Showing posts from February, 2016

Councillor Mrs Goodchild: Why I support the 3.95% Increase in Council Tax

At their budget setting meeting on Thursday 25th February 2016, the CBC councillor for Houghton Hall Ward, Liberal Democrat, Mrs Susan Goodchild, had these words of support. The new rate for a Band D property for the Central Bedfordshire Council is  £1,360.01 (up 3.95%). By Cllr Mrs S. Goodchild Cllr Mrs S Goodchild, courtesy of CBC video services. "I am always concerned when I hear about proposals to increase council tax, but from my personal experience with my constituents in Houghton Regis, which is known to have a higher proportion of residents living in poverty, then I think we must protect front line services and for this reason I will be supporting the increase in Council tax in line with the council’s recommendation. It is however,  hugely disappointing that the Government has not listened to council’s and charities, which have been urging them to provide sufficient funding to support local welfare assistance.  We cannot pretend that this will not have an imp

CBC's Chief Executive "Earns More Than Angela Merkel or Justin Trudeau"

On Thursday 25th February 2016, former CBC councillor for Parkside, Houghton Regis, Dr Rita Egan used the device of 'questions by the public' to deliver these comments to Central Bedfordshire Council as they met to set their budget for 2015/16 By Dr Rita Egan My question to this Council is a follows.  When are you going to take any notice of your consultation outcomes when the outcomes are not what you want to hear.  This year’s budget consultation, which took place between 4th January and the 8th February, is yet another example of how Central Bedfordshire fulfils its statutory duty, then ignores what residents say.  On this occasion, more residents were opposed to the general tax increase than were in favour.  The author of this report might describe the outcome as finely balanced, but I’m sure the terminology would have been quite different if the residents had narrowly agreed with the Council’s wishes.  As it is, they did not.  Why are they being ignored? Dr Rit

300 More Officers, Please, Needed to Police Bedfordshire Properly.

About 50 residents turned out on a bitter cold evening this week to hear first hand from Police and Crime Commissioner Olly Martins on the state of Policing in Bedfordshire. Mr Martins' talk was illustrated with slides showing statistics that show that Bedfordshire is grossly under-funded for the type and quantity of crime it has to contend with compared with other forces. He told the meeting that Bedfordshire had a high serious crime mix, problems with extremism of the left and the right, faced issues with organised crime groups, the local force had to police the fifth busiest airport in the country, and that the county had easy access routes to the capital for criminals. He told the audience, "We are funded like a small rural county. And yet we are the 4th highest county for gun crime, the 7th highest for knife crimes, and the 5th highest for acquisitive crimes. In a comparable table we are at the low end of how many police officers we have per 100,000 of populat

Houghton Regis Helpers - Another Record Year of Helping!

The AGM of the Houghton Regis Helpers was held at Red House Court, Clarke's Way, Houghton Regis, on Tuesday, hosted by Jenny and Eric Gallucci, Secretary and Chairman, pictured above. It was reported that the voluntary group had had a record year, carrying out over 900 tasks for 96 clients (up from 85 in 2014)  by 31 volunteers. In the past 4 years 204 clients had been assisted with tasks such as gardening, shopping, wallpapering, form-filling, and lifts to doctors or hospital. 18 volunteers regularly visited clients as a befriender on outings, sorting paperwork, or walks, and each week 15 to 20 phone calls and messages were handled. The year had seen 5 new volunteers join and finished with a final tally of 32 volunteers. The helpers were nominated for two awards in 2015: Cheering Volunteering Award in June, and the Pride of Houghton Award in October. The Accounts for the Helpers were in a very healthy state, thanks largely to a substantial donation of £1095  from '

Your Chance To Meet The Police: 7pm Thursday 25 Feb, at St Vincent’s Social Centre

Residents in Bedfordshire are being invited to a public meeting with Police and Crime Commissioner Olly Martins and two senior police officers to address local policing concerns. Commissioner Martins will be joined at St Vincent’s Social Centre in Houghton Regis at 7pm on Thursday (25 February) by Senior Local Policing Command Officers. Olly Martins said, “I have been picking up worries about policing in the Houghton Regis area for some months now, face-to-face from residents, from Town and Central Beds councillors and on social media. “Some of the concern relates to changes in the processes being implemented as part of the new force operating model. The meeting will provide an opportunity to reassure residents about the new structure and how it is helping to deliver improvements, such as better police emergency response times and a 40% reduction in burglary in Houghton Regis in the last 12 months. Also more regular Police Officers are to be recruited over the coming months wh

Police Share of Council Tax Up 1.99% Rise (£3.18 a Year on Average) - Enquiry Office Houghton Regis Among the Cuts.

