Thursday, 28 February 2013

Police Community Safety Advice

Following a recent spate of burglaries in Houghton Regis and the Parkside area in particular the local police would like to bring to residents’ attention some suggestions on how to reduce the chances of becoming a victim of this crime.

Burglars are less likely to target homes that are occupied so making sure your property looks and feels like someone is home can be all that is needed to keep your belongs safe.

Simple crime prevention measures really can make all the difference such as leaving the lights on in main living areas and rooms and keeping a radio switched on and tuned in to a talk radio station. Thieves are essentially lazy opportunists, and if they have to make a lot of noise, spend a lot of time, or risk being seen, they are unlikely to bother.

Make sure YOU follow our annual advice to make YOUR home secure and help Bedfordshire Police continue to reduce the number of burglaries this winter.

·         Use your lights – keep them on a timer. Make sure they are switched on early even if you leave them on whilst going shopping or on the school run. And remember; use the lights in a main room and not in the hall way so it looks like someone is home.
·         Keep your radio switch on and tuned in to a talk station so it sounds like someone is at home.
·         Make sure your doors are securely locked at all times. If you have UPVC door make sure they are double locked.
·         Lock all windows and fit restrictors – thieves can wriggle through any gap larger than a human head.
·         Fit locks at the top and bottom of patio doors.
·         Visible alarms make burglars think twice – make sure you switch them on when you go out.
·         Never leave garages or sheds unlocked.

·         Check for weak spots and sagging fences on your boundary.
·         Stop a thief from getting into the back of the house where he can work unseen by fitting a strong, high gate across a side passage.
·         Be alert to strangers loitering in the street.  If you don’t recognise them or they are acting suspiciously, call the police on 101.
·         Don’t hide your keys under the mat or in a flowerpot – it’s the first place they look.
·         Help us beat the bogus caller, always stop at the door, check the chain is on and verify the caller’s identification before opening your door.  IF IN DOUBT – KEEP THEM OUT.
·         Don’t forget to security mark your property and register it on
·         And finally remember, if a burglar does get in to your home handbags, wallets, and house or car keys are obvious targets, so please don’t leave them in a prominent position such as at the bottom of the stairs. Remember, the force Key Safe initiative and put your keys safely out of sight.

For more free crime reduction advice contact your nearest police station or speak to your local policing team on 101.

You can also email the Crime Reduction Team at

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Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Young Driver Training Course Available for first 96 applicants

Another popular young driver training course will take place on Sunday 17th March at the Millbrook Proving Ground in Central Bedfordshire with 96 places available. The courses are free to attend for 16 to 24-year-olds living in Central Bedfordshire and Luton. All participants must complete an application form prior to attending. To request an application from or for more information on either MORE 16 or MORE Drive, email

Location: Millbrook Proving Ground, Station Lane  Bedford MK45 2JQ (click for map)
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Monday, 25 February 2013

G & T Meeting Limited to 180

180 people will be allowed to attend a meeting on Thursday this week which will decide on the recommended sites to be allocated for gypsy, traveller, and showpersons sites in Central Bedfordshire. And any comments on the 32 sites being put forward must be in today.

In a letter to members and parish councils, a spokesman for Central Bedfordshire Council said: "Should we experience a greater number of residents wishing to attend than this we will unfortunately not be able to accommodate them."

In the current round of proposed sites, three sites were available for consideration around Houghton Regis. One at Thorn Turn, near the sewage works was considered, but was dismissed by officers as being unsuitable. Another site at Blue Waters, near Plaiters Way, was dismissed by officers because it was the Blue Waters managed woodland. The third site is a private site that would be privately managed, and that is situated in Bidwell off Bedford Road between the Thorn Road and  the Red Lion Crown Carvery.

The public meeting on Thursday will be recommending final sites, and you are welcome to attend. If you wish to speak at this meeting please contact Jonathon Partridge on 0300 300 4634. If you would like to make representation before the meeting, please email your comments to before 25 February.

Central Bedfordshire Council will formally consult on the short list of sites in May / June 2013. In the meantime, the Council will also be accepting comments on the Gypsy and Traveller Plan, including the 32 sites published in January. Comments should be sent by email to or in writing to the Strategic Planning and Housing Team, Central Bedfordshire Council, Priory House, Monks Walk, Chicksands, Shefford, Bedfordshire, SG17 5TQ.

Houghton Regis Town Council have issued a Gypsy and Traveller Development Briefing Note:

Previously on Houghton Regis News Desk...
Bidwell Scores Highly As A Potential G&T Site
Two Weeks to Go To Find Out Which Gypsy and Travel...

Gypsy and Traveller Local Plan
Gypsy and Traveller Sites Consultation Later This ...

Gypsy and Traveller Local Plan For more information on the gypsy and traveller plan visit:

Houghton Regis Town Council - Budget 2013/14

After much deliberation the Town Council has set its budget and precept for 2013/14. To cover expenditure the precept has been set at £760,000 an increase of £35.31 on a Band D property or 25.2% which equates to 67p per week.

After taking into account the Council Tax “harmonisation” by Central Bedfordshire Council, and small increases into the Police and Fire Authority precepts, it is anticipated that the overall additional amount payable per week will be around 40p.

The budget setting process has been particularly difficult this year due to the Welfare Reforms and consequent alterations to town council funding. Councillors have had to balance many conflicting issues, not least of which was the uncertainty over funding sources for 2014/15 in order to set the budget so that services to our community could be maintained.

Included in this budget is provision for the following:-
• Community services to support residents and the voluntary and community sector
• Cleaning and maintenance of the public toilets in the town centre
• Additional high visibility policing.
• An expanded programme of community events.
• Development of a new improved website.
Contribution to funds for development of a new cemetery, an allotment site and for play area replacement.

The Council has once again maintained its commitment to provide grants to local organisations, to the summer play scheme and to the Pride of Houghton scheme. For further details on the budget, please contact the Town Clerk on (01582) 708540 or by email on

Friday, 22 February 2013

Overturned Car Closes A5120 Bedford Road

A5120 Bedford Road in Houghton Regis is closed this afternoon in both directions because of a serious accident involving an overturned car. Motorists are being urged to avoid the area. The closure is between the Thorn Road junction and the Red Lion pub entrance, just after Roslyn Way. Access to the pub is permitted via Bedford Road.

On our Facebook Page, Barry Finn-Hurst wrote that [he] "was assisting off duty paramedic at the scene before arrival of emergency services.There were two people injured.  The driver was thrown from the car by the impact with the telegraph/power pole. The passenger was a "walking injured". The car impacted with the base of the telegraph pole completely severing the bottom 3 ft of the pole from the remainder, which was suspended by a diagonal support and held in place purely by the power wires connected to adjacent pole."

Two ambulances, two paramedic vehicles six police cars and a fire engine are reported to have attended the scene.

A collision investigation is underway. The Ambulance Service attended the scene and has taken a man who has been injured to hospital.

Anyone who witnessed the collision can call Bedfordshire Police on 101 or text information to 07786 200011.

Gypsy and Traveller Development Briefing Note

Houghton Regis Town Council have issued a Gypsy and Traveller Development Briefing Note


Bidwell Scores Highly As A Potential G&T Site
Two Weeks to Go To Find Out Which Gypsy and Travel...

Gypsy and Traveller Local Plan
Gypsy and Traveller Sites Consultation Later This ...

Gypsy and Traveller Local Plan

The Price of Unleaded Petrol

Is the price of fuel in the UK harming your budget?

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Council Say More Efficient Lighting Will Be Installed

Council working hard on streetlight repair programme

Central Bedfordshire Council is working hard to replace streetlights across the area with new, more efficient and longer-lasting lights.

The lights, which are designed to improve visibility, are being introduced across Central Bedfordshire in an annual programme of replacement works.

Cllr Brian Spurr, Executive Member for Sustainable Communities, Services, said: “It is great news that the lights we’re now installing are much more efficient and should help improve visibility in areas that need it. The problem lies in the fact that the old lanterns – which have a more orange colour to them – are quite old and are failing at a faster rate than we anticipated.

“This does mean that sometimes there is a slightly longer wait until the light is fixed or replaced. Basic repairs are taking around 10 days, but full replacement of the lights depends very much on where others have failed and it is sometimes taking around 20 days. We’re very sorry about the delay; the level of faults is exceeding our ability to be able to be there quickly and fix them.

“Of course all lights in the area are important, but we are trying to prioritise lights in particularly busy areas, or along key traffic routes and hotspots. We’re also doing our best to make sure areas that might prove a risk to the public if the lights are out are replaced as a matter of urgency. We have increased our repair teams working in certain areas to deal with this and are working flat out to keep up.”

People can report faulty lights by visiting and filling out an online form, emailing or, if you believe the damage to the street light is likely to cause damage or injury, call 0300 300 8049.

There are around 22,500 streetlights across the area. The old lights (SOX lanterns) are failing because of their age and failures cannot be predicted.

Old Building on High Street Being Torn Apart

An old building on the High Street, opposite Houghton Regis' Morrisons store currently appears to be being destroyed. These pictures were taken this afternoon. The roof is already off, and there is a considerable amount of rubble inside the building.

74-76 High Street. 1 Feb 2013. ©A D Winter

74-76 High Street. 1 Feb 2013. ©A D Winter

The building is not listed and is located outside the Houghton Regis Conservation area, but it is recognised as a Building of Local Importance with no statutory protection.

An application to demolish the building, and replace it with flats was made last year, (CB/12/03259 - 74 76 High Street Houghton Regis Dunstable LU5 5BJ) but the application was turned down by Central Bedfordshire Council planning department on 4th December 2012, primarily on issues to do with traffic.

One objector to the original planning application wrote, "How can change of use now mean demolition? Houghton Regis has lost too many of its historical buildings. Please restore this building instead of destroying it."

Houghton Regis Town Council objected to the planning application, stating that the proposal was "an over development of the site", would "further increase traffic onto a busy High Street", and would mean "the loss of a potential retail unit".

The planning officers refusal statement can be read in full online.


UPDATE 20 Feb 2013: A prior notification of demolition for the building has been submitted to Central Bedfordshire Council.  The applicants have stated that the building is in such a poor condition that it is unsafe.  Following removal of the first floor, demolition has now ceased while the application is being considered.  


Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Traffic Jams

Three way traffic lights were in use today during "off-peak" works at the Bedford Road/ High Street junction in Houghton Regis, causing long tail backs. 17 weeks of off-peak works have been scheduled.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Development Strategy: Last Chance to Have Your Say

Help shape the way our towns, villages and communities develop over the next 20 years. Have Your Say.

Local residents and businesses have one last day to comment on a Development Strategy document before it is submitted to the Secretary of State in May. It will then be passed to an independent Planning Inspector for consideration and could be adopted in February 2014.

The draft Development Strategy, sets out how the Central Bedfordshire Council will deliver 28,700 new homes, 27,000 new jobs and the supporting infrastructure to meet demand across Central Bedfordshire to 2031. It received unanimous support from full Council on 29th November, last year.

Cllr Nigel Young, Executive Member for Sustainable Communities, Strategic Planning and Economic Development urged that the area must move with the times to assure a successful future.

"This is a really exciting time for Central Bedfordshire, with key projects and proposals emerging that will bring major economic benefits and regeneration to the whole area."

For more information about the Development Strategy visit

The Development Strategy consultation ends on Monday 18th February. Copies of relevant documents have been available at council customer service centres and libraries since 7th January.

Friday, 15 February 2013

Bidwell Scores Highly As A Potential G&T Site

A private site at Bidwell, Houghton Regis, offered to Central Bedfordshire Council as a potential Gypsy and Traveller site, has scored well in terms of its suitability for a site. Only one other site in the study scored more highly, while one other site scored equal. All other sites in the study scored less.

Central Bedfordshire Council have a statutory duty to identify gypsy and traveller sites. The Council is currently deliberating over 36 sites and have identified a need for 158 pitches to be spread among a number of different locations throughout Central Bedfordshire. 

The report to go before the Sustainable Communities Committee on February 28th has this conclusion to make about the Bidwell site:
"The site would impact negatively on the landscape and is located within the Green Belt. There is potential for archaeological remains to be found on site and there maybe a negative impact on biodiversity. Development of this site could encourage healthier lifestyles and the use of sustainable transport systems. A smaller site than the 36 pitches requested would be more sustainable and in keeping with national policy that advocated smaller family sites."

