Friday, 31 May 2013

Do You Know The Dunstable Sex Attacker?

Is this the face of the man who made a serious assault of a sexual nature on a woman in her late thirties after she attended the Shell Petrol Station in Poynters Road, Dunstable?


This artist impression of the man police would like to track down was shown on BBC’s Crimewatch programme last night (May 30). 

During the programme members of the public viewed a reconstruction of the incident which began at 6.55pm, when the victim who is in her late 20s, was leaving the Shell Petrol Station in Poynters Road, Dunstable. As she was driving off the forecourt a man opened the passenger door of her dark grey 4x4 vehicle and got in.

The man produced a knife and forced the victim to drive to Tomlinson Avenue, arriving a few minutes after 7pm. An assault of a serious sexual nature then took place at knifepoint. The attack lasted approximately fifteen minutes, during which time the victim sounded her car horn, and managed to switch on the internal light.

Despite being petrified during the assault, the victim fought back, sustaining injuries to her head and hands.

A condom, which had been left unopened by the offender in the victim’s car, was also shown during the appeal.  The condom - a Star’tex brand -   is unusual because it is not sold in the UK and after investigators made enquiries with its manufacturer it was confirmed that the batch this condom was from  had been sold in Belgium from December last year.

The offender is described as being a white man with an olive complexion who spoke with a foreign accent, possibly Italian. He was around five feet ten inches to six feet tall and of slim to medium build with short stubble on his face. He was wearing dark trousers which had a logo on them or fluorescent markings (these marking were different on each leg), and short zips at the bottom on the outsides. He was also wearing a dark hooded jacket with the hood up and pulled tight round his face and ankle height boots.

Detective Inspector Ruth Dodsworth of the MCU, said: “With the help of the victim, who has shown great courage as this investigation has progressed, we have been able to use the information she has bravely shared with officers, to make this reconstruction. The investigating team have liaised with the victim to ensure she knew exactly what was being illustrated within the programme and the BBC Crimewatch production team were extremely sensitive to the victim’s needs. I cannot underestimate what a terrifying experience this was for the victim to deal with yet she continues to show extreme bravery.”

Anyone with information relating to this incident can contact officers from the MCU, in confidence, on 01707 355959, or Bedfordshire Police on 101, or text information to 07786 200011. Alternatively you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

Woodside Connection Gets Approval

Approval for a new road known locally as the "Woodside Connection" has been given. This will be a 3.3km road running north east from the junction of Park Road North, Poynters Road and Porz Avenue in Houghton Regis to the proposed M1 Junction 11A which will be constructed as part of the A5-M1 Link Road.

Work on the road could start as early as May 2014, with completion expected in June 2017. The indication from the road's promoters, Central Bedfordshire Council, are that building would commence at the northern end.

The estimated total scheme cost is £38m, with the DfT contributing £5m. 

The original proposal included:

  • 3.3km of new road, some single carriageway and some dual carriageway,
  • linking Dunstable and Houghton Regis to the M1
  • Signal controlled crossings to aid walking and cycling
  • Improved junction at Poynters Road, Park Road North and Porz Avenue
  • A short diversion of Houghton Brook, along with measures to make flooding in the area less likely in future
  • Creation of more usable public open space
The Houghton Regis Town Council have already objected to any connection of major roads to Sundon Road, and support residents local to the old bus link, in what they want in terms of connecting or not connecting Parkside Drive to the Woodside Connection. More public consultation will follow before final decisions are made.


A number of other road schemes have been approved in other parts of the country. View all schemes approved at http://j.mp/1aIHtdX

Follow this link to learn more about the Woodside Connection.
The red line indicates the potential route of the Woodside Connection

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Any Old Bits and Bobs? - Houghton Regis Crafters Appeal

This week in Houghton Regis a Committee was formed for the purpose of giving Crafters an opportunity to share their skills with other Members of the Community, to encourage, promote, teach and work together one day a month in a relaxed and sociable atmosphere over a cup of coffee.
 
This new venture is asking people from all walks of life, Homemakers, Skilled Workers, Factory owners, Printers, Shops and Hobby Crafters  to donate certain items that they feel will be of use to the Community of “Craft and Coffee”.
 
The spokesperson for the group said, "We're looking for items such as card, foam, wool, fabrics, paper, plain tiles, netting, beads, paint, glue, small glass jars, knitting needles, silks or cottons, crochet hooks, paint brushes, stamps, and anything else that you feel can be used in Craft....The list is endless....."

The group say that anything donated over and above what is needed for the Craft and Coffee days will be put to raise funds for the group in a Members shop. If we are lucky to receive large amounts of anything it will be stored at Preen. the group plan to help Preen build a Scrap Store for Schools and clubs  in the area, so they can buy at a minimal cost for their particular projects.
 
A committee spokesperson added, "Scrap Stores are amazing and work in many parts of the country. They are a great help to Clubs and Schools, and many benefit from them. Many of the items that go to scrap stores from factories would normally end up in landfill sites. Please think carefully about what you either have tucked away somewhere, or better still saving from landfill by giving to us. By giving to our Appeal you will be bringing hours of pleasure to the Community."
 
Committee of Craft and Coffee…….    email address: houghtonregiscraftandcoffee@hotmail.com

Sunday, 12 May 2013

"Oddmans" Building To Be Razed to The Ground

An old building opposite Morrison's supermarket, at 74-76 High Street, has been given permission to have its superstructure demolished as it is now unsafe. But in a twist to the decision, it has been made absolutely clear to the applicants that removal of the foundations would be subject to a separate planning application.

The "Oddmans" building was of special interest to a heritage group in Houghton Regis, but the building did not have any protection in law, such as Listed Building status. A planning application to redevelop the site for apartments was turned down last year.

The applicant had noted that the building was of historical significance  from its social context and form of construction, but added that "it has been extensively modified over the years and only retains part of the original construction". They also expressed the feeling that "the value of attempting to retain the redundant building in its current form is not felt to outweigh the need and value of replacing this very unsightly and dangerous site".

DECISION BY CBC:
"Given the archaeological interest in the site the Council is concerned to control the removal of the building foundations as part of a planning application. As confirmed in writing by the planning agent, the applicant is reminded that this demolition notification relates only to the removal of building superstructures on site. For the avoidance of doubt, the Council's confirmation that prior approval will not be required for the method of demolition does not infer the right to remove the building foundations as part of the demolition works. The Council's further express planning permission is required for the removal of the building foundations in connection with the redevelopment of the site."

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Gypsy and Traveller Local Plan Consultation


Central Bedfordshire Council’s Gypsy and Traveller Local Plan is due to be open for public consultation on Monday, 20 May.
The draft Plan, which includes a recommended ‘short-list’ of sites for Gypsy and Traveller accommodation, will be open for consultation until Monday, 1 July.
Copies of the documents will be available on CBC website and at council offices and libraries.
Cllr Nigel Young, Executive Member for Sustainable Communities (Strategic Planning and Economic Development) said: "Our Gypsy and Traveller Local Plan has provoked some strong reactions and the ‘short-list’ of sites has certainly caused considerable debate. It’s important that we try to meet the housing needs of all our local communities – yet we also want to fully understand the potential impact of our proposals. The upcoming consultation is the best opportunity for you to have your say on it."
Anyone who has written or emailed already, should do so again via the questionnaire from the 20th.  The Council are hoping that the questionnaire will give the freedom to say what anyone wants, using the guidelines which are necessary to make it suitable for assessment by the Planning Inspector. The public will also have the opportunity to ask to make a verbal representation to the Planning Inspector, who will be given all the comments made as part of the consultation.
All submissions made as part of this upcoming consultation will be provided to the Secretary of State, who will appoint an independent Planning Inspector to examine the Plan and process. A public examination will follow in early 2014 after which the Planning Inspector will make his final ruling - either to support the Plan or ask the council to look at it again.
Updates will be posted to the Gypsy and Traveller pages of CBC's website www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/gypsytravellerplan

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Foster caring - Please Consider Fostering Someone in Bedfordshire

