Tuesday, 26 November 2013

16 Year Old From Houghton Takes Part in Youth Parliament

Young politicians take part in House of Commons Debate


Two Members of the Youth Parliament from Central Bedfordshire joined 300 young people from across the UK at the House of Commons for the UK Youth Parliament’s Annual Sitting last week.

Eighteen year-old George Nodwell from Tempsford and sixteen year-old Nathan Marshall from Houghton Regis debated five motions, chaired by the Speaker Rt Hon John Bercow MP, including one which called for 16 and 17 year-olds to be given the vote in all public elections.

George, said:

"I have been lucky enough to attend the Annual Sitting at the House of Commons twice and enjoyed it even more the second time around. As always when I first went it took my breath away and the excitement built rapidly. The debates held were amazing and made what we do worth while. I was particularly lucky as I got to speak on the topic of Work Experience and although nervous throughout, this had to be my highlight of the day. Overall I feel privileged to have gone and proud to have had my voice heard."

The next elections for the Youth Parliament are due to take place early in the new year. The deadline for prospective candidates to put themselves forward is Friday 29 November. Young people who are successfully elected as Members of the Youth Parliament (MYP) have the chance to have their say on a wide range of different issues. They work on behalf of other young people to influence decisions on things like the environment, transport, crime, health and also get the chance to work directly with Councillors and senior managers within the Council, the Police and other organisations. The Council's Youth Support Service provides support and guidance to all members of the Youth Parliament to ensure they are engaged in as many exciting and different aspects of local life as possible.

Cllr Mark Versallion, Executive Member for Children’s Services, said:

"I am really pleased that two of our young people got the chance to get involved in this fantastic event – it must have been an inspiring experience and one they won’t forget.

"Remember there is still time to put yourself forward as a candidate for the Youth Parliament elections next year. This is a great opportunity for to get involved in the local democratic process, make some noise and see some change. So why not give it a go and have a say on decisions that affect you."

If you would like to find out more about the work of Central Bedfordshire Youth Parliament or additional opportunities for young people to get involved in within Central Bedfordshire then contact Lisa Wright or Jason Roth-Witty on lisa.wright@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk or jason.roth-witty@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk

Police Seize Cars Involved in Anti-Social Behaviour Sting

Vehicles Seized During Car Cruising Crackdown

Bedfordshire Police have seized two Vauxhall Astra VXRs during an operation to crackdown a recent increase in ‘Car Cruises’ that have been taking place in Houghton Regis.

Residents living near Foster Avenue, Houghton Regis, have contacted Bedfordshire Police about a significant increase in the number of vehicles that were attending the industrial area and the drivers who were participating in antisocial behaviour. It was believed that over 100 vehicles would regularly attend the location with some driving in a reckless manner by racing, wheel-spinning, and performing “donuts” along the road.

Houghton Regis Councillors are among those who have been asking for police action, as the noise level was particularly acute in the Manor Park Estate.

On Sunday evening (November 24) members of the Local Policing Team as well as colleagues from the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Roads Policing Unit and the Special Constabulary attended Foster Avenue as a ‘Cruise’ was taking place. Officers entered from either end of Foster Avenue to ensure that those in attendance were all stopped and spoken to.

As a result of the action two Vauxhall Astra VXRs were seized by officers as the drivers or vehicles had already been issued with Section 59 notices. Three more Section 59 notices were issued while four people were dealt with in regards to traffic violations and one person was reported for driving offences.

Inspector Jim Hitch, of the Central Policing Team at Bedfordshire Police, said: “It is fair to say that there were some very unhappy people who were walking home after the operation in Houghton Regis on Sunday night. Nuisance vehicles have been a blight on the lives of residents’ living near to the Woodside Industrial Estate for a number of months and I hope that our action shows that we are taking these incidents seriously.

“This is by no means a one-off operation and we will be keeping a close eye on people attending car cruises. Those committing offences can expect to come into contact with Bedfordshire Police on a more regular basis and we will use all available legislation to crackdown on this form of antisocial behaviour.

“Officers have the power to seize vehicles and have them destroyed when necessary and anyone caught driving illegally could also be dealt with for motoring offences such as driving without a licence and having no MoT or insurance.”

