Saturday, 2 December 2017

Help Greensand Trust To Buy Extra Heathland near Rushmere Park



A local environmental charity is looking for support to help it buy and maintain an area of heathland near Rushmere Park.

The Greensand Trust are trying to raise the £50,000 needed to buy Shire Oak Heath, a 17-acre site
neighbouring Rushmere Country Park. The Trust already runs Rushmere on a not-for-profit basis. Now, the Trust wants to secure the nearby site so that it can become part of the park. They hope to restore it to a thriving, well-maintained area of heathland and believe it would also provide a safer cycle route into the park.

The Trust launched an appeal to buy the site in July this year and has so far raised over £12,000 from public donations. It is hoping to secure a number of grants very soon which would take the total raised to around £40,000, leaving them a shortfall of £10,000 to ensure the future of the site.

Runners and volunteers of Rushmere park run, which takes place at the Park every Saturday morning at 9am, recently turned up dressed in purple to represent heather of the heathland and raise awareness of the Shire Oak Heath appeal. The appeal has a month left to run. Jon Balaam, the Trust’s Director of Development,  joined the park run. He expressed his thanks to park run organiser Tracey Cardno and her team for their hospitality and willingness to support the appeal.

Shire Oak Heath was once a thriving heathland so it has great potential for restoration. Heathland within Rushmere Park already under the Greensand Trust’s management has been restored to such a degree that Natural England recognised it as part of an extended National Nature Reserve (NNR) of Kings Wood & Rushmere in 2016.

The unrestored area the charity aims to purchase remains at risk. It was identified by Natural England as being in an unfavourable and declining condition due to lack of management. It is now a neglected remnant of what was once a thriving heathland.

If the Trust is unable to raise the necessary £50,000 it needs for the purchase, it will have to scale back or delay its aspirations on restoring the site to a thriving heathland providing valuable habitats for a number of species.

One of its aims for acquiring the site is to provide a safe cycle access to Rushmere from Heath and
Reach but this may have to be put on hold if the funding is not made available.

Jon Balaam added: “We’re calling on the local community and all those who enjoy Rushmere Country Park and value our conservation work to support this appeal to secure this site and help us to reverse its decline so it can once again be regarded as a valuable heathland habitat.

Jon said, “Adding Shire Oak Heath to Rushmere Country Park will provide a welcome extension to what is already a much-valued local site offering further opportunities to all our visitors, including safer access for cyclists.”

Donations can be made via: https://www.greensandtrust.org/Appeal/restoring-shire-oak-heath-appeal


The Greensand Trust is an independent environmental charity that works with local communities and landowners to conserve and promote the distinctive landscape, wildlife and history of the Greensