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.