Anyone with information concerning nuisance vehicles can contact Bedfordshire Police on the 101 number or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Autism and ADHD - Knowledge and Information

Thanks to funding from Central Beds Council, Home Start a family support charity and Outside-iN, a voluntary organisation who support families of children with Autistic Spectrum Conditions and ADHD, have joined together to create an exciting new initiative.  
The Bedfordshire Autism and ADHD Toolkit aims to provide a range of services to families who are affected by these conditions.  These are lifelong conditions and our aim is to provide the ‘tools’ needed for success.
Linda Johnson, Chief Executive Officer for Home-Start in Central Bedfordshire said “this is a very exciting project and shows the commitment of CBC, Outside-iN and Home-Start to provide tangible practical help and support to parents who have a child or children with these conditions”   Home-Start has been working to support families who are experiencing difficulties since 1984 through a variety of different projects and have a team of specially trained volunteers who can offer practical and emotional support to families in their homes.  They are always looking for more volunteers to join the team.
ADHD and Autism are hidden disabilities that often go unrecognised and are widely misunderstood; every aspect of a person’s life can be affected.  Official statistics show that ADHD affects between 5% and 7% of the population and 1% of people are diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Conditions. 
Helen Child co-founder of Outside-iN said “these conditions are very common in children and young people and can be very challenging to manage both at home and in school.  It is essential that parent/carers are well informed and knowledgeable about their child’s condition and education is a big part of the formula for success”.
Outside-iN aims encourage parents/carers to gain as much knowledge and information as they can to support their children to lead happy and fulfilling lives and achieve their full potential. 
Outside-iN provide a range of services to both parents and professionals that include regular support groups throughout the county, a helpline, specialist coaching and parent training courses.
For further information about this project please contact:-
Linda Johnson or Nikki Campbell – Home-Start: 01582 660061
Helen Child or Debbie Savage – Outside-iN: 01462 813282
Or visit our website:- www.autismandadhdtoolkit.org.uk
Or email us info@autismandadhdtoolkit.org.uk
November 2013

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Houghton Regis Heritage Society website Roll of Honour

A new page has been added to the Houghton Regis Heritage Society website remembering the men of Houghton Regis who gave there lives in the Great Wars, it includes the Roll of Honour and a link to more detailed information.  http://www.hrhs.org.uk/

A Celebration of Christmas - Nov 20th - The Grove - With Houghton Regis Schools

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Parkside Drive - Connect to Woodside Or Not?

Impression of the playing and amenity field if Parkside Drive
is connected to "Woodside Connection".
How do you feel now about the CBC proposal?
Before answering, you may want to read this:

Extra noise and pollution in Parkside Drive?
Unsafe to play on?
Would it be used as a rat-run to other parts of Houghton Regis?
Detrimental affect on health and quality of life?
Safety of children and dogs?
Air quality?
What about noise at the narrowest point - would residents there be able to sleep with windows open?
Removal of hedgerow?
Effect on wildlife?

Read some representations by others: http://infrastructure.planningportal.gov.uk/projects/eastern/woodside-link-houghton-regis-bedfordshire/?ipcsection=reps

Have Your Say. Comment below, or more formally to  woodside@infrastructure.gsi.gov.uk

"If you have a legal interest in land affected by a nationally significant infrastructure project and have not already registered to become an interested party, then you can make a request to the Examining Authority to become an interested party under s102A of the Planning Act 2008 (as amended)."

This is for people who have recently, since the start of hte examination, acquired land that would be affected by the plans and were not told by the developer.


Letter received from a resident

"Hello, I was the only local resident Interested Party attending the meeting yesterday and was given opportunity to speak, which I wasn't expecting, so it was a bit overwhelming. The Town Clerk, Clare Evans, and I were disappointed not to be able to talk about our written representations on the Parkside Link, but that will come later, or so we are told. The examiner needs more than a week to digest all the contributions besides ours. Nevertheless, I asked about the construction compound which appeared to be accessed via Parkside Drive. It was quite confusing and very tiring, but Clare and I stuck it out all the way to 4.00pm.

What was clear is that Mr Roberts the examiner is disappointed that not one person had registered a desire to speak at the Open Floor Hearing on January 23rd 2014 by the deadline for registering on 7th November. This is the opportunity for anyone to attend, and Interested Parties may speak or ask about anything at all in the plans, there's no agenda. You create the agenda. That is our opportunity. But like others I don't make plans that far ahead so I thought I'd leave it and see how things go. That's not the way they operate. You have to book ahead for the right to speak and attend. You may turn up on the day but take the risk of there being no space. Mr Roberts will cancel that Open Floor hearing on 23rd January unless he receives requests to speak by the revised deadline of 21st November, which is this coming Thursday. "

Interested parties can request to speak by emailing the Planning Inspectorate case team: woodside@infrastructure.gsi.gov.uk

Friday, 15 November 2013

The Day That Pudsey Came to Town

BBC's The One Show Rickshaw Challenge with Pudsey passes Frenchs Avenue, on the Houghton Regis/Dunstable border at 12:05 15/11/2013 http://www.bbc.co.uk/pudsey

Woodside Connection - CBC respond to representations

Report by Cllr Alan Winter, Houghton Regis Town Councillor, Parkside Ward.

