Saturday, 31 January 2015

Houghton Regis Town Council 2015/16 Budget

At their meeting on Monday evening, Houghton Regis Town Councillors agreed a budget for 2015/16. An increase in expenditure for the year of £28,724 will be financed by a £10,550 increase in precept, plus the use of General Reserves of £18,174. The net outcome for council tax bills is that there will be no increase in the Town Council's portion of the Council Tax.

Tennyson Avenue Planning Application Appeal Rejected

Land North of Tennyson Avenue between 97 and 119, Tennyson Avenue, Houghton Regis. Application for erection of 6 no. 1 and 2 bed apartments, landscaping and parking. (Resubmission of CB/14/00858) Full Application - Refused by CBC, the Planning Appeal is now Dismissed.

Tesco Express in Houghton Regis one of 43 stores to close in cost cutting exercise

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Bedford Road Improvements if Taylor Wimpey Homes Get Build Permission

Bedford Rd, with the meadow Taylor Wimpey
wish to develop. Photos: A D Winter
Revised documents submitted on behalf of a Taylor Wimpey development application list a number of traffic calming measures which are agreed in principle with the highway authority.

1. A new footway would be constructed on the eastern verge of Bedford Road between the site and start of the present footpath, requiring undergrowth and tree removal, and compensatory planting.

2. A raised platform pedestrian crossing positioned about 100m north of Bedford Rd/High Street junction.

3. A raised table at the Bidwell Hill/Bedford road junction.

4. Speed limit reminder signs activated by vehicles, located between Bidwell Hill and Roslyn Way.

5. A mini-roundabout to replace the existing tee-junction at Rosyln Way.

6. A raised pedestrian crossing between the Roslyn Way junction and the proposed entrance to the Taylor Wimpey development site.

7. The present 30/40mph zone limit on Bedford Road, on approach to the town centre, would be extended out into Bidwell by about 170m.

8. Red and white road markings would be included.

Documents can be viewed online for this full application for up to 169 homes (revised down from 190).

To view full details, go to enter 14/03056 in the search box, and follow the links.

How To Comment
Public comments on the scheme can be made by contacting the case officer quoting the planning application number CB/14/03056/FULL, Tel: 0300 300 4797
or by email
or by post to Planning, Priory House, Monks Walk, Chicksands, Shefford, Bedfordshire, SG17 5TQ .

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

A Letter from the Chief - Protecting People & Fighting Crime Together #communitiestogether

Following the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, Belgium and around the world, senior counter-terror officers have warned of a ‘heightened’ concern around the potential risk to certain groups including those working in policing and members of the Jewish and Israeli community. This has been much publicised across the national media during the past few days.

I am writing this as an open letter to ask all key leaders and people of influence across every faith in Bedfordshire, to join us in redoubling our efforts to wipe out any prejudice which could jeopardise the safety of those living in, working in, or visiting Bedfordshire.

The vast majority of our communities wish to live in peace alongside neighbours of all faiths. A small few threaten this way of life and we must work together to identify these individuals, to challenge their rhetoric and to reject all forms of hate which risks compromising the safety of our communities. Bedfordshire is fortunate enough to have a richly diverse population mix and we will continue to work closely with people across all faiths to promote a cohesive society.

As well as working with our communities, we will be working closely with our law enforcement partners across local, regional, national and international boundaries to work together to protect people and keep Bedfordshire safe. We will be stepping up patrols in key areas and will be increasing presence, particularly in our Jewish and Muslim communities. Support from community groups and partners is vital to ensuring that we appropriately and effectively problem solve local issues and we look for your support in helping to prevent any form of antisemitism or islamophobia during this time of increased concern.

The UK has been at a heightened threat level for international terrorism for a considerable time and indeed the national threat level was raised last summer to ‘Severe’ indicating that a terrorist attack is highly likely. We anticipate that this will be a long-term status as the threat from terrorism is not likely to abate any time soon.

Any suspected hate crime incidents of Islamophobia or antisemitism should be reported to the police on 101, along with any concerns around individuals or groups suspected of wanting to cause harm to our communities. Always dial 999 in cases of emergency.

Please help us to promote cohesive communities by tagging your online communications with #communitiestogether

Very kind regards

Colette Paul QPM BA (Hons)
Chief Constable

Survey - Would You Pay A Bit More For Extra Policing in Bedfordshire?

The Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Olly Martins, is considering increasing the amount of the council tax that goes towards policing by 48p a week for an average council tax Band D household – equivalent to 15.8% a year. An increase of 15.8% can only happen if supported by the public in a referendum. But it is only worth the cost of holding a referendum if the Commissioner can be reasonably confident of a positive result. That’s why it is vital that he hears your views.

A 15.8% increase would pay for:
An additional 100 police officers
The re-introduction of police officers to neighbourhood policing
Increased management of prolific offenders
Extra resources to tackle emerging threats such as cybercrime & child sexual exploitation

Early indications posted on OllyMartins Twitter feed from around Bedfordshire suggest that most neighbourhoods would be willing to pay more.

CLICK HERE to start giving your view.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

The Big Discussion - Off-road Crossers - Bikers

A reader sent in pictures of bikers marks that have churned up Parkside Recreation ground. In the following 36 hours lots of comments were received. Log in to Facebook to read.

Friday, 16 January 2015

Leisure Centre Action Group to Hold Winding Up Meeting #HRLCAG

The empty pool in 2011. Photo: A D Winter.
Houghton Regis Leisure Action Group have now completed the business they were set up for.

On Monday of this week, HRLCAG Chair, Mrs Tracey McMahon, thanked a meeting of Houghton Regis Town Council's Community Services committee for the local Council's support. She said that £200 remaining in funds is to be returned to Houghton Regis Town Council, as part of the conditions of the Council awarding a grant to them, used to help fight to keep the Leisure facilities open.

The Campaign was successful in bringing about the continuation of dry-side sporting facilities, and the reopening and refurbishment of the swimming pool at Houghton Regis Leisure Centre. The Centre had been threatened with withdrawal of funding, and therefore closure, by Central Bedfordshire Council. Local people got behind the campaign and the Leisure Centre is now under new management and is hugely more successful than it was before.

The Leisure Centre is on Parkside Drive, Houghton Regis.

A meeting to discuss the proposed closing of HRLCAG is scheduled for St Vincents Social, Hammersmith Gardens, Houghton Regis, on 27th January from 6.30pm. All Welcome.

Earlier on Houghton Regis News Desk:
Positive Progress at Houghton Regis Leisure Centre
Campaign Group Optimistic for Future of Houghton Regis Swimming Pool
New Hope For Houghton Regis Swimming Pool - It's Looking Promising!
Houghton Regis Leisure Centre Swimming Will (hopefully) Return For the Summer Holidays

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Pizza Delivery Drivers Targeted in Houghton Regis

Police are appealing for witnesses after several pizza delivery drivers were robbed in Houghton Regis.

Four incidents were reported in the Parkside Drive town during December, with a further incident taking place in November.

In each of the incidents the delivery driver was approached by a group of youths who assaulted them before stealing the pizza.

The incidents happened in: Kirton Way on 15 November; Dellmont Road on December 16; Houghton Road on December 20; Bromley Gardens on December 21 and in Kirton Way on December 29.

Detective Constable Matt Shepherd, investigating, said: “These are very unpleasant incidents which have left the victims shaken up.

“I would urge anyone with information about who is responsible to call police.”

Anyone with any information should call DC Shepherd on 101, text information to 07786 200011 or call Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.

Olly Wants Police Precept to Go Up 16% #PPCOlly

A 15.85% increase on the Police precept for Bedfordshire is proposed by Police and Crime Commissioner, Olly Martins.

He wants to restore neighbourhood policing in the county and to put Bedfordshire Police on a firmer financial footing.

A typical band D property would pay an extra £25 per year towards policing - 50p extra a week per property.

An increase of this scale would require a referendum to secure the agreement of the public, which would be held alongside the General Election on 7 May. This would be the first referendum under the current legislation.


Sunday, 11 January 2015

Co-Op Site Could be Redeveloped for Sheltered Housing, Retail, and Community Hub Use #hrcoopbuild

The Co-op site in Houghton Regis

At an Executive meeting of Central Bedfordshire Council on Tuesday this week, early stage plans will be unveiled to redevelop the Co-op site in Houghton Regis.

The plan indicates that the whole site being considered will include Red House Court in Clarke's Way, the whole of the former Co-op car parking areas, including the recycling bins area and the site of the former store.

The former Co Op site is presently vacant and will return to the Council’s full control. What is being considered is within the context of a Sheltered Housing Review.

