Sunday, 16 December 2012

Latest Planning Applications and Decisions


Consultation Period

A space in Moore Crescent is proposed for building on.

CB/12/03822/FULL - Land adjacent 11 Moore Crescent, Houghton Regis, Dunstable, LU5 5GZ - Attached house with two car parking bays

CB/12/04264/FULL - Thomas Whitehead Lower School, Angels Lane, Houghton Regis, Dunstable, LU5 5HH
 - Retention of temporary classroom portacabin (Application 07/1028)

CB/12/04046/FULL - Mobile Home At, Thorn Green Farm, Thorngreen Farm Road, Houghton Regis - Removal of a mobile home, demolition of a barn and erection of a Granny Annex (Resubmission of CB/12/01991)

CB/12/03935/FULL- Houghton Regis Lower School, St Michaels Avenue, Houghton Regis, Dunstable, LU5 5DH - Internal works to create two classrooms and provision of school offices etc.

Awaiting Decisions

CB/12/04006/ADV - Bierrum House, 105-111 High Street, Houghton Regis, Dunstable, LU5 5BJ - Advertisement Consent: 2 x Banners

Decided

CB/12/03915/FULL - 67 Conway Close, Houghton Regis, Dunstable, LU5 5SB - Extension to porch to accommodate new entrance and downstairs cloak and wc - Full Application - Granted

CB/12/03259/FULL - 74-76 High Street, Houghton Regis, Dunstable, LU5 5BJ - Demolition of existing buildings and redevelopment of site to provide 3 No 1 bedroom dwellings and 2 No studio flats - Full Application - Refused

CB/12/03529/ADV - Unit 30 Townsend Farm Road, Houghton Regis, Dunstable, LU5 5BA - Internally illuminated and non-illuminated signs on building and internally illuminated free standing sign. - Advertisement - Granted

CB/12/03235/OUT - 20 Roman Gardens, Houghton Regis, Dunstable, LU5 5QR - Outline Planning Permission: Erection of detached dwelling (all matters reserved except access and layout). - Outline Application - Refused

CB/12/03255/FULL - 193 Cemetery Road, Houghton Regis, Dunstable, LU5 5DF - Erection of single storey side extension - Full Application - Granted



Wednesday, 12 December 2012

BEDFORD ROAD CROSSING.


grey=old blue=new

Information has been received this afternoon that indicates some interim road improvements at High Street and Bedford Road junction, as well as other parts of the   road scheme. This follows several weeks of letters initiated by Liberal Democrat Central Bedfordshire Councillors for Houghton Regis following concerns over road safety.

A young man is known to have been knocked down, and emergency services attended, shortly after the scheme was introduced.

A significant contribution to effecting change, was the passing back to Bedfordshire Highways, of comments made by members of the public on this Facebook Page.

Cllr Alan Winter, Houghton Regis Town Council's Highways rep, "At the present time, the scheme is only partially implemented, and works are due to restart in the new year. Nevertheless, aspects of safety have been been reconsidered by the highways professionals, and there are promises that before Christmas, these improvements will be made. As I understand it, the crossing will be moved about 4 metres further down Bedford Road, and the roundabout will be realigned."

"Motorists can expect some delay when this work is being done, - sorry - but I do ask that they consider the value of acting before a life is lost on that crossing. I'd like to thank all my councillor colleagues that have helped by using their various contacts to help bring some sense of road safety back to the situation. Thank you Facebookers for your great anecdotes!"

Monday, 10 December 2012

Lorry Ban On Poynters Road and Area?

Central Bedfordshire Council received a large number of representations, both opposed to and in support of the proposed 7.5 tonne weight restriction in this area.


The matter will be discussed at Central Bedfordshire Council’s Traffic Management meeting on 7 January 2013 at Watling House in Dunstable at 2pm.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Town Council Meeting ~ 3rd December.


By Alan Winter. alanwinter.lu5@gmail.com

The Council approved the minutes of the previous meeting of 22nd October. That had been called especially to consider aspects of the proposed CBC changes to Council Tax, and how this might affect people on benefits. The Town Council  passed a resolution supporting the protection from the changes for current pensioners and future pensioners who might claim support; supported the withdrawal of discounts from those with second homes, empty or repossessed properties. The Council did not support "the proposed reductions in council tax benefit which impact on those on Income Support or Income Based Jobseekers Allowance, receiving Employment and Support Allowance or have low earnings or income are not supported. These households have restricted budgets and any reduction is likely to have a major detrimental impact. Central Bedfordshire Council are urged to 1. consider alternative ways of recovering all the reduction in funding from Central Government; 2. utilize all available sources to publicize the changes as outlined previously to members; 3. actively engage all affected residents." 

The Council received reports from the Policy and Resources Committee (P&R). Among the items recently agreed was to maintain its relationship with The Way. The Way has already been working with the Town Council with existing and voluntary groups to develop their role and scope, and wishes to see this work continue. This will help to provide an effective link between the community, HRTC and Central Bedfordshire Council. A new 3 year contract was agreed, to run to March 2016, and would include a contract to provide Easter and Summer playschemes. In July P&R had resolved to set up a fleet service partnership agreement with Luton Borough Council. A resolution had also been passed to become a partner in the "Bedfordshire Police Partnership Trust" which ensures that the free Bobby Scheme service, which is a charity, continues to receive funding.

The Town Council considered a large report on a CBC consultation document on Leisure Strategy. A comprehensive response had been drafted by the HRTC officers. This was discussed, and the officers recommendation was accepted. This included some criticism of general population forecasts, criticism of local levels of transport ownership. It supports measures to increase capacities at existing facilities, encourages the adoption of growth agenda for HR and Leighton Buzzard as a basis for providing modern up to date facilities. A number of other points mentioned cover improvements that would benefit HR, notably, "The Town Council support the immediate refurbishment of the existing pool then the medium / long term development of a new leisure centre with pool as part of the growth agenda."

The Town Council considered reports from the Planning and Licensing Committee (P&L). Of note, the committee objected on 15th October to 2012/03259 Change of use from commercial to three 1 bedroom dwellings and two studio flats at 74-76 High Street, Houghton Regis. "Comments: Object. Over-development of the site. Inappropriate parking arrangement. Traffic issues - further increase in traffic onto a busy High Street. In the light of current trends to rejuvenate high streets as retail and commercial centres, object to the loss of a potential retail outlet. Query whether or not this is a listed building." A further objection was made to an application for a dwelling in Roman Gardens, "Object. Inappropriate development in that area, as it would completely alter the street scene. No indication of the actual design of the proposed building. Suggest some investigation into the deeds of the properties in that area, as it is believed there is a clause in all deeds that prevents the open area land, including gardens, from being built on." A Proposed Weight Restriction on 7.5 tonne HGV on Poynters Road was considered. The Committee resolved "to support the proposals, but suggest that consideration should be given to extending the restriction to include Park Road North" otherwise lorries would use this route as an alternative to the A505.

A proposal to enter into a joint arrangement with Central Bedfordshire Council to house a joint changing room and nursery at Tithe Farm was considered. During discussion it became apparent that the overall cost of the project had not previously been known to town councillors and a request for comparative costs was made. Nevertheless, the Council agreed a minimum expenditure on a feasibility study. Tithe Farm recreation ground is owned by CBC and is under the management of HRTC under a long term lease which expires in 2061. The pavilion is owned and managed by HRTC and is used for sports changing facilities and storage. The existing changing facilities are said to be of poor design leading to vandalism and maintenance issues. Current changing rooms and storage areas are said to be just adequate. Initial estimates for a joint building were put at £600,000 including £50,000 for the car park.

Central Bedfordshire Councillors attended the HRTC meeting to give verbal reports of their activities. Cllr Susan Goodchild said the numbers of children being taken into care was on the rise. CBC were looking at best practice Councils, such as Wandsworth. They were looking at improvements for outcomes for care leavers, helping them to find work. The government were to set up junior ISAs. 
Cllr Goodchild spoke about education. Central Beds was 17th in the table for pupils attending good or outstanding schools. By comparison, Bedford was 11th, Hertfordshire was 53rd, Luton 114th. It was important to do well at Key Stage 2, and Cllr Goodchild said a lot of thanks was due to the heads and parents. In Adult Care and Social Housing, work was in progress on Health and welll being; there was a working group on discharge from hospitals; short stay unit in Houghton Regis was being well used. There was concern around Adults with Learning Difficulties. They had been happier in Dunstable but since a recent move had felt more isolated; Aldwyck were going to set up a coffee shop for them. Crime in Sandringham estate was mentioned, and when quizzed, Cllr Goodchild said she was aware of 4 current separate anti-social behaviour issues, and urged anyone who became aware of issues there to "be a good neighbour" and let officers and the ASB team at CBC know about them. The Baptist Church was holding daily sessions with Adults with Learning Difficulties from 10 until 12.

Cllr Rita Egan mentioned that due to difficulties at CBC, commenting on budget proposals for next year were not yet possible. Cllr Egan, who is disabled, thanked the town for the Houghton Regis Helpers, who she would recommend to anyone, for helping her out while her kitchen was rebuilt. Cllr Egan was due to meet with the new PCC, Olly Martin, this Friday, to discuss policing issues in the town.

Cllr Peter Williams said he had had a lot of reaction to the proposed Parkside Drive link extension. He was due to meet with an officer from Amey, Bedfordshire Highways contractors, Jill Cross on 16 December [Date since changed to 7th]. Cllr Williams spoke about confusion of ownership of part of the car park opposite Hillborough shops.

Cllr David Jones spoke about Youth Services. Houghton Regis Lower school are due to know if their bid to become a primary school is successful on December 17th. Houghton Regis Academy were going through consultation to change form ages 9-13 to 11-18. The D. of E. would decide that outcome. Cllr Jones expressed concern about the Council Tax scheme for next year; it would be uncertain how much HRTC would get out of the request for precept  that it puts in. A task force was looking into housing issues.

Gypsy and Traveller Local Plan

Work is currently underway on the Gypsy and Traveller Local Plan for Central Bedfordshire that will set out how Central Bedfordshire Council will meet the accommodation needs of the Gypsy and Traveller Community and the Travelling Showpeople Community up to 2031. 

The site assessment process outlined at Overview and Scrutiny on 10th April 2012 is nearing completion and the draft Gypsy and Traveller Local Plan (including potential sites) is expected to go to Overview and Scrutiny on 28th February 2013 for comment. 

The document will then go to CB Executive and Full Council before it is published in May. Following publication there will be a 6 week consultation period where interested parties will have the opportunity to comment on the Gypsy and Traveller Local Plan.  

Thursday, 6 December 2012

National Cycle Way Route 6

Money from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund bid is being used to improve this cycle route which runs along Dog Kennel Walk, to Houghton Green, and then broadly follows the route of the brook to Leagrave. New directional signs are to be installed giving the time it takes to get to the destination, rather than the distance. Apparently this is preferred by cyclists.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Police At Town Council Meeting ~ 3rd December


This report, of the Police Report to the Houghton Regis Town Council meeting on Monday 3rd December was written by guest writer, Tracey McMahon.

Joel PCSO attended (all on his lonesome) the TC Meeting on Monday night with an update from the police on local crime. The Sept/Oct [crime] report is 1.1 per cent UP on previous month, but DOWN overall 23 per cent on this time last year.

There has been a decrease in serious crimes, burglaries, domestic abuse, violence against persons etc...Theft is also down, criminal damage is also down, as are robberies. They have put initiatives together, targeting specific individuals, and patrolling specific areas.

Operation PEAK, targets suspects across the whole county, in marked vehicles and with plain clothed officers.

There have been quite a few arrests from this initiative. Over the last 28 days, 4 robberies have occurred involving theft of personal property, the last occurred on 20th Nov. Since then, more officers have been drafted into the area. The last burglary was also reported at the end of November. 

Theft from vehicles is becoming an issue, especially at this time of year, and officers are trying to raise public awareness about this - i.e. don't leave your valuables/Christmas shopping, on full view when you leave your car unattended!

Operation VISION is another new initiative which is being implemented by our new PCC Olly. This is to gain feedback from the public on their needs, and in this area will mainly be targeting the PARKSIDE AREA. Olly himself may even be doing a bit of door knocking himself! [the scheduled date for this is 19th December from 9.30am onwards].

The police are looking into making available FREE light timers for the public, for using to turn lights on/off when properties are empty to give the impression that someone is home. There will also be a programme of property marking, which may be at the White Lion Retail Park, so customers can get their pressies marked as they buy them.

Operation CAPS will address number plate security.

PC's/PCSO's are being directed to stay within/return to the Houghton Regis area when not attending other incidents due to the concerns raised recently by residents.

That's page one of my notes 

Cllr Carrington asked if there were any updates on the recent attacks, and the problem with the bus shelters, the answer was NO.

Mayor/Cllr Jones hiliighted that the bus shelter damage is not just a local issue, as he has seen some damaged over Lewsey Farm, and Leagrave.

Cllr Costello mentioned the property marking and muggings in Houghton Hall ward.

Joel said that extra PCSO's were being deployed from Dunstable and Houghton Regis to address these issues.

Cllr Winter asked if personal attack alarms are available for public issue, the answer was NO, and it was unlikely that they would be. Alan then requested that the Town Council looked into procuring some.

Cllr Williams discussed the crime report recently issued, and asked if the criminals that are being 'targeted' with the new police initiatives are existing criminals in the area, or is it a newly evolving criminal element? It appears that there is a new element of criminals evolving, from groups of young teens that are associating with older teens, ie 16yr olds knocking about with 18-20 year olds that have already been in trouble. Some of those younger teens are the same kids that started out riding the illegal motorbikes and causing a nuisance. They have even targeted one person who is only 12 years old! Some of the newer criminals are also from other areas.

It was suggested that the recent rise in unemployment has impacted on the crime figures.

Cllr Hunting read out Darren's email to him regarding the possibility of using mobile CCTV, and whether the police knew who was committing these recent crimes? Joel said he had no idea about the likelihood of using mobile CCTV as it was above his pay grade (LOL!), and that they had an idea who the 'crims' were, and they are on their 'radar'.

Cllr Roberts commented on a previous meeting, and reminded the council that there had also been a suggestion that there was an element of criminal activity that was being instigated by some people from North London, and that they were trying to become an influence in our area.

Finally, Operator HANNAH was discussed, and the expected incline of reported thefts due to a 'Seasonal Spike'.

I also took a few notes on some other issues, one of which is the crossing by the church. Cllr Williams reported that he is having a meeting on 16th Dec [update: this will now be on Friday 7th] to discuss the possibility of putting an island of some sort (much like there previously was!), to break it up so as to make it a bit safer. Cllr Winter was very concerned that something should be done before someone gets killed!

Outdoor Volunteer Dates


VOLUNTEERS! Dates for your diaries added for January and March for outdoor volunteer activity see http://is.gd/hrdiary

Specifically see the leaflet from The Wildlife trusts at https://docs.google.com/open?id=1m9F6cGW4JlnzawtNR5gmys38ezYv6zIDg1p9GtNJ4paQAvybxFhW5gHRi4qz


HOUGHTON HALL PARK SURVEY


NEWS DESK'S HOUGHTON HALL PARK SURVEY 


 Take our survey.

Currently the main users of this Park are dog walkers. 

There are preliminary proposals from Central Bedfordshire Council and Greensand Trust to create more facilities, including a new building with a café, improve the deteriorating heritage aspects, and make the Park more attractive for everyone to use. 





How should it change to get you to use it more frequently? Maybe you think "leave it as it is". 

Not even sure where it is? The entrance to it is off Park Road North, Houghton Regis. 


So what do you think about these ideas?  Take the Houghton Regis News Desk Survey on Houghton Hall Park. 

Learn about the heritage associated with the Park

Take the Survey

The survey is now closed.
Here are the compiled results:
Q1. How recently have you taken a walk around Houghton Hall Park?

Q2. Are you proud of the open space of Houghton Hall Park?

Q3. Dog walkers are the current primary users of Houghton Hall Park. Are you a dog walker?

Q4. It's being suggested that more people would use Houghton Hall Park if more facilities were provided. Have your say here.

Yes if there were more facilities for children - 3/8/2014 3:20 PM

Not sure that the atmosphere and integrity could be maintained if facilities were added. Dependant on what was installed. -2/2/2014 5:28 PM

Of course they would. As long as parking is free, and the facilities are better then schools etc would start to use the park.- 1/27/2014 3:07 PM

I live on its doorstep so it wouldn't make any difference to me either way- 1/10/2013 11:20 AM

I am happy as is it, I don't think there is a need for anymore facilities. It just need to be maintained/managed as it is.  1/9/2013 9:40 AM

I say leave it as it is, it's a nice open space, perfect for dog walks  1/8/2013 6:47 PM

A cafe would be good. I've heard that some dogs exercised there are dangerous which is why I've not used it for a while. 1/8/2013 6:19 PM

A coffee shop / cafe would be nice with outside seating for us dog walkers 1/8/2013 2:29 PM

Lighting would be good, I do not feel safe. Plus a lot of irresponsible dog owners there. I control and clear up aftee my dog why cant they? 1/8/2013 12:36 PM

yes would be nice to have more there, its a lovely there but a cafe or facilities would be nice too esp in the summer 12/13/2012 8:08 AM

I think it would be a great idea to have more facilities restrooms would be a good idea and I think even a cafe would be good maybe have it is a dog friendly one 12/13/2012 12:32 AM

Don't change it just give some one a job to be park ranger I don't go cause in scared of the youths there . U get abuse and dog poop . A warden would be able to stop all this . and people would feel safe 12/12/2012 9:25 PM

I think that may well be true. However, will it generate enough custom to operate for a sustained period of time? If there is proper funding to keep it going, then this would be a positive I think. It is such a lovely place, it would be nice if more people used it. 12/12/2012 8:03 PM

think a cafe would be nice and benches to sit and watch the wild life 12/12/2012 7:52 PM

New facilities always attract people in however new and innovative features and ideas for the buildings and general decore of the park along with a good service will help to retain number of visitors 12/12/2012 7:52 PM

Yes - cafe, picnic area, events tolook athistory. nature... 12/6/2012 9:34 PM

i agree there should be more facilities it is a lovely site 12/5/2012 9:10 PM

It had never really occurred to me, its just a nice place to take the kids for a nature walk but I always like.a good cafe! 12/5/2012 8:46 PM

I park/playground for children would encourage me to use the park. A public tennis court would be a nice to have. 12/5/2012 8:46 PM

We cycled round it when we were new to the area and went exploring on our bikes. A desgnated cycle path would be great so we don't run into the walkers. How about a pond with seating around it? Introduce pondlife/wildlife in an area? 12/5/2012 8:23 PM

no fine as is 12/5/2012 8:15 PM

It will be sad to lose a FREE facility as no doubt any change will mean a cost to use 12/5/2012 7:59 PM

a nice tea shop/ cafe, there is not many places to just chill with friends with a tea and cake in HR. I had read on the signs about a maze being mowed into the long grass, that would be nice. visitors centre similar to the downs. wild life learning centre or quiet places to watch the wild, such as hides etc 12/5/2012 7:54 PM

More lighting is a must, would like to feel safe walking my digg even on dark winter evenings. 12/5/2012 7:33 PM

Maybe a cafe and toilets 12/5/2012 7:02 PM

Its a good area and if it had some sort of refreshments or cafe, more people would visit especially in the summer months. 12/5/2012 6:55 PM

I agree, more activities should be put on especially for children to have somewhere to go something like stock wood park 12/5/2012 6:50 PM

Cut it back a bit more and add a concrete path with things to look at, statues or kids wodden climbing frame parts as you walk round 12/5/2012 6:29 PM

I think its ok as it is lots of people us it. Could do with some more poo bins. 12/5/2012 6:01 PM

Some sort of natural adventure trail for the kids would be nice..and more nature talks..perhaps a bioblitz in the summer 12/5/2012 5:59 PM

use it to walk the dog only 12/5/2012 5:58 PM

"Facilities" would spoil the only quiet open space in Houghton! Less rambling dogs slobbering all over my kids because their owners are too busy gossiping would encourage me to use it more - especially in the summer when it's a great place for a picnic! 12/5/2012 5:56 PM

Yes if a cafe or park/activites for children whilst families walk dogs or a general family walk.
12/5/2012 5:53 PM

mud scrapers. 12/5/2012 5:12 PM

============
Q5. It's being suggested that a café, study area for schools, toilets, and information point, are all installed inside a new building inside the present Park. Would you be in favour of that?

Yes
66.67% (30)

No
17.78% (8)

Don't know
15.56% 7
Total (45)

============
Q6. It's being suggested that a café, study area for schools, toilets, and information point, are all installed inside a new building inside the present Park. How do you feel about that?

Good idea 7/18/2015 8:43 PM

It doesn't need them 4/28/2015 12:01 PM

This would be most welcome ,it would draw people in to this park. 3/8/2014 3:21 PM

Dependent upon size and how intrusive it would be. Ideally Houghton Hall should have remained within the park to be used as café, museum, education centre etc. 2/2/2014 5:31 PM

Great idea! as long as there are no charges to enter the park then go ahead. 1/27/2014 3:08 PM

good 1/12/2013 2:49 PM

its a good idea but I think the monies could be well spent in improving other areas of Houghton. 1/10/2013 11:27 AM

I don't think it is needed as there are other facilities nearby ie cricket pavilion, library and community offices that could be better utilised. 1/9/2013 9:41 AM

That means that part of the walk area will be taken away to provide that, it's not that large of an area anyway, so using up part of it for a cafe etc is not a good idea. 1/8/2013 6:50 PM

Would help increase footfall no doubt, but would also need to consider parking. 1/8/2013 6:20 PM

Good idea as long as its dog friendly 1/8/2013 2:31 PM

I think it would be vandalised and kids would congregate putting people off, nice idea tho 1/8/2013 12:38 PM

would be nice gives us some thing to do locally 12/13/2012 8:09 AM

I think that's an excellent idea 12/13/2012 12:33 AM

Good we need it but as I said get a ranger to look after it 12/12/2012 9:26 PM

Can only be positive, as long as it is sustained and is built discreetly in the right place. 12/12/2012 8:04 PM

Good but please refer to prior note about innovative building etc... 12/12/2012 7:54 PM

would be nice 12/12/2012 7:52 PM

Awkward. Ihnffucbgdfcyfdbcudfucbfbu 12/11/2012 3:52 PM

good but would need to ensure maintainence and upkeep are considered. - invovle community fromthe start toinstill sense of ownership 12/6/2012 9:36 PM

i think its a great idea and it will help the park a lot but should not be to big 12/5/2012 9:11 PM

No objections, think its a good idea as long as the building is in tune with surrroundings and eco friendly. Use the visitor centre on Dunstable Downs for ideas. Minimise disruption while being built as much as poss. 12/5/2012 8:50 PM

Stick a Costa in the building and people would definitely make use of the facilities there. 12/5/2012 8:48 PM

great idea. Give the place more focus and make people more keen to visit. At the moment it just seems to be a derelect area 12/5/2012 8:26 PM

It would spoil it 12/5/2012 8:16 PM

This would be really great, would def use 12/5/2012 7:55 PM

It would be good and attract more visitors as king as they are properly maintained. 12/5/2012 7:34 PM

Great we would use 12/5/2012 7:03 PM

Good idea, as long as it fits in with the area. 12/5/2012 6:56 PM

And any thing more they can do 12/5/2012 6:51 PM

If a school study area was provided it should be away from the dog walkers as I once had a teacher with a class of children shout at me because my dogs went over to her children who were sitting on the grass. They are there once in a while whilst my dogs are there every day. 12/5/2012 6:47 PM

I think it would be a great idea to attract new people to the park like the downs attracts people with the national trust building 12/5/2012 6:32 PM

Are the council trying to make money by making the carpark bigger and charging for parking. 12/5/2012 6:03 PM

That would be brilliant..bringing the community together more and encouraging the younger ones to care and love the open spaces around them 12/5/2012 6:01 PM

waste of money 12/5/2012 5:58 PM

Absolutely NOT!!!! A building would spoil the peace and quiet of the park - look at the monstrosity on the Downs!  First thing you see as you drive along the top! 12/5/2012 5:58 PM

Yeah im happy with that. 12/5/2012 5:54 PM

don't know 12/5/2012 5:13 PM

Q7. Please indicate your Gender and Age


Q8. Please give your postcode.
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Monday, 3 December 2012

Police Issue Drink Drive Warning

Don't Drink and Drive this Christmas. 


Bedfordshire Police have announced that they will be out in force now until the new year, carrying out breath tests and, where relevant, Field Impairment Tests* (FIT) to all drivers involved in any road collisions they attend. They will be on the looking for any suspicious driving and will stop and check anyone suspected of committing a driving offence, as part of their usual patrols. Police are also working with the Courts and Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to expedite some drink drive cases to court during the campaign. Anyone found  guilty could lose their licence before Christmas.


Police advise the following alternatives to drink driving:

Drivers, drink non-alcoholic drinks. Don't risk it by thinking you can get away with having one glass of wine or a pint of beer – you cannot calculate your limit so don’t try to.

• Take it in turns to be the driver on nights out.

• Taxis and buses are possibly more costly than your car in the short term, but think what could happen if you drive and drink alcohol.

If you are found to be driving while under the influence of drink or drugs you can face: 

• A minimum of a 12-month disqualification, as well as a fine and/or imprisonment.

• The offence of causing death by careless driving whilst under the influence of drink or drugs now carries a maximum penalty of 14 years’ imprisonment and a disqualification of at least two years. The legal alcohol limit for driving is 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood but there is no failsafe guide to the amount of alcohol that a driver can safely consume. The amount and type of alcoholic drink, the weight, sex and metabolism of the driver all play a part. Any amount of alcohol affects driving ability – a motorist’s ability to judge speed and distance may be impaired, their reaction times may be slowed and their judgement of risk seriously affected.

If you know a drink driver, you can help the police by calling 101 and telling them where and when they drink. If you know someone has been drinking and is about to drive, always dial 999.


Some key statistics from a Department of Transport report:


  • Fatalities resulting from drink and drive accidents increased by 12 per cent from 250 in 2010 to 280 in 2011, and seriously injured casualties rose by 3 per cent from 1,250 to 1,290.
  • 15% of all road accident fatalities involved drink driving
  • The total number of drink drive accidents increased by 1.5 per cent, from 6,630 to 6,730.
  • The total number of casualties involving drink driving rose by 3 per cent, from 9,700 in 2010 to 9,990 in 2011.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

SUNDAY NEWS & WEATHER BRIEF


Another broken bus shelter panel has been reported in Parkside Drive this Sunday morning.

From December 3rd 2012 it will be illegal for scrap merchants to buy metal for cash. Scrap dealers will have to record details of who any payments are made to.

Fraud victims, whether an individual or a business you can contact Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 or going online to www.actionfraud.police.uk


Any community or voluntary organisation which supports and benefits residents of Dunstable is urged to apply for a grant from the Dunstable Town Council. http://www.dunstable.gov.uk/news/2012/oct/community-grant-scheme/


Watch Romulus and Remus at Mead Open Farm's Reindeer Cam from 11 until 5.30.pm until 23rd December at http://www.meadopenfarm.co.uk/reindeercam.htm


Father Christmas can't go shopping this year as shopkeepers are refusing entry to hoodies. Instead he has a team of helpers who have been working all year round without a break. It's not good for his 'elfs; they should have a rest.

+ WEATHER FORECAST

Mon: Rain 9am to 12, sunny pm, high 9°
Tue: Dry day, 5°
Wed: Dry am, wet/sunny pm, 3°
Thur: Sunny intervals am, 3°
More: http://www.bbc.co.uk/weather/2646523

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Dog and Duck - Planning Matters


The Dog and Duck former public house in Parkside Drive could soon be turned into a flat complex with a ground floor public house extension.

Outline planning permission was granted recently to create a car park on the northern side of the pub, and build up to six flats on the present car park. The application number is CB/12/02756/OUT 

And last week permission was granted at the premises for "Ground floor extension to a public house, first floor extension and internal alterations to first floor dwelling to create three dwellings" under application CB/12/02356 .


Other Planning Applications:


CB/12/04046/FULL
Location: Mobile Home At, Thorn Green Farm, Thorngreen Farm Road, Houghton Regis
Proposal: Removal of a mobile home, demolition of a barn and erection of a Granny Annex (Resubmission of CB/12/01991)
Comment: Granny Annex, or is it a bunglaow?

CB/12/04006/ADV
Location: Bierrum House, 105-111 High Street, Houghton Regis, Dunstable, LU5 5BJ
Proposal: Advertisement Consent: 2 x Banners

CB/12/03935/FULL
Location: Houghton Regis Lower School, St Michaels Avenue, Houghton Regis, Dunstable, LU5 5DH
Proposal: Internal works to create two classrooms and provision of school offices etc.

CB/12/03915/FULL
Location: 67 Conway Close, Houghton Regis, Dunstable, LU5 5SB
Proposal: Extension to porch to accommodate new entrance and downstairs cloak and wc

CB/12/03516/FULL
Location: 12 Bedford Square, Houghton Regis, Dunstable, LU5 5ES
Proposal: Change of Use : Change of Use from A3 Restaurant to form sub division of business premises to form A5 Takeaway and B1 Website Call Centre. (Retrospective Application). (Website Call Centre offering a personalized online booking service to take-away restaurants. Taking bookings for take-aways online and from different takeaways. Will dispatch delivery drivers and will send on orders to be dispatched by local taxi firms.)

CB/12/03259/FULL
Location: 74-76 High Street, Houghton Regis, Dunstable, LU5 5BJ
Proposal: Demolition of existing buildings and redevelopment of site to provide 3 No 1 bedroom dwellings and 2 No studio flats

CB/12/03529/ADV
Location: Unit 30 Townsend Farm Road, Houghton Regis, Dunstable, LU5 5BA
Proposal: Internally illuminated and non-illuminated signs on building and internally illuminated free standing sign.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

NEW DEVELOPMENTS FOR HOUGHTON REGIS


Field north of Tithe Farm. Photo: A D Winter 2012

Councillors in Houghton Regis last night were given a progress report by the Houghton Regis North (HRN1) Development Team. The meeting was a follow up to the public consultations that took place in the summer. A broad brush was painted over the plans, with presenters explaining that there were over 6,000 documents involved and initial planning applications to come before the year is out. 

