Friday, 29 May 2015

Central Beds Council To Do Cross-Checks to Find Fraudulent Claims For Reduced Council Tax

A process to check that almost 35,000 Central Bedfordshire residents are entitled to receive a single person council tax discount begins this week.

The 25 per cent discount, worth a minimum of £250 a year, is given to anyone who claims to be living in a property on their own – currently 34,700 people in the area.

While most claims are genuine, the process will use data matching technology to check that information held by the council is accurate and up-to-date and recipients are still entitled to the discount.

The review will use a two stage process to validate legitimate single person discount claims and identify and remove those being claimed in error or fraudulently.

Central Bedfordshire Council has brought in technology specialists CapacityGRID to help establish whether people are genuinely living alone, by cross-referencing with other sources of household information such as, but not limited to, the electoral-roll registers and financial sector information.

Anyone whose claim for single person discount is under question following the data checking exercise will be contacted by letter and or telephone. Anyone failing to respond to requests for further information in relation to their claim will have the claim withdrawn from the beginning of the current financial year or from the date the discount was applied if within the current financial year. If, during the review process, checks indicate that another adult is living at the address, the discount will be withdrawn.

A spokesman from Central Bedfordshire Council said: “We will be contacting all those we believe to be claiming incorrectly, but in the meantime, we would urge anyone who is claiming the discount and whose circumstances have changed to contact us immediately by telephoning 0300 300 8301.

“The longer you leave it, the larger your backdated bill will be if you’ve been over claiming a discount , so it makes sense to tell us as soon as possible.

“Even if you were living alone when you received your bill for the year, if another adult is living with you now, we will need to re-calculate the amount you need to pay.

“People who are genuinely claiming the discount have nothing to worry about, but anyone found to be deliberately misleading us could face prosecution.”

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Cllr Rob Shimmin is the New Mayor of Houghton Regis

The new mayor of Houghton Regis, Cllr Rob Shimmin, takes office.
The new mayor of Houghton Regis is Cllr Rob Shimmin. 

Cllr Shimmin was elected at The Annual General Meeting of the town's council on Wednesday evening, 20th May. 

Cllr Shimmin said in his acceptance of the role "A quote that I read about ‘Life is to…..devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you both purpose and meaning. I feel that this very appropriate for the year ahead and I will be basing my Mayoral Year on this theme of ‘Life’."

Together with his consort, "Babs" Shimmin, Rob aims to raise funds during his year of office for Luton and Dunstable Hospital Children's Ward, Dunstable and District Disabled Sports (DaDDS), and All Saints  Parish Church (who, among other things, are looking to raise funds for a new organ).

"I will be holding events to raise funds for these causes and I hope that you will all be able to join me on these occasions. "

Follow the Mayor of Houghton Regis on Facebook:

Cllr Laura Ellaway at last year's Pride of Houghton Awards
Cllr Ken Wattingham proposed a vote of thanks to the outgoing mayor, Cllr Laura Ellaway, who raised £4,200 for her various charities. Laura attended 89 events during the year. 

Laura said, "I attended most of the events with my daughter and best friend, Jessica, who was my consort for the year." 

Cllr Ellaway thanked the staff of the Town Council for their assistance during the year and paid special thanks to the Town Clerk and to the mayor's secretary for their guidance and arrangements.

Cllr Chris Slough was elected deputy mayor for the year after a vote. 

The makeup of the new council is Labour (5), Liberal Democrat (5) Community Independent Alliance (3), Independent (1). Proportionality was in mind when membership of committees was discussed. 

Voting for chairs and vice chairs resulted in: 
Environment Committee: Chair - Cllr T Swain (Lab), vice-chair Cllr J Carroll (CIA)
Planning & Licensing: Chair - Cllr J Carroll (CIA), Cllr K Wattingham (LibDem)
Corporate Services: Chair - Cllr D Abbott (Ind), vice-chair Cllr Mrs T. McMahon (CIA)
Community Services: Chair - Cllr K Wattingham (LibDem), vice-chair Cllr Mrs J. Hillyard (CIA)

Sunday, 17 May 2015

8-14 May Election Results, Funeral, Crime

8th May - Three teenagers punched a woman and pushed her to the pavement while she was walking with her baby in a vile robbery in Houghton Hall Park near Cemetery Road at about 10.45am today. Her bag, containing a large amount of cash was then stolen. The three boys were on bikes, and wearing tracksuit tops with hoodies. Call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

9th MAY - Election Results for Central Bedfordshire Council and Houghton Regis Town Council

11 MAY - Hundreds paid respects at a funeral for Adam Fanelli, 31, from Houghton Regis who was found dead near a traveller's site in Buckinghamshire on March 17th. Two men have been charged with his murder. After the service at All Saints, there followed a procession through the town to West Street, Dunstable.

14 MAY - Houghton Regis Town Council showcased their newly elected town councillors. They were elected to serve for 4 years.