Updates are now available to read online regarding progress of Central Bedfordshire Council's (CBC) application for the proposed new road for the south and east of Houghton Regis.

CBC have added their comments to the representations made.

I have summarised for News Desk readers the main points of this document below (document 3 on page http://infrastructure.planningportal.gov.uk/projects/eastern/woodside-link-houghton-regis-bedfordshire/?ipcsection=docs).

Concerns include:

-  potential for more congestion at Park Rd North/ Poynters Rd roundabout:  CBC argue that a rebuilt roundabout will help more traffic to use it.

- blight and noise nuisance on properties adjacent to the new roadway: CBC argue that noise reduction measures will be made, and new landscaping will help to reduce the visual impact and noise levels.

- Natural England made several representations and have worked with CBC to achieve acceptable outcomes.

- The Town Council originally objected to connection to Sundon Rd (The Town Council now support this connection): CBC argue that HGV restrictions will be in place and that the connection would help to remove traffic from Houghton Regis town centre.

- The Town Council do not support connection via Parkside Drive, on environmental grounds, an increase in traffic, and the early understanding that the link was not favoured by a majority of residents living in the lower Parkside area. CBC argue that the link was included to help Houghton Park estate residents reach employment, leisure and retail places in the new development area.

- Luton Borough Council had a number of concerns including that they did not want the Pastures Way to Parkside link reopened. CBC reply that the reopening of the link is not in their plans.

- Water will run down the slope and cause flooding - CBC dismiss this argument.

- The Parkside Drive link would be too narrow for vehicles, the route would become a rat run, there would be 7,000 to 8,000 vehicle movements a day,  more noise day and night for residents, many drivers would ignore a 20mph speed limit, there would be extra noise and fumes at junction with Woodside link road, nearby amenity land would be lost or be made unsafe. CBC argue that the noise increase would be less than 3dB(A), speed control measures would be undertaken, new planting would be carried out, the open space would be managed.

- The road uses Green Belt land : CBC argue that the housing development land and land for roads is proposed to be removed from the Green Belt.

- Loss of air quality and plants: CBC argue that no significant adverse affects will occur, and that new planting will be done.

- Lots of through traffic will go down Parkside Drive to the new road. CBC argue that their traffic predictions show mainly a use by local estate traffic, and not through traffic.

- That the route is not direct as it could be across open land: CBC argue that they are aware of development intentions of others and this route makes best use of land.

- That it is unclear what the speed limit will be: CBC discuss what the limit could be.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013


You are invited to attend a public event about the quality of Luton & Dunstable Hospital clinical care.

It will be held in Dunstable on Thursday, November 14 at 10am in the Salvation Army Worship and Community Centre, Bull Pond Lane.

There will be an opportunity at the meeting for the audience to put questions to the panel.

Speakers will include South West Beds MP Andrew Selous, hospital chairman Spencer Colvin, medical director Dr Mark Patten, and GP and health commissioner Dr Paul Hassan.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Hawthorn Park Primary and Tithe Farm Primary - Have Your Say on School Admissions Policy

Have your say on proposals to change school admissions arrangements.

Central Bedfordshire Council is seeking the views of schools, parents, carers and other interested parties on admissions arrangements for Community and Voluntary schools from 2015/16.

Within the consultation there are specific changes that will affect Hawthorn Park Primary and Tithe Farm Primary, Houghton Regis

  •  priority to be given to children attending the Nursery school at each school. 

This is to be inserted as criterion five between other siblings and those to be prioritised on straight line distance.

The consultation has  now started and runs until Monday 20th January 2013.

The consultation document is also available to view at http://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/admissions . The deadline for responses is 5pm on 20th January

The current standard criteria for allocating places at an oversubscribed school: 

1. All 'looked after' children or children who were previously 'looked after'
2. Children living in the catchment area with siblings at the school
3. Children living in the catchment area
4. Other children with siblings at the school
5. priority to be given to children attending the Nursery school at each school. 
5.6. Children who live nearest to the school determined by straight line distance from the school site to the child's home address.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Houghton Regis: Traffic Stopped for Remembrance Service

Traffic was stopped through Houghton Regis today while those attending a Remembrance Service at the Memorial on The Green heard the last post and paused for a minute's silence.

