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Hong Kong gay rights: British lesbian wins spousal visa case

Participants of Hong Kong's annual pride parade walk through the streets with a large rainbow flag on 26 November, 2016Image copyright AFP
Image caption Attitudes towards homosexuality remain conservative in Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s court of appeal has ruled that a British lesbian who moved to the territory with her partner should be granted a dependent visa.

The visa, usually given to the husbands and wives of foreigners working in Hong Kong, was denied because she was not considered a spouse, the woman said.

Same-sex marriage is banned in the territory although discrimination based on sexual orientation is illegal.

Campaigners say this is a landmark case that could lead to greater equality.

The woman, who has been identified as QT, entered into a civil partnership in England in 2011 after more than seven years with her partner.

In the same year, the couple moved to Hong Kong after QT’s partner was offered a job there.

QT said that applications to the Immigration Department had been rejected after officials refused to recognise her UK-registered partnership.

In a unanimous ruling by three judges, the Court of Appeal said immigration authorities had “failed to justify the indirect discrimination on account of sexual orientation that QT suffers”.

“Times have changed and an increasing number of people are no longer prepared to accept the status quo without critical thought,” chief judge Andrew Cheung wrote.

The decision overturned a ruling by a lower court last year and ordered Hong Kong’s Immigration Department and QT to work together on an agreement and submit it to the court within 28 days.

Hong Kong’s LGBT campaigners welcomed the decision with Ray Chan, the city‘s first openly gay lawmaker, describing it as a “big win for same-sex dependents to apply for visa to stay in Hong Kong”.

The Equal Opportunities Commission said it was time for the government to consider a legal framework and policy measures to recognise same-sex relationships and protect LGBT rights, the South China Morning Post reports.

It is not illegal to be gay in China but homosexuality was considered to be a mental disorder until 2001 and attitudes towards it remain conservative.

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New beat

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Media captionPolice force to appoint commander in direct entry scheme

“Oh mum you look like a cop!” said Maggie Blyth’s daughter, seeing her in uniform for the first time.

But unlike many new cops, Maggie is not about to begin years of grinding out beat shifts as a constable.

She is getting ready to command more than a hundred police officers and staff.

The BBC‘s Daily Politics was given exclusive access to a new recruit becoming part of one of the most controversial reforms in the history of policing.

After just over a year‘s training, Maggie Blyth is to become Portsmouth District Commander, Hampshire’s first Direct Entry superintendent.

She previously had a 30-year career in child protection.

“One colleague described it as a bit of a handbrake turn,” Maggie tells me.

“She said, you’ve got retirement coming up, couldn’t you just settle into those plans? But I was looking for another challenge, I think I had something to offer.”

‘Much to be gained’

The government’s Direct Entry scheme allows talented civilians to join the police in senior roles.

It breaks a 180-year tradition of officers with “mud on their boots” gradually rising through police ranks.

Maggie addresses this head on: “Before I joined, many of the questions I asked of colleagues in policing and elsewhere, were around credibility.”

“I won’t have some of the specialist skills of someone who has walked the beat. What I do bring is a range of other skills and experiences that I think compliment where UK policing is going.”

During her career Maggie Blyth dealt with some of the most challenging child protection issues facing authorities.

In Oxford, she chaired the safeguarding children board which made headlines after revealing that 300 children were believed to have been sexually exploited in the city over a number of years, by gangs of mostly Asian men.

Similar cases in Rotherham, Newcastle, and Rochdale showed vulnerable youngsters had been failed by the authorities.

Image caption Maggie Blyth became a superintendent after 30 years in child protection

“Policing is really changing,” Maggie says. “I think there has to be a much better join up between the different NHS health organisations, between local government and policing to find a joint solution to some of these continuing issues facing our communities.”

The College of Policing received more than 2,000 applications for this year’s Direct Entry scheme.

Recruits have come from banking, Army, and Home Office backgrounds – to name a few.

But not all police forces are receptive. Only nine forces are looking to take on new Direct Entry recruits in 2017.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd believes there is “much to be gained” from bringing outside talent into policing.

She pointed out in a speech to the National Police Chief’s Council last year that there were six people who passed the Direct Entry superintendent assessment who were not offered posts, saying: “That is policing’s loss.”

‘Split second’ decisions

Perhaps unsurprisingly from within an institution with a culture of discipline and earning one’s rank, there have been concerns.

John Apter from the Hampshire Police Federation told the BBC Daily Politics Programme: “Whilst the Direct Entry recruits are highly motivated and very gifted individuals, they don’t really have the concept of policing to fall back on.

“You get the knowledge, and the understanding of policing by walking in the same shoes as those police officers have done”

He believes it could even prove dangerous.

While superintendents take on a strategic, managerial role, John Apter says inspector level recruits could be left particularly exposed, because they must make critical operational decisions under pressure.

“At 3am on a Saturday morning, whether that’s a firearms incident, whether it’s a hostage type situation, or a large scale public order incident, you don’t have a bank of experts on hand to give you advice.”

“You have to make those decisions in a split second. You have to rely on your experience. I have serious concerns that that will be a problem.”

“Direct Entry needs to be evaluated. It’s costing a fortune. Is it good value for money? I’m not convinced it is.”

Portsmouth presents a wide range of policing challenges.

From alcohol-fuelled violence, to previous problems with radicalisation and some racial tensions, the city is a busy patch.

Maggie Blyth has been completing a series of placements with front-line officers, acting as a sergeant and inspector, making arrests and attending a variety of operations such as drugs raids.

While filming we accompany her to a tower block to follow up on a neighbourhood dispute.

She has been under continuous assessment and will have to sit final exams before becoming Portsmouth’s district commander for real.

Respect

I ask her whether she really thinks she has been able to cram in all the knowledge and experience she’ll need, in just a year?

“One of the things said to me,” Maggie explains, “is that you’re already 80% a superintendent in terms of the leadership skills you’ve brought from elsewhere, 20% is in-depth operational policing knowledge and understanding.”

“This last year has equipped me with detailed knowledge of what it’s like to be policing in Portsmouth and across Hampshire from a range of specialist aspects of policing. I think in terms of the advice and support I will also have from colleagues, that equips me well.”

So what about officers under her? Will she have their respect? Some may have been waiting years themselves for promotion.

“You’d have to ask them,” Maggie says. “I’ve had a very strong welcome. Peers have said to me phone any time, even if it’s 4am in the morning.

“I’m sure, quite rightly, there will be questions asked about new ways of entry into policing and how effective that is.

“My own personal view is that having different routes into policing is positive. We should be diverse”

Changing long-held traditions in policing was always going to be tough. Many have doubts about Direct Entry, and Maggie Blyth knows an excellent track record from her previous career can only get her so far. She will need to prove her worth.

But an officer who accompanies us, confides in me off camera, saying: “Everyone wants her to succeed. Whatever people say about it beforehand, once someone is in there with you, you want them to succeed. That is policing. We’re a team.”

YOUR MESSAGES: Kathleen Farman book of condolence

We have had some very moving messages left in our online condolence book for a woman who died in the city centre last week.

Kathleen Farman, who was 54 and from the BD3 area of Bradford, was crossing Leeds Road on Wednesday when she suffered fatal injuries in a collision with a white Volkswagen Golf in Leeds Road at about 1.50pm on Wednesday September 20.

RELATED STORIES

If you would like to add your message to the collection below, the link is at the bottom of the article. Please note that all contributions will be reviewed by our staff before going live on this page.

Contributed by Sahera Sheikh

Rip Kathleen Thoughts are with your family at this sad time.. ❤️❤️❤️

Contributed by sharron postans

Kathleen gone but never forgotten, my wife and i have known you since you were very young, we were sorry to hear the tragic news, fly with the angels,rest in peace, From ted & betty, x x

Kathleen you were taken to fly with angels far too soon, i knew you through family, we shared a sister in law (christine) you will be missed by your family and friends, they will always have fond memories of there time with you, and you have a special place in your family and friends hearts, x x

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Contributed by christine lee

this is with Tracy Nassau has a young girl how long ago this was we had good times and bad but always together we stayed you will always be by my side I will miss your smile you tears bit most of all you god bless love always you are in my dreams your do as christine xxoo

A beautiful lady taken to fly with the angels too soon, gone but never forgotten, you were adored by your family and friends, you will be missed always, x x

Contributed by Kammy khan Khanny

R.i.p ❤❤❤

lv know you from being a child you baby sat my Tracy we laugh and cryed I looked after your children we got drunk got in trouble you will always be in my heart and my thoughts big highs love you bab I no you will be looking over us it’s normally you who cryed now it’s me you was like a mum to my children we will miss you so much love always your said christine

Contributed by Marilyn Mazza

Thinking of you all at this sad time love & condolences from Marilyn over in Brisbane Australia

Contributed by Amie Kafer

So sorry for your lose send lots of hugs rip

Contributed by Nazmina Akhtar

This is so so sad … i prayed lots when I heard of ur accident but god is the best decider … may u rest in peace n ur family find the strength to get through this tragic time 😪😪💔💔💔💔 r.i.p xxxxxxxx

Contributed by Hafsah K

I don’t know you but I work in Britannia house, we were all so saddened to hear what had happened and were all praying for your recovery. Thoughts and prayers for your family, friends and all those that will miss you, rest in peace 🥀 x

r.i.p. i was there on the day. stood in the crowd. how my heart fell in pieces as the police told me n my sister the sad news.
May Angels be beside you always. xx

Rest in peace🌹

Contributed by Maryiam Kamran

R.i.p beautiful lady 💔💔💔⚘⚘⚘ Its so sad to hear such a beautiful lady.

Contributed by jilie vinall

what a wonderful person you were, going to miss our weekly chats. R.I.P my friend, my thoughts, prayers and love to the family at this tragic time, gone but never forgotten x x x

My heart goes out to all your family, so sad, a lovely lady taken too soon. May you R.I.P. Kathleen.😔🌹❤️XXXX.

Contributed by julie bailey

so sad to hear you have been taken from your loved ones my thoughts and prayers go out to your familey rip xx

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Contributed by Tracy Nassau

I’m truly heart broken wot will i do without you aunt Kath you wasn’t my aunt u was my mum. Words can’t explain how I feel at all you was taken far too soon. RIP beautiful lady hope your having a party with nana love u with all my heart always and forever fly high my Angel you are the bright star in the sky.

I don’t know you but when I saw the emergency helicopter land & when I read the T & I hoped you was Okay. God had different plans, may you rest in peace. All condolences to you close family & friends ❤️❤️

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Contributed by Shakeelah Ali

Sooooo saddened to hear the awful news……my thoughts are with the family at this tragic time. May Allah provide comfort to your family and heal yr pain and grief ameen. Rip Kathleen. Xx

Contributed by Aisha Hussain

I was there on that terrible day i watched people rush to your aid, how I was praying for you to wake up, may you rest in peace and my condolences to all the family 💕💕💕💕

Contributed by Ayesha Aziz

May you R.I.P and may your family find comfort in each other at this heartbreaking time.. A terrible tragedy sadly happening all too often on the roads in this day and age…
I hope the police find the answers to this quickly so the family can begin to rebuild..
You will forever live on in the hearts of all who loved and knew you… my prayers and thoughts go out to your loved ones…

Contributed by Shazia Akhtar

Such a tragedy my deepest condolences to all that knew Kathleen. Rest in peace 🌹

Contributed by Samuel Bilton

Sad to hear what happened my thoughts go out to the family and friends of kath may she be gone but never forgotten r.i.p Kathleen fly higher up there ❤️❤️❤️

RIP.. this is so sad. My thoughts are with the family during this very difficult time. May God give you the patience to get by. Rest in peace hun x

Contributed by jodie phillips

R.I.P sleep tight beautiful. You left your footprint on many hearts you will be sadly missed. Fly high Kath xxxx

Rip Kath, condolences to your family.

Contributed by Eddie Needham

So sad RIP.

Contributed by Samia Kauser

Rest In Peace 🌹

Contributed by Adam Khan

RIP darlin xx

Contributed by Fareena Alam

RIP .. extremely saddened when reading about the tragic event that took place.. comments, flowers with handwritten notes shows how much you were loved, and will be forever loved and missed.
The almighty give your family and friends the strength to cope with your loss.
My daughter was in a taxi with her friend at that time, the public rushing to help!!!dropping their bags and phones running towards the lady.
Amazing people all of them, running to do anything they possibly could.
My most sincere condolences xx

I don’t know you but seems you were loved so very much. RIP, condolences to your family

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Contributed by Bibi Khan

So sad

The sky will shine brighter now as you watch over your family – much love to all the family, maybyou find strength every day 💔

Contributed by Sam Kendall

Rest in peace Kath.It was a pleasure to have known you. X

Contributed by Michael Henderson

Thinking of all the family at this very sad time, you were taken far too soon Kath but in my heart I will hold many memories. Always in our hearts and thoughts. R.I.P

Contributed by Fiona Summers

Such sad news. Sending love to all the family and close friends. May care and love of those around you provide comfort and peace to get you through the days ahead. My most sincere condolences❤

Contributed by Joanne Dyer

Thinking of your family at this sad time rip

Contributed by Christine Brook Garbus

Please accept my heartfelt condolences, my thoughts and prayers are with your family & friends. Sleep tight lady xx

Contributed by Jackie Roberts

If I was to pick a flower in a garden I would pick the best and that’s what god did .. r.i.p Kath. love Jackie and family xxx

Contributed by Rob Beezley

I’m a friend of Craig’s and can’t even begin to imagine what he’s going through, rip kath… thoughts with all of the family 🙁

Contributed by Diab Alhilaly

So sad to hear about the loss of Kathleen Farman

Contributed by tracy m

Night night Kathleen Sleep tight love. Sorry to your poor family that i couldn’t have done more. god bless. x

Contributed by Danielle Gray

R.I.P Katy such a lovely women fly high sweetheart xx

Contributed by rachael tempest

Well what can i say darling, no words in the world can explain, all i can say is i well and truly miss & love u so much and always will, what i would give just 2 hear your voice and your singing again, u will always be in my heart and by my side like u was every weekend ❤ RIP ❤

Contributed by VANESSA PARKINSON

Kath you are one of God’s special Angels now. Love you lots, I am utterly devastated. Sleep tight beautiful lady with a heart of Gold. xxxx Vanessa Parkinson

Contributed by Sammy Turner

R.i.p Kathleen sleep tight now taken too soon condolences to her family

Contributed by Sammy Turner

R.I.P Kathleen taken too soon and condolences to her family sleep tight now xx

Contributed by philip farman

r.i.p mum love u so much going to miss u n dominic, daniel, riley n gabriella going to miss u like hell love u nana

Contributed by Lesley Fearnley

RIP my lovely xx until we meet again ❤️❤️❤️

Rip kath , going to miss a lovely friend . Gone to soon xx

Contributed by Diane Tennant

You’ll always have a place in my heart. Rip to a very special friend. Gone to soon. Fly high angel ❤️

Contributed by Tracey Judson

Gone before your time. My thought and condolences to your family and friends Kathleen. Rip sweet Angel 💔💔💔

Contributed by Jessica Finbow

Gone to soon, fly high with the angels you will be sadly missed by so many love you loads Auntie Kath xxxx

Contributed by Gail Asquith

RIP Kath, 30 year friendship. Such a tragedy.

Contributed by Amy Farman

God only takes the best ❤️ RIP Auntie Kathleen xxxx

Contributed by claire tempest

RIP kathleen.. taken far too soon by this tragic event. Sleep tight xx

So sad RIP

Dugdale gave deputy ’10 minutes’ notice’ she was quitting

Alex Rowley
Image caption Mr Rowley said very few people knew that Kezia Dugdale was going to resign

Scottish Labour’s interim leader Alex Rowley has revealed that Kezia Dugdale only gave him a few minutes’ notice that she was quitting as party leader.

Ms Dugdale announced she was standing down last month and a contest is ongoing to elect her successor.

Mr Rowley was Ms Dugdale’s deputy at the time.

He told the BBC‘s Sunday Politics Scotland: “I didn’t know that Kezia Dugdale was going to resign up until 10-15 minutes before she announced it.”

He added: I think very few people knew but that was Kezia’s decision, a decision that she wanted to make.

“We now need to move forward. We owe Kez a debt of gratitude for all the work that she’s done over these last two years.”

The leadership contest is between Anas Sarwar, Labour’s health spokesman at Holyrood, and left wing MSP Richard Leonard.