In other reports to go before the committee, it is stated that "In the first 6 year period (2013-2018) 66 pitches are required to address the backlog of need and household growth." Another 92 pitches are required to meet expected future household growth from 2018 to 2031.

Under the Equality Act, public authorities have a statutory duty to promote equality of opportunity, eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation and foster good relations in respect of nine protected characteristics; age, disability, gender re-assignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.

The Sustainable Communities Overview & Scrutiny Committee meets at Chicksands on Thursday, 28 February 2013 at 10.00 a.m. Copies of the agenda and background reports are available to download from Central Bedfordshire Council website.  hrnd.

June 2012: Illegal encampment on Tithe Farm recreation ground was partly
caused through the Council's failure to designate sufficient legal sites.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Road Work Round Up

The whole length of Poynters Road is due to be resurfaced sometime between June and August according to the street works co-ordinator today (*12/2/2013) 

Off-peak works are due from now until the end of April in the Houghton Regis High Street area; this is inevitably going to cause major delays to traffic flow.

Further work to resurface the whole of Windsor Drive, Houghton Regis is planned to be completed before the end of July. 

Two Weeks to Go To Find Out Which Gypsy and Traveller Sites Are Recommended

Travellers came onto Tithe Farm Recreation Ground in June 2012 after damaging a chain and lock and incurring the Houghton Regis Town Council in fees for bailiffs. Photos: © A D Winter 2012

Readers may have heard that ONE site close to Houghton Regis, in Bidwell, is being considered by Central Bedfordshire Council for a Gypsy and Traveller site. The location is some private land offered to the Council for that purpose.

The Council, by law, has to have a certain number of pitches available for travellers. Without specifying where these are the Council could find itself in a difficult place should illegal encampments be made. Until permanent sites are available encroachments, like the one on Tithe Farm Recreation Ground last year, will continue to happen.

The councillors on the Overview and Scrutiny Committee have been visiting some 35 sites across the Central Bedfordshire area to examine their individual suitability. They have had to remain fairly impartial to public comment during this time, but on 28th February they will be reporting back and revealing their findings. It is thought that only half of the sites may actually be required. They will recommend to the Executive Committee which sites are best able to provide sufficient pitches to meet the requirement up until 2031.

Residents can send representations to be considered at this meeting by emailing or before 25th February 2013.

The  Executive Committee will consider the recommendations of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee and in turn make their recommendations to Full Council in April.  Once the Council has made a firm proposal, there will be a 6 week formal consultation period.  That is the time to give views on the whole 20 year plans. Only once all of those views have been considered, will the Council send its finalised list and all of the consultation results to the Secretary of State for an independent public examination and hearings. Anyone who has made a representation in the full consultation could be invited by the Inspector holding the public examination to speak at the hearings.

If you would like to read more about the process and the legal requirements please read this document ... hrnd

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Overnight Road Works - Skimpot Lane 11-13 Feb

A5065 Skimpot Road, Luton, Luton
Works Start: 11 Feb
End: 13 Feb

High impact, delays likely
Location : between Kiln Way and Hatters Way roundabout...
Description : Work to lay busway's concrete beams on bridge. Overnight closures from 22:00 and reopening 05:00 the following morning.
Current status: Advanced planning
Traffic lights, etc: Road closure
Queries should be addressed to Luton Borough Council quoting reference JA012G-LIVE-00256151


Saturday, 9 February 2013

How Fast Can You Stop?

Don’t break your heart, brake your speed

This Valentine’s Day, local Councils and Road Policing Units are joining forces to ask drivers to brake their speed, rather than breaking hearts.

The new road safety campaign, called ‘How fast can you stop?’ is backed by Chloe Sims from The Only Way is Essex and actor Matthew Wolfenden from Emmerdale.

The campaign kicks off during the month of love and focuses on raising 17 to 24 year olds approach to speed awareness. It centres on a short film which shows how different people react to cars unexpectedly braking and how this affects their ability to perform an emergency stop. Both celebrities travelled at speeds of 30mph, 35mph and 60mph to show the impact speed had on their braking distances.

Matthew Wolfenden, said: “I think the skill is definitely in your personal reactions to what is happening on the road, because there is no skill in driving fast. Anyone can drive fast - you stick the pedal to the floor and go. The skill is in stopping and your reactions to stopping and to the cars around you.”

