Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Candidates Video - PCC Elections

Houghton Regis Village Green Area


Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Cubs Celebrate 100th Birthday and Launch Junglebook at Cineworld

1st/3rd Houghton Regis Cub Pack proved that the Jungle Law is true as part of national celebrations for 100 years of Cub Scouts this weekend. As the Cub movement is based around Rudyard Kipling's famous story of The Jungle Book the pack of 22 Cubs and their adult volunteers celebrated the monumental birthday with the launch weekend of the film, combined with a sleepover.

Cineworld Luton invited the Cubs to swing into action and turn their cinema into their very own Jungle. The Cubs and filmgoers all commented how great not only the film was, but also the Jungle they had created proving "the strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack." 

No party would be complete without fun and games and during the rest of the weekend the Cubs enjoyed Bush Tucker Trials, a life size game of Hungry Hippos, and in true Scouting style, cooking King Louis Chocolate Banana's over camp fires built by the Cubs.

Will Shaw, Assistant Group Scout Leader said, "The weekend was great fun and thanks to all the Leaders who made the adventure happen for our young members. We're also grateful to Arriva for getting us there and back, and the challenge Cineworld set us. They've really helped get our celebrations off to a great start."

The pack, along with others in the local area and nationally, have got an exciting year lined up full of celebrations. Events locally will include a camp of over 200 Cubs in the summer to help continue the party and taking over ZSL Whipsnade Zoo in September.

If you'd like to come and join our celebrations and 450,000 boys and girls across the UK who already enjoy the great adventure of Scouting visit www.scouts.org.uk/join or call 020 8433 7100.

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Houghton Regis in Market Town Regeneration Fund Bid

'Establishing a Town Market' - one of the aims of Houghton Regis Town Council

A special meeting of Houghton Regis Town Council has been called for Monday, 18th April to work out some changes to committee structure, and to revise rules on council co-optees.

The draft minutes of the last meeting are also available online. These go into some detail about how the HRTC would spend some £626,500 should their total bid for money from 'Market Town Regeneration Fund' be successful.

The Council's own contribution within that expenditure would be £387,400. The scheme would deliver improvements to shop fronts and various other items in the town centre including wi-fi and art-work for the large blank wall, as well as support for business growth, the establishment of a Town Market, and development of a Town Team.

As always, the Town Council's meeting is open to members of the public, who may ask questions. The start time is 7.30pm

Agenda: http://www.houghtonregis.org.uk/agendas - or direct to pdf of the meeting.

Supporting papers: http://www.houghtonregis.org.uk/market-town-regeneration-fund

Friday, 15 April 2016

Think Bike! Video Aimed at All Road Users

Police are encouraging drivers to be on the lookout for motorcyclists as seasonal bikers start returning to the roads.

Motorcyclists account for around 1% of UK road users but are one of the most vulnerable. They are 38 times more likely than car occupants to be killed per mile they ride.

Last year saw 2* motorcyclists killed and 51 seriously injured on roads in Bedfordshire.

Drivers are reminded of the importance of watching out for bikers and to always look carefully when pulling out of junctions, manoeuvring and changing lanes.

Traffic officers will be out on the county's roads giving advice to motorcyclists about staying safe on the roads, offering information about choosing the right helmet, wearing the right gear, riding defensively and offering further training to improve performance and safety. They will also be looking out for motorcyclists who are a danger to themselves and others through their dangerous riding and whose bikes are not roadworthy.

Traffic Sergeant Ian Manley from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Road Policing Unit said: "Over the coming weeks, as the weather improves, we expect to see an influx of bikers returning to the roads.

“We are asking all bikers to take their time, plan their rides, and think safety. We don’t want anybody getting caught out, other road users haven’t seen them for a while.

"There are many traffic officers who are keen motorcyclists, myself included, and we want people to enjoy the freedom and excitement that motorcycling brings, but in a safe and responsible way. I urge bikers to sign up to our BikeSafe courses to advance their riding skills."

For further information and safety advice go to the Motorcyclists: THINK! website ​​http://THINK!.direct.gov.uk/motorcycles.html or ​​http://twistandride.net.

Bedfordshire Ride Safe - Free Assessment

Free Ride Safe assessments will be held in 2016 in Kempston and Luton.

Assessments are open to full motorcycle licence holders. Each assessment lasts around 2 hours with skills being assessed by an Advanced Police motorcyclist.

Places can be booked through contacting ridesafe@bedfordshire.pnn.police.uk or alison.smith@bedfordshire.pnn.police.uk

Dates for the free assessments:
Sunday 24 April 2016 at Kempston Fire HQ
Sunday 3 July 2016 at Kempston Fire HQ
Sunday 25 September 2016 at Luton Fire station
Sunday 16 October 2016 at Kempston Fire HQ
For more info contact ridesafe@bedfordshire.pnn.police.uk

New Published Crime Data for February 2016


New data for
 area has been published on Police.uk.

Here is a brief summary of the crime information for the past two months:

January 2016 February 2016
All crime 671 653
Anti-social behaviour 242 213
Bicycle theft 16 9
Burglary 76 44
Criminal damage and arson 73 66
Drugs 9 7
Other crime 2 4
Other theft 28 52
Possession of weapons 3 2
Public order 12 25
Robbery 5 6
Shoplifting 27 26
Theft from the person 4 7
Vehicle crime 78 105
Violence and sexual offences 96 87

Please visit https://www.police.uk/shape/moXeS1/ for more information including outcomes for these crimes and contact information for your local policing team.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Are you Passionate About Keeping Local Streets Safe?

Bedfordshire Police is keen to hear from residents concerned about anti-social behaviour and crime in their area and would like to join forces to tackle these issues.
Street Watch enables residents to promote good citizenship by patrolling their own streets. Members liaise with the force to encourage positive information sharing and partnership working.
Juliet Wright, the force's Watch Scheme Development Coordinator, said: "Our Street Watch volunteers provide visible reassurance and appropriately engage in local issues that matter most to their communities. They commit two hours every month to patrol in small groups, providing that vital link between their communities and the force. 
"We are looking for volunteers who either want to join a scheme that's already set up in their area, or anyone who would like to start one."
Bedfordshire has Street Watch schemes in: Ampthill, Barton-Le-Clay, Biggleswade, Caddington, Clifton, Marston Moretaine, Harlington, Houghton Regis, Maulden, Shefford and Wootton, but schemes can be set up in any area.

Volunteers are vetted at the same level as police volunteers, and Bedfordshire Police will provide training for any new members or groups.
To find out more about becoming a volunteer, please email Juliet.Wright@Bedfordshire.pnn.Police.uk More information is also available at: www.street-watch.org

​CBC Cllr Susan Goodchild is a local Streetwatch member.​

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Local Bar / Restaurant Aims For Top Awards

The GoHoughton bar and restaurant in Parkside Drive, Houghton Regis, is aiming to win prizes in the "Beds Food and Drinks Awards".

Voting closes on 2nd May 2016 and the proprietor, Kishor Patel, who loves to support the local community, would like locals to return the favour by encouraging them to vote for his venue as the Independent Restaurant of the Year 2016.

Vote here: http://bedsfoodanddrinkawards.co.uk/?page_id=420

Pictures from GoHoughton Facebook Page :

Monday, 11 April 2016

Speaking, Listening, and Learning at the Annual Towns Meeting

Members of the public, representatives of several community groups, staff and members of Houghton Regis Town Council, took part in the Annual Towns Meeting tonight at the Community Centre in Bedford Square.

The Town Clerk gave an overview of the challenges and projects facing the town which will double in population as current projects, and projected new build, goes ahead.

Councillors gave overview reports of the work they had been doing in the past year, and encouraged questions.

Public posed a variety of questions concerning matters in the town.

Community group representatives gave overviews of the activities they get up to, and showed their appreciation for the Town Council providing Grants to keep their various schemes going.

  • Comments via Houghton Regis News Desk Facebook Page  are always welcome. The News Desk Page is run privately, but many of our local councillors read and contribute to the daily debate on there.

Monday, 4 April 2016

Chalgrave in Shock As Church Lead Is Stripped from Another Roof

EXCLUSIVE. Robbers seemingly struck during last night and made off with lead from the roof of a Grade 1 listed building, Chalgrave Parish Church, at the northern side of Chalgrave Golf Course, Bedfordshire.

The Church was hit last year when lead was taken from a front roof.

The vicar, Revd. Anne Crawford was this morning devastated and told News Desk's Alan Winter, "This will set us back considerably. We were due to have repairs done to the front of the church in May this year, and now this. Insurance will only cover £7,500 of lead damage. The first damage was going to cost us £40,000, raised by the bequeathments, and public fundraising. It's so annoying, and takes energies away from what the church should really be doing."

As well as stripping lead from a roof at the rear, further damage was caused to the front roof.

Inside the church, we looked to the roof. Through many gaps we could see the sky. When it rains, the inside of the church will suffer, possibly including the valuable wall paintings.

Vicar, Revd. Anne Crawford, seems to be saying a prayer, but her immediate concern was to contact builders.

One of the valuable paintings inside. 

All photos © Alan D Winter

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Transport in Central Bedfordshire On The Minds of CBC Councillors Tuesday 5th April

Central Bedfordshire Council Executive Committee meets next Tuesday 5th April. Members of the public are welcome​, and the meeting will be broadcast live.​

Among the matters to be discussed is one to add an "Affordable Housing Guidance Note" for "South Central Bedfordshire". The guidance note would make the target for affordable housing provision in the South of Central Bedfordshire 30% on all qualifying sites of 4 dwellings and above. On sites of 4 dwellings, one affordable dwelling must be provided.

The meeting will also look at its Passenger Transport policies, and consider adoption of a Transport Strategy to make more efficient use of its budgets. Current bus services in Central Bedfordshire are subsidised by approximately £1.265m in 2015/16, and there are 43,000 bus pass holders entitled to concessionary fares estimated at £2.382m. A Travel Aid pass for the unemployed applying via Job Centres costs the individual £5 for 28 days, giving them discounted travel. The Council will also consider options on how to best operate with Community Transport such as Dial-a-Ride, recognising the significant social value these services provide. The framework for allowing competitive tendering will be looked at. A 12 week public consultation on the Transport Strategy ​would start on 19th April, ​assuming Executive ​Committee ​approve.

  • Subsidised Bus Services would be limited to times of higher passenger demand, between 8am to 6.30pm on weekdays, and 8am 3pm on Saturdays, with no subsidies for Sunday services.

  • Concessionary Travel would be changed to permit bus pass holders free travel between 09:30 and 23:00 weekdays, and all day at weekends; No automatic renewal of a five year travel pass; ​Online applications by 2020.

  • Community Transport would be given a clear and transparent tender process for awarding of funding to ​ ​ support Dial a Ride services ​would be implemented; Voluntary community bus service providers would be encouraged to take on additional services that cannot be provided by conventional bus operators.

The Local Transport Plan will also ​ be considered. It is proposed to update and replace the current LTP with a new Plan which takes into account political, financial and economic changes since the current document was adopted in April 2011.

Further information about the meeting at http://centralbeds.moderngov.co.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=577&MId=4923

The meeting will be broadcast live from 9.30am. See http://www.centralbedfordshire.public-i.tv/core/portal/home.

Friday, 1 April 2016

All Change on Central Beds Highways as New Contractors Start

Highways partnership with Ringway Jacobs begins

A new seven year contract started today with Ringway Jacobs to deliver Highways services throughout Central Bedfordshire. This will replace the previous contract with Amey.

The contract was awarded in August 2015. Some staff will move in-house from Amey.

The new procurement is hoping to make savings to the highway service. On offer are improved communications, a more consistent delivery, and improved satisfaction for residents and road users.

Tasks to be undertaken will include
  • winter maintenance, 
  • emergency services, 
  • cleaning signs, 
  • painting white lines
  • structural maintenance as already planned

Cllr Brian Spurr, Executive Member for Community Services said: "We are delighted to be working with Ringway Jacobs and hope we can build a hardworking, customer focused partnership over the next seven years. We are certain that the new contract will bring with it further improvements to our road network, better returns on investment and with that, more satisfaction to our many road users."

Mike Notman (pictured), Managing Director of Ringway Jacobs said: "We are delighted to be working with Central Bedfordshire Council on this prestigious contract. We are committed to establishing an open relationship based upon trust and integrity."

"We have built a reputation for assured delivery, forward thinking and innovative solutions. We will bring our experience of collaborative working to build upon the relationship already formed during mobilisation to develop an increasingly efficient and effective highways service to meet the residents' needs."

  • Ringway Jacobs is a fully incorporated company formed by Ringway Infrastructure Services Ltd and Jacobs UK Ltd. The company was formed as a strategic partnership jointly owned and fully supported by Eurovia and Jacobs UK as 50:50 shareholders with combined resources of 9,000 people within the UK, while also supported globally by the shareholding companies of Vinci Group and Jacobs employing a total of 200,000 people.

  • Ringway Jacobs currently have opportunities for a Quantity Surveyor and a Commercial Assistant based out of  Bedford​.

Calling All Environmentalists! Your View Counts!

Central Bedfordshire Council are conducting an Environmental Review. They have produced a new document called the Environmental Framework and now want your feedback.
The Framework plays an important role in bringing together the various studies, assessments, strategies and guidance produced by the council relating to the environment of Central Bedfordshire. It applies the findings of these documents to national and local policy, allowing them to inform the way we should approach local environmental needs and issues while also supporting growth.

The feedback from this consultation will help
​them to 
develop environmental policies in the Local Plan for Central Bedfordshire, and identify areas where
need to gather further evidence or information.

Please refer to the Framework when completing the questionnaire and use it to form your answers.
strongly advocate that you read the document before completing the consultation questionnaire.

For more information, or to request a paper copy, email environmental.policy@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk
Please respond by 10 April 2016.