Friday, 29 January 2016

Aldwyck Housing Group donate bikes to local charity



Aldwyck Housing Group has donated five bikes to charity Sue Ryder, to celebrate the launch of their new bicycle donation drop off points around Luton.

One adult bike and four children’s bikes were donated by Caretaker Darren Brown, and Head of Housing, Tony Campbell, to the collection point at Lewsey Community Centre in Luton.
All bikes donated will be sent to HM Prison The Mount, to be refurbished as part of the Sue Ryder Prison Volunteer Programme (PVP).

The average resale value of an adult bike sold through one of the charity shops is £45, with children’s bikes averaging £15, which will help to help continue their essential end of life services in the local area.

A regular supply of bikes helps the charity move closer to achieving the £250,000 target needed to keep their doors open and the services operating every month.

Tony Campbell, Head of Housing at Aldwyck Housing Group, said: ‘We are delighted to be able to make this donation of bikes to Sue Ryder to help them continue their important work in the local area.’

For more information on Sue Ryder visit www.sueryder.org.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Aldwyck residents working towards AQA in youth work


Aldwyck Housing Group is helping young volunteers to complete an AQA learning scheme titled 'Young Workers: Introduction to youth work'.


The educational session was held on Friday 22 January by Aldwyck's Community Involvement team at Sandringham Hub in Houghton Regis. 


Seven young people aged from 11 to 17 years old attended the session to complete the AQA qualification.


The group completed 3 of the AQA outcomes including; participating in five team building activities and five ice breaker activities. They also looked at ten issues facing young people in today's society including smoking, drugs, mental health and racism.


To complete the qualification the young residents will also be planning a craft club, describing what teamwork means and completing a minimum of 20 hours placement in a youth work setting.


The next session for Aldwyck volunteers will be held on Friday 19th February from 5-8pm at Sandringham hub.


For more information on Aldwyck's Community Involvement Team and the work they do, please visitwww.facebook.com/AldwyckCommunity.

 






Monday, 25 January 2016

New Business Growth and Support Scheme Fund Launched by Central Bedfordshire Council


Central Bedfordshire Council has launched a new £50,000 Business Grants and Support Scheme targeted at small and medium-sized enterprises. The scheme runs on a first come, first served basis and ends on March 31. It offers support of up to £5,000 per business in three areas:

  • Empty Property Business Rates Offer
  • Early Pre-Application Planning Advice
  • Public Protection Food Hygiene Training and Coaching Programme

For a business to qualify for support from the fund, it will need to demonstrate that it meets with the criteria and is based within Central Bedfordshire, or is in the process of relocating into Central Bedfordshire.

For further details or to make an application e-mail Jeff Caiger or visit the Be Central Bedfordshire website

Friday, 22 January 2016

Brethrens Meeting Room and Car Park Comes Up For Sale


Brethrens Meeting Room and car park are on the market and potentially could be redeveloped. The site is off Bedford Road, Houghton Regis, opposite Roslyn Way, and adjacent to another site currently being developed for housing by Taylor Wimpey. Tenders are invited before 26th February 2016.

According to the vendors details, the present building is a single storey detached building and used as a place of worship under D1 Use Class.

The site has full access from the highway with the majority being surfaced and used as car park for the Gospel Hall. The plot measures approximately 1.83 acres (0.74 Ha). The Gospel Hall seats approximately 650 people in an octagonal design, the main hall has suspended ceiling with recessed lighting, air-conditioned and carpeted throughout. The premises benefit from 3-phase power, an alarm system and gas fired heating. To the rear of the site is a large car park that has spaces for approximately 140 vehicles.

Pictures and particulars at lsh.co.uk or download pdf file

Interested parties are invited to submit offers by way of an informal tender. Offers should be submitted no later than 12 noon on Friday, 26th of February 2016 addressed to:
Joe Reubin, Lambert Smith Hampton, 960 Capability Green, Luton, LU1 3PE
The vendor is not bound to accept the highest offer or any offer and reserves the right to enter into negotiations with any party.

Viewing strictly by prior appointment with the sole agent:
Joe Reubin
Lambert Smith Hampton
01582 878283
jreubin@lsh.co.uk

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Town Council Community Services to Look To Improve Community Transport

Annual Shrove Tuesday Pancake Race: One of the Community Events from HRTC Community Services Committee


The Community Services committee meeting of Houghton Regis Town Council took place on Monday. The meeting was short of two designated Labour councillors.

Dave Ramsey from Groundwork attended and told the meeting that 2YP were now incorporated into Groundwork and were continuing to run a Youth Club at the Bedford Square Community Centre on Tuesdays and Wednesdays 6pm-8pm. Mr Ramsey also mentioned that they wanted to do some outreach work.

A brief review of budget was conducted and a budget for 2016/17 was recommended for approval to Town Council on 25th January 2016.

The committee approved the cleaning specification for the Town Centre toilets and asked for quotes to be sought to renew the contract. Councillors suggested that perhaps on special occasions the toilets, which were kept in an exemplary manner, could be open for longer hours.

In a discussion about Bedford Square Community Centre further meetings with Central Bedfordshire Council were agreed to seek ways to make better use of the facility, and over the management of the facility. It was mentioned that the building currently had poor disabled access, a heavy front door, and that doors from the corridor ideally should be widened.

Cllr Joanna Hillyard (Community Alliance) lead a discussion on ways to improve Community Transport for door to door services within Houghton Regis. It wasn't clear from listening to the discussion that followed why there was a need for extra public provision for transport, although it was mentioned that some people had said they would have attended an event if they could have got there, but that transport had made it difficult. Your listener was perplexed as to why people could not walk, or use bicycles, scooters, motorbikes, motor-mobility scooters, taxis, buses, or even Dial-A-Ride. No ideas about cost were discussed, and no clarification about who might be eligible for such a scheme was forthcoming. Nevertheless, the committee agreed a resolution to create more work for the Town Clerk by recommending "To open dialogue with existing community transport providers to see if they can assist the Council in achieving their aspirations."

The Committee discussed provision of play services during holiday periods.  In the past the provision had been well received. They agreed to provide 3 play days at Easter, and 4 weeks in August, and tenders would be sought to provide this in Houghton Regis at The Green.

A further discussion took place on providing Youth Services and Facilities, and their aspiration for an outreach service appeared to dovetail with Dave Ramsey's earlier desire to do outreach work.

A brief for a Community Development worker was discussed. This was a substantial requirement and would create a high profile job at the Council.




Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Local Investment By Council While Budget Is Squeezed - Have Your Say!


Councillors at Central Bedfordshire are looking at their budget for 2016/17 that will affect our Council Tax.

Up to £278million is budgeted for capital projects over the next four years from external and council funding. Major projects being proposed across Central Bedfordshire include

  • £75.3million on new school places, 
  • £41.8million on highway schemes, 
  • £8.5million on the ongoing upgrade of all tidy tips including a new site at Thorn Turn, near Houghton Regis, 
  • £9.5million on providing disabled facilities grants, 
  • £4.6million on improving care home provision, 
  • £7.6million on rolling out superfast broadband to more homes and 
  • £4million to improve our market towns.
  • £13.4million on redeveloping Dunstable Leisure Centre and expanding provision to accommodate other services including a new library, 
  • £806,000 will be spent on regenerating Houghton Hall, 
  • £18million of external funding will be spent on Woodside Link to connect Houghton Regis to the new motorway junction 11a and 
  • £3million of external funding will be spent on detrunking the A5 in Dunstable and associated redevelopment once the A5-M1 Link opens in spring 2017.


Your money, your views

To have your say on the council’s spending plans, visit the dedicated Budget 2016 page, or pick up a paper copy of the consultation questionnaire at council offices in Dunstable and Chicksands, and in libraries, leisure centres, children’s centres and customer service centres.

The closing date to have your say is Monday, 8 February with councillors then considering all responses before the final budget is approved by full council at a meeting on 25 February.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Dog Kennel Walk Now Safer After £250,000 Investment



Work by Central Bedfordshire Council, alongside Dunstable and Houghton Regis Town Councils has helped to make a hotspot for robberies much safer.

In 2012 more than £250,000 was invested in the scheme to make Dog Kennel Walk safer and more attractive. State-of-the-art CCTV surveillance cameras were installed, and the Community Safety Partnership facelifted a number of areas by removing graffiti, litter and overgrown plants. The path runs from Cemetery Road in Houghton Regis, to the A5 at Dunstable, passing Grove Park Gardens.

The number of recorded crimes has dropped by 80% and usage has also increased.

Central Bedfordshire Council's Councillor Nigel Young, Executive Member for Regeneration, said: “Dog Kennel Walk is one of a number of walking and cycling routes within Dunstable and Houghton Regis that has benefitted from substantial investment to provide people with travel choices. It is great to see this has resulted in a massive drop in reported crimes.