The film was shot at Millbrook Proving Ground with advice from professional rally driver, test driver and Millbrook's Chief Marshal, Chris Beare, in a new car containing current safety features. Stopping distances could be even further in an older or poorly maintained vehicle.

Chief Inspector Richard Hann, from the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Roads Policing Unit, said: “When driving, always observe the distance which is clear in front of you, as cars can slow down or stop unexpectedly. If you need to brake at any speed, remember to consider your reaction time as well as the time it will take for your car to actually stop. Driving at speed increases thinking distances and braking distances, and if you are driving too close to the car in front, you may not have enough time to stop.”

Dave Charlton, Event Operations Manager at Millbrook, said: “Safety is paramount when driving any vehicle. Incidents including vehicles can cause life-changing consequences to the individuals involved, and we strive to improve the safety of our industry wherever possible. Campaigns, such as ‘How fast can you stop?’, help to educate drivers that driving safely can reduce collisions and save lives. The team at Millbrook Proving Ground is pleased to be able to support these initiatives.”

The campaign was produced in partnership by Amey, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Road Policing Unit, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Road Safety Partnership, Cambridgeshire Road Policing Unit, Central Bedfordshire Council, Luton Borough Council and Hertfordshire County Council .

View the film and see both celebrities’ full reactions

Across Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Peterborough, Central Bedfordshire and Luton, collision statistics show that young drivers between the ages of 17 and 24 drive at inappropriate speeds on 30mph and 60mph roads.

Statistics were analysed from 1st January 2009 and 31st December 2011.

The Highway Code states: Stopping distances - drive at a speed that will allow you to stop well within the distance you can see to be clear. You should: -

* leave enough space between you and the vehicle in front so that you can pull up safely if it suddenly slows down or stops. The safe rule is never to get closer than the overall stopping distance (see Typical Stopping Distances diagram, shown below)

* allow at least a two-second gap between you and the vehicle in front on roads carrying faster-moving traffic and in tunnels where visibility is reduced. The gap should be at least doubled on wet roads and increased still further on icy roads

* remember, large vehicles and motorcycles need a greater distance to stop.

If driving a large vehicle in a tunnel, you should allow a four-second gap between you and the vehicle in front.

If you have to stop in a tunnel, leave at least a 5-metre gap between you and the vehicle in front.

posted from Bloggeroid

Thursday, 7 February 2013

HMV Luton Faces Closure

A list of the HMV stores facing closure as part of the administration process being handled by Deloitte has been published. Luton is included. More...

Wednesday, 6 February 2013


View the plans for the High Street work, Houghton Regis

View the Letter sent to nearby residents

View all the associated works plans

The second phase of works for the Section 278 scheme on High Street, Houghton Regis is expected to begin again on Monday 11th February.

The works will necessitate the use of two and three way lights periodically where necessary for the duration of the works. The lights will be off peak only this time but they will be in operation daily until the end of April followed by night time closures for final resurfacing.

Recommended during this time that you avoid using Houghton Regis as a through route as there is likelihood of considerable delays. hrnd

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Dunstablians First XV 29 vs 27 Lutterworth XV (match pictures)

It was brass monkey weather down at Bedford Road, Houghton Regis this afternoon as two well matched teams tussled it out for possession in the centre of the field. Sudden breakaways by both teams earned them points. The final score gave the home side victory.

Final tackle - Dunstablians First XV 29, Lutterworth XV 27
Pictures: © A D Winter hrnd

Friday, 1 February 2013

Be An SOS Bus Volunteer in #Luton Town Centre!

SOS BUS LUTON are looking for new volunteers to come forward and join them.

They operate in Luton Town centre on Friday and Saturdays between 21:00-04:00 each week. Whether you wish to work on the bus, or train to be a taxi marshall, or even drive either vehicle, please pop down and see them for a friendly chat and a tea or coffee.


Houghton Regis Lower School Jumble Sale Saturday 2nd February

Houghton Regis Lower School will be holding a Jumble Sale this Saturday 2nd February 2013 between 10am-11.30am. Come along a grab a bargain.

St Michaels Avenue, Houghton Regis, Beds, LU5 5DH