Newer homes with newer facilities would be built within the site, and then the existing Red House Court building would be demolished with new construction fit for the 21st century replacing it. The Council report emphasises that these proposals are at an early stage and there has been no discussion with residents or local stakeholders, to influence the initial ideas. 

The report states :-
"At this early stage, the principles being examined are as follows –
1. A mixed tenure development of circa 170 homes for older people
2. An improved retail offer, complimentary to other retailers in
Houghton Regis town centre
3. An opportunity to deliver public services in the town centre
4. An improved local heritage offer
5. Creation of a community hub using space flexibly, complimentary to
other community space/facilities within Houghton Regis. This would
include provision of day opportunities for older people. "

The Co-op store was destroyed by an arsonist's fire in the summer of 2006. Since then a smaller store survived until early summer 2014, and a social club used temporary portacabins on part of the site.

View the Executive Committee Agenda online at and then view the attached document item 30 onwards in

Saturday, 10 January 2015

New Works For Bypass Start on Monday 12th January #HoughtonRegisBypass

Preparatory works begin on A5-M1 Link

Further work to prepare for main construction of the A5-M1 Link Dunstable Northern Bypass will start on Monday (12 January).

The new two-lane dual carriageway running east from the A5 north of Dunstable to join the M1 at a new junction 11a south of Chalton will reduce and improve journey time reliability for long distance traffic travelling around Dunstable.

The majority of the preparatory work will be offline and involve site clearance on the M1 temporary slip roads, including trimming hedges, bushes and trees. During this work off-peak temporary traffic lights will be in use for local traffic on Sundon Road from 9am until 3.30pm.

There will also be ditch and fencing work east of the M1 in the field adjacent with no impact on traffic.

Temporary slip roads will be constructed on the west and east side of the M1 to avoid heavy site traffic travelling through the villages and to minimise disruption on the carriageway when main work commences. This will involve closing lanes one and two from 10pm until 6am for three days on 24 February to construct these slip roads.

Highways Agency Assistant Project Manager Esosa Ikolo said:

“This preparatory work has been planned to try and minimise the impact on traffic and we have worked closely with local communities to ensure they’re fully aware.

“This activity is taking place in preparation for the main construction work which is planned to start this Spring.”

Advance work on the A5-M1 Link Dunstable Northern Bypass started on 27 May following approval of the scheme by Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin.

Source: "latest" on Highways Agency website

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

£2.2m Heritage Lottery Funding Award for Houghton Hall Park

Central Bedfordshire Council has been awarded £2,196,000 to deliver a prestigious project for Houghton Regis, it was announced today. The Parks for People programme - a joint initiative between the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and the Big Lottery Fund - will support Houghton Hall Park – Renaissance and Renewal Project which aims to restore the vitality of the historic Houghton Hall Park.

Parks for People funding helps conserve the heritage that makes both historic parks and cemeteries special, giving local people a say in how they are managed in the future. Projects improve people’s wellbeing and knowledge of their area and make communities better places to live, work and visit.

Central Bedfordshire Council’s Countryside Access Service, in partnership with Houghton Regis Town Council and the Greensand Trust, intends to celebrate the heritage of Houghton Hall Park while improving facilities to meet the needs of the community.

The project will include
- the restoration of the kitchen and formal gardens
- the construction of a Heritage Centre
- heritage based activities
- a volunteer programme,
- a range of innovative approaches to engage hard to reach communities.

The major award will fund the project until 2020 enabling Central Bedfordshire’s Countryside Access Services to work with partners to create a unique leisure space. With local development pressures increasing, the plans will also create an important strategic green space for residents.

Said Cllr Laura Ellaway, Houghton Regis Town Mayor:
“On behalf of the Town Council and residents we are delighted to have been given the opportunities that this Lottery funding offers. What an exciting and positive way to start 2015.”

Cllr Brian Spurr, Executive Member for Community Services at Central Bedfordshire Council said:
“The award is an endorsement of Central Bedfordshire’s innovative approach to serving its community. Houghton Hall is a key, legacy project with real economic impact in terms of employment and developing assets. With increased pressure from population growth, the project also offers premium green space, with history and heritage, of lasting benefit to current and future residents. We’re delighted to be able to deliver a leisure facility that will be used by residents for generations.”