“Although nuisance motorcycles remain a problem we are working with the police to identify offenders.  I would urge anyone who is able to provide information which will help to identify these nuisance bikers to call police on 101.”

Squirrel in Grove Park Gardens, at the Dunstable end of the walk. Photo: Alan D Winter

Monday, 18 January 2016

Houghton Regis' Aldwyck Involvement Team shortlisted for ‘Team of the Year’ award



Aldwyck Housing Group’s Community Involvement team have been shortlisted for the Tenant Participation Advisory Service (TPAS) Awards 2016.

The Community Involvement team, based in Houghton Regis, have been shortlisted for the ‘Team of the Year’ award in the Central Region.

Rhys Evans, Hafi Rahman, Jessica Hall and Amy Eckersley, all members of the team, have been recognised for their excellent methods of tenant involvement in the community.

The team have worked to support tenant involvement and empowerment across Luton on projects such as the Service Delivery Committee and Local Action Groups.

The TPAS awards showcase the compelling and inspirational success stories of tenants, landlords and contractors working together. They celebrate the people, ideas and organisations that shape the tenant involvement work of tomorrow.

For more information on Aldwyck’s Community Involvement Team and the work they do, please visit www.facebook.com/AldwyckCommunity.

Up to 11 Jan 2016: Houghton Regis Facebook Archive

moved to Archives

Monday, 11 January 2016

CBC Set to Outsource Legal Services Among Its Plans to Make £35m Efficiency Savings


Watch live or watch a recording

Legal Services

A report to Central Bedfordshire Council Executive Committee on Tuesday this week, sets out the background case for moving to an outside provider for legal services.

A number of reasons are cited for this move, not least the need to save money. Legal issues affecting local authorities are wide ranging, and increasingly the Council has had to hire outside experts with the right specialisms and these come with high markups for profit. A new outside provider will be able to call upon a wider base of skills.

Neighbourhood Plans

The Council also recognises that a number of Neighbourhood Plans will be formally submitted in 2015/16 and in the future and is expected to formalise staffing arrangements to help these. Report

Draft Budget

The biggest issue on the minds of Councillors will be its draft budget for 2016/17. A report to the Council states that "the loss of Government funding support is 94% over the life of the Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP), or £28.1M in cash terms". The Government has made the assumption in its
financial modelling that councils will raise council tax by both the 2% precept earmarked for adult social care and an assumed 1.75% for inflation in each of the next four years. Despite these difficulties, the report to Council says that the MTFP has been updated "against a background of significant challenges".

All considered, the Council estimates it has to make around £35m of savings over 4 years and has set out how it will achieve this, as shown below. Table 5 and Table 6 from report.




To illustrate how some of these savings will be made, the report to councillors gives a few bullet points including:

Children's Services sees demand for children’s social care services as increasing, and to save the Council money it sees more reliance being placed on "foster carers engaged by the Council directly rather than via expensive agencies."

Social Care, Health & Housing (SCHH) will "Continue the journey towards the integration of health and social care, so that residents can access as much of the help and support they may need as possible, closer to where they live, and reducing the need for people to resort to hospitals."

Community Services will be looking for ways to increase efficiencies, and look to where it can be more commercial.




Friday, 8 January 2016

Police Force Collaboration Will Save Money

The Bedfordshire Police, Cambridgeshire Constabulary and Hertfordshire Constabulary are coming together as BCH.

The BCH Firearms and Explosives Licensing and BCH Human Resources units both launched on 1 December and is expected to save the three forces a total of £4.5m over the next three financial years.

Criminal Justice, Custody, ICT, Information Management and Public Contact, are expected to collaborate in 2016/17, saving a further £10m over a three-year period.

Beds PCC, Olly Martins, said, "The government has announced a grant cut of £400,000 to Bedfordshire Police for 2015/16. Due to cost and pay pressures Beds Police need to make further savings of £5.8million. Tri-force collaboration therefore has a vital role to play in enabling us to balance the books without making further reductions to frontline policing strength."

Monday, 4 January 2016

Houghton Hall Park Transformation


Work begins in Houghton Hall Park at the beginning of January. Some excavation of the site for the café begins on the 5th. A site compound will be going up near the Bowls Pavilion. There will be bigger changes in the Spring. To keep up to date Like the "Houghton Hall Park" Facebook Page.

Houghton Hall Park is a 17 hectare urban public park within walking distance of the town centre. It is owned and maintained by Central Bedfordshire Council and Houghton Regis Town Council.

Houghton Hall Park is a green-lung of Houghton Regis, and is valued by local residents as a place to exercise dogs, and as part of the areas heritage. The Park was awarded a £215,000 Parks for People grant jointly funded through the Heritage Lottery Fund and Big Lottery Fund. This money was used to win a further tranche of £2.196m  to rejuvenate the area.

Houghton Hall House and its outbuildings are visible across the Village Green, The Hall was built in 1700 and is currently in private commercial ownership and is not part of the project.

The Park is divided into various uses. Accessed from from Moore Crescent, football pitches and a bowling green and clubhouse are owned and let out by the Houghton Regis Town Council. A disused Kitchen Garden is expected to be brought back into use following rejuvenation, behind the cricket pavilion. An ornamental flower garden and orchard has become overgrown between the kitchen garden area and Moore Crescent football grounds, and will be re-established.  Eastern and Western Woodlands are in need of further maintenance work. A network of scenic walks already traverse the Park. There are also plans for heritage based activities and a volunteer programme.

Free car parking provision is located at the Park Road North entrance. Entrance to the Park is free and it is open all year round.



Find out more about the Park, and the Renaissance and Renewal Project at http://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/houghtonhallpark

Houghton Hall Park Transformation http://www.hrnd.co.uk/2016/01/houghton-hall-park-transformation.html

Posted by Houghton Regis News Desk on Monday, 4 January 2016

Sunday, 3 January 2016

North Chilterns Chalk volunteer programme for Jan to March 2016

All tasks start at 10am and finish between 3 - 4pm, but you may leave earlier.
Tools and equipment are provided, though steel-toe-capped boots and a strong pair of gardening gloves or similar are strongly recommended.
Tea, coffee and biscuits are provided, but please bring your own lunch and cold drinks.
Please let Esther or Richard know if you intend to come along: come along:
Email: toddington@wildlifebcn.org or phone 01525 874317 or staff mobiles:
Blow’s Downs, Galley & Warden Hills and Bradgers Hill: Esther Clarke 07540 669907
Totternhoe Quarry & Houghton Regis Chalk Pit: Richard Knock 07872 418279
www: wildlifebcn.org Facebook: /wildlifebcn and /wildlife north chilterns chalk
Twitter: @wildlifebcn




Houghton Regis News Review 2015

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10153286130342944.1073741865.290257647943&type=3

2015
In January Taylor Wimpey sought approval to build 169 homes off Bedford Road. 
Central Bedfordshire Council (CBC) were awarded almost £2.2m by the Parks for People programme, a joint initiative between the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and the Big Lottery Fund. The scheme will support Houghton Hall Park Renaissance and Renewal Project which aims to restore the vitality of the historic Houghton Hall Park. 
Work to prepare for main construction of the A5-M1 Link Dunstable Northern Bypass was started. It was revealed that CBC were looking to prepare a scheme for sheltered housing on the former Co-op site. Pizza delivery drivers were being targeted by thugs in Houghton Regis. The Houghton Regis Leisure Centre Action group held a winding-up meeting after their successful campaign to keep the local sports centre open. There was a big discussion on our social media about Off-Road Crosser Bikes. HRND told you that Poynters Road was soon going to be getting speed cameras. Police and Crime Commissioner, Olly Martins, began a campaign to get people to think about paying a bit more towards funding Bedfordshire Police. As the month came to a close there were indications that Bedford Road would get big road improvements if the Taylor Wimpey scheme got the go ahead. The month ended with the announcement that Tesco Express in Houghton Regis was among the 43 stores the company was going to be closing.

FEBRUARY
A planning application to build flats in Tennyson Avenue was rejected on appeal. The Taylor Wimpey building plan for the site off Bedford Road was approved by CBC, as was a further scheme for Beechcroft Land Limited, on their land behind the old Red Lion in Bedford Road. Local CBC councillors spoke to object, as did our Town Clerk and other representatives. 
Concern was raised over the unexpected clearance of land by the side of the old bus link between Parkside and Lewsey Farm. Arriva announced that new timetables would come in from April for their services for Houghton Regis. 
A Planning Inspector was scathing of CBC when reviewing the Council's plans for its Development Strategy. The Inspector wrote, "the co-operation between the Council and LBC in particular has fallen short of the required level." In return, Cllr Nigel Young, for CBC, replied, "We genuinely feel his findings are at best misguided, if not perverse, and next week I will be seeking the support of the full Council to call for a judicial review of the process.".
53 new homes were proposed for the former Windy Willows garden centre site on Sundon Road. CBC answered some local queries about the Woodside Link. A new path appeared on part of the Village Green, and Houghton Regis Town Council let it be known that they had not been informed of the works by CBC's Highways Department.
Work was started to demolish the former Co-op store on the High Street.

MARCH
The Town Council objected to the outline planning application for Bidwell and Thorn (HRN2). New remedial works were to be started in the High Street to cure the problem of puddles at the zebra crossing edges. Public consultation begun on a new waste park plan for land off Thorn Road, next to the A5. Police announced that two off-road police motorcyclists will be provided to help combat the persistent problem of nuisance bikers. 
A report by The Children’s Society said that children and teenagers are feeling sad, frightened and worried after routinely coming face to face with bailiffs in their own homes, sent by the local council to demand sudden, unrealistic council tax payments.

APRIL
Poynters Road saw the installation of digital average speed cameras sparking a flurry of local interest. To combat the local off-road biker problem, a team of 24 police staff including an inspector, two sergeants, three response police officers, a vehicle examiner and 15 PCSOs took to the streets, along with two road policing officers on the specially-enlisted bikes, resulting in 2 arrests, recovery of 2 stolen bikes, and issue of 2 section 59 notices.
CBC announced that 90% of pupils were getting their first preference school. Balfour Beatty won the contract to build the Woodside Link on behalf of CBC. An off-licence in Bedford Square was issued with permission to serve between 7am until 2am. Proposed changes to Arriva's bus services were amended to take into consideration some further suggestions made via local social media. New plans for £150m redevelopment of Luton & Dunstable hospital were announced.

MAY
The General Election fell on the same day as the local elections, this year. A new Town Council for Houghton Regis was elected consisting of 5 Liberal Democrats, 5 Labour, 3 Community Independents, 1 Independent. There were no Conservative candidates. The four CBC seats for the town went 2 to Labour, 1 to Conservatives, 1 to Liberal Democrats. Andrew Selous was returned as constituency MP. The Police funding referendum was lost. Cllr Rob Shimmin was voted in by fellow councillors as the new mayor of Houghton Regis. 
Crime, and March compared to February showed a 19% increase for the town. GoHoughton restaurant opened in Parkside Drive. 

JUNE
Unusual land contours left some people wondering if the wacky races had come to a new crossing in Sundon Road. Town Councillors suggested the use of "duck" names for the Taylor Wimpey new homes site in Bedford Road. 
The proposed Winter Maintenance and Highways Depot, a Waste Park, and outline permission for employment buildings, all for Central Bedfordshire Council, were all on land designated as Green Belt between Thorn Road near the A5, and Houghton Regis Chalk Quarry. Despite this, town councillors decided not to formally object to the proposals.
Woodside Link schemers were looking for local sounds to go into an public art scheme. The sounds would be available on an app and represented on wooden fence panels alongside the new road. Bidwell West Developers (HRN2) would be providing up to £12m to help plug the funding gap for the Woodside Link road project. There were concerns that the hoardings around CBC's proposed sheltered housing site in the High Street were unsafe. Willow trees at the Chequers were trimmed back by the Town Council following safety concerns.
Community Sport Activation Fund from Sport England brought free fitness training activities to local parks. The proposal to build 59 homes at Windy Willows was reduced to 30 new homes. 
The Town Council voted unanimously to accept the findings of a working group, and to no longer pursue Orchard Close Recreation Ground as the site for a future cemetery. Instead, they would try to secure land within HRN2 site. CCTV cameras would be deployed, funded by Town Council. It was announced that up to 28 staff could be made redundant at Central Beds College. An Angling Club was started at Houghton Regis Chalk Pit, partly to combat irresponsible anglers who had damaged the environment and harmed wildlife by discarding their fishing tackle, littering, and campfires. A Facebook Page and petition was started by a local resident, fed-up with off-road bikers. The petition was "to force Central Bedfordshire Council to install more barriers on the estate in the hope that it will make the area safer and less attractive to these youths".
A victim was threatened at knifepoint near Dolphin Drive, and a bag and a mobile phone were stolen. A week later, a similar attack was reported in the same area, this time a couple out walking, were threatened. 
Local man, Nick Harry, drew national news media attention when he brought the case of his son, to public notice. Age 20 months, Sam Harry died of injuries caused while he was in the care of his mother and new lover. Nick continues to seek justice for Sam.

JULY
A Centrebus caught fire in the High Street. A new series of Wildlife Watch Club meetings for those aged 8 to 12 begun in Houghton Hall Park. The Fancott pub and Fancott Miniature Railway suffered from a fire. Off-road nuisance bikers continued to dominate social media; the police announced various actions taken in the town to try to combat the problem. Outline Planning permission for Bidwell West (HRN2) was granted, despite several local misgivings. Police urged Bedfordshire residents – particularly the elderly – to be vigilant against opportunist thieves following a recent rise in distraction robberies. 

AUGUST
Trees needed a trim on Park Road North; 2 weeks later we reported that CBC had been along there and trimmed them! A bus was derailed on the busway. A biker was involved in an accident in Parkside. The Town Partnership (consisting of Town and CBC councillors) was to look Into inviting the public to maintain nearby open spaces. 7 bus shelters were damaged in Houghton Regis on the same weekend. An elderly lady was threatened with a fine for taking a dog into a local park's children's playground when she needed a seat to catch her breath. 600 volunteers helped Beds Police send out 1,600 warning letters to speeding drivers. The Town Partnership set up a dedicated group to tackle the issue of nuisance bikers in Houghton Regis. New barriers were installed at the end of Chelsea Gardens, but didn't meet with approval from the local resident who had been campaigning for them. Police appealed for witnesses after a man was attacked and punched several times in Tithe Farm Road.

SEPTEMBER
Sarah Pyatt Beer, who's son, Jake, lost his life through Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome, was able to announce that through her fund-raising efforts, sufficient money was raised to enable 3 more local schools to be equipped with lifesaving defibrillators.
Police appealed for witnesses after a man was attacked near a shop on Parkside Drive, and kicked, while out walking with his girlfriend. The one-way road Easthill Road was given permission to have two way cycling, but the green tarmac for the cycle-way was still not there (and still isn't in December!). Shops had to bring in new rules about charging 5p for a plastic bag. Fed-up residents were reporting that youths were making their lives a misery in Bedford Square. The pollarded willows, opposite the Chequers, were making a comeback. Changes were made to the road layout at the top of Sundon Road. Average Speed Cameras in Poynters Rd came into force from 27th September, but there was concern from some who had received fines, because the signs were still covered up for a few days after the 27th.

OCTOBER
CBC admitted that their Development Strategy was now out of date, and that they would have to start making arrangements to find even more sites for new housing. Olly Martins was said to be shocked when he discovered that Police Funding was going to be cut even more. A team of local councillors took to the pathways to collect up litter. A pedestrian in her 80s was knocked down by a HGV on a High Street crossing in the town centre. Tools were taken from 13 vans in one night. The Libraries Summer Reading Challenge had been a success with more people taking up the quest. A motorcyclist was injured in a collision in Sundon Road. 

NOVEMBER
Central Beds Council fraud squad investigators uncovered a woman who was overpaid £1830 in council tax support because she had wrongfully claimed that her husband was not working. The woman now had to pay fines and fees of £640, as well as having to repay the overpaid council tax support benefit. BBC Three Counties Radio presenter, Nick Coffer, interviewed the ladies behind Houghton Regis' "The Clanger". The PCC, Olly Martins, astonished local people by saying "I'll get more money for Beds Police by switching M1 cameras on all day". The Parkside Drive / Pastures Way Footpath officially closed from 9th November to be reopened after works are completed. Ashton Middle School, the former Dunstable Grammar School, was sold. Lidl's applied for planning permission to build a new store on Luton Road, Dunstable. An aerial shot shows Houghton Regis surrounded by a green oasis. New Irish Dancing Classes started on Wednesdays in St. Thomas' Meeting House, Houghton Regis. A first floor lounge was badly damaged by fire in a block of flats in Fensome Drive. Cyclo-cross took place at short notice at Houghton Regis Academy fields for a regional event, after another venue was scratched due to safety concerns. Hillborough Crescent Post Office was closed following a criminal incident. A two day public-involvement planning meeting was held at the Bedford Square community centre, to discuss ideas and opportunities for redeveloping "Houghton Regis Central". "The anti-social scum on dirt-bikes" was discussed by BBC Three Counties Radio host, JVS. Local school children sung in the Grove Theatre in the, now Annual event, A Celebration of Christmas. 

DECEMBER
Work was started to install sheet piling for the retaining wall on Sandringham Drive. New crime data showed a sharp increase in burglary, other theft, and vehicle crime. CBC were offering cash to revive town centres, and Houghton Regis Town Council were to consider making a bid for some of the available money. A church at Chalgrave had part of its roof stripped of lead. An impromtu Christmas Parade took place on Parkside and Tithe Farm just before Christmas.