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:

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?

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

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.

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

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.)

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

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


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.

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.”


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 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


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.


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.
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
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.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Best Sustainability Design For Houghton Regis Estate?

Central Bedfordshire Building Control Team are waiting with bated breath tonight, because tomorrow, Tuesday, 13 November, they will find out if buildings in Central Bedfordshire will beat the likes of the Velodrome to a building excellence award.

A scheme of 179 mixed tenure dwellings at Sandringham Drive in Houghton Regis is up against the Velodrome for Best Sustainability Design. 

Sandringham Estate, Houghton Regis                    photo: Alan D Winter, 2010

Cllr Brian Spurr, Executive Member for Sustainable Communities (Services) at the council, said: “What a David and Goliath story this is! We’re absolutely delighted that the quality of our local builders, architects and developers is being recognised up there with the likes of the Olympic Park buildings. We’ll be rooting for them on the night but even if we don’t win, the prestige of being a finalist alongside buildings of this calibre will console us!” 

Sunday, 11 November 2012

We Shall Remember

It was standing room only at All Saints' Parish Church, Houghton Regis, for today's Remembrance Day Service.

Afterwards, uniformed groups paraded to the Memorial Stone at the Village Green, followed by the Mayor, Councillor David Jones, and Mrs Jones, and members of the public, for the Act of  Remembrance

Mike Corrigan from the Houghton Regis Branch of the British Legion said it was a sad day for the Legion. Due to age of committee members and no recruitment, today was the last day of the branch. Mike said it was with a heavy heart that he made this announcement, and hoped that, in time, the branch could be revived. If anyone is interested in finding out more, they could contact Mike Corrigan on 01582 517920.

Time Limited Fixed Term Tenancies

Have your say on the future of social housing in Central Bedfordshire

The notion that a house is your house for life when you rent social housing is being challenged by a proposed new strategy from Central Bedfordshire Council. 

The Council are saying that from April 2013, new residents will be offered  a five year limited fixed term tenancy. The proposed changes will not affect current tenants.

Tenancies will only be extended if a tenant was still in need of the accommodation. The hope is that people on a waiting list, unable to get the home they desperately need, will get a better chance. 

The strategy is part of Government plans to radically reform the social housing system.

Under the new system, the council and social landlords will get more flexibility to make the best use of housing stock and focus provision on those who are most in need. At the end of the fixed term, tenants will be supported by the council to consider remaining in their home, renting in the private sector, moving into another more suitable social housing property, or moving into home ownership.

If properties become under-occupied, as some of the original household members have moved on, tenancy may not be renewed.
If there has been a substantial improvement in the households financial circumstances and they no longer need a social housing property; , tenancy may not be renewed.
If the current property is an adapted property and it is no longer suitable for the tenants needs, tenancy may not be renewed.
If the tenancy has not been conducted satisfactorily, tenancy may not be renewed. 
If the tenant has allowed the property to become severely overcrowded, tenancy may not be renewed. 
If the tenant refuses to participate in the renewal process, tenancy may not be renewed. 

Any new arrangements will come into effect for new applicants from April 2013.

So, what do you think? Is this a sensible way forward to handle the problem of under-occupancy? Will it lead to people in social housing caring less about the property they are in? A consultation is running until 28th January 2013. You can have your say online or by picking up a paper copy of the consultation at the council’s offices at Watling House in High Street North, Dunstable.

Have Your Say

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Remembrance Day Details

 The Service of Remembrance at All Saints' on Sunday will be taking place from 10am. Seats should be taken by 9.45am. The Service and Act of Remembrance will be officiated by Father Brian Wheelhouse of All Saints’ and led by the Houghton Regis Branch of the Royal British Legion.

An Act of Remembrance will take place at 11am immediately after the service at All Saints' at the Memorial Stone on the Village Green. Light refreshments will be served afterwards at The Memorial Hall in Drury Lane (opp. Village Green).