Beds Police will ask for a 1.99% rise (£3.18 a year for the average band D property) in their share of Council Tax. But local police enquiry offices are to close from 21st March. 38 out of 41 Police and Crime Commissioner budgets for 2016/17 have chosen to increase their police council tax precept, with most of them levying the maximum permitted. Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner Olly Martins,  said, “The Chancellor in his Autumn Statement assumed that PCCs would increase local people’s contribution to policing in their council tax by the maximum permitted. His widely acclaimed ‘no cuts’ announcement regarding the overall policing budget is actually dependent on this rise this year and for the next 4 years. Police precepts are now effectively being set in Whitehall as the burden for funding local services is shifted to council tax.” More than three-quarters (78.4%) of participants in the Commissioner’s on-line survey and face-to-face poll agreed that the policing ele

New Leisure Centres For Flitwick and Dunstable

Flitwick Leisure Centre opens February 29th. Pictures: Last week's Central Bedfordshire Council's executive committee agreed to fund a  £20.1m redevelopment of Dunstable Leisure Centre. This figure was confirmed to HRND by Cllr B. Spurr 16/2/2016 - see "Puzzle" below. The present library and sports centre in Dunstable are regarded as not fit for purpose. The investment to the Dunstable town centre site means that leisure, library and other facilities will all sit under one roof. A building contractor will now be procured to design and build the centre which is planned to open at the end of 2017. Cllr Brian Spurr, executive member for community services, said: "The leisure facilities will be dramatically enhanced and by bringing in the Library and other community services to the site, we will create a community hub which everyone can use and enjoy." Cllr Nigel Young, executive member for regene

Crowd Source Funding Plea For Local Fishing Tackle Shop

Robert Hayes is looking for people to help fund a fishing shop project in Houghton Regis. Mr Hayes, a bailiff for a local fishing spot, is looking for a place to run a fishing and outdoor gear store. He wrote on the group's Facebook Page Houghton Chalk Pit Fishing Club, "The fishing club is just at the end of its 1st season. We were told that if the site was not kept in a nice order and used properly they (the site ardens) would remove the fish. We, as a club, need to make sure that doesn't happen. If I set my shop up I will make a donation from the profits, so it does not close and remains a place for all to enjoy." " I do want this shop to work. If it does the place will blossom. Family fun days fishing workshops for all ages and skills. Wildlife walks. Loads and loads of great ideas. Help us please." Anyone interested can help by donating at

Nuisance Bikes: Police Approach Will Be Disruption, Disruption, Disruption

STATEMENT FROM BEDS POLICE "Our new approach to dealing with these brazen offenders is disruption, disruption, disruption" Police are taking Meteoric steps to combat the dangerous and troublesome issue of off-road bikes in the south of the county. The anti-social practice has long been a problem for residents in key hotspots such as Dunstable, Houghton Regis, Leighton Buzzard and Luton. Sergeant Louise Bates, who now shares responsibility for tackling the off-road bikes issue, said: “While Bedfordshire Police has continued to hold Operation Meteor overt events throughout spike periods, the problem has not abated and the bikers continue to make lives difficult for the innocent residents of these areas. “Off-road bikers are far more than just a nuisance – they are an absolute thorn in our communities’ sides and present risks to public safety. “ Our new approach to dealing with these brazen offenders is disruption, disruption, disruption – these bikers should b

This Area: 3.3 percent Increase in All Crime for December

Here is a brief summary of the crime information for the past two months: November 2015 December 2015 All crime 648 670 Anti-social behaviour 238 258 Bicycle theft

Kingfishers Children's Home In Parkside Drive Rated Outstanding by Ofsted

The home, pictured inside. A Houghton Regis children's home has been rated outstanding across the board by Ofsted. Kingfishers, which is run by the council, offers short-term respite stays for children with learning and/or physical disabilities. The home can accommodate four children aged 8 to 18 at any time and currently supports approximately 35 families. It was inspected in December and the report highlights that Kingfishers “provides highly effective services that consistently exceeds the standards of good. The actions of the home contribute to significantly improved outcomes for children and young people who need help, protection and care”. The Kingfisher unit provides a service for young people with Autistic Spectrum Disorder and associated challenging behaviours.

Beds Police Highlight Burglary Success Using Residents Information

Bedfordshire Police is celebrating some positive results from the force’s new dedicated burglary initiative, Operation Fidelity, following a bumper week for the project. Last Tuesday (26 January) a 15-year-old from Leighton Buzzard was arrested and later charged with six counts of receiving stolen goods. The items were linked to burglaries in Leighton Buzzard. The teen was detained pending a court appearance. In the early hours of Thursday (28 January), reports were made by a resident to the force of suspicious activity taking place at the Co-op store in St John’s Street, Kempston. Officers immediately attended and disrupted a burglary in process. A pursuit was carried out, before partners in the Bedford Borough Council CCTV control room alerted police to further suspicious activity taking place. The work resulted in two men being arrested on suspicion of burglary. Later the same day, Peter Smith, 33, of Hitchin Road, Arlesey was arrested and later charged with burglary, i

Report On Town Partnership Meeting for Houghton Regis

February 1st - A meeting of Houghton Regis Town Partnership took place at Peel Street at 7.30pm. Members in attendance, Central Bedfordshire Councillors: Mrs S. Goodchild (chair), T. Swain, A. Ryan; Houghton Regis Town Councillors: J. Carroll, D. Dixon-Wilkinson, Ms L. Ellaway, R. Shimmin. Also present:  HRTC: Cllr D. Abbott, Cllr Mrs T McMahon, Cllr K. Wattingham; CBC: Cllr B. Spurr (CBC Executive member); Inspector Clare Thomas (Beds Police), CBC officers: Mrs S Hughes, Mr A Lewis, 4 Parkside residents, 2 Houghton Hall residents, 1 Tithe Farm resident, 2 visitors to explain Groundwork in the town, a PCSO. CEMETERY - Mr Alan Winter, in public questions, pointed out that in December 2013 it had been "a dilemma" that the town's cemetery had 5 years life left, and that it was going to take 5 years to develop a new cemetery. He wanted to know what the latest projected end of life of the present cemetery was, and what steps the Town Council, and the Central Bedfordshi

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