Carole Souter, Chief Executive of HLF, said on behalf of HLF and the Big Lottery Fund:
“Since HLF's 'State of UK Public Parks 2014: Renaissance to Risk' report was published, it’s become even clearer that parks are facing an uncertain future, in spite of being more popular than ever. Today’s investment - including £2.19m for Houghton Hall Park - will not only help regenerate seven historic parks, ensuring local people have access to high quality green spaces, but also brings to life several exciting plans that will see parks used for training, events and activities.”

Planning Matters: Town Council to Object to 2 Housing Developments in Bedford Rd - New Take-Away for Tithe Farm

Houghton Regis Town Council last night objected once again to two applications for housing developments that together would have provided up to 231 new homes on two sites. And there was news that a take-away in Tithe Farm Rd had been granted permission to go ahead.

Representatives from Hunter Page Planning attended the meeting to talk about their proposed development for up to 62 homes in a meadow behind the old Red Lion public house in Bedford Road, Houghton Regis. Councillors quizzed the representatives on predicted impact on local highways, the potential for land flooding, and the need for this land to be developed at all, when the overall redevelopment plans for the area had designated Bidwell as a quiet hamlet entrance to the town. A recorded vote was taken and members of the committee unanimously voted against the scheme. To view this application online, go to enter 14/03047 in the search box, and follow the links.

In considering the application from Taylor Wimpey for up to 169 new homes east of Bedford Rd, west of Churchfield Rd, opposite the old Red Lion public house, councillors resolved to uphold their earlier objections, that it was not in accordance with the Houghton Regis Strategic Urban Extension Plan. would conflict with the Framework plan, and emphasising their concern over highways movements, and the small size of the proposed roundabout. To view this application online, go to enter 14/03056 in the search box, and follow the links.

A take-away in Tithe Farm Road has received permission despite earlier objections by the Town Council. "Construction of a new shop for hot food take away (A5) at 145 Tithe Farm Road For:  Sandhersons Newsagents" was considered by the Town Council on 24th September. Tithe Farm Central Bedfordshire Councillor, Peter Williams addressed the Town Council, to express his disappointment that his objections, including data showing high levels of obesity in Tithe Farm and Parkside, and parking, and odours, were insufficient reasons for declining planning permission by CBC. Cllr Williams hoped that in the future members of the Town's Council would remember that the agreed opening hours for the premises were to be restricted to 5pm-9pm on a weekday, and to 12-2pm and 5pm to 9pm on a weekend or Bank Holiday. To view this application online, go to enter 14/03411 in the search box, and follow the links.

IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE, a legal challenge by Luton Borough Council against the development HRN1, for up to 5,150 homes to the north and east of Houghton Regis, was quashed by the court. The judgement can be read here.

Houghton Regis Town Council comment on applications. Decisions are taken by Central Bedfordshire Council. Details of agreed minutes of the Town Council are published on the Houghton Regis Town Council web site.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Taylor Wimpey Seek Approval For 169 Residencies off Bedford Road

Plans to build on 6.84 hectares of vacant land east of Bedford Road are due to be discussed by town councillors in Houghton Regis on Monday evening (5th January).

The plans by Taylor Wimpey are for 169 homes comprising
6 two bedroom homes,
46 three bedroom homes
68 four bedroom homes all at market prices; and

11 two bedroom homes
20 three bedroom homes,
1 four bedroom home, and
18 two bedroom flats at social renting prices.

The site is bounded by Bedford Road, from opposite Red Lion public house to Plaiters Way, and the scheme includes a roundabout to access the site. The eastern boundary is Churchfield Road. A proposed access to route to the Tithe Farm Primary School is included at the north east point of the development. The full application includes car parking, drainage, pumping station, hard and soft landscaping, footway/cycleways, childrens play space and informal public open space, as well as designs for various types of housing.

To view full details, go to enter 14/03056 in the search box, and follow the links.

How To Comment

Public comments on the scheme can be made by contacting the case officer quoting the planning application number CB/14/03056/FULL, Tel: 0300 300 4797
or by email

or by post to Planning, Priory House, Monks Walk, Chicksands, Shefford, Bedfordshire, SG17 5TQ .

Friday, 2 January 2015

DVD Available - A Celebration of Christmas Featuring Houghton Regis Schools

The Christmas season arrived a little early, on Tuesday  25th November 2014 to be precise,  at The Grove Theatre, Dunstable, when Houghton Regis Town Council held their 2nd  ‘Celebration of Christmas’ Performance  to raise funds for the Mayor of Houghton Regis’ chosen charities. 

For More information and pictures from this event please click here