Police held traffic up in the High Street and on The Green following complaints last year when the traffic was allowed to carry on driving through.

The Remembrance Sunday Service was conducted by Father Brian Wheelhouse at All Saints Church, Houghton Regis, and the congregation lead by the choir then proceeded along the High Street to the Memorial.

The Service for Armistice Day will be taking place on Monday 11th November at 11am at the Memorial Stone. Those attending should start gathering at 10:40am.

Photos (can be re-used with credit to): A D Winter

Friday, 8 November 2013

News You May Have Missed - to 8 Nov 2013

CBC Highways Annual Report  report on Google drive (may not display on IE on older PCs). - Nov 8th

Fingers Crossed for Houghton Regis Swimming Pool 

NOV 8th DEBATES. BAN THE BOOK: Nadine Dorries is advocating the banning of a book that she claims "... actually advocates the beating of children, under the age of 12 months, using a switch. Facebook Comments

Nov 5th: Crime - Garage break-ins Facebook Comments

Nov 7th - Raising money for keech hospice collecting ' beany bears ' to sell after Christmas.

Events at Kings Arms, Houghton Regis

Nov 7th: Police are seeking witnesses following a spate of robberies by a teenage gang in the area. The group usually travel on bikes. Story and comments.

Nov 7th: WATER: Are you a low user? You could be saving money by not paying standing charges. Story and comments

Nov 4th: TITHE FARM: Bedfordshire Police are appealing for witnesses to come forward after two teenagers were taken to hospital for treatment after being assaulted by a gang of youths in Houghton Regis last week.  Story and comments

Nov 4th: No star for the Houghton Regis Christmas Tree. Story and comments

Nov 6th: 20 years Prison for Prolific Drug Dealers frrom Leagrave and Dunstable. Link

Nov 6th: Woodside Link - HRTC to Object to Parkside Link Story and Comments

May 12th (Liked this week): 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. Liked this week

Nov 4th: Lost dog. Story and comment

Nov 3rd: Zumba in Houghton Regis

Nov 3rd: The Houghton Regis Town Crier

Nov 2nd: Fireworks comments

Nov 1st: Where's Wally?

Nov 1st: Commentary on the modern Houghton Regis compared to the old Houghton Regis village. Story and comments

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Fingers Crossed for Houghton Regis Swimming Pool

Houghton Regis Leisure Centre is among six Leisure Centres identified by Central Bedfordshire  Council as requiring investment.

£150,000 is required  to reopen the Houghton Regis swimming pool. The procurement of a new leisure management contract for this centre is underway and will market test the cost of reopening the pool. Should reopening the pool be considered to be affordable then the capital works will be undertaken in 2014.

A decision on improvements at Houghton Regis Leisure Centre in Parkside Drive, will be made as part of the new leisure management contract.

Cllr Susan Goodchild, for Houghton Hall ward, said, "Fingers crossed. I hope we get our swimming pool".

Other Leisure works in Central Bedfordshire also await approval by the full council. Funds approved in the Council’s capital programme between 2013/14 and 2016/17 include:

• Tiddenfoot Leisure Centre: £1.4m refurbishment and expansion for fitness, a reception and café, and building work is underway.

• Saxon Pool and Leisure Centre: £1.6m extension for sports hall, currently at tender stage.

• At Flitwick, the CBC executive committee are recommending  an eight lane, 25m swimming pool with separate variable base learner pool, four court sports hall, health and fitness station with around 120 stations, three workout studios, changing facilities, 2 squash courts, a crèche, café, soft play area, climbing wall and two outdoor 5-a-side pitches.

• Sandy Sport and Community Centre: £150k to refurbish the athletics track, planned to start in March 2013.

• Dunstable Leisure Centre: £2.3m refurbishment programme. A brief for an initial options appraisal is being developed.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Woodside Link - HRTC to Object to Parkside Link

The next stage of the Woodside Link - CBC's proposed new road around the south and east side of Houghton Regis - is a meeting on the 15th November. The current position of the Houghton Regis Town Council, after taking professional advice, is to support connection of the link road to Sundon Road, and to object to the CBC proposed link to the southern end of Parkside Drive. The documents supporting the TC case are available to view online.

To read information about the Woodside scheme etc. see the CBC page at http://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/travelling/roads-safety-and-highways/road-and-pavement-maintenance/major-road-developments/woodside-link.aspx

The timetable and current representations for this scheme can be found here: