (E)

Coroner begins summing up at M5 crash inquest

The coroner has begun summing up at the M5 inquest in Taunton. After listing the 7 dead, their ages and addresses the court has been hearing how each of the 34 vehicles was damaged.

Burning fuel is thought to have helped spread the fire. A diesel tank exploded knocking firemen off their feet as they tried to fight the flames. Exploding lorry tyres added to the noise.

The names of those who helped and details what they did at the crash have been given in court.

Kevin Faulkner was pinned by the legs but directed the emergency services to help others in more need - even though flames were spreading closer to him. He was rescued in time after others had been helped.

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