Friday, 31 July 2015

Accident Increase Rate Causes Ambulance Service To Urge Drivers to Take More Care

Road users are being urged to take extra care following a spate of traffic collisions in the region.

On 27th July, the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) attended 61 emergency calls to road traffic collisions, compared with 49 on the same day in 2014.

Call handlers have dealt with 1,379 calls to similar incidents across the East of England this month, compared with 1,337 for the same period last year.

The Trust is urging road users to follow this advice to stay safe this summer:

  • Leave an appropriate distance between yourself and the vehicle ahead when driving
  • Learn an unfamiliar route beforehand to minimise reliance on your sat nav, which can cause drivers to swerve late or brake hard when correcting their direction of travel
  • Always stick to the speed limits
  • Check the weather forecast before you head out and drive to the road conditions
  • Be aware of other road users around you such as motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians
  • Avoid distractions when you are driving such as eating at the wheel, playing loud music, and using mobile phone devices
  • Take breaks on a long journey to avoid fatigue

County breakdown of road traffic collisions attended by EEAST by 27 July (compared with July 2014)

Bedfordshire 168 (152)

Cambridgeshire 204 (186)

Essex 392 (407)

Hertfordshire 238 (229)

Norfolk 205 (195)

Suffolk 165 (164)

Flying Ant Alert! - Top Stories: 31 July 2015

Flying Ant Alert! Shut the windows, missus! Seemed especially active this afternoon in Houghton Regis. Am concerned that...

Posted by Houghton Regis News Desk on Friday, 31 July 2015

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Police Issue Alert to Elderly About Distraction Robberies

Police are urging Bedfordshire residents – particularly the elderly – to be vigilant against opportunist thieves following a recent rise in distraction robberies.

Over the last four months there have been 33 similar offences in which victims aged 60 or over have had their purse, cash and cards stolen.

Gary Maxey from Bedfordshire Police’s Crime Service Team said: “In each of these reports there appears to have been some form of ‘distraction’, or the victims have been followed from banks and had their property stolen very subtly when the opportunity arises.

“Most of the time the vulnerable victims have not even known where the theft may have occurred. This makes them extremely difficult to investigate.

“I would encourage older residents to be aware of this risk, and also warn the heartless crooks who are carrying out these callous acts that we are pursuing all lines of investigation in order to bring the culprits to justice.”

Police advise using handbags or trolleys with a zip or clasp function, and keeping them close to your person at all times.

Always be discreet when handling money, for example when outside a cashpoint, and report anyone you believe to be acting suspiciously using 101.

Anyone with information about this activity is urged to report it also using 101 or by calling Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

CIL - Proposals for Central Bedfordshire - A green light for development?

Central Bedfordshire Council are consulting people about their proposals for implementing CIL, Community Infrastructure Levy. Independent CBC Councillor Adam Zerny, who represents Potton, has been taking a look at it.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

HRN2 Outline Planning Permission Granted

HRN2 Outline Planning Permission Granted

An application to develop land "located within the Green Belt" in Houghton Regis that "would be harmful to the Green Belt due to its inappropriateness and its impact on openness" was recommended and approved at today's Development Control Meeting at Council Chamber, Priory House, Monks Walk, Shefford. Meeting started at 10am.

All 4 Houghton Regis CBC councillors attended, 3 spoke. Two consultants spoke on behalf of the Houghton Regis Town Council against the application. 4 HRTC town councillors attended to view, along with several other members from the Houghton Regis community.

Some of the key points made by speakers were:

  1. The Development Strategy was not yet proven to be sound.
  2. The site was designated Green Belt.
  3. Concerns about safety and traffic on Bedford Road.
  4. Loss of previously indicated wildlife warden building.
  5. Inadequate number of allotment spaces.
  6. Number of planned football pitches had been reduced.
  7. There was no plan for cemetery provision.
  8. Concern over proximity and heights of buildings close to Bidwell farm community.
  9. 30% social housing was welcomed.
  10. Concern around provision of NHS facilities.
  11. Safety concerns over location of the proposed school with regard to parents parking.
  12. How to preserve the Bidwell village and rural aspects.
  13. A5-M1 link would reduce traffic flows through Houghton Regis.
  14. Concern that a ghetto is not created.
  15. Concern that variety of play spaces was not being thought of.

  1. Reactions to decision (A) Facebook Wednesday, 22 July 2015
  2. Reactions to decision (B) Facebook Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Monday, 20 July 2015

Old Palace Lodge Slams Its Doors On Norman King Petitioners

In an incredibly childish manner, the manager of the Old Palace Lodge, Dunstable, tonight slammed its doors in the face of a peaceful deputation to present a petition of over 4,000 signatures from people who want to see the Norman King saved.

The astonishing move came after protesters had peacefully met outside the former inn, in Church Street, for about a hour. At about 9.05pm the small group of protestors moved towards the Inn where they had planned to present the petition to  the current owner at The Old Palace Lodge. As the group walked towards the Lodge car park entrance, a person claiming to be the manager, said "If you step in here, I am calling the police."

Then, as the group crossed into the car park entrance towards the front door, the manager said, "I am not accepting 'it'. I am calling the police". And with that, he dashed inside, and slammed the door shut.

A copy of the petition was eventually handed to a person staying at the lodge, who was admitted back in after an evening stroll.

Five minutes later the door opened and the petition was launched through the door onto the road!


Background: Campaigners To Present Petition To Rebuild Norman King

Save The Norman King Facebook Page

Aged between 14-17 ? Want to be a Fire Cadet?

Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service are launching branches of its popular Fire Cadets scheme in Bedford (at Kempston Fire Station) and Leighton Buzzard in September 2015. The Service is looking for young people aged between 14-17 who want to learn what it's like to be a Firefighter and to help serve their communities.

The new Fire Cadet groups will meet weekly during school term time from 7pm to 9pm at their respective fire stations, Kempston meeting every Monday and Leighton Buzzard meeting every Thursday. The Kempston group is open to young people from across Bedford and Kempston.

Part of a national scheme, Fire Cadets will learn the basic operational skills of a firefighter, such as using fire hoses and pitching ladders. Every young person will be giving their own uniform and have the opportunity to gain recognised qualifications and awards including BTEC Level 2 Award in Fire & Rescue Services in the Community.

Chief Fire Officer Paul Fuller "Young cadets gain an excellent knowledge of the Fire and Rescue Service as they learn the skills that full-time firefighters need to get their job done. Like firefighters they also have an important role to play giving time to local community initiatives and working on their own skills through local and national challenges and competitions

Becoming a Fire Cadet gives young people a chance to train with working Firefighters, providing an exciting and unique insight into what modern firefighting is all about. It is also an opportunity to develop both personal and social skills by promoting self-discipline, teamwork and citizenship.

Our cadet groups play an important role in the community with cadets supporting local initiatives, such as delivering advice on home fire safety, water safety, road safety and arson prevention to their own communities while having fun and making new friends."

If you are aged between 14 and 17 and want to join our Fire Cadet group in Leighton Buzzard, Bedford/Kempston, Sandy or Luton please contact Pete Buckingham or Kayleigh Jean via or call (01234) 845000.

Police "Bike" Operation In Town

Police "Bike" Operation In Town, Saturday 18th July.

Report: Facebook.

Some police activity in Houghton Regis yesterday. Saw 2 street legal police bikers, 2 officers on bicycles, plus others...
Posted by Houghton Regis News Desk on Sunday, 19 July 2015

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Free Summer Activities in Houghton Regis From Full House

Full House return this summer with dance and drama workshops.

Campaigners To Present Petition To Rebuild Norman King

Campaigners are still hoping that the burnt down Norman King, opposite Dunstable Priory Church, can be restored. On Monday 20th July from 8pm to 9pm they intend to meet up on the corner of Church Street and Kingsway "to stand with The Norman King", and then present a petition to the current owner at The Old Palace Lodge.

The date will be the first Anniversary of the Campaign to Save The Norman King. The group's organiser, Andrea Tompkins, who campaigns as "Norman King" on Facebook, says the petition now has over 4,000 signatures [ref].

An online petition at petitonbuzz has almost 2,700 signatures*. The petitioners "would prefer to see the building rebuilt in its former timber and thatched style so that our future generations can understand and enjoy its historical significance."

Another petition at 38degrees with less than 300 signatures* calls for " MGM Hotels Ltd to conserve and restore this historic thatched/timber building back to it's original glory."

"Norman King" - once stables thought to have been part of Kingsbury - site of a lodge visited by King Henry I. 
The site of the Norman King was thought to have once been a part of the extensive Kingsbury, a royal residence for Henry I completed in 1109, with stone from the Royal quarry of Totternhoe (excavation works in 2012 support this [ref - p16]). Later, Kingsbury was used by wool merchants. By 1297, Kingsbury had fallen into disrepair, and in 1329 was repaired for King Edward III, to host a great tournament. By 1542, George Cavendish had bought Kingsbury, and by 1600, Kingsbury was owned by William Marshe [ref.]. It was a commercial farm, Kingsbury Farm, and the thatched building was later known as Kingsbury Stables. In 1925, local businessman William Bagshawe, turned it into a gentleman's residence. In 1927 it was converted, again, for use as a town museum and library [ref. p31].

The thatched building in the 1950s, prior to conversion to a pub.
The building was bought in the late nineteen fifties and converted by Flowers Brewery, opening as a pub in 1961. In the construction of the inn, stone was anecdotally brought from a Norman castle and a cottage near Cambridge, with panelling from a medieval inn at Caxton in Cambridgeshire [ref.].

The pub was destroyed in an arson attack in the early hours of 10 August 2011. The building was in the process of being refurbished and was closed at the time. Church Street, Dunstable, was closed for about 5 hours during the incident. Some 50 people, guests at the neighbouring Old Palace Lodge hotel and residents of the Alms houses opposite, were relocated while the fire was brought under control. No injuries were reported.

Richard Waters, 43, pleaded not guilty to arson being reckless as to whether life would be endangered, but was convicted by a jury, in June 2012. He had been drinking heavily and had taken cocaine. He was subsequently  jailed, on 29 August 2012, for seven and a half years [details].

In September 2012, English Heritage recommended delisting the Grade II building because most of the pub was destroyed in the fire. English Heritage commented that any replacement building would need to respect the setting of the nearby listed buildings, and preserve or enhance the character and appearance of the conservation area. [ref.]


The proposed replacement buildings would include a "two storey building for 12 aparthotel rooms, and a thatched covered parking structure". And the new building would include "stone retained in situ". When plans to demolish and replace the building were revealed, English Heritage did not object to the proposals, and were supportive of the new construction proposals.

In August 2014, planning permission was granted by Central Bedfordshire Council in respect of relevant demolition of an unlisted building in the Conservation Area, subject to an archaeological investigation [ref.]

In March 2015 the Save the Norman King campaign group submitted an application to have the Kingsway pub’s remains listed as an asset of community value which would have prevented its sale before the community had a chance to prepare a bid to buy it. This was rejected by Central Bedfordshire Council. [ref]

Dunstable has lost a lot of it's heritage past. This was Church Street in the 1920s, before road widening.

  • The "Save The Norman King" campaign group are on Facebook.
  • *at the time of this report.

July Issue of Funding E-Bulletin From Voluntary & Community Action

Funding E-Bulletin


July 2015

Voluntary and Community Action

Welcome to the July 2015 issue of the Funding E-Bulletin from Voluntary and Community Action.
Allchurches Trust Limited
The provision of funding in support of churches, church establishments and Christian organisations.

The Relationship & Grants Manager, Allchurches Trust Limited, Beaufort House, Brunswick Road, Gloucester, GL1 1JZ, Tel: 01452 873189, Email:
Allen Lane Foundation
The Foundation makes grants to voluntary not-for-profit-organisations supporting work to make a difference to people's lives as opposed to simply alleviating the symptoms or current problems and should aim to reduce isolation, stigma and discrimination. Start-up, project or core costs (including venue hire, volunteers' or participants' expenses) with one-off grants of between £500 and £15,000 are available.
Gill Aconley, Grants Officer, Allen Lane Foundation, 90 The Mount, York, YO24 1AR, Tel: 01904 613223, Email: Website:
The Anchor Foundation
Grants are available to Christian charities for projects that encourage social inclusion through ministries of healing and the arts. Applications are considered at twice yearly meetings in April and November.  The annual deadlines for applications are 31 January and 31 July.

Secretary, The Anchor Foundation, PO Box 21107, Alloa, FK12 5WA
Email: Website:

British Toy and Hobby Association
Grant for registered charities undertaking projects to support disadvantaged children aged 0-13 years. Grants usually range up to £5,000 and funding can be used for equipment and services, applications may be submitted at any time.
Tracey Butcher, Charity Co-ordinator, British Toy and Hobby Association, 80 Camberwell Road, London, SE5 0EG, Tel: 020 7701 7271, Email:

Church Urban Fund
Funding is available to enable churches and Christian organisations in England that are working in deprived communities, in partnership with others, to undertake new or expanding initiatives which directly tackle the effects of poverty. Applications may be submitted at any time, grants of up to £5,000 are available for project costs.
Enquiries, Church Urban Fund, Church House, 27 Great Smith Street, London, SW1P 3AZ
Tel: 020 7898 1647, Email: Website: 

Esfandi Charitable Foundation
The Esfandi Charitable Foundation Grant is provided and administered by the Esfandi Charitable Foundation and is available for voluntary and community organisations.

Mr J Esfandi, Esfandi Charitable Foundation, 36 Park Street, London, W1K 2JE, Tel: 0207 629 6666

The Ironmongers' Company
Grant for projects that provide opportunities for disadvantaged children and young people under the age of 25 years to fulfil their potential. Grants range from a few hundred pounds up to around £10,000 for project costs. A reasonable proportion of overheads will be accepted as part of project costs. Applications are assessed twice annually, in March and October. The deadlines for submissions are 31 December and 31 July.
Charities Administrator, The Ironmongers' Company, Ironmongers' Hall, Shaftesbury Place, Barbican, London, EC2Y 8AA, Tel: 020 7776 2311, Website:

Kathleen Laurence Trust
Grants are available for registered charities carrying out health or social welfare activities. The application process is ongoing and interested applicants may apply at any time. There is no minimum or maximum level of grant and there is no minimum or maximum level of grant for costs associated with eligible projects.
Enquiries, Kathleen Laurence Trust, c/o Trustee Department, Coutts & Co., 440 The Strand, London, WC2R OQS, Tel: 020 7663 6825

Lionel Wigram Memorial Trust
Funding is available for charities that are providing services for blind, deaf and disabled people. Grants are usually made for between £400 and £3,000 for project costs and core funding. Applications may be submitted at any time.

Enquiries, Lionel Wigram Memorial Trust, Highfield House, 4 Woodfall Street, London, SW3 4DJ, Tel: 020 7730 6820 Website:

Margaret Foundation
The Margaret Foundation provides grants for registered charities supporting general charitable purposes and its preferred funding areas are medical research, older people and deprived children.
Applications should be made by sending a covering letter and the latest set of report and accounts to the Foundation.

Miss Anita J Carter, Margaret Foundation, Royal Bank of Canada Trust Corporation Limited, Riverbank House, 2 Swan Lane, London, EC4R 3BF, Tel: 020 7653 4756, Email:

Peter Beckwith Charitable Trust
The Peter Beckwith Charitable Trust offers grants to charitable organisations and the scheme is intended to support general charitable purposes. Most grants are for less than £1,000 for Costs associated with eligible projects, applications must be made in writing.

The Trustees, Peter Beckwith Charitable Trust, Hill Place House, 55a High Street, Wimbledon Village, London, SW19 5BA, Tel: 020 8944 1288

Phillips and Rubens Charitable Trust
The Phillips and Rubens Charitable Trust offers grants to charitable organisations.
The funding is intended to support organisations undertaking charitable projects, including the following areas:
·         Medical purposes.
·         Education.
·         The disabled.
·         The elderly.
·         Relieving poverty.
·         Sheltered accommodation.
·         The arts.
Mr Michael Phillips, Phillips and Rubens Charitable Trust, 67-69 George Street, London, W1U 8L, Email:

Portrack Charitable Trust
The Portrack Charitable Trust offers funding to charitable organisations who are undertaking charitable activities. Grants are generally made for up to £2,000.

Administrator, Portrack Charitable Trust, Email:

Sir Cliff Richard Charitable Trust
The Sir Cliff Richard Charitable Trust offers grants to registered charities active in the UK. In particular, the scheme wishes to support projects with the following themes:
·         Medical research.
·         Children.
·         The elderly.
·         The physically and/or mentally disabled.
The application process is ongoing and interested applicants may apply at any time for costs associated with eligible projects.

Enquiries, Sir Cliff Richard Charitable Trust, c/o PO Box 46C, Esher, Surrey, KT10 0RB

The charity provides grant funding to charitable organisations which deliver projects aimed at helping the homeless make a better life for themselves, focusing on mental and physical health, employability and sustainable independent living. Grants of between £500 and £20,000 are available for project costs.
Glenn Pougnet, Director, Streetsmart, The Griffin Building, 83 Clerkenwell Road, London, EC1R 5AR, Tel: 020 7292 5615, Email:

The Thompson Family Charitable Trust
The Thompson Family Charitable Trust provides grants to registered charities for general charitable purposes. Previous grants have been given in the following areas:
·         Health and social welfare.
·         Medical research.
·         Animal welfare.
·         The Arts.
·         Sports.
·         Education.
The Trust provides a range of grants from £250 up to an exceptional amount of £500,000. Most grants tend to be between £1,000 and £50,000 with a few grants of £100,000 and £200,000. Applications should be made in writing.

Katie Woodward, The Thompson Family Charitable Trust, Hillsdown Court, 15 Totteridge Common, London, N20 8LR, Tel: 01608 676789, Email:

W.G. Edwards Charitable Foundation
Grants are available to registered charities providing care for older people. The average grant size is £5,000 and funding is mainly available for capital projects, although innovative schemes for ongoing care are also considered. The application process is ongoing and interested applicants may apply at any time. The Trustees meet in January, April, July and November each year.
Mrs Janet Brown, Clerk to the Trustees, W.G. Edwards Charitable Foundation, c/o 123A Station Road East, Oxted, Surrey, RH8 0QE, Tel: 01883 714412, Email:

Wooden Spoon
Wooden Spoon's objective is to make a positive impact on the lives of disadvantaged children and young people through its commitment to quality charitable work. Grants are generally in the range of £10,000 to £100,000. Projects must normally be of a capital nature and applications may be submitted at any time.
Brian Hodges, Development Director, Capital Projects, Wooden Spoon, 115-117 Fleet Road, Fleet, Hampshire, GU51 3PD, Tel: 01252 773720, Email:

W W Spooner Charitable Trust
Grant for individuals and voluntary and community organisations in the UK carrying out charitable projects.
The scheme aims to fund charitable projects, particularly:

·         Projects and welfare within the community.
·         Youth and education.
·         Assistance in the purchase of works of art for the benefit of the public.
Mr M H Broughton, W W Spooner Charitable Trust, 2 Elliot Road, Watford, Hertfordshire, WD17 4DF, Email:  

Variety Club – Youth Clubs Grant
Grant for youth club organisations that work with young children between the ages of 8 and 18. Grants are made between the values of £800 and £1,000; however, grants of higher and lower values are also made, applications can be submitted at any time.
Julie Thomas, Variety Grants Manager, Variety Club, Variety House, 93 Bayham Street, London, NW1 0AG, Tel: 020 7428 8120, Email:  

The Xerox (UK) Trust Grant
The Xerox (UK) Trust offers grants to voluntary and community organisations.
Funding is intended to support medium sized charitable organisations undertaking charitable projects, including those in the following areas:

·         Education and training.
·         Medical, health and sickness.
·         Disability.
·         Arts and culture.
·         Sport and recreation.
·         Animals.
·         Economic, community, development and employment.
Priority is given to charities with strong links to Xerox (UK) Limited employees. Applications are to be made by sending a letter to the Trust providing details of the charity that is applying and the project for which it is seeking funding.

Cheryl Walsh, The Xerox (UK) Trust Grant, Bridge House, Oxford Road, Uxbridge, Middlesex, UB8 1HS, Tel: 01895 251133

This funding bulletin is provided by the Information Service at Voluntary and Community Action. We are committed to strengthening the effectiveness of the voluntary and community sector in Bedfordshire by developing, enabling, promoting and supporting voluntary and community action. We seek to achieve this through advocacy; capacity building activities; enhancing the provision of volunteering opportunities; the exchange of information; the provision of training; advice and consultancy; and by working in partnership with others. To find out more visit our website at 

Bossard House, West Street, Leighton Buzzard LU7 1DA , Tel: 01525 850559, Fax: 01525 376281
Registered Charity No. 1108879. Company limited by guarantee. Registered in England No.5386570


Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Houghton Regis Central: A Place For Independent Living

Houghton Regis as it was in 1762. The new development will be south of Bedford Square.

Representatives from Central Bedfordshire Council have outlined their plans for redevelopment of  a vacant site in the centre of Houghton Regis. Cllr Ms Carol Hegley and Mr Tony Keaveney, Assistant Director Housing attended the meeting of the Houghton Regis Town Partnership on Monday 13th July to update members on the redevelopment project.

Mr Keaveney has made several presentations to various councillors already, but this was an opportunity for new councillors to also start to learn about the project. The Council had not yet taken repossession of its site opposite and south of Bedford Square, but were due to towards the end of August 2015. What was under consideration was a better offer for older people to allow them to have independent living in an environment where services could be brought in-house. And because of the location of the site, there would be a retail offering, and community space as well as a heritage element.

Different groups of people were already being consulted.

  • Retailers in Bedford Square were being engaged as any retail outlet within the new site needed to be sympathetic to current traders. The number of retail units to be provided will be shaped with whatever the consultation process throws up.

  • Residents in the current 31 flats in Red House Court were being engaged as the residents there would be among the first to be moved into new homes, allowing their present building site to be redeveloped. Would they be able to live next door to their friend? What would the gardens look like? Could they take their old curtains with them?

  • Residents in White House Close were being engaged as they would have concerns about living next door to a building site for awhile, and with new neighbours in the future. 

  • The Houghton Regis Heritage Society were being engaged to discuss how to make use of the old Red House, which is also in the footprint of site, a building formerly part of the Council's regular housing stock. 

  • Mr Keaveney had also recognised the value of including representatives from the Houghton Regis Social Club who had occupied a portakabin on the site since a fire in 2006.

The Council were new to building council homes, and they had learnt and were continuing to learn from their experience of building an 83 unit development at Priory View in Dunstable. That particular scheme initially had over 700 people interested in acquiring one of those properties. The problem of establishing who should be prioritised was being addressed. Assurances were given at the meeting that priority for the Houghton Regis scheme, would be given to Central Bedfordshire residents, but thereafter income, and local connections would also be important factors in deciding who the units would be allocated to.

A process had already taken place to select an architect. 15 had been asked to come up with ideas, this had reduced to 6, and now to one. A panel of local people had helped in the selection. Exactly what the architect will need to fit into this scheme is still to be ironed out. These 'ingredients' will be fed to the architects later this year after further consultations with stake-holder groups.

A planning application for this scheme is expected around March 2016.

* parts of this report were written following a private interview with Mr Keaveney.

EDITORIAL COMMENT. Whatever is built it will be a large building, and will have a significant impact on the look and feel of Houghton Regis Town Centre. Any one of a hundred things could go wrong and scupper the whole idea, meaning that the £26m put aside by CBC for investment might go to another town to help regenerate that rather than Houghton Regis. Local opinion is very important. For that reason a Facebook Group has been set up by Alan Winter, HRND editor, at for anyone who wants to comment, question, or otherwise help, to shape this scheme.

Trees Now on Database, Prioritised, And Scheduled For Action

An officer from Central Bedfordshire Council attended a meeting of the Houghton Regis Town Partnership Committee on Monday 13th July to relay information to councillors about a tree survey undertaken across the district for them, by Landscape Planning Limited.

Altogether 5342 individual trees and 446 groups of trees under the control of CBC's Housing department had been surveyed. These were now either numbered as individual trees, as clumps, or simply unnumbered and noted as being in the grounds of their tenants gardens. The Council had now stored the whereabouts of these trees on a Geographic Information System.

1470 trees had been noted as requiring work; 475 of these were in Houghton Regis.  These had all been prioritised, depending on various factors. Recorded were details of tree types, height, crown spread, and stem diameter. In addition, the visual inspection enabled the recording of defects or other notable tree features.  Recommendations, where appropriate, were made to control any identified
risks and to assign a priority against recommended works (reference  document  p9).

Some priority 1 work had already been completed. Work on priority 2 and 3 trees was due to take place on those identified between early August 2015 and the end of March 2016. The work will be carried out on a geographical basis. The work on the trees was thought to have a price tag of about £100,000 and would be carried out by Amey Construction who have an existing contract with Central Bedfordshire Council.

Bromley Gardens, Houghton Regis
The officer explained that the type of work being done would be low, overhanging, and dead branches being trimmed. He accepted that trees were an emotive subject, but was at pains to stress that the work would not prioritise 'loss of light' or 'fruit or leave droppings'. And there would not be large scale removal of trees. He indicated that where trees were in tenants gardens, the tenants had a responsibility to maintain them, but nevertheless the Council would be looking to undertake work that would be too much for their tenants.

In the past, the Council had had a budget of around £20,000 for trees and were reactive to things happening like high winds. In future, the Council would aim to survey a third of their tree stock every year to keep abreast of the situation.

Tenants should contact their housing estate managers. If you have an enquiry about a particular tree in a communal area, please note down the number of the tree and the location, and then contact Jethro Rolls who will be managing the tree works. telephone 0300 300 6488.


Monday, 13 July 2015

Aircraft Flights Over the South East

BBC SOUTH: Watch this extraordinary new simulation that shows how all of us have aircraft flying over our homes all the time. Its been produced by Air traffic controllers at Swanwick near Fareham. Our transport correspondent Paul Clifton talks us through something no-one has seen before
Posted by BBC South Today on Thursday, 9 July 2015

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Discussion Topic: The Law and Off-road Bikes, Mini-Motos, Quad Bikes

Discussion Topic: The Law and Off-road Bikes, Mini-Motos, Quad Bikes

Who are the irresponsible parents allowing mini-motos and of-road bikes to be bought without considering where they will...
Posted by Houghton Regis News Desk on Friday, 10 July 2015

Friday, 10 July 2015

Nuisance Bikers Tackled By the Specials Force

Nuisance Bikers Tackled By the Specials Force

Nuisance bikers tackled by the Specials force - |
Posted by Houghton Regis News Desk on Thursday, 9 July 2015

Fancott Miniature Railway: New Train After Fire

Fancott Miniature Railway: New Train After Fire

let's play trains ...
Posted by Houghton Regis News Desk on Thursday, 9 July 2015

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Record Breaking Attempt For Summer Reading Scheme This Saturday!

Central Bedfordshire Libraries will be attempting to help set a Guinness World Record as part of this year’s Summer Reading Challenge launch – the free annual event that aims to boost children’s reading skills and confidence.

This year’s theme is Record Breakers and libraries across the UK will attempt to set a new title for the ‘Most Pledges Received for a Reading Campaign’. Locally, you'll need to sign up in Houghton Regis Library  from 9am to 1pm on 11th July to count towards the record breaking attempt.

All children have to do is sign-up for the Challenge by pledging – or promising – to read at least six books. These can be whatever they like, from fact books, joke books, picture books, audio books and more – just as long as they are borrowed from the library.

Children can also sign up for this year’s Summer Reading Challenge at other libraries across Central Bedfordshire.

The annual Challenge is aimed at children of all ages, and their families, and this year runs through to 5th September. Young readers will collect rewards and stickers along the way as they discover the weird, wonderful and wacky records from around the world in six different categories:

  • Cool Tech, 
  • Way to Go! 
  • The Big Stuff 
  • Animal Magic 
  • People Power 
  • Action! Adventure! 

Last year, more that 52,000 books were read as part of the Challenge in Central Bedfordshire and, as an added bonus, Synergy Document Solutions is sponsoring all the books read and the money raised will go to Keech Cottage Children’s Hospice.

There will also be a series of events to celebrate the Summer Reading Challenge with Animal Edutainment visiting all 12 Central Bedfordshire Libraries, including Houghton Regis Library on Tuesday 21 July 2:30 - 3:30pm. Expect a host of exotic record-breaking animals like a tarantula as big as your hand, plus an African bullfrog, Bosc monitor lizard, reticulated gargoyle gecko, chinchilla, bull snake, lesser hedgehog tenrec, uromastyx, cockroaches and a millipede. These events are for ages 4-12 years and tickets are £3 for children and free for adults.

Every child who reads 6 books can take part in a special character hunt, with a prize draw of a book token.

Families can download the free Record Breakers app and scan the characters to unlock audio-visual content such as videos, messages and games. Furthermore, the child who breaks the record for reading the most books at each library over the summer will win a family swim card; enabling two adults and three children to have ten free recreational swim sessions.

And, just for fun, children will have the opportunity to have their photo taken with the life-sized image of the world’s tallest man – Sultan K√∂sen from Turkey – to see how they measure up. Visit for information on what is happening near you.

While the Challenge is designed to be fun, research has shown that it sees children return to school after the summer break as more fluent, confident and happy readers.

Cllr Brian Spurr, Executive Member for Community Services, said: “The Summer Reading Challenge has proved hugely popular over the years and we are proud to be taking part once again. This year’s theme of Record Breakers brings together fact and fiction, and challenges young readers to explore astonishing real-life achievements, world records and even attempt to be part of a new one.

“The challenge gives children a personal challenge that boosts confidence, self-esteem and their love of reading as part of a fun activity that can help keep them engaged during the summer holidays. Library staff and volunteers will be on hand to help, plus there is also an interactive website – – with a host of fun activities."

In 2014:
- In total 839,622 children took part in the Summer Reading Challenge
- 44% of participants were boys
- Over 81,000 children signed up as new library members
- 8,126 young volunteers aged 12 to 24 supported the Challenge.

Pictures: © Dave Warren Picture Team 2015 for The Reading Agency and with thanks to Southwark Libraries, Canada Water Library and the children from Alfred Salter Primary School