Saturday, 31 December 2016

New Years Honours - 2 CBE's and 4 MBE's for Bedfordshire

In the Queen’s New Year’s honours list 2017 there are 2 CBE's and 4 MBE's for people in Bedfordshire.

Commanders of the Order of the British Empire (CBE)

  • Kim Daniel BROMLEY-DERRY Chief Executive, London Borough of Newham. For services to Local Government. (Bedfordshire).
  • Alfred Henry HITCHCOCK, QPM Chief Constable, Ministry of Defence Police. For services to Defence and Policing. (Bedfordshire)


Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBE)

  • Tony FENWICK Co-Chair, School's Out. For services to Equality in the Education Sector.(Luton, Bedfordshire)


  • Michael GRANT For services to Conservation and the community in Billington, Bedfordshire.(Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire)


  • Frederick Nigel SPARROW For services to the community in Clapham, Bedfordshire.(Bedfordshire)


  • Anthony Peter WILSON Director, AECOM. For services to Building and Engineering.(Dunstable, Bedfordshire)


In total 1,197 people have received an award. This year’s honours are the most diverse ever. In the almost 100-year history of the Order of the British Empire there has never been a greater number of individuals from a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) background. Awards include:


  • a damehood for Professor Elizabeth Anionwu, Emeritus Professor of Nursing, for services to nursing and the Mary Seacole Statue Appeal
  • a knighthood for Professor Shankar Balasubramanian, Herchel Smith Professor of Medicinal Chemistry, University of Cambridge
  • a CBE for Professor Anita Thapar, Clinical Professor, Institute of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences, Cardiff University
  • a CBE for Cecilia Anim, President, Royal College of Nursing
  • a CBE for Professor Guang-Zhong Yang, Director, Hamlyn Centre for Robotic Surgery

Following Team GB’s record breaking success in Rio at the Olympics and Paralympics, the list of awards includes:


  • a knighthood for Mo Farah for services to athletics
  • a knighthood for Andy Murray for services to tennis and charity
  • a knighthood for Lee Pearson for services to equestrianism
  • a damehood for Katherine Grainger, the first female Olympian to win 5 medals at 5 games, for services to rowing and charity
  • a damehood for Jessica Ennis-Hill for services to athletics
  • CBEs for the Olympic golden couple and recently married Jason Kenny and Laura Kenny (nee Trott), for services to cycling
The full list of honours can be found on GOV.UK

Honours lists are published at New Year and on The Queen’s official birthday in June. Find out more about the honours and how to nominate someone for an award.

Friday, 30 December 2016

Treow House - Two Storey Building For People With Learning Disabilities

Treow House: new development
A new development at Treow House, Parkside Drive, opposite The Chequers is for a 7 bedroom care facility in the form of a 2 storey building, for people with learning difficulties with 24 hour staff support.

A number of Grade II listed buildings are situated close to site, including the oldest standing building of Dene Hollow (HER 5700), a Grade II listed timber-framed building likely to be 16th century, immediately to the north of Treow House. Slightly further to the NNW is the 18th century Easthill Farmhouse (HER 5702) The 17th-century Vane Cottage(HER 5701) is less than 100m to the SSE on Park Road North.

Documents show that objections were received from Houghton Regis Town Council and Dene Hollow, principally because the building lies within the town's conservation area. The planning application CB/15/04422/FULL was approved by Central Bedfordshire Council in June of 2016.

Source: Documents added since the application was submitted:


2008 Conservation Statement  can be downloaded.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Development Plans For Sensitive Oakwell Park Site At Thorn

How the site could look if developed.

Site now: Oakwell Park and paddocks to the left, woodland to the right.



PLANNING MATTERS

A new application could pose a threat to a site thought to be an ancient woodland, off the Thorn Road in Houghton Regis parish. Conflicting documents in the application suggest that between 80 and 200 homes could be built at Oakwell Park, Thorn*

The plan would demolish and remove existing buildings, trees and associated landscaping to create a residential development, together with environmental improvements, green infrastructure and heritage enhancement. About half the site containing an ancient woodland would be saved. The application is number CB/16/05701/OUT and plans are available online

Comments can be sent to planning@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk quoting CB/16/05701

The site has several water features including a large pond adjacent to the main house set outside the woodland, a moated feature that forms part of the Scheduled Ancient Monument (SAM) and also a series of ditches that run along the edge of the woodland conveying surface water from the northern edge of the site towards the southern end of the site.

Trees cover approximately half of the site and contribute towards its character and overall sense of enclosure from the adjoining land. Part of the site is a County Wildlife Site (CWS) incorporating ancient woodland dating back to before 1796. A 15m buffer zone is required to be left around a CWS.

Thorn Spring moated site is a scheduled monument under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979. There are about 6,000 such moated sites in England. In the main, these moats were built between 1250 and 1350. The island at Thorn is reportedly largely undisturbed. Further information about the ancient monument can be found here.



The moat At Thorn Spring

Woodland area near the moat.

Oakwell Park
In the context of HRN2 it could look like this: Bigger HRN2 Map from Outline Planning permission documents

* - The main application document has a figure of 200 dwellings, Section 17 of Planning Application has 95 mentioned, plus 100 in one bit and 200 in another - both figs are circled suggesting that someone is aware the numbers are inaccurate.  However, Section  5.7 of the Planning Statement talks of between 80 and 100 dwellings and Section 6 of the Design & Access Statement  (part 2) has a fig of  90 equating to a density of 30 dwellings per hectare.

Christmas Library Closed, But Open Online



Central Bedfordshire libraries are closed from 1pm on Saturday 24 December until Tuesday, 27 December. They are also closed on Monday, 2 January 2017 for New Year.

However  you will  be able to use the virtual library and library app through out the festive season.

To download the library app visit the Google Play Store or  Apple app store, search for 'Bedford Borough and Central Bedfordshire Libraries' and install it today!

Usual opening hours for Houghton Regis library:

Usual opening hours for Toddington library:

Friday, 16 December 2016

Think! Before You Buy An Off-Road Bike For Christmas


You might be thinking about buying an off-road bike ahead of Christmas – not realising the legislation that exists around owning and using this kind of vehicle.

At a Public meeting on Monday this week in Houghton Regis Police mentioned their success against riders in French's Avenue. And in Op Meteor they crushed 20 bikes on November 4th. Their call centre control room takes 450,000 to 460,000 calls, but all calls to 1010 and 999 are stored and records go back some 15 years.

The public are encouraged to keep phoning in to 101 for any anti social behaviour complaint against nuisance bikes, or any other crime incident, for that matter. The dedicated email address for off-road bike incidents will take pictures, or video to opmeteorinbox@bedfordshire.pnn.police.uk

Bedfordshire Police  would like to remind you of the facts of buying an off-road bike – whether it’s for yourself or as a gift.

The facts

Off-road motorbikes:

• Cannot be driven on the road – this is illegal and dangerous, and Bedfordshire Policecan seize it if it’s seen being ridden on the road or any other public place
• Cannot be driven on council land – no council in Bedfordshire authorises this.
• Can only be driven on private land with land owner’s permission.
• There are no authorised sites in Bedfordshire for off-road biking.
• A suitable motor vehicle is needed to transport off-road bikes to and from authorised sites.
• Thieves are actively targeting and stealing off-road bikes.

The consequences


By riding an off-road bike you are:

• Putting yourself at considerable risk of serious injury or death.
• Putting road users and pedestrians at considerable risk of serious injury or death.
• Causing considerable distress to residents.

And you may…
• Lose your bike and face prosecution.

The Law


• You could be prosecuted for offences under the Road Traffic Act 1988.
• Having a traffic conviction can seriously affect the cost of getting car insurance.
• Only motor vehicles adapted for the road can be driven on the road provided they :
- Have insurance and MOT
- Are being driven in accordance with a valid driving licence.
- The tax has been paid
• You risk your bike being seized and crushed by police under S.59 Police Reform Act 2002.

Report it


Have you seen an off-road motorbike being ridden dangerously? Tell the Police!

When reporting offenders, keep these points in mind:

• Where was it sighted? Where did they come from? Where are they going?
• What does the bike look like? Type of bike/ colour(s)/ loud or quiet/ number plate/ old or new
• Are there any symbols, letters, numbers or words on the bike?
• What does the rider look like? Age/ gender/ build/ ethnicity/ hair/ mask/ helmet/ clothing/ colour
• Is there any CCTV likely?
• Do you have any photos or videos?

If you want to report a nuisance bikers you can use the dedicated email account: OpMeteorInbox@bedfordshire.pnn.police.uk or you can use the new reporting system on the Bedfordshire Police website. Before filling out the report form please familiarise yourself with the reporting guidance here.

Alternatively you can report via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, or in an emergency if lives are at risk call 999.
Bedfordshire Police is working closely with its partners to ensure offenders are brought to justice and help protect our local community.

Bedfordshire Police hope you have a safe, enjoyable Christmas.

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Works at Bedford Road - Why So Long For 'So Little Work'? - A Statement from CBC


Following local residents complaints that works on Bedford Road took practically 2 months to be carried out, and very little seemed to have been achieved during the closure of the road during that time, HRND wrote to CBC in search of an official explanation.

The complaints on Facebook included,
"Questions should be asked.they built the houses there quicker than this.If i worked that slow i would be sacked"
"All that time for one roundabout and a zebra crossing"
"5 to 6 weeks to do that 200 yard aspect of road they should be ashamed"

Essentially, in response, Central Bedfordshire Council state that multi-agency works were carried out during the closure period, saving drivers the inconvenience of several separate road closures at different times and that 60 days additional works have been saved during this closure.

THE FULL STATEMENT

As part of the wider regeneration in the Central Bedfordshire region, CBC has given planning permission to developers to building close to 7,500 homes in the Houghton Regis area. A lot of these homes will be situated in the area around the Houghton Regis and straddle the new A5-M1 link when this is completed. All of these will help Houghton Regis in realising its growth agenda of becoming a very large town in the United Kingdom. To facilitate these developments, roads will need to be closed where they impact on the safe movement of vehicles or pedestrians on the public highway.

As is widely known Taylor Wimpey is currently building a housing development on Bedford Road in Houghton Regis to facilitate this growth. Around 200 high quality homes will be built on this former green site. In order to accommodate these homes and satisfy the planning conditions Bedford Road would need to have traffic calming measures put in place. These will include the reduction of the road speed, the introduction of a weight ban, the introduction of safer crossing points for pedestrians and the reclassification of the road

So the challenges facing this development are the following

·         The necessity to make these homes speedily available to waiting local buyers
·         The traffic calming measures being required before the allocation of homes.
·         The traffic calming measure being in place before the A5-M1 link opening.
·         The road width necessitating the requirement for a road closure to safely carry out the works.
·         The time pressure to work within normal working hours as this site is near existing housing.
·         Provide local access to properties and businesses within or near the closure
·         Provide a safe pedestrian walkway around an ever changing worksite
·         Prevent vehicles illegally mounting the available footways endangering pedestrians

The nature of the works (deep drainage, installation of a roundabout for the new development and kerb realignment) means that the road cannot be kept open until works are complete. Therefore just night time closures are not possible (and would lead to environmental complaints due to adjacent properties). ECL the contractor agreed to take a week off their program to facilitate extra essential works happening elsewhere on the CBC network. The road was opened and no work was carried out during the school half term holiday in October. Where a road is closed, a diversion route of is required to safely accommodate the dispersed traffic. This route can be of the same or higher category as the road closed.

We also took the opportunity to schedule the following whilst the road was closed.

•             Energetix Gas Plc have laid 300mtrs of gas mains to supply the Persimmon Development site
•             Affinity Water is laying 250mtrs of new water mains to supply the Persimmon site
•             The gullies along Bedford Rd have been looked at and cleaned
•             Anglian Water worked on 2 manholes that were breaking up due to heavy traffic movements
•             UKPN have upgraded their network cables and poles to feed the new Persimmon site
•             BT has carried out upgrades to their old and deteriorating ductwork on Bedford Rd.

Statutory Undertakers have a legal entitlement to carry out works in the public highway in order to provide services to the public. By using this road closure to accommodate all these additional works a considerable amount of days work on Bedford Road. In the region of 60 days additional works have been saved during this closure. These additional works could have necessitated the requirement for additional traffic lights or possibly road closures.

When a road is closed a Temporary Traffic Order is produced. This traffic order is circulated to all interested parties i.e. buses, emergency services and local councillors. Prior to that letters are sent to all the local premises and businesses and also additional letters are sent to nearby Education facilities in the area to inform of the upcoming. Advance Warning signs of the closure are put out the road advising of passing motorists of the closure. For this particular development consultation by the Developer was carried out with the local residents and businesses.

Sunday, 11 December 2016

4 Voluntary Organisations Could Be Big Losers in Budget Cuts For Children with Disabilities

Central Bedfordshire Council are currently reviewing the way that short break services are funded and delivered. Under review is a draft proposal to lower the Budget for Children With Disabilities (CWD) by £158,000.

Short breaks are opportunities for children and young people with disabilities to spend time away from their primary carers, and provide opportunities for their parents and carers to have a break from caring responsibilities. Short breaks applies to disabled children aged between 0-18 who live in Central Bedfordshire and their families.

In Central Bedfordshire Short Breaks can include day, evening, overnight, weekend or holiday activities that take place within the home of the child or young person, in the home of an approved carer, a residential or a community setting.

Families and carers can phone 0300 300 3000 and asking for the Children with Disabilities Team. The Team will also be able to give information about who is the best person to speak to for more specialised Short Breaks.

Find out more about Central Bedfordshire's policy on Short Breaks: DOWNLOAD NOW
Or request by email: Christine.Collis@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk

Councillor Carole Hegley, Executive Member for Social Care and Housing, said: “We know that the short breaks service we offer is incredibly valued by families and that any proposed changes will be sensitive.

“But, in common with all councils nationwide, Central Bedfordshire is facing increasing pressure on limited financial resources and we need to make sure that services are run in the most efficient and cost effective way possible. My hope is that all those potentially affected will see that we want to ensure that our short break services can continue – and in a way that is sustainable and gives choice and opportunity to children and teenagers with disabilities."

To reduce the budget by £158,000 the Council would reduce funding to organisations that help support the provision of short break opportunities for children with disabilities, including:


  • Remove the top up payment to Adult Social Care Occupational Therapy Services by £40k

- this payment helps ensure that disabled children are assessed more quickly and essential
equipment is provided

  • Remove the top up payment to Disabled Facilities Grant by £50k - this payment helps to

ensure that additional provision is provided to ensure that disabled children are safe in their
own home

  • Reduce funding to Voluntary organisations by £68,000, which would include the following reductions to Service Level Agreements with:
    • Autism Beds – reduction from £35k to £17.5k
    • Bedford and District Cerebral Palsy – reduction from £35k to £17.5k
    • Family United Network – reduction from £30k to £15K
    • Special Needs Out of School Club – reduction from £30k to £15K


DOWNLOAD FULL DETAILS of these proposals.

Consultation closes: 1 March 2017

Follow this link to take part in the Council's consultation.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Cycling Time Trials, Stunt Bikes, Band, Fire Engine - Woodside Link Celebrations 10th December

Cycling Time Trials, Stunt Bikes, Band, Fire Engine - all to help celebrate the Woodside Link. Saturday, 10th December, between Frogmore Rd and Wheatfield Rd footpath.



You’ve probably seen the Woodside Link being transformed from a work site into a major piece of transport infrastructure.




Now you can take a closer look by going along to the Woodside Link Cycling Celebration on Saturday, December 10.

Cycling fun

Marking the end of construction, the event takes place between 10am and 2pm, with free entry from the footway that runs between Frogmore Road and Wheatfield Surgery.

There will be cycling time trials for youngsters aged 16 and under in four categories, between 10am and noon. Entrants can turn up with their bike at anytime during the two-hour slot to compete.
In the afternoon there will be an opportunity for people of all ages to leisurely cycle up and down the new road on their bike. And plenty is planned for those not wishing to take to two wheels.

Family entertainment

Local band The Situators are rehearsing a set list full of international hits, including songs made famous by Megan Trainor, Chuck Berry and Otis Reading. They are performing at 11am and 12.30pm. Exciting displays from the Extreme Mountain Bike Show at 10.30am, 12 noon and 1.15pm are also planned.

That’s not all as Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue are attending with a fire engine, Travel Choices’ Dr Bike and the Luton and Dunstable Cycling Forum will be on hand to give some bike maintenance and cycling advice, and there will be a local food van selling a full range of refreshments, including hot dogs, sandwiches and jacket potatoes.

Information

As the Woodside Link is just one part of the local regeneration jigsaw, an exhibition marquee will provide more information on how the Local Plan, Dunstable High Street scheme and other projects are all fitting together to help make the area an even better place to live and work.
Full details of the Woodside Link Cycling Celebration are available online at www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/woodsidelink or call 0300 300 5289.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Local Best Bar None Winners Announced


Best Bar None is a national scheme which aims to make towns and cities great places to go out by making pubs, clubs and leisure venues even safer and more welcoming places for visitors.

Representatives from the venues were joined at the presentation evening on Nov 30th. Local businesses and individuals donated prizes to a raffle which raised £360 for the Street Pastors, a charity which sees volunteers from local churches head out in our towns from 10pm to 4am on Saturdays to help those in need on the street.

Raffle prizes worth a total of £700 were donated by local companies.

Best Bar None Overall Winner – Dunstable/Houghton Regis:  Dunstable Leisure Centre;
Runners-up: Club Cookies and Creasey Park Community Football Centre

Best Bar None Overall Winner – Leighton-Linslade: The Lancer;
Runners-up: The Dukes and The Swan

2,500 people voted for their favourite venues in the People’s Vote.
People’s Vote Winner – Dunstable/Houghton Regis: Club Cookies;
Runners-up: Go Houghton and Dunstable Leisure Centre

People’s Vote Winner – Leighton-Linslade: The Black Lion; Runners-up: The Dukes and The Golden Bell

In total, 22 venues received accreditation being visited by an independent assessor. The full list was:

Dunstable and Houghton Regis: Bird in Hand; Club Cookies; Creasey Park Community Football Club; Dunstable Leisure Centre; First & Last; Froth & Elbow; Gary Cooper; Grove Theatre; Highwayman; The Old Sugar Loaf; White Lion; Go Houghton; The Kings Arms; Old Red Lion.

Leighton-Linslade: Black Lion; The Conservative Club; The Dukes; Golden Bell; Hare Inn; Lancer; The Stag; Swan Hotel.

Councillor Brian Spurr, Executive Member for Community Services, praised the success of this year’s scheme, the third time Best Bar None has run in Central Bedfordshire, saying, "Best Bar None is win-win for everyone: customers get a better night out, towns and cities become more vibrant places as people want to go there and that has economic benefits for pubs, clubs and leisure venues there."

Friday, 25 November 2016

No More Funding For Gluten Free Foods or Over-the-Counter Prescriptions on NHS


Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group’s Governing Body takes decision on three locally commissioned services



At a meeting on Thursday 24 November, Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group’s (BCCG) Governing Body took a decision on the future of three locally commissioned services: specialist fertility treatment, gluten-free foods and over the counter medicines on prescription.

After considering the wide-ranging feedback from members of the public and support organisations, the Governing Body voted,
- in favour of the proposal to no longer fund gluten-free foods and over the counter medicines on the NHS in Bedfordshire,
- to continue to commission specialist fertility services in line with BCCG’s current policy.

The decision was made following a 12-week public consultation that took place over the summer, attracting more than 1,000 responses, on whether gluten-free foods, over the counter medicines and specialist fertility services should continue to be provided by the NHS in Bedfordshire.

Dr Alvin Low, Clinical Chair BCCG and Clinical Lead for the consultation said:

“At Bedfordshire CCG we always put the voice of clinicians and patients at the heart of what we do. We have used the consultation period to ensure that we heard views from the public, patients, clinical staff and support organisations - and those views have genuinely informed our decision making.

However, the case for change that accompanied the consultation remains, we still have more demand on our budget than we have budget to spend. We have a responsibility to do everything that we can to live within our means, and we will regularly review the services that we offer to ensure they best meet the needs of the entire population of Bedfordshire.”

The CCG’s existing policy on funding for specialist fertility treatment was developed in February 2015. Under the policy, the CCG currently, routinely commissions the following treatments as appropriate for couples who meet evidence based criteria:

·        Under the policy, the CCG currently, routinely, commissions the following treatments as appropriate for couples who meet evidence based criteria:
·        1 cycle of IVF, with or without intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)
·        Surgical sperm removal
·        Up to 6 cycles of donor sperm insemination with intrauterine insemination (IUI)
·        Treatment using egg donation
·        Egg, sperm or embryo cryopreservation for men and women undergoing cancer treatment which is likely to cause infertility
·        ICSI with or without sperm washing for men who have a chronic viral infection (primarily HIV) and whose female partner does not.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Cold Weather: Local Churches to Provide Meeting Point For Homeless


Local churches are to provide manned assembly points in Dunstable and Houghton Regis when the weather is very cold.

Very cold means, "whenever the forecast is for 3 or more nights of sub-zero temperatures".

The assembly point in Houghton Regis will be Jewels in Bedford Square. It will be open from 7.30pm until 9pm during the evening for any homeless to gather. They will be provided with a hot drink at a minimum. At the end of that time the homeless will be taken by taxi (provided by Central Bedfordshire Council) to NOAH's shelter in Luton for the night. NOAH will then arrange taxis in the morning to return the homeless to Dunstable and Houghton Regis.


Fire - Brentwood Close



The combined quick action of Bedfordshire Fire Fighters and a closed door averted a potential fatality at a serious fire last night (Tuesday 15th November) in Houghton Regis.

Fire crews from Dunstable and Toddington were called to the blaze at a terraced bungalow in Brentwood Close, Houghton Regis at 20.50.  They were alerted by passers-by who noticed that the property was alight.

Fire Fighters reached the property within six minutes and tackled the fire which resulted in significant fire and smoke damage.  The crews discovered that there was a woman suffering from smoke inhalation, in the bedroom.  The closed bedroom door had protected her from the worst of the fire and smoke.  Fire Fighters quickly rescued the casualty and handed her into the care of the Ambulance Service who then took her to hospital where she is recovering.

Group Commander Ade Yule said:  “This was potentially a fatal situation as a woman was semi-conscious in her bed due to smoke inhalation when the crew found her.  The closed door to the bedroom could have saved her.  We advise making closing internal doors part of your home fire escape plan.  Doing this may slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire. Also install and check smoke alarms in your home.”

The incident was closed at 21.58 and an investigation is underway to determine the cause of the fire.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Do We Still Need Our Phone Booths? Consultation Now On


BT is proposing to remove 80 payphones in Central Bedfordshire.

The removal concerns payphones identified by BT as unnecessary, whilst retaining public payphones that are still in use or have been categorised as providing a social need.

An initial Object or Agree comment has been added by Central Bedfordshire Council following a local parish council consultation, and now they want public feedback on the booths to be removed or kept. You can download the full list here, but for local convenience we've listed some here.

The following are under threat of removal:

Houghton Regis:
Junction of Tithe Farm Rd, Leaf Road
Junction of Windsor Drive, Lowry Drive
Outside shops at Hillborough Crescent
Opposite number 2 Neptune Square

Dunstable:
PCO Chiltern Road, LU6 1HP
Appleby Gardens, Langdale Road, LU6 3BT
P O Forecourt, Luton Road, LU5 4JW
PCO Coombe Drive, LU6 2AE
O/S Maidenblower Lodge, Chalk Hill, LU6 1RR

Eaton Bray:
Jcn High Street, Knights Close, Eaton Bray, LU6 2DS
Near High Street, Wallace Drive, Eaton Bray, LU6 2DF

Tebworth:
Jcn Wingfield St, St Marys Close, Tebworth, LU7 9QF
PCO Wingfield Road, Tebworth LU7 9QQ

Harlington:
Outside shops, Lincoln Way, LU5 6NA

You can find out more, and how to have your say here.




Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Beds Fire & Rescue Warn Against Buying Cheap Electrical Goods




​​
Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service are alerting people about the dangers of buying cheap electrical goods online in the run up to Christmas this year. The Fire Service wants people to be aware of the fire risks of using fake electrical goods and chargers.
According to Electrical Safety First the number of counterfeit and sub-standard electrical goods sold online has increased considerably in recent years with the most common fakes being for popular and sought-after items. The number of fake mobile phones seized has risen by more than 50% with other top electrical fakes including hair straighteners, e-cigarettes chargers and games.
Worryingly, research by Electrical Safety First has shown that:
24% of people have knowingly bought a counterfeit product
21% would consider buying one in order to save money
16% do not think counterfeit products could put them at risk.
However, these fake goods often contain faulty parts that can cause products to overheat and catch fire. With products left charging overnight or on beds, and sometimes under pillows, a small spark can cause a major fire within minutes.



Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service advice is to stick to reputable retailers both on the High Street and online and have a look at Electrical Safety First's online Safe Shopper's Guide for advice on shopping safely online.
You can download the Safe Shopper's Guide here 
​.

Best Bar None Now Includes Leighton Linslade Venues

We'll raise a glass to that… The Leighton Buzzard Brewing Company is helping to promote this year's Best Bar None awards with a commemorative beer.

The awards scheme is running in Central Bedfordshire for a third year. The success of the inaugural awards covering Dunstable saw the scheme extended to Houghton Regis in 2015. And this year it also takes in venues across Leighton-Linslade.

In total, 22 venues have been accredited to the scheme after being visited by an independent assessor.

All of them are now in the running for two separate prizes – the overall award, approved by a panel of independent judges, and the People's Vote prize, chosen by residents.

To tie in with the People's Vote prize, you can now enjoy a special Best Bar None ale.

It's available at some of the shortlisted venues, and will also be available at the presentation evening on 29 November.

Best Bar None is a traditional bitter – and if you find it at the bar then you can vote for your favourite venue directly by scanning the QR code on the pump clip.

More than 1,250 people have already had their say – but we haven't called time yet: you've still got until Sunday, 27 November to vote.

The winners will then be announced at a ceremony two days later at the Grove Theatre, in Dunstable.

The venues include last year's overall winner, Dunstable Leisure Centre, and the People's Vote winner, Go Houghton:

Dunstable and Houghton Regis: Bird in Hand; Club Cookies; Creasey Park Community Football Club; Dunstable Leisure Centre; First & Last; Froth & Elbow; Gary Cooper; Grove Theatre; Highwayman; The Old Sugar Loaf; White Lion; Go Houghton; The Kings Arms; Old Red Lion.

Leighton-Linslade: Black Lion; The Conservative Club; The Dukes; Golden Bell; Hare Inn; Lancer; The Stag; Swan Hotel.

If you need an extra incentive to vote then there are £50 and £25 shopping vouchers to be won courtesy of the brewery, which is also sponsoring the event.

Brewer Jon d'Este-Hoare said: "I decided to sponsor Best Bar None because it's my target audience – people who go into licenced premises; and hopefully because they are accredited they are the better licensed premises in the area as well.

"As a local brewer our trade relies on good relationships with pub landlords and through them with their customers. To know that Best Bar None encourages landlords to run their businesses in a way that ensures customers get the very best service is a benefit to us all.

"The beer that's available for Best Bar None is my biggest selling beer, Cuckoo Ale. It's a really nice 3.8 per cent bitter made with English hops and English malt. Nothing too hoppy and nothing too malty – just a great beer that hopefully customers of Best Bar None will enjoy drinking."

Best Bar None is a national scheme which aims to make towns and cities great places to go out by making pubs, clubs and leisure venues even more welcoming places for visitors.

That means everything from making sure that customers and staff are safe to ensuring that tables are clear of dirty glasses and toilets are clean.

So, Best Bar None is win-win for everyone: customers get a better night out, towns and cities become more vibrant places as people want to go there and that has economic benefits for pubs and clubs there.

To vote for your favourite venue, visit

www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/bbn-vote

And for more information about the scheme, visit
​​
www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/bestbarnone








Thursday, 3 November 2016

Works on Bedford Road, Houghton Regis

A total closure of Bedford Road to through traffic throughout November, until 5th December is contributing to long waits in vechicles on surrounding roads.

But, when completed, utility trenches will have been built to supply new development sites, a couple of mini-roundabouts and a couple of zebra crossings will have been installed, as well as red-raised paved traffic calming strips and a new footpath on the eastern side of Bedford Road.

Although the work is due to end on 5th December, more works are envisaged in the new year to finish the task of taking the footpath further up Bedford Rd, towards the town centre.

Documents and Plans 1
Documents and Plans 2
Documents and Plans 3
Public Notice

Photos: © A D Winter  - Click to enlarge.

New footpath going in to serve the Taylor-Wimpey Regent's Place site.

Road closed. Access for properties and pedestrians at all times.

Pedestrian access around the works.

Utilities trench near Old Red Lion

Scraping off the old surface

New crossing





Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Taylor Wimpey Regent's Place Videos

Videos released by Taylor Wimpey feature new homes development off Bedford Road, Houghton Regis.

Regent's Place is a stunning development of new build homes in Houghton Regis, with a tranquil setting on the fringes of this popular Bedfordshire town. Our new homes are located off Bedford Road within walking distance of the town's many amenities.

The Ashton - Taylor Wimpey Regents Place, Houghton Regis


The Lydford - Taylor Wimpey Regent's Place, Houghton Regis


The Langdale - Taylor Wimpey Regent's Place, Houghton Regis


Developments in Houghton Regis

Friday, 28 October 2016

Results for an Election of a Parish Councillor for Houghton Regis (Part) Houghton Hall

Results for an Election of a Parish Councillor for Houghton Regis (Part) Houghton Hall
27th October 2016
WELCH Tim, Liberal Democrats, 299
WINTER Alan, Editor Houghton Regis News Desk, 153
HILLYARD Beka, Community Independent, 131
Turnout 9.57%


Wednesday, 19 October 2016

The Blockade of Houghton Regis: Porz Avenue Roundabout Closure & Bus Services

Blockade: noun, "an act or means of sealing off a place to prevent goods or people from entering or leaving."

Planned Road Closures:
Bedford Road is planned for 10/10/16 – 21/10/16
Poynters/Porz is planned for 22/10/16 – 30/10/16 A huge number of yellow signs are going to be in place to warn people of the closure well in advance of the roundabout, as well as the usual red ROAD AHEAD CLOSED signs.
Thorn Road is planned for 24/10/16 – 28/10/16 EVENINGS ONLY 21:00 – 06:00
Bedford Road is planned (again) 31/10/16 – 05/12/16

Walking Routes
During the Porz Ave roundabout closure (22-30 Oct) there will be a signed footpath diversion next to the roundabout to get to Wheatfield Road. Pedestrians can then cross on Poynters Road to get to Porz Ave. For noise reasons, the contractors say this work cannot just be done at night.

L and D Hospital Access
Via the A bus service from Houghton Regis to Stanton Road bus stop, but it is a 700m walk.


Woodside Link Notices


For all enquiries regarding these works please contact the Woodside Link team on their Facebook Page, by phone to 0300 300 5289, or by email to woodsidelink@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk

Temporary Bus Services October 2016

BUSWAY NEWS DESK·FRIDAY, 7 OCTOBER 2016

A and Z Service
The Porz Avenue roundabout will close 22-30 Oct 2016.
An emergency schedule is being applied to Routes A and Z for the 9 day duration, whereby Route Z is diverted from Tomlinson Avenue to the Wheatfield Surgery turning circle and Route A is extended from Go Houghton over Route Z to Sandringham Drive / Milton Way.

see bus map above.

Service A Sandringham Drive - Parkside - Houghton Regis - Dunstable - Luton Station - Luton Airport
Monday to Saturday (during Porz Roundabout closure ONLY) operating 22nd -30th October 2016 ONLY
Download schedule pdf file

E BUS SERVICE
Due to the temporary closure of the A5120 Bedford Road in Houghton Regis, the Centrebus E busway service will be operating on a diversion from Monday 10th October.
The service will operate along the busway, before taking Blackburn Road, Townsend Farm Road, the A5120 and turning right onto Watling Street (A5). The service will then operate along the A5 until Hockcliffe Road, where it will continue along Toddington Road and Leighton Road. During this time the service will start and finish from Toddington Green, but will be unable to serve Morrisons. see map: http://www.centrebus.info/Pages/DisruptionNorth.aspx

Centrebus Operations Team will be closely monitoring the delays and will work hard to minimize any disruption.

Centrebus would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused by this service diversion and thank our customers for their patience during this time.


Other buses

The 169 will operate into Houghton Regis but will incur some delays due to the diversion.
The 38A, 42 will operate directly into Dunstable, as they will be unable to serve Houghton Regis. Arriva have agreed that customers on the 38A can transfer with a valid ticket/pass onto the A service directly to Houghton Regis.
Customers from Houghton Regis wanting the 42 to Bedford will need to travel to Dunstable to catch the 42, or go to High Street North.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Kingsland Site: A promise of Public Consultation Starting in January 2017


By Alan Winter

At last night's Town Partnership meeting, an update on the Kingsland* site was given by an officer from CBC. He  reported that currently the Council were exploring what outcomes they wanted from the scheme, what outcomes the Legacy project could deliver, and that it was still very early days as to what the final plans might look like.

The officer was at pains to stress that there would NOT be 12-15 storey blocks of apartments on the site, as had recently been depicted in a recent Guardian newspaper article. The Legacy project was hoping to deliver many schemes across the country, he said, and the scenes in the article were more representative of central city centre locations.

By about January 2017 there would be some public consultation on what local people would like to see happen at the site, he said. Following on from that, it might not be until the end of 2018 that any plans for a development might be unveiled, by which time Dunstable Leisure Centre's £20 million rebuild scheme should be completed, so there would not be two leisure centres closed in South Bedfordshire at the same time.

Chairing the meeting, Cllr Susan Goodchild highlighted the process Houghton Regis Central went through to develop a scheme that would be acceptable within Houghton Regis to go onto the former supermarket site in the High Street. Cllr Goodchild told the meeting of assembled Town and Central Bedfordshire Councillors, and representative officers from CBC, that she would hope for nothing less than this exemplary example of partnership working in the consultation process for the Kingsland site.

*The Kingsland site is situated in Parkside and includes academic, leisure, and private buildings. The site was used in 2015 for a cross country cycle race (see item).

Cyclo-cross happened on the Kingsland site, Houghton Regis in 2015. Organisers had hoped to use the site again.
More pictures ...


A campaign was run a few years ago to Save the Houghton Regis Leisure Centre, part of the Kingsland site, resulting in the Leisure Centre staying open, the swimming pool being refurbished, and footfall increasing under new management. (see this link).

FURTHER READING


Monday, 17 October 2016

Highways and Transport Report


In a Highways and Transport report to a Houghton Regis Council Committee* on  17 October 2016, it is mentioned that the A5120 Houghton Road was resurfaced, and that a resurfacing scheme for the High Street has been programmed for 2017/18.

33 potholes have been repaired since the middle of July, 9 more to be done.

Bridgette, from their school crossing patrol team was nominated for a Pride of Houghton Award earlier this month.

A new real bus time display is now on Houghton Road,  adjacent to Townsend farm Road. A new bus stop and flag are in Sundon Road after an accident destroyed the previous one. Improvements to a bus stop flag and cases had been made in Blackburn Road. A real time display was a possibility they are looking into for the shelter opposite Morrisons.

But vandalism of bus shelters in Houghton Regis had continued, and 4 large glass panels had been replaced with perspex recently.


Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Best Bar None Awards: Vote Now For Your Favourite

Go Houghton - one of last year's winners
Which venues will be receiving the ‘cheers’ at this year’s Best Bar None awards?

That’s up to residents who are being asked to vote for their favourite licensed premises across Dunstable and Houghton Regis and Leighton-Linslade.

Best Bar None is returning to Central Bedfordshire for a third year. The success of the inaugural awards covering Dunstable saw the scheme extended to Houghton Regis in 2015. And this year it also takes in venues across Leighton-Linslade.

In total, 22 venues have been accredited to the scheme after being visited by an independent assessor.

All of them are now in the running for two separate prizes – the overall award, approved by a panel of independent judges, and the People’s Vote prize, chosen by residents.

The People’s Vote is now open and will run until Sunday, 27 November, with the winners announced at a ceremony two days later at the Grove Theatre, in Dunstable.

The venues include last year’s overall winner, Dunstable Leisure Centre, and the People’s Vote winner, Go Houghton:

Dunstable and Houghton Regis: Bird in Hand; Club Cookies; Creasey Park Community Football Club; Dunstable Leisure Centre; First & Last; Froth & Elbow; Gary Cooper; Grove Theatre; Highwayman; The Old Sugar Loaf; White Lion; Go Houghton; The Kings Arms; Old Red Lion.

Leighton-Linslade: Black Lion; The Conservative Club; The Dukes; Golden Bell; Hare Inn; Lancer; The Stag; Swan Hotel.

If you need an extra incentive to vote then there are £50 and £25 shopping vouchers to be won courtesy of sponsor Leighton Buzzard Brewing Co.

Councillor Ian Dalgarno, Deputy Executive Member for Community Services at Central Bedfordshire Council, said: “It is amazing how quickly the profile of Best Bar None has been raised across Central Bedfordshire – and that is testament to the organising Community Safety Partnership.

“People can have confidence visiting any of the shortlisted premises as they have undergone a rigorous assessment process to show that they are meeting high standards to ensure that visitors have a great night out.

“So why not give them a pat on the back by nominating them in the People’s Vote?”

Best Bar None is a national scheme which aims to make towns and cities great places to go out by making pubs, clubs and leisure venues even more welcoming places for visitors.

That means everything from making sure that customers and staff are safe to ensuring that tables are clear of dirty glasses and toilets are clean.

So, Best Bar None is win-win for everyone: customers get a better night out, towns and cities become more vibrant places as people want to go there and that has economic benefits for pubs and clubs there.

To vote for your favourite venue, visit www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/bbn-vote

And for more information about the scheme, visit www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/bestbarnone


Dunstable Leisure Centre - one of last year's winners

All Saints Churchyard Wall Rebuilding

All Saints Churchyard wall - being partially rebuilt. Photo: A. D. Winter

Work is currently being done to repair a leaning churchyard wall in Houghton Regis.

All Saints Churchyard is  officially a closed one. This means that no further interments in new plots are permitted, and responsibility of its upkeep and maintenance has been passed to Houghton Regis Town Council.

In February 2012 the Town Council were informed of a pronounced lean of All Saints churchyard wall at Bedford Road. Options to either totally rebuild the leaning section, put in restraining posts and framework from the rear, or buttresses to the front of the wall were all considered.

The Bedford Road section of the churchyard wall was subsequently monitored for movement by an Architecture and Design company employed by the Town Council.  The churchyard wall was sagging outwards due to the pressure from the earth within. The Town Council then decided to budget for the work over the next few years.

Towards the end of 2014 architects submitted a report which expressed concerns about the increased movement in the curved section of the wall.  A company of structural engineers was called in to inspect the wall and provide advice on how best to rectify this ongoing problem.

It was advised, and subsequently agreed by Town Council, that the most cost effective solution would be to dismantle and re-build the wall from the first pier on the straight portion of the wall around to the entrance gate.  The re-building was to be done in keeping with the historic nature of the wall, using the existing bricks if practically possible.  Invitations to tender for the work were sent for and the cost was put at between £32k to £62k.

A contract for the work was reported to have been awarded in June 2016.

  31/10/2016. Photo: A. D. Winter

Monday, 10 October 2016

Road Closures and Temporary Bus Services Affecting Houghton Regis Toddington Dunstable during October


ROADWORKS
The A5 Roundabout at Thorn Road is now live, enabling entry from north and south into Thorn Road.

Bedford Road will be closed from 10th – 21st October, Jnc Of Roslyn Way To Rear Of Old Red Lion Pub. Diversion shown above.

The Porz Avenue roundabout will close 22-30 Oct. The constructors advise us that this will be a 24/7 closure both ways until completion due to the difference in road heights. Diversion above. Enquiries to CBC Woodside Link team at 0300 300 5289 or to their Facebook Page at  https://www.facebook.com/Woodside-Link-1574087456174748/

Bedford Road will again be closed from 31st October until the end of November for building new junctions, a roundabout at the junction of Bedford Road and Aylesbury Drive, and installation of all utility apparatus collaboratively. Work includes excavation in footway and carriageway to lay gas and electric mains (19 Sep - 18 Nov). Please continue to give the Old Red Lion your custom, even if you do have to drive around or walk a bit further. Specific local queries could be emailed to streetworks@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk

Chaul End Road - Closed until 23 Oct.

Resurfacing of East End, next to the village green, has been put on hold until next financial year due to the amount of works in Houghton Regis at the moment.

More at http://roadworks.org

Due to these works, arrangements have been made for temporary bus services A, Z, E, 38A, 42, 169 during October.

Temporary Bus Services October 2016
BUSWAY NEWS DESK·FRIDAY, 7 OCTOBER 2016

A and Z Service
The Porz Avenue roundabout will close 22-30 Oct 2016.
An emergency schedule is being applied to Routes A and Z for the 9 day duration, whereby Route Z is diverted from Tomlinson Avenue to the Wheatfield Surgery turning circle and Route A is extended from Go Houghton over Route Z to Sandringham Drive / Milton Way.
Service A Sandringham Drive - Parkside - Houghton Regis - Dunstable - Luton Station - Luton Airport
Monday to Saturday (during Porz Roundabout closure ONLY) operating 22nd -30th October 2016 ONLY
Download schedule pdf file

E BUS SERVICE
Due to the temporary closure of the A5120 Bedford Road in Houghton Regis, the Centrebus E busway service will be operating on a diversion from Monday 10th October.
The service will operate along the busway, before taking Blackburn Road, Townsend Farm Road, the A5120 and turning right onto Watling Street (A5). The service will then operate along the A5 until Hockcliffe Road, where it will continue along Toddington Road and Leighton Road. During this time the service will start and finish from Toddington Green, but will be unable to serve Morrisons. see map: http://www.centrebus.info/Pages/DisruptionNorth.aspx

Centrebus Operations Team will be closely monitoring the delays and will work hard to minimize any disruption.

Centrebus would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused by this service diversion and thank our customers for their patience during this time.


Other buses

The 169 will operate into Houghton Regis but will incur some delays due to the diversion.
The 38A, 42 will operate directly into Dunstable, as they will be unable to serve Houghton Regis. Arriva have agreed that customers on the 38A can transfer with a valid ticket/pass onto the A service directly to Houghton Regis.
Customers from Houghton Regis wanting the 42 to Bedford will need to travel to Dunstable to catch the 42, or go to High Street North.