The scheme involves Lands Improvement and AXA in a £45m contribution towards the A5-M1 Link; the building of 3 new primary schools; warehouse, offices, workshops, a hotel, healthcare facilities, community halls, changing pavilions, places of worship, retail premises including a new supermarket and local shops, 78 hectares (equivalent to 117 International football pitches) for green infrastructure, 2550 building jobs, 2,500 other jobs.

The timetable is expected to be: 
Q4 2012 submit plans
Q2 2013 reserve planning matters
Q4 2013 Planning consent and Link Road start build
Q2 2014 1st new housing and infrastructure
Q4 2014 A5 link completes and Woodside link starts

Councillors had opportunity to ask initial questions and get answers from a well briefed team.
This is going to be a twenty year project averaging about 250 new homes a year. And further public consultation exercises are seen as a way forward as the developers hope to forge strong links for themselves with the Houghton Regis present community, and for the sake of integrating the new communities into the existing character of the town.  


Thursday, 22 November 2012

Rail Interchange Could Bring 2,000 Jobs


Are people in Houghton Regis bothered about what happens to land in the Green Belt in neighbouring Sundon?

Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) are dead set against the prospect of a 52 hectacre freight interchange at Sundon. On the other hand, those in favour of the rail freight interchange are claiming that up to 2,000 much needed jobs could be provided on site, including manual and skilled IT workers.

The land is next to Sundon Quarry, has the M1 on its western flank, and would be close to the to-be-built Junction 11a of the motorway.  CPRE argue that use of the land would be a major loss of Green Belt land, and that helps to buffer communities and stop urban sprawl.

A planning application is probable next year, the scheme could be approved by 2014, and could be built by 2021.

http://www.cprebeds.plus.com/content/cpre_matters.htm


Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Get Help To Combat Domestic Violence


Many myths surround domestic abuse and this contributes to many people suffering the crime in silence.

Below we put a few of these myths straight!

Myth: Domestic abuse is caused by alcohol / drugs / stress / mental illness

Blaming drink / drugs / stress / mental illness or drugs is an excuse, a way of denying responsibility. The above issues may be the trigger for a particular attack, but they are not the underlying cause, which is power and control. For more information go to the Women’s Aid website.

Myth: You cannot rape you wife/partner

A person should always have the right to say no to sex, regardless of whether they have previously had consensual sex with the person or not. Forced intercourse within marriage or a relationship is still rape. For more information go to the Rape Crisis website

Myth: Domestic abuse only happens to women

Domestic violence is not a gender-specific reality. Women are capable of hitting, beating, abusing and killing their male partners. Research in recent years has shown that one in four women will be a victim of domestic violence in their lifetime and about two in five of all victims of domestic violence are men. For information of support for male victims of domestic abuse please go to the Mankind website

Myth: Domestic abuse only happens in heterosexual relationships 

Domestic abuse can happen in all types of relationships, whether it be between man and women or two men or two women. The effects of domestic abuse are also just as destructive.  For information on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender domestic violence support take a look at the Broken Rainbows website.

Myth: It only happens in poor families 

Anyone can be abused, no matter where they live or how much money they have. Domestic abuse is a very destructive thing and effects everyone involved. 
You only have to think of the celebrities we hear about in the papers to realise that money cannot protect you from domestic violence. An abuser is just as likely to be lawyers, accountants and policemen as they are milkmen, cleaners or unemployed.

Domestic abuse is unbiased, effecting men, women, and children regardless of race, sexual orientation, beliefs, disability and economic status.

Myth: Teenagers cannot be victims or perpetrators of domestic abuse

Domestic abuse does not just happen to adults; its effects teenagers too. Evidence from the 2009-10 British Crime Survey shows that teenagers are at particular risk with 12.7% of women and 6.2% of men aged 16-19 having suffered abuse from a partner compared with 7% of women and 5% of men in older age groups.

The official definition of domestic violence is to be changed from March to include over 16 year olds and help to ensure that thousands of teenage victims who are abused while in a relationship get the help and support they need. 

Myth: Domestic violence is a private matter, you shouldn’t get involved

For too long domestic violence has been allowed to happen behind closed doors. People think what goes on in the home is private, and not their problem.

Domestic violence is a crime. It is against the law. We are all affected by domestic violence, and we all have a responsibility to speak out against it. Only then will it end!


Warning - Check for Legal Papers When Buying a Puppy


Don't get caught out - make sure your puppy has a proper Pet Passport!


A lady from Dunstable who bought a £700 puppy advertised on the Internet has been left with a large quarantine bill after purchasing a puppy with a fake Pet Passport.

The puppy trader said that Reggie had been imported from Belarus, and the Pet Passport would be sent to her at a later date but the Pet Passport never arrived. Central Bedfordshire Council’s Trading Standards have since traced the passport and found it to be a fake.

Reggie had to be quarantined for 5 weeks to get his rabies vaccination, at a cost of just under £1,000.

Tracey said: “This has been a very upsetting situation for my family. My four young children were especially upset to see their new pet taken away and it is also a lot of money to try and find, especially at this time of year with Christmas just round the corner. We are now looking to retrieve this money back from the trader.”

Under strict import laws which aim to prevent Rabies from entering the country, all dogs brought into the UK from the EU and EU listed countries must:

*       Have an EU Pet Passport
*       Be fitted with a microchip so it can be properly identified.
*       Have been vaccinated against rabies.
*       In most circumstances a puppy must be at least 12 weeks of age before the rabies vaccination can be given and a waiting period of 21 days after the first vaccination date must be allowed for, before entry into the UK.
*       In most cases the dog must also be treated for tapeworm.

Trading Standards Officers advise people to be extra cautious when buying puppies from internet sites and to make sure they do not part with any money without being certain of the animal's origin.

In doubt about a puppy’s history? Speak to your vet or Trading Standards team before agreeing to buy.




Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Apology: Update on Road Works in Houghton Regis


Central Bedfordshire Council  PR 1302    20/11/2012    [For Immediate Release]

Update on road works in Houghton Regis

Central Bedfordshire Council’s investment in the roads of Houghton Regis is nearing the end of phase one, with main works stopping until the New Year. The short-term works, designed to improvement traffic flow, will bring about long-term improvements to an area that often becomes congested.

The improvement works have included introducing a roundabout at the junction of Bedford Road and High Street, where there previously were traffic signals and improving kerbs, footpaths, draining and lighting.

Cllr Brian Spurr, Executive Member for Sustainable Communities, Services said: “Road works can be disruptive, but we are investing in Houghton Regis for long-term improvements. The works are designed to drastically improve travel in the area, but we do understand that the disruption is frustrating and that there have been initial problems due to traffic management systems - associated with developer works - which have caused heavy congestion. This was made worse by a high voltage fault which was out of our control and dealt with as an emergency by UK Power Networks.”

“Following on from these emergency works there will be further overnight works by UK Power Networks on Wednesday 21 November to finish off these emergency repairs. Three-way traffic signals will be in place at this time but we are sorry if this causes delays to people travelling through at that time.”

The road works have been phased to minimise disruption to local residents, businesses and road users. The new road layout should enable a smoother flow of traffic in the future.

In the next phase of works, there will be raised tables added to the junctions of Tithe Farm Road and High Street, High Street and Bedford Road, Cemetery Road and High Street and the new entrance to Morrisons. This will require periods of three way and two way traffics lights as well as some overnight closures, which the council will announce as soon as possible in advance.  The remaining works are likely to take approximately another four to six weeks once they restart.

Streetlights will also be updated or added at the end of the scheme, which should not cause too much disruption.

He added: “We also know that people are concerned about the proximity of an existing zebra crossing to the new roundabout and we’re very sorry to hear of an incident there recently. Zebra crossings are introduced along ‘desire lines’ for pedestrians which is why it is currently there.

“We would like to reassure road users and pedestrians that full initial safety audits have already taken place and further safety checks will follow shortly. The new raised table at the junction should really help improve safety there as it will slow drivers down and make them more aware of the crossing.”

Cllr Spurr concluded: “We have committed to doing all we can to help ease the traffic situation and we believe that the new roundabout and other improvements will help in the long-term. However we know that while road works are happening, the disruption can be very frustrating for road users and we sincerely apologise for any inconvenience caused. We’re doing all that we can to alleviate congestion.”

ENDS

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Reaction to Houghton Regis High Street Works


More comments made last night about High Street works on our Facebook Page. 
Comments have been anonymised as the writers would be able to Edit or Delete their comments on Facebook, but cannot do that on this blog page.


Houghton Regis News Desk:  Morrisons new store in Houghton Regis has now been open since Monday.
Some comments have been made about crossing the roads. The current arrangement is still only temporary, and as these plans show, two further crossing have yet to be installed (circled orange). Highways have given assurances that they will be looking to address widespread public concerns around positioning of the crossings.
Saturday, 17 November 2012 at 19:19

FBUSER1 Seriously! What idiot thought this up? Morrisons is great and has improved local
shopping but the road layout is ridiculous. There's already one crossing too close to the roundabout and now they want to put in 2 more. There's already been someone hit by a car so what's it going to take till they see sense! A child killed on their way to school I suppose.
Saturday, 17 November 2012 at 20:14

FBUSER2 Isn't the crossing to Bedford square ok where it is? Got tomm
17 November 2012 at 20:20

FBUSER2 Sorry....got to move the Bedford road 1 away from the roundabout, it's very scary where it is.
 Saturday, 17 November 2012 at 20:21

FBUSER3 Sadly I avoid taking a right out of St Michaels Ave if I need anything now I go to Flitwick really dont want to knock anyone down
 Saturday, 17 November 2012 at 20:47

FBUSER3 Oh and Im not putting my life at risk by walking
Like · Reply · Saturday, 17 November 2012 at 20:50 (11 hours ago)Reply

FBUSER4 Complete rubbish - they obviously don't have a clue about road safety. I really can't imagine why the highways agency have agreed to such a ridiculous layout. Loads have people have been caught out by the road bumps another strange addition considering these roads are used by the emergency vehicles ???
Saturday, 17 November 2012 at 20:52

FBUSER2 Yes we seem to face new obstacles everyday now.the humps were a surprise Friday morning.
Saturday, 17 November 2012 at 20:58

FBUSER3 Yeah my son noticed them after he hit them not even a sign to say they were there
Saturday, 17 November 2012 at 21:04

FBUSER4 crossings are to close to the corners
 Saturday, 17 November 2012 at 21:19

FBUSER5 Think its about time they employed the proper people to make up these plans not first week apprentices.The footpath is to narrow on the Kings Arms side for people to pass let alone turn buggies off the road ,but that side does look like the poor relation and needs bringing up to the same standard as Morrisons side.Sorry it means more road works
Like · Reply · Saturday, 17 November 2012 at 21:57 (10 hours ago)Reply

FBUSER6 4 crossings in 300 yards. How ridiculous. More traffic hold ups just as we have reduced it.
Saturday, 17 November 2012 at 22:17

FBUSER7 totally stupid who come up with this hair brain scheme so close to roundabouts on one of the main roads in houghton so the only time drivers can use relistically is between 10am and 2pm and after 6.30pm as at all other times people will be crossing it was bad enough with the tempory traffic lights but people stopping traffic to cross you know you have too stop or kill someone its all good morrisons has arrived but the road is bad enough can it be made any worse
 Saturday, 17 November 2012 at 22:31

FBUSER8 Why the speed bumps anyway? Do we need one near the old Morrisons? It seems pointless.
 Saturday, 17 November 2012 at 22:32

FBUSER9 I have some ideas: put some more zebra crossings in, preferably closer to the roundabouts and on bends to increase casualties. Make sure the roundabouts are not lit so the vehicles can't see the pedestrians and have a greater chance of hitting them. Paint some wiggly lines next to the cycle lane with hatchings in to reduce the road width for no reason and force two lanes in to one. Stick some unnecessary speed bumps in which don't line up with the lanes to encourage cars to swerve into the other lanes to get over them with only minimal damage to their suspension. I'm working on some more ideas, but my frontal lobotomy is not yet complete so I'm not qualified to work for the council or highways department.
 Saturday, 17 November 2012 at 22:45

FBUSER10 Well said Ashley, absolutely ridiculous place to put crossings, when the next accident happens (and unfortunately it will!) the poor casualty should sue the idiot that put these in place.
Saturday, 17 November 2012 at 23:08

FBUSER11 Problem is more fundamental than the crossings, the entrance to morrisons is in the wrong place. Obviously when the planning application went in the old store was netto, but I fail to see why once netto changed hands the enlarged sight couldn't have been replanned with a diverted entrance into cemetary road.
 Saturday, 17 November 2012 at 23:09

FBUSER12 Lol at you lot, great big morrisons to shop at, no traffic lights so now now traffic in houghton, I couldn't have asked for more :)
Saturday, 17 November 2012 at 23:30

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Saturday, 17 November 2012

One Thousand Likes on Facebook!


Highways Look to Improve Cycle Routes

Bedfordshire Highways are working on finalising a plan to improve a cycling route between High Street, Houghton Regis, and All Saints Academy. 

The scheme is likely to include:
 widening the shared footway and cycleway on the western (or northern) side of Houghton Road from the existing pelican crossing near the school entrance, to a point to tie in with the 20mph zone on the High Street.  Tree foilage will need to be cut back, bus shelters may need repositioning, the crossing may be converted to a Toucan crossing.

A provisional start date for the work is February 2013.

SCHOOL CHOIR COMPETITION


The Town Mayor's School Choir Competition 2012 was held for the 11th time today at All Saints' Church, Houghton Regis. 

Children representing Tithe Farm Primary School, Thomas Whitehead Primary  School, Houghton Regis Lower School, and Thornhill Primary School each sang two songs in front of a packed-out church. After many long minutes deliberating (and long queues to the toilets!), Houghton Regis Lower School were declared the eventual winners by Houghton Regis Mayor, Cllr David Jones.

Publicity for the event was kept low-key to allow parents the opportunity to be in church to see their children perform. The winners are invited to perform at the Mayor's Carol Service on December 1st from 4pm.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Bedfordshire Police & Crime Commissioner Voting Result


PCC ELECTIONS: Bedfordshire Turnout 17.75%. Winner Olly Martins.

After 2nd round: 
Olly Martins 35958, Jas Parmar 32100.

1st round voting left Olly Martins ahead for Labour and Co-operative Party, with the Conservative and Unionist Party candidate, Jas Parmar, fairly close behind. This meant that the second preference votes were counted.
FINAL RESULT -
Olly Martins Lab 34%
Jas Parmar         Con 31.93 %


1st round voting: Olly Martins 27947 votes; Jas Parmar 26226 votes; : Linda Jack, Liberal Democrat (11,205); Kevin Carroll, The British Freedom Party (8,675) and Mezanur Rashid, Independent (8,076).

None of the candidates will lose their £5,000 deposit as they have all achieved more than 5% of the vote.

Linda Jack tweeted, "Feeling angry at the affront 2 democracy these elections r. How can ppl decide with so much dependent on being on line?"
Sally Chidzoy (BBC Home Affairs Correspondent, tweeted, "Beds Lib Dem PCC candidate Linda Jack jokes granddaughter, 6 asked : "Nana, if you get elected does it mean you have to go to the jungle?"
(* The turnout figure above is quoted from The Guardian).

Video reaction from unsuccessful PCC candidates

Mobile Phone Robber - Nabbed & Guilty

Mobile Phone Robber: Mark Crawford from Eldon Road, Luton has been found guilty of three armed robberies in Houghton Regis. He had disguised himself with a bandana and sunglasses as he stole mobile phones and an iPod whilst armed with a knife and an imitation firearm. His youngest victim was 14 years of age. The offences happened in Parkside Drive on April 2nd, Sandringham Drive on April 28th and again in Parkside Drive on April 30th. He will return to Luton Crown Court to be sentenced on December 7th.


Local Liberal Democrat Councillor, Alan Winter, "I am so pleased that this case has been solved. This has been a big worry to our residents on Parkside estate, especially. It shows that detectives work hard to solve crime, and do get results. People should still not rest easy, however. Keep you phones hidden away, don't be alone if you can help it, and use http://www.immobilise.com/
to register your phone so that you can be reunited with it should you lose it and it be found."

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Boost to Local Charities from Houghton Regis Town Council


Houghton Regis Town Council's Grants Sub Committee last night agreed grants to the following Key Partners.

SORTED - £3000
Dunstable and District Citizen's Advice Bureau - £2200
Voluntary and Community Action - £2500
South Beds Dial A Ride - £2200
Keech Hospice Care - £3740

The Council has power to award grants. The awards are made annually after the applicants are approved for Key Partner Status, for a period of 4 years. The Key Partner status gives an organisation a fair degree of certainty that in each of the four years an award will be made, and assists the Council to budget. The contribution made above is just a small help towards the total cost of running each service.


Chair of the committee Cllr Alan Winter said, "We hope this boost will continue to inspire others to also support these worthy charities. People in Houghton Regis are frequently very charitable, and there is nothing more worthy than helping those who are less fortunate than ourselves."

"Our next Grants Committee meets in March 2013. I would like to think that local organisations and clubs will come forward to apply for small grants to help them with a project that will benefit  members of our community. If the cash help is required before March, the officers have power to grant up to £200. Please don't be shy in coming forward. Our budget is limited, but I'd rather it was used up for the purpose it was allocated, rather than pushed back into general funds. To apply just visit the Town council offices."


See Schemes for Grant Funding available from Houghton Regis Town Council.

About the organisations awarded.


SORTED is a free and confidential counselling service for young people aged from 5 to 25 in the Dunstable and Houghton Regis area. The service has contracts with local schools, including All Saints Academy and Houghton Regis Academy.  Play therapy is offered for younger children 5-13 who have experienced domestic violence.

Dunstable and District Citizen's Advice Bureau is a member organisation of Citizens Advice. They have approximately 28 volunteers at Dunstable and District CAB, and the end user is not charged for their services. They hold outreach services in Tithe Farm and Parkside Neighbourhood Centres, when a paid member of staff visits.

Voluntary and Community Action South Bedfordshire works with voluntary organisations and community groups on a range of organisational, management and development issues, offering such things as financial advice, networking events, and volunteer guidance.

South Beds Dial A Ride provide door-to-door transport for the disabled and elderly frail of Bedfordshire who are unable to use normal public service transport.

Keech Hospice Care cares for adults living in Luton and South Bedfordshire and children from across Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Milton Keynes, some of whom reside in Houghton Regis. Their aim is to help patients enjoy the highest quality of life, while providing vital support for their family and friends throughout their loved one's illness and in their bereavement.