Saturday, 16 May 2015

GO!Houghton - New bar-restaurant to open Monday 18th, in Parkside, Houghton Regis

GO!Houghton Owner, Kishor Patel, "20 new jobs will be created by this bar-restaurant."
An extraordinary new Houghton Regis bar-restaurant will be opening on Monday, May 18 with a brand new name and ethos following a significant investment.

The site of the former Dog & Duck, in Parkside Drive, has been refurbished and completely redeveloped by local entrepreneur Kishor Patel.

“The new bar-restaurant is called GO!Houghton,” said Kishor, revealing the new brand. “The Dog & Duck has well and truly been retired to the animal sanctuary!

“GO!Houghton is an exciting new brand which will create 20 new jobs."

GO!Houghton will be open to the public from Monday May 18. Initial opening hours will be 4pm to 11pm Monday to Friday and 11am to 11pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

Anyone who remembers the run-down Dog & Duck pub will be blown away by the look and feel of the new bar-restaurant. 

Its focus will be on food, with menu sections for Italian, Indian, British, American and Tex Mex. There will also be a range of alcoholic drinks, with focus on wines and including real ales, on draught and in bottles as well as soft drinks.

Kishor said: “The brand new team of chefs and front of house staff are excited at the prospect of opening as am I. It has taken three years of frustrations and setbacks to get to this point so we are now raring to go!”

In the run-up to the grand opening, the bar-restaurant has been organising a series of free tasting sessions for local people.

“We are projecting that this new business will bring a huge boost to the local economy,” said Kishor, who is well known locally for building up two Nisa Local convenience stores in Houghton Regis. “As well as the new jobs giving people spending power we will be buying locally wherever possible, too.”

GO!Houghton is really easy to get to, located at 100 Parkside, Houghton Regis, LU5 5QN it is the last stop on the Luton-Dunstable Busway route A & Z buses plus there is ample parking to accommodate.

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Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Porz Avenue Roundabout Closures this weekend and next.

Please note that The Porz Avenue / Park Road North / Poynters Road roundabout will be closed from 8pm on Friday 8 May to 6am on Monday 11 May 2015,
and again from 8pm on Friday 15 May to 6am on Monday 18 May 2015. This is to allow the rerouting of electricity cables underground.  Diversions map: 

Local Crime Shows 'All Crime' 19% Increase for March compared to February

New data for this area has been published on

Here is a brief summary of the crime information for the past two months:
February 2015 March 2015
All crime 710 850
Anti-social behaviour 279 352
Bicycle theft 4 6
Burglary 40 75
Criminal damage and arson 69 65
Drugs 7 14
Other crime 7 6
Other theft 49 47
Possession of weapons 4 8
Public order 8 17
Robbery 3 12
Shoplifting 26 33
Theft from the person 7 3
Vehicle crime 116 106
Violence and sexual offences 91 106

Please visit for more information including outcomes for these crimes and contact information for your local policing team.

The information and statistics displayed are for information purposes only and may be subject to change.
Although care is taken when processing and analysing the data, the detail is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large-scale recording system.
While the figures shown have been checked as far as practicable, they should be regarded as approximate.

Monday, 4 May 2015

Elections in Houghton Regis on Thursday 7th May

South West Bedfordshire Constituency candidates at last weeks hustings in Dunstable.
Left to right: Daniel Scott (Labour), Stephen Rutherford (Liberal Democrat), [Rev Neil Drayton (chairman)], Andrew Selous (Conservative), Emily Lawrence (Green), John van Weenan (UKIP)

Elections take place on Thursday 7th May 2015. Your poll card will have the polling station address on it you can only vote at that polling station. 

The following images* have been reproduced from the Central Bedfordshire Council website with reference to the Returning Officer. To download the original pdf files please go to

*In a PC, please tap/click the images to enlarge them

Parliamentary Constituency Election 

- ONE VOTE per elector


As well as the General Election on 7th May, there will be elections for Central Bedfordshire Council and for Houghton Regis Town Council. 

It is a heavily contested election with 16 candidates standing for 4 Central Bedfordshire Councillor seats and 30 candidates standing for 14 Houghton Regis Town councillor seats.

Central Bedfordshire Council 

- Houghton Hall Ward 

- up to TWO votes per elector



Central Bedfordshire Council 

- Parkside Ward 

- ONE vote per elector



Central Bedfordshire Council 

- Tithe Farm Ward 

- ONE vote per elector



Houghton Regis Town Council 

- Houghton Hall Ward 

- Up to 6 Votes per elector


Houghton Regis Town Council 

- Parkside Ward 

- Up to 4 Votes per elector


Houghton Regis Town Council 

- Tithe Farm Ward 

- Up to 4 Votes per elector



One Vote per elector

The referendum question will be:

Part of the council tax in your area goes to the Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner.
For the financial year beginning on 1st April 2015 the Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner has set an increase of 15.8% in the amount it charges.

If most voters choose ‘yes’, the increase will be 15.8%.

If most voters choose ‘no’, the increase will be 2.0%.

Do you want the Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner to increase the amount it charges by 15.8%?

Houghton Regis News Desk -Policing Survey see below or follow this link: The survey is now closed.