Saturday, 31 August 2013

Central Bedfordshire Council - Council to challenge Mile Tree Gypsy and Traveller appeal decision

Central Bedfordshire Press Release
For Immediate Release

PR 1675: 30 August 2013

Council to challenge Mile Tree Gypsy and Traveller appeal decision

Central Bedfordshire Council has expressed its disappointment and frustration at a recent appeal decision by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to grant permission for a new Gypsy and Traveller site in Heath and Reach which has been the subject of extensive enforcement action by the Council.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has agreed with the Planning Inspectorate that temporary permission for a Gypsy and Traveller site in the Green Belt at Mile Tree Road should be granted, after the Council refused planning permission.

Cllr Nigel Young, Executive Member for Sustainable Communities (Strategic Planning and Economic Development) said: "We’re really very disappointed with the decision to grant temporary planning permission, despite substantial local opposition and the impact on the green belt."

"The Council has previously taken enforcement action against the site, when hard standing was laid without planning permission. An appeal by the applicant against this enforcement action was lost and a High Court injunction secured to prevent further breaches. When the landowner then failed to comply with the enforcement notice, which required removal of the hard standing and restoration of the site, the council had to step in and do the works."

Cllr Young went on: "The Secretary of State's acceptance of the Planning Inspector’s recommendation opens the door to further unlawful occupation both in the greenbelt and on other land in Central Bedfordshire, as well as undermining our emerging, adopted Gypsy and Traveller Local Plan. We will be taking the matter to High Court."

"What is most astonishing is that in this case we have used wide enforcement powers, precisely as encouraged by Government, to halt unlawful development of this type, and at expense to the local authority."

"Even though in his decision letter Mr Pickles agreed with the Inspector that the proposal is inappropriate development in the green belt and "would result in significant harm to the green belt in terms of its impact on openness and moderate harm because of encroachment" and that permanent planning permission should not be granted, he nevertheless agreed that temporary permission should still been granted."

The decision gives approval for six family pitches with utility/day room buildings and hard standing for a temporary period expiring on 31 January 2016.

ENDS

Thursday, 29 August 2013

SUPERFAST BROADBAND FROM 2014

Central Bedfordshire Council, Bedford Borough and Milton Keynes Council have signed a new contract with BT Openreach to bring Superfast Broadband in from 2014


  • Central Bedfordshire Council is investing an additional £1.2 million to make this happen.
  • This will deliver ‘superfast’ broadband (24Mbps or above) to 90% of homes and businesses.
  • The councils successfully bid for a share of the £530m government fund to support ‘non commercial’ broadband improvement.
  • BT Openreach will invest £2.6m in addition to the funding from government and each local authority.
  • BT Openreach engineers will now begin to assess the areas which will receive improved broadband from 2014.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

CRIME IN JUNE 2013 : 57% of all crime in Houghton Regis is anti-social behaviour

Between May and June this year 57% of all reported crime in Houghton Regis was anti-social behaviour. The majority of these reports was to do with noise from cars and motor bikes late at night. Criminal damage and arson made up 11.5% of all crime, and burglary 8.4%. Vehicle crime was 7.1%, violence and sexual offences 6.9%.

In May there were 259 crimes, and June 263.

Drawn Selected Crime Map Area: http://www.police.uk/crime/?q=Houghton%20Regis,%20Central%20Bedfordshire,%20UK#crimetypes/2013-06

Crimes reported in June 2013 
Anti-social behaviour(Includes personal, environmental and nuisance anti-social behaviour) 160
Criminal damage and arson(Includes damage to buildings and vehicles and deliberate damage by fire) 25
Burglary(Includes offences where a person enters a house or other building with the intention of stealing) 16
Vehicle crime(Includes theft from or of a vehicle or interference with a vehicle) 15
Violence and sexual offences(Includes offences against the person such as common assaults, Grievous Bodily Harm and sexual offences) 13
Shoplifting(Includes theft from shops or stalls) 7
Other theft(Includes theft by an employee, blackmail and making off without payment) 5
Other Crimes 9

Outcomes and progress recorded in June 2013 
No further action at this time (There is insufficient evidence to bring anyone to justice at this time. The investigation may be reopened if more information becomes available.) 70
Under investigation (This crime is currently being investigated by the police.)  27
Suspect charged (A suspect has been charged and the case sent to court.) 12
Local resolution (The offender has been put in contact with those affected to repair the harm done and find a positive way forward.) 8
Offender given a caution (The offender was warned about their behaviour, and could be taken to court if they commit another crime.) 3
Offender given community sentence (The court gave the offender a sentence in the community which could include unpaid work, or a curfew and wearing a tag.) 2
Offender given suspended prison sentence (The offender could be sent to prison if they commit another crime.) 2
Offender sent to prison (The offender was sent to prison immediately.) 2
Other Outcomes. 3

Police Station May Close.
http://hrnewsdesk.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/olly-martins-says-your-say-on-police.html

Have Your Say in Police Station Survey.
http://www.bedfordshire.pcc.police.uk/police-stations-survey/

Crime Maps: Learn About Your Area
http://www.police.uk/crime/?q=Houghton%20Regis,%20Central%20Bedfordshire,%20UK#crimetypes/2013-06

Crime Map: Dunstable
http://j.mp/13BUqDF

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Report on National PlayDay 7th August in Houghton Regis

News release by Childrens Links

2,000 attend  free family play event  for National Playday

National Playday was celebrated in Houghton on the village green on Wednesday 7th August with a free family event organised by the children's charity Childrens Links.

Opened by the Town Mayor, Councillor Peter Williams the event aimed to get children playing  out in local green spaces and be part of their communities   supporting  families to play together with  children getting  involved in planning of the event.

Activities were provided to suit  to suit all ages from archery to face painting , sand and water play for under  5's to  giant  water slides,  trampolines, zorbs, parkour, football, basketball, drama, dance, DJ workshops,  and steel pans.

Clare Bryan play developer for Children Links and the organiser of the event said, "The atmosphere was fantastic, numbers were beyond our expectation, and  families loved  the mix of activities, the community sprit, and it appealed to all ages."

The event was funded through the Big Lottery Fund and a small grant from Team Beds and Luton. The charity worked closely with Houghton Regis Town Council to make sure the event ran smoothly and safely.

Other organisations provided activities including Houghton Heritage group to Kids In Action, Family Action, The Childrens Society New Generation Youth Theatre and Priory pre-school, and not forgetting the fire service supplying the water for the water slide.    

The community Active Rangers run regular free outdoor sessions after school and in the summer holidays for children and young people in Houghton Regis. On Tuesdays at Tithe Farm Park and Fridays near the Dog and Duck pub.

For further details contact
Clare Bryan play Development officer Childrens Links on 07554 450 473
Angela Evans and Austen Trudgill Community Active Rangers  on 07554 450481 

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Ignore the recycling messages on plastic food wrappers - Central Beds does it all

By waste Recycling Officer for Central Bedfordshire:

Recycling in Central Bedfordshire

Having been out and about in Central Bedfordshire at a wide variety of events and having talked to many keen recyclers; it has become apparent that there may be some confusion over the materials that you can put in your orange lidded recycling container.

We have split the materials into 4 categories:

Paper, cardboard and cartons  newspapers, magazines, envelopes, computer paper, shredded paper (wrapped in newspaper or in a cereal box) and catalogues. Boxes, tubes, greetings cards and corrugated cardboard (torn up to A4 size). Fruit juice, smoothies, milk, custard and soup cartons;
Metals  food tins, drinks cans, clean foil and empty aerosols,
Plastics  all plastic bottles and all types of plastic food packaging;
Worn out textiles  ripped, torn, worn out or stained clothes, shoes, tea towels or pillow cases etc.

We have found that national branding on food packaging has been a cause for confusion. Central Bedfordshire is one of the few authorities that at the moment takes all plastic food packaging at the kerbside, even if it has "cannot currently be recycled" printed on it. Please place all plastic food packaging in your recycling container, including crisp packets, bread bags, biscuit wrappers, meat trays, yoghurt pots, cling film and cellophane etc. To give you more space in your recycling container and to help keep it clean, please rinse and squash where appropriate.

There are facilities for other materials to be recycled at your local Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC) that we cannot currently take in your orange lidded containers. Materials such as wood, batteries, light bulbs, electrical items and hardcore, amongst others, can be taken to the HWRC, where they will be sent on for recycling.

Central Bedfordshire Council is currently recycling just over 50% of all our waste. This is fantastic and is thanks to all our residents. With your help we would like to exceed this figure next year. If you require further information please phone 0300 300 8302, or alternatively visit the Central Bedfordshire website at www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/recycling

Many thanks and happy recycling to all our residents.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

4YPUK Dedicated Worker Vacancies for the Troubled Families

4YPUK Dedicated Worker Vacancies for the Troubled Families

Salary reflects the payment by results/outcome model of the Troubled Families Programme
£23kpa basic/£26pa OTE

4YP seek six full/part time suitably qualified and experienced professionals to work with families in Central Bedfordshire, identified
for the Troubled Families Programme. The Troubled Families initiative  is a national government funded programme aimed at turning around the lives of families by delivering:

• Improved school attendance and behaviour

• Reductions in youth crime and anti-social behaviour

• Helping to put adults back on the path to work

Ideal candidates will have a background and experience of working intensively with young people and/or adults, in for example Youth Offending, Connexions, Social Work or similar.  The Dedicated Worker must be able to evidence the impact that their involvement has made in facilitating positive and lasting change to families through challenging entrenched thinking, behaviour and attitudes, and building resilience.

Further details and application details can be found at www.4ypuk.com. The closing date for applications is Friday 9 August 2013. Please note shortlisted candidates will need to be available for interview on the 14 or 15 August 2013 and available to start work on the 16 September 2013.
4YP are commissioned by Central Bedfordshire Council to deliver the TF Programme

Police Stations - Use Them Or Lose Them - SURVEY

By Olly Martins, Police and Crime Commissioner for Bedfordshire.
------------------------
Police Stations Survey  -  Have Your Say
The recently announced Government funding cuts mean that Bedfordshire Police has to make savings of £7.5m - on top of the £15m already taken out of the budget since 2010.
With officers and staff already working at maximum efficiency I need to look at new ways in which I can find further savings.
Currently, police buildings in Bedfordshire cost £3m annually to run and maintain. Many are outdated and in need of refurbishment and are no longer in the best position to serve the public. Others are under-used and are consuming vast sums of money which could be better spent on protecting front line officers or PCSOs.
Meanwhile, technology and different methods of communicating mean that people often contact the police without visiting a police station and I am keen to establish how people prefer to contact the police in a non-emergency situation before I make any decisions on the future of police stations and contact points.
That’s why I am asking you for your views.  They will help me shape my plans to improve accessibility to the police in non-emergency situations, while making savings that will keep as many police officers and PCSOs as possible on our streets.
Please tell me what you think by taking part in my survey.  It will take approximately 10 minutes and can be reached by clicking here:  Police Stations Survey https://www.snapsurveys.com/wh/s.asp?k=137483661407  or by visiting my website at: http://www.bedfordshire.pcc.police.uk/police-stations-survey/
The survey will run until 1 October 2013 and I intend to make the responses public as soon as possible after that point.  The final report will be placed on my website and my decisions will be publicised widely.  If you wish to be alerted to the publication of the report, or would like to be informed of my decisions directly, please let my office know by emailing pcc@bedfordshire.pnn.police.uk<mailto:pcc@bedfordshire.pnn.police.uk> or telephoning 01234 842066.
I am also aware that some people may need the survey in alternative formats or languages, and every effort will be made to accommodate this as efficiently as possible.  Again, please contact my office with any such requests.
Thank you for getting involved and having your say about local policing.
Olly Martins
Police and Crime Commissioner.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Parking Trouble in Town

A resident from Easthill Rd is in dispute with ANPR, the company that enforces parking restrictions in All Saints church car park, next to Bedford Square, Houghton Regis. The man claims he displayed a parking ticket on his dashboard, but a parking enforcement company have sent him letters demanding £40, and later demanding £100 when the first demand wasn't met.

The car park is owned by Martin Slowe Estates, who also are the landlords for the shops in Bedford Square. MSE contract ANPR to manage the three hour free parking scheme in the church car park. Drivers should press a green button at the ticket machine to obtain a ticket if parking before 5pm.

Twice this week, I found the sign nearest the ticket machine explaining the restrictions, had been swivelled around to face the old cemetery around the church.

Earlier this week local councillors criticised the car park for having slopes which means it is difficult for disabled drivers to use. Councillors also called for clearer instructions for the many parking bays which appear to be unused around the Bedford Square Community Centre. A fuller investigation into parking is to be conducted and presented to a future Town Partnership Committee.

Have you experienced parking problems in Houghton Regis, or feel you have suffered unjustly from a parking fee?

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Woodside Connection Progress Update

The proposed "Woodside Connection" is a new highway to connect Portz Avenue at Poynters Road junction, to a to-be-constructed Junction 11a (a Highways Agency promoted scheme) on the M1 motorway. The proposers of the scheme are Central Bedfordshire Council. Ultimately, the Secretary of State for Transport will make a final decision on the scheme after being appraised by the Planning Inspectorate.

In its case for the new road, Central Beds Council say that "the new road would be around 2.9km in length and would  be single carriageway with the exception of a short length of dual carriageway at the northern end connecting with the new motorway Junction. There would be one roundabout in the central part of the route and two at the northern end, one providing the connection to Junction 11A and the other on Houghton Road/Sundon Road. The new road between these two roundabouts will be around 0.45km in length and will be dual carriageway. Parts of the new road will be raised above the surrounding levels on a low embankment because of the need to cross Houghton Brook and because much of the land along the route is low lying."

The Council also say that "a new connection with Parkside Drive would be provided, allowing vehicles to join the new road from the Parkside area of Houghton Regis. This new connection would cross Houghton Brook, which would be diverted at this point to avoid the Woodside Link having to cross the brook three times rather than once."

The closing date for submitting relevant representations was 29th July 2013.

Some residents are fearful that opening up Parkside Drive would generate a noisy and busy route through a relatively peaceful neighbourhood, and would destroy trees and wildlife in a narrow strip of land.

 The Houghton Regis Town Council was one of the organisations that made representations. Fearing that diverted motorway traffic might be diverted through Houghton Regis via the Woodside Link, objections were raised on the proposed connection of Sundon Road to the Woodside Link, and to the proposed connection of Parkside Drive to the Woodside Link.

The next step is that within 10 working days of the closing date (29th July) the applicant (Central Bedfordshire Council) must certify to the Planning Inspectorate that it has complied with its application notification requirements. After this, the Examining Authority will be appointed to examine the application. The Examining Authority will carry out an initial assessment of the application and representations received and set a date for the Preliminary Meeting.

Interested parties will receive an invitation to the Preliminary Meeting which is to discuss procedural matters only of the examination and is held in public. Interested parties will be sent details of how to take further part in the examination.

The procedural decision made after the Preliminary Meeting will be published at the National Infrastructure Planning website and also be available on request by email from woodside@infrastructure.gsi.gov.uk and their helpline: 0303 444 5000 and will set the timetable for the examination. The timetable will include deadlines for receipt of detailed written representation and for comments on others’ relevant representations.


The project is considered to be a ‘nationally significant infrastructure project’ according to the
definition in sections 14 and 22 of the Planning Act 2008, and must therefore be consented by means of an application for development consent under that Act. Such applications are made to and examined by the Planning Inspectorate (PINS), although for a highway project such as this they are decided by the Secretary of State for Transport, having received a recommendation from PINS.

Cash Injection: The South East Midlands Local Transport Board (SEMLTB) (consists of councils in Central Bedfordshire, Luton, Milton Keynes and Bedford), has been given government cash and has backed the Woodside Link to the tune of £10million.

Recent activity

Registration of interested parties closed - 29 July 2013
Registration of interested parties begun - 24 June 2013
Decision on whether or not to accept the application for examination - 11 June 2013
Application received by the Planning Inspectorate - 14 May 2013

Application Documents