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."