Friday, 9 November 2012

Fresh Plan to Care More

Central Bedfordshire Executive councillors have endorsed a fresh plan to raise standards of care and increase the choice for its customers.

New Quality Marks are coming in to drive up standards in residential homes providing care to council-funded customers. Homes will be rated either excellent, good, adequate or poor.  Those homes rated excellent will receive the highest fee whereas poorly rated homes will not be considered for new placements. Council funded customers will be able to chose from available care homes and will be able to decide where they live based on the quality rating of the home and their preferred location.

The first accreditation and incentive scheme, the Dementia Quality Mark, is in the final stages of development and will be rolled out in early 2013. A further scheme for other homes will follow.

Cllr Carole Hegley, Executive Member for Social Care, Health and Housing says, "We look forward in the future to delivering and influencing greater choice and quality of care support including the Council's plan to build 50 extra care sheltered units by 2014. This increased choice is particularly important for people who have high levels of care needs which are better provided in a care home setting."

Opposition Liberal Democrat councillor, Susan Goodchild, representing Houghton Hall, "Whilst I appreciate Central Bedfordshire Council's commitment to support the most vulnerable and frail members of it's population, it is important that existing customers continue to be supported through changes to current arrangements, and will continue to receive the care of their choice, while these new services are put in place"

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Houghton Regis Wallpaper Downloads Available

These new wallpapers for your pc are available for download:

Taken in Bloomsbury Gardens, Houghton Regis 8 Nov 2012, A. D. Winter

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Road Works Dunstable & Houghton Regis

Footpath and road resurfacing work in Dalling Drive and Farm Close. Just two examples of roads in Houghton Regis and Dunstable currently being maintained by Bedfordshire Highways. The difficult task faced by CBC Councillors has been to prioritise one road over another, given that funding was available for only half the demanded schemes. Roads not being done, and in need of doing, will need to be reconsidered in the next round of funding allocations.

Here's a list of the current scheme works:

If you think your road should be a priority the best course of action would be to lobby your CBC Councillor in the hope that it will get added next time around.

Woodside Link Consultation

An A3 leaflet will be delivered shortly to all properties within Houghton Regis and Dunstable consulting on the Woodside link. The consultation will also include 6 exhibitions, when members of the project team will be available.

Friday, 16th November 2pm to 5.30pm - Houghton Regis Library
Saturday, 17th November (10am to 1pm) - Houghton Regis Library
Tuesday 20th November (3pm to 7pm) - Chalton Village Hall
Wednesday 21st November (3pm to 7pm) - Sundon Village Hall

The outline proposal includes an optional connecting road to the bottom of Parkside Drive.
Liberal Democrat Parkside town councillor, Alan Winter, "Do local residents want a connection here? Many will not welcome this intrusion into the quiet road they have now. Others will think it will be a great opportunity to not have to drive around the estate to get out. This consultation will be an opportunity local residents should not pass pass idly by."

> Project Documents tab ...

The first document, section:
 2.3.4 "At about 950m provision has been made for a connection to Parkside Drive, a
possible future link. This would connect to the main route by a priority junction."

4.11.13 "There is also a possibility, which will be investigated further at Stage 3, that a connection from the new road into Parkside Drive to the north could be provided."

Road Closure May Be Postponed

Notices are appearing in newspapers to the effect that the High Street, Houghton Regis will be closed over five nights from 7pm to 7am from 26th November to 1st December, between Bedford Road and Cemetery Road. Alternative route via Bedford Road, Thorn Road, A5, Houghton Road, High Street.

However, during a site visit last Friday, CBC councillor David Jones, and town councillor Alan Winter, were told that this work to resurface the High Street may be postponed until January. The order for the closure allows a six month window for the work to be done.

New MUGA For Parkside Recreation Ground

Houghton Regis Town Council gave the go ahead for purchase of a new Multi-Use-Games-Area (MUGA) during the summer. The installation is currently being carried out on Parkside recreation area. Similar to a MUGA installed at Tithe Farm Recreation ground by the Council, this new one will be in reasonable reach for Parkside, Painters, and Sandringham Drive estates.
photos: A D Winter 7/5/2012

Houghton Regis Chalk Pit Autumn Newsletter

The latest newsletter from Houghton Regis Chalk Pit is available to read online

  • "During the summer, illegal trespassing of motorbikers onto the reserve was a common occurrence"
  • "a difficult year for butterflies"
  • "some Hawthorn and Blackthorn is [being] removed to prevent it from dominating the chalk grassland"
  • "Information panels will be displayed at the reserve before Christmas"
  • "some of our wintering birds" "Redwings and Fieldfares" "Ravens" have appeared.
Details of working party dates are included in the newsletter. Please consider volunteering some time by emailing Rebecca Pitman, Reserves Officer, 01525 874317 / 07595090776

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Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Formula One Designers Coming To Town

The region’s reputation as a world leader in innovation and engineering has been strengthened, as Formula One designers join forces with The University Technical College Central Bedfordshire for its next Open Evening.

On Thursday, November 15th some of those responsible for designing F1 cars will be at the UTC Central Bedfordshire to meet current and prospective students – the young engineering and design stars of the future.

Parents and students with a passion for engineering or product design are urged to come along, to meet the motorsport designers and see for themselves how studying at the UTC can help them shape their future and careers.

One senior Formula One design engineer, Mark Driscoll, knows how important it is to have a great start in your career. He said: “Even though I am a design engineer, I started my career as an apprentice learning hands-on how the manufacturing process works. It's crucial to my day-to-day work that when I design a component, I understand how it will be made. The UTC has fantastic industry standard facilities, the best I have seen in an educational setting. The location is ideal for motorsports, right in the heart of F1 Valley.”

Principal Bob Shore added: “We are lucky enough to be located in Motorsport Valley, home to leading racing teams, suppliers and the current Formula One world champion. This means UTC Bedfordshire has access to some of the leading figures in engineering and product design, both to spend time with students and show the students around working teams, studios and factories.

“So, if you’re looking for a bright future in one of the most dynamic sectors of British industry, come along to our Open Evening and see our multi-million pound, state-of-the-art facilities for yourself.”

The Open Evening on Thursday, November 15th will run from 5pm to 8pm and is being held at Central Bedfordshire UTC, Parkside Drive, Houghton Regis, Bedfordshire LU5 5PY.

University Technical Colleges

University Technical Colleges (UTCs) are schools sponsored by local universities and industry partners, with other educational institutions also involved. Alongside the core GCSEs and A Levels, they provide a environment for young people with a specific interest in particular subjects, to study – and excel. The curriculum is guided by industry and taught by inspirational staff using the very latest facilities. UTCs offer students from Years 10 to 13 an education which is closely developed with local employers to ensure the students have the skills to meet the needs of their chosen profession.

UTC Case Studies

Jordan Middleton, 17, from Leighton Buzzard is studying for a Level 3 Diploma in Engineering and for two A levels, in Business Studies and Maths. “Being at this UTC isn't easy, in fact it’s a real challenge, but I love it. I needed a change and I'm far more focused now than I was at sixth form, where I did badly in my AS exams. Making the move here meant I left all my old mates behind, something I needed to do as I was getting distracted and losing all focus. One of the best things about life at the UTC is the fact that my opinion matters. If I have an idea, question or concern, it’s acted upon and followed up. I'm treated like an adult. People ask me what I want to do next and my dream job would be to design and make vehicles at somewhere like Vauxhall. I think it’s possible but I have to put in the work and prove I’m employable, which is why I want to have outstanding attendance and ensure everything I make in workshop is accurate and spot on. Probably the hardest thing about the UTC has been the long hours, but it’s a friendly atmosphere and everyone has made me feel so welcome. When I leave I want an apprenticeship and to earn some money. Getting into debt with University fees is not for me. I want to get out into the workplace and get that job of my dreams. The UTC is my last shot at free education and I'm determined to make the most of every moment.” 

Jonathan Mcdonald, 17, from Luton, is in his first year at The University Technical College Central Bedfordshire studying for a Level 3 Diploma in Engineering and for Physics and Maths A Levels. “Our day begins promptly at 8.30am, which was a shock to the system at first since we don’t finish until 5pm, but being here is constantly exciting. It’s far more hands on than school, with an emphasis on practical learning. Even with maths and physics we aren't just learning for the sake of general knowledge. At the moment I'm being taught the equations of motion, a topic related to motor sport. Another good thing about the UTC is the trust and independence we are given. We have private studies and are left to manage our own work and I get the majority of my work in before deadline now. Alongside the academic learning we have enrichment and I've taken up karate and am now working towards my Duke of Edinburgh bronze. Using the milling, turning and welding machines to shape metal is also a real buzz and when I leave here I hope to go to university or perhaps look for an apprenticeship. It’s comforting to know that the UTC has lots of connections with businesses and it feels as though there will be lots of options and support when it’s time for me to make decisions about my future.”

Sunday, 4 November 2012

A Six Lane Swimming Pool For Houghton Regis

Houghton Regis Leisure Centre Action Group have sent in this press release:



Following a meeting that Houghton Regis Leisure Centre Action Group had with Central Bedfordshire Council, Stevenage Leisure Ltd and Houghton Regis Town Council it has been revealed that the existing leisure centre contract has been extended to October 2013. This is to bring it in line with other centres run by SLL and also to provide the council with sufficient time to prepare the tender process which will encompass the five sites in Bedfordshire.

It is well known that CBC have been compiling a leisure strategy, the final version of which will be voted on in December. The draft version can now be viewed on CBC’s website .

This is a very large document suggesting a variety of different options. We are now in a position to put forward to you our suggested views.

We consider that Run 4 is most suitable for the needs of Houghton Regis. In a nutshell this would provide us with a new leisure centre and 6 lane swimming pool in 2017. To be built on the existing site. (See page 61 of the document) However in Run 3 (page 58 of the document) the consideration for Houghton Regis Leisure Centre is to re-open the existing pool, following refurbishment, in 2013.

We are therefore going to push for:-

a) the existing pool to be re-opened as soon as possible but
b) the council adopts Run 4 as their Leisure Strategy.



IF YOUR ANSWER IS YES - IT IS IMPORTANT TO EXPRESS YOUR VIEWS NOW either write to Central Bedfordshire Council or email them at In particular show your TOTAL DISAGREEMENT to Run 5 (page 64 of the document) which suggests the closure of both Houghton Regis and Dunstable Leisure centres and replaces them with a joint one somewhere between the two existing sites. We consider this to be a disastrous decision from both leisure centres point of view.The more people expressing an opinion the more pressure is put on CBC to give us the outcome we are so desperately seeking.

IN DECEMBER. This is our LAST chance to get the pool reopened

The currently unused pool in Houghton Regis

Earlier 'Leisure Centre' Blog Posts:

Saving the Houghton Regis Leisure Centre - Rita Egan TUESDAY, 14 FEBRUARY 2012

The Price of an Empty Pool - Alan Winter, SUNDAY, OCTOBER 30, 2011

Time to Save Houghton Regis Leisure Centre Swimming Pool? - Alan Winter SATURDAY, OCTOBER 22, 2011

Town's Leisure Centre - Is it Really Going to be Closed? - Alan Winter, SUNDAY, 21 NOVEMBER 2010 "This is a people's campaign. Not a Liberal Democrat campaign. Not a Conservative campaign. Not a Labour campaign. A unifying campaign of the people for the people. This is the sort of campaign that demands more media attention. It demands a public show of solidarity."