Image caption Kezia Dugdale served as the leader of Scottish Labour for two-and-a-half years

During the interview, Mr Rowley was also asked if he had set up Mr Sarwar during First Minister’s Questions last week.

In Holyrood on Thursday, while talking about poverty, Mr Rowley said the SNP stood for “the millionaires, not the millions”, which led to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon launching an attack on Mr Sarwar.

Mr Sarwar had previously denied being “one of the few” as he defended his family’s firm over its failure to pay the real living wage to all staff. He has since relinquished all his shares in his family’s wholesale business. The Glasgow MSP has also faced questions over his decision to send his children to a private school in the city.

In his response on Sunday Politics Scotland, Mr Rowley – who is attending the Labour Party Conference in Brighton – said: “I’m going to continue to make the case for the many, not the few. I’m going to continue to make the case that we need to address the unacceptable levels of poverty that exist in Scotland.

“I haven’t come out for any candidate. I’ve remained neutral. I have one vote the same as every other party member. The Labour party members will decide who they want to put in as our next leader.”

The result of the leadership contest will be announced in mid-November.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mr Rowley denied setting up Anas Sarwar during First Minister’s Questions

Plans for flats in ‘impressive’ city centre warehouse approved by Council

BRADFORD Council have approved plans for a developer to convert an “impressive” vacant warehouse into flats.

In 2015 plans by Vantage Apartments to refurbish the five-storey, Grade II listed 46 Peckover Street in Little Germany (pictured) and turn it into 33 one and two-bed apartments were approved.

Earlier this summer Iqbal Singh has submitted an application to alter these plans, reducing the number of two-bed flats to make the development more financially viable. The changes will see the number of flats increase to 43.

The building, a warehouse built in a Scottish Baronial style in the 1870s, is currently vacant. It was most recently classed as offices.

Planning officers said: “The building is a fine example of its type and has been vacant for several years. The proposal will maintain the significance of the heritage asset.”

Meghan Markle attends as Prince Harry launches Invictus Games

Meghan Markle at Invictus Games opening ceremonyImage copyright Reuters
Image caption Prince Harry‘s girlfriend Meghan Markle attended the Invictus Games opening ceremony

Prince Harry has launched his Invictus Games for injured service personnel in the Canadian city of Toronto.

The prince was joined at the opening ceremony by US First Lady Melania Trump and Canadian PM Justin Trudeau.

His girlfriend Meghan Markle was spotted in the stands at the Air Canada Centre, although they were not sitting together.

The event will see athletes from 15 countries compete in 12 sports over eight days.

There had been speculation that the Games would be the first time Prince Harry and Ms Markle would be seen in public together.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Prince Harry was next to the First Lady of the United States, Melania Trump

The actress, who lives in the city, clapped and smiled as the competitors arrived in the stadium.

The UK team trained at the University of Bath sports training village after selection trials there in April.

Some of the competitors have lost limbs or suffered long-term injuries.

Others are struggling with the mental scars of the conflicts they have experienced.

The inaugural Invictus Games took place in London in September 2014.

They were held in Orlando, Florida, in 2016, and will be hosted by Sydney, Australia, in 2018.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption The UK squad was chosen through selection trials at Bath University in April.

Prince Harry said the Games shone a spotlight on the “unconquerable character of servicemen and women and their families and their ‘Invictus’ spirit”.

Ms Markle recently spoke about her relationship with the prince to Vanity Fair magazine.

“We’re two people who are really happy and in love,” the 36-year-old said.

Earlier on Saturday, Harry held separate bilateral meetings with the Mrs Trump and Mr Trudeau.

The first lady is in Canada to support the large American contingent taking part in the Games.

Corbyn: People of Birmingham deserve ‘clean streets’

Jeremy Corbyn
Image caption Jeremy Corbyn said he was hopeful of a “resolution” in the dispute

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the people of Birmingham deserve “clean streets”.

The city’s bin strike was suspended on Wednesday after the High Court granted an interim injunction against the Labour-run city council’s bid to make some workers redundant.

Following John Clancy’s resignation as council leader, Mr Corbyn said he was hopeful of a “resolution”.

He said there “has to be security of employment for the bin men”.

Refuse workers began strike action on 30 June in a row over job losses.

The council says it faces “significant financial challenges” and needs a “high-quality, value-for-money and reliable refuse service”.

The Unite union claims restructuring plans threaten the jobs of more than 120 staff, while the council says it will modernise the service and save £5m a year.

Mr Corbyn said: “There’s now the opportunity very rapidly to come to an agreement so that the people of Birmingham can have what they deserve, an efficient bin service and clean streets.”

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Household waste has littered the city’s streets since strike action began on 30 June

Speaking to the BBC’s Sunday Politics programme, Mr Corbyn said Birmingham had been “under the cosh with central government spending for a long time”.

However, the Labour leader said he did not think the bin dispute would harm his party next May when every seat on the city council will be up for election.

“We will deal with the issue of the bin dispute and I think you’ll see Birmingham City Council will remain a Labour council,” he said.

Watch the full interview with Jeremy Corbyn on Sunday Politics on BBC One at 11:00 on 24 September.

CAR REVIEW: Gold-roofed DS3 conjures up memories of Odsal stock car racing

When I first set eyes on the DS3’s sparkling golden roof, my mind skipped back a few decades to the days of stock car racing at Odsal stadium.

According to the rules of the sport, only the world champion is allowed to paint his roof in such a way to denote superiority over all challengers.

So it was that I would watch with intrigue from the Rooley Avenue terrace as gold-topped cars driven by legends such as Stuart Smith, Peter Falding and John Lund performed what seemed like motoring miracles on the floodlit shale track below.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: A gold-roofed stock car leads the way during a race at Odsal in 1986

Above: A gold-roofed stock car leading the rolling lap at Odsal 

With half a dozen formula one stock car finals held at Odsal in the 1980s and 90s, it truly was a golden era for the sport in Bradford.

Now, with the arrival of the DS3 Performance, it was my turn to feel like a world champ for the week while behind the wheel of a car painted in matt black and complete with a gold roof, gold mirror cappings and even a gold dashboard.

Those who prefer subtlety may want to steer clear because this car’s colourscheme attracts plenty of attention, proving that a gold roof still marks a vehicle out as special, whether on the stock car track or on the public highway.

But the DS3 Performance isn’t all about looks – it’s good to drive too.

With its modified suspension, lowered ride height and a wider track, the handling has been greatly enhanced. When tackling the tighter corners with urgency, it displays sure-footed, confidence-inspiring qualities.

With its agility further aided by the addition of a Torsen limited-slip differential, this special DS3 would no doubt be capable of a blistering lap round the famous Odsal track!

One place where it did come into its own was during a day trip to Chatsworth House, the ancestral seat of the Dukes of Devonshire near Bakewell, as the go kart-style handling proved useful on some of the tight and twisty rural roads that run between West Yorkshire and Derbyshire.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The DS3 Performance with Chatsworth House in the background during a trip out to Derbyshire

Above: DS3’s gold trimmings match those of Chatsworth House

If the car’s performance was equal to those roads, it’s appearance was also a match for Chatsworth House, which itself received some extra ‘bling’ during a recent restoration project that reintroduced gold leaf to key features, notably around the windows.

Under the car’s bonnet, you’ll find a 1.6-litre turbocharged engine, which has been updated for improved emissions and economy.

It puts out 210bhp, leaving it a touch short of current hot-hatch figures, which tend to be above 250bhp.

Nevertheless, it’s no slouch, feeling potent from low down the rev range and performing the sprint to 62mph in 6.5 seconds, which seems sufficient for everyday driving requirements.

Meanwhile, the gear ratio on the six-speed manual box has been shortened to create extra sportiness.

In many ways, it strikes a balance between a car that offers sprightly performance when the need arises, while remaining comfortable and easy to drive in towns and cities. However, once you leave the smoother surfaces found on city centre roads, the hard and sporty suspension makes for a less comfortable ride, as the car doesn’t do much to iron out road imperfections.

You get the overall feeling that DS Performance, the motorsport division of DS Automobiles, has paid great attention to detail in designing this car, with its 18” black alloy wheels, twin sports exhaust and DS Performance badging.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The DS3's gold dash

Inside the cabin, the gold dash might not be to everyone’s taste, but I thought it suited the car’s personality rather nicely and made a change from the ubiquitous black/grey dashboards found in so many other cars. The sports seats offer great comfort and support, while the leather-swapped steering wheel is a nice touch.

With its good looks, excellent handling and brisk acceleration, DS may just have struck gold with this little beauty.

THE LOWDOWN

DS3 Performance

PRICE: £25,915 on the road

BODY STYLE: Three-door hatchback

ENGINE: 1.6-litre four-cylinder, 210bhp

TRANSMISSION: Six-speed manual

0-62MPH: 6.5sec

FUEL CONSUMPTION: 52.3mpg

EMISSIONS: 125g/km

Britain’s Got Talent to hold open auditions at Broadway centre

BRADFORDIANS are to be given the chance to audition for Britain’s Got Talent when the show’s representatives visit the city next week.

Members of the team from the hit ITV show will visit The Broadway Centre on Sunday October 1 from 12pm to 4pm.

GET INSPIRED: Take our quiz to remind yourself of Bradford’s previous talent show success stories

The auditions are open to performers of any age, with a show spokesman stating: “Anything goes from magicians to comedians, drag acts to singers and acrobats to animals.”

Successful acts will then be in with a chance of securing a place at one of the judges’ auditions taking place in 2018.

More good news for Odeon project as operator ‘breakthrough’ unlocks borrowing potential

A ‘BREAKTHROUGH’ in the battle to save Bradford’s former Odeon means the project could soon be fully funded, the businessman behind the scheme has revealed.

The full cost of restoring the building and reopening it as a major live venue is now put at £19.8m.

But Lee Craven, director of Bradford Live, said last week’s announcement of an operator for the venue was “a breakthrough” that could mean 70 per cent of this cost is secured.

Mr Craven said not only was the NEC Group investing £2m in the scheme, the income stream from its 30-year lease would also allow the project team to borrow money to finance much of the restoration.

Mr Craven said: “I’m pretty sure now that the Odeon is safe. Nothing’s certain until it’s happened, but I would not bet against the Odeon reopening in 2020.”

He said the model of borrowing money for the construction work and repaying it with lease income was “tried and tested” and lay behind the schemes to build Leeds’ First Direct Arena and the in-development Hull Venue.

Now Bradford Live is setting its sights on finding the final piece of the funding jigsaw – around £6m – and is confident that the venue will open in just three years’ time.

Mr Craven said the team was hopeful that the project would be put forward by the Leeds Enterprise Partnership (LEP) as its entry into a contest for a share of a £15m Government funding pot.

The fund, which ties in with next year’s Great Exhibition of the North in Newcastle-Gateshead, will give grants of £3m to £4m out to three or four large cultural regeneration projects across the North.

Eleven northern areas are being invited to apply for grants – but can only put forward one project each for consideration.

Bradford Live has been working with Bradford Council on a bid for the cash.

Bradford Civic Society has now handed in a petition to the LEP, calling for it to make the Odeon project its choice.

Society chairman Si Cunningham said: “As only one bid per Local Enterprise Partnership can be submitted, we feel it’s imperative that Bradford is at the front of the queue for this funding.

“Since starting the petition, we’ve had over 2,700 signatures in support and received the backing of Bradford’s MPs.”

Mr Craven said he valued the support of the petitioners.

He said: “It’s another example of the grassroots support for the Odeon which has been there from the start, and the campaign to stop the building from being demolished.”

And he also welcomed the public reaction to last week’s announcement that an operator had been found.

He said: “I think there was an element of relief. I think this is unfortunately true of Bradford, that there have been so many false starts with Bradford over the years.

“With the Odeon, people were thinking, ‘Will this ever really happen?’

“It came as a pleasant surprise that yes, it will happen, and there is a major corporate investor willing to commit to the Odeon and to this city.

“It really is a tremendous boost of confidence for the Odeon and for this city.”

Earlier this week, the West Yorkshire Combined Authority announced it was releasing a £325,000 grant for the Odeon, which had been set aside last year lined up since last year, now an operator was on board.

Originally, the money had been intended to help woo an operator by paying for the 1930s auditorium to be opened out once more, after decades spent split into two cinemas and a bingo hall.

Mr Craven said discussions were now ongoing about how the cash would best be spent.