Get in the frame with Foster Care Fortnight 2013
Central Bedfordshire Council is backing national charity the Fostering Network’s call for people to ‘Get in the Frame’ and think about becoming foster carers. The appeal for people to come forward comes as part of Foster Care Fortnight, their annual awareness raising campaign.
Figures released by the charity show that there is a need to recruit an extra 9,000 foster carers in 2013 alone, to provide loving homes and skilled, dedicated care for some of the UK’s most vulnerable children.
The campaign is being backed by some big names from stage, television and literature, including Lorraine Pascal, author Jacqueline Wilson and Dani Harmer, who played her most famous creation Tracey Beaker in the popular TV show.
Speaking ahead of Foster Care Fortnight Cllr Mark Versallion, Executive Member for Children’s Services, said:
"We are asking people to put themselves in the frame this Foster Care Fortnight because we know that foster carers transform the lives of children and young people. There is simply no substitute for the love, support and stability that a fostering family offers.
“We desperately need more foster carers. You can be single or married, you can work, and if you do decide that fostering is for you our dedicated team will support you every step of the way.
“If you think you can make a difference, please get in touch with our Fostering Team.”
For more information about Fostering locally, please visit website www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/fostering or call the team on 0300 300 8181.
Alternatively you could take a look at this YouTube video – ‘Fostering in Bedfordshire an insight’. It tells the stories of current foster carers and care leavers, as they share there experiences of fostering and talk about the difference it has made to their lives.  You view the video online www.youtube.com/centralbedfordshire

Friday, 3 May 2013

All Change On The Local Buses

A new bus service for the area will make it possible for people in Houghton Regis to travel directly to Morrisons, Asda, and Sainsbury. The new 74 bus starts on 13th May with several journeys a day possible. Shown below is the provisional timetable for part of the service; different schedules apply to Wednesdays and Saturdays. Some routes have been cut, and others enhanced. The 38 service is not affected by these proposals.

Centrebus Route X31 Flitwick - Harlington - Westoning - Toddington - Tebworth - Wingfield - Dunstable - Luton (from 7th May)
This service will no longer serve Flitwick and Westoning - passengers should use Grant Palmer route 42.
This service will no longer serve Tebworth and Wingfield - buses will operate direct via A5120 between Toddington and Houghton Regis. Passengers from Tebworth and Wingfield should use new Community bus 74.
Most buses which currently terminate in Toddington will be extended to Harlington.
Except for one early morning journey, there will be no Saturday service serving Toddington (there will be one return journey on Community Bus 74)
 
Centrebus route X31 is a commercial service, with some funding by CBC for journeys to Tebworth and Wingfield. This funding has been replaced by LSTF funding for new community route 74.
 
Centrebus Route X31 Leighton Buzzard - Eggington - Hockcliffe - Dunstable - Luton (from 7th May)
This commercial  peak hour variation is being withdrawn, except for one morning journey starting in Hockcliffe to Dunstable/ Luton. Our surveys on these journeys have shown very poor usage (1 - 3 passengers). Passengers from Leighton Buzzard should use Arriva route 70.
Centrebus X31 will continue to operate Milton Keynes - Hockcliffe - Dunstable - Luton (this is partly financed by CBC and Milton Keynes Council)
 
Community Route 71 Leighton Buzzard - Billington - Eaton Bray - Totternhoe - Salters Way/ French's Avenue - Dunstable
 This subsidised route is withdrawn after 10th May  . New Community route 74 (details below) replace journeys to Salters Way. Journeys between Leighton Buzzard and North Dunstable were very poorly used. Red Kite route 73 provides a Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday service between Totternhoe and Leighton Buzzard
 
Community Route 72 Barton-le-Clay - Streatley - Sundon - Chalton - Houghton Regis - Dunstable
 This subsidised route is replaced by new community route 74 (details below) from 13th May
 
Community Route 74 Dunstable - Houghton Regis - Wingfield - Tebworth - Toddington - Chalton - Sundon - Houghton Regis - Dunstable. Some journeys to Streatley and Barton-le-Clay (from 13th May)
 
New South Beds Dial-a-Ride service Mondays - Fridays and Saturday Mornings (financed by Local Sustainable Transport Fund).
This service also serves Salters Way/ French's Avenue area of Dunstable, replacing previous routes 71/72
This service provides peak journeys for the first time for Wingfield and Tebworth, and serves Houghton Regis UTC and Central Bedfordshire College.
 
 
Timetable information is on CBC website.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Benny looks to the brighter side, singing to raise money for Cancer Research


Local singer/songwriter, Benny Ebenezer from Houghton Regis, has released a new charity single to raise money for Cancer Research UK. He is hoping that his debut single 'Brighter Side', written for his daughter Savi, will raise funds for Cancer Research UK.

The message of Brighter Side is one of faith, courage, love and determination to face difficult times more positively.

Talented Benny has also created a promotional video to go along with the song from his own professional recording studios in the Parkside area of Houghton Regis. Daughter, Savi, who is studying Performing Arts at the Central Bedfordshire College in Dunstable, is featured in the video along with some of the medical staff from the Chemotherapy Unit in the Luton and Dunstable Hospital.

All money raised from this song will go to Cancer Research UK.

       Download from iTunes 

Benny was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2007. He said, " After recovering from the initial shock and intensive treatment, the song I had written for my daughter took on a special meaning for me. I listened to it and realised I was going to have to practice what I'd written. As a result, I became much more positive and decisive and my faith grew even stronger. I suppose you could say I looked on the brighter side."

As well as this song, the artist is now working on promotional videos for two more songs, (Remember & Why), which will be to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support and Save The Children.

Apart from his own music, Benny is interested in helping others move along in the music business. Benny said, "I have also written songs that I would like others to sing, and I would be happy to help a local singer or musician out, if they are prepared to work hard to succeed. I have a professional recording studio, and would welcome the opportunity."

Whilst Benny has song writing, guitar playing, and music production know-how, he brings others in to help him out from time to time. "Lewis Partridge who is also from Houghton Regis, helps me on drums and bass, and, and my daughter, Savi is learning to play drums, too. I've had singers from St Vincent's Church over to help on recordings. It would be nice to get to know others who play such instruments as the violin, for example, to help out with some of the songs I have planned."

Benny knows that music, faith, friendships and staying positive, are very important in his recovery.

Benny said "Medical research has played a huge part in my health because I took part in trials that are developing much better cancer treatments. He said I know how important research is in the fight to beat cancer. That's why I want to raise money for Cancer Research UK by releasing 'Brighter Side' as a charity single."

Benny said "Cancer affects us all. Even if we don't have it ourselves, we all know someone who does. In the last century, effective treatments have been found for so many other terminal illnesses. Why should cancer be any different? I'm not able to run a marathon or do a parachute or bungee jump. Nevertheless, I hope to raise money through music."

To contact Benny email benny.ebenezer@hotmail.co.uk  

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

News Round Houghton Regis May 1st

School Organisational Changes
Central Beds Council (letstalkcentral) have made the presentation from Monday night's public meeting about changes to school organisation available on their website http://t.co/qFedIkIRk4
The Council have also announced that 96% of those starting school for the first time in September have been given their first choice of schools.
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Friday Night Stabbing
A 22 year old male victim was stabbed on land between Sandringham Drive and Wheatfield Road last Friday evening about 8pm. Police say they have an idea who they wish to speak to about this incident, but anyone with further helpful clues could call them on 01582 394068 where Det Constable Martin Hart, investigating, will be pleased to hear from you.
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CCTV for Tithe Farm
A redeployable CCTV camera is to be used in Eddiwick Avenue following a recent robbery that took place in a local alleyway.
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M1: 02 May — 03 May: Delays likely
Works location: The M1 Southbound Exit Slip At Junction J11 Will Be Closed , Due To Roadworks, From 10 Pm On 2 May 2013 To 5 Am On 3 May 2013.

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North Houghton Regis
DLP, along with Matrix Transportation and CMYK Architects, have been instructed to promote land at Houghton Regis which, whilst presently designated as green belt, falls within the general area of the proposed Houghton Regis North urban expansion area. The land controlled by Taylor Wimpey, fronting Bedford Road, will be promoted independently of the remaining North of Houghton Regis development area. The land has its own frontage to Bedford Road and is capable of being delivered as a ‘early win' to kickstart the redevelopment of the whole area.