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Michael Auger and Noni Needs round up the latest news and information from across the Petersphere.

This morning you’ll hear from Steven Watts, chairman of Petersfield Men’s Shed.

Be part of the Morning Report

You can send information updates, questions and thank-you messages for people who’ve helped you to team@petersfieldradio.uk or phone 01730 555 500.

Information transcript

The Health Secretary has admitted Public Health England was not set up to operate on a “mass national scale” during the pandemic, as he announced the organisation will “very shortly” publish a new method for recording coronavirus deaths.

Giving evidence to the Commons Science and Technology Committee, Matt Hancock said PHE was “designed as a scientific organisation” but – and we quote: “it was not set up to be an organisation ready to go to mass national scale and we didn’t go into this crisis with that mass of testing capability”.

Coronavirus deaths have fallen by almost one third in the space of a week, with the virus now accounting for less than five per cent of all deaths, according to figures from the Office of National Statistics. 

In the week ending 10 July, 366 deaths involving Covid-19 were registered in England and Wales, accounting for 4.2 per cent of all fatalities. At the height of the pandemic, coronavirus deaths accounted for up to 39 per cent of all those in Britain. So things are looking up …

If your driving test was cancelled because of COVID-19 here’s some good news. Driving tests restart in England today with a huge backlog after hundreds of thousands were delayed or cancelled due to the coronavirus lockdown.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency has urged candidates to ensure they have “had enough practice” before taking the test.

Those learners whose tests were cancelled are being invited to re-book first when they resume. Remember: mirror, signal, manoeuvre … and that’s just to reapply for the test.

Petersfield Library has escaped the cull by Hampshire County Council forced upon them by required cuts – but Horndean hasn’t been so lucky.

It is one of eight libraries across the county that will close, while the remaining facilities will see their opening hours reduced. The move follows a public consultation on plans to save £1.76m from the library service, which initially proposed shutting 10 libraries.

Steep Cricket Club are looking for some opposition for friendly matches on Saturdays 8, 15 and 29 August. The club is very happy to host you if your team is looking for a game. Email steepcricketclub@hotmail.com if you’re interested. 

Petersfield Lions is hosting a book sale on Saturday 25 July from 9am until noon with all proceeds going to local charities. There will be books to suit all tastes: all quarantined for at least 3 days, so please don’t bring any more. We’ll provide full details of the venue in Friday’s Morning Report.

So we know you like a bit of Trivia – so, today is Spoonerism Day today! Named after William Spooner, spoonerisms are words and phrases that are often said by accident, transposing the initial sounds or letters of two or more words, just as they were by the Rev Spooner, but nowadays they are often said on purpose as well, for humorous effect. Some say it’s a slip of the tongue. No matter why they are said, we celebrate them today.

Comet “C/2020 F3 NEOWISE” was discovered by Nasa’s Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer earlier this year (in March – hence the name). Look up and you may spot it. Tomorrow night it comes closest to the earth on its journey. 

And this day in 1983 saw the first solo helicopter flight around the world completed. It took Australian Dick Smith a year to complete!

TRAVEL

Road surfacing is taking place this week on the A32 Petersfield Road through Oakshott, Froxfield and Monkwood, and you can expect delays. 

Swan Street remains closed between the junction at Borough Hill and the junction with Chapel Street while new underground electrical circuits are installed. This work is set to continue until the first week of August.

Traffic control is still in use in Bedford Road, outside Howdens, and an upgrade to the traffic signals on Station Road, near Sandringham Rd, means there will be multi-way traffic control in operation there.

Work also continues on highway improvements on the Winchester Road at the junction with Prince’s Road, and the Berelands slip road on and off the A3 remains closed for electrical work overnight.  

And, in Liss, multi-way traffic signals are in place in Andlers Ash Road, and Station Road is closed this week while repair work is undertaken on an electrical mains fault.

If we’re not saying what you’re seeing, please let us know – you can reach us on Petersfield 5 55 500 or via email at team@petersfieldradio.uk.

WEATHER

Today will be another dry day with light winds and plenty of sunshine for most, though perhaps a bit hazy during the morning. It will feel warm, however, with a maximum temperature of a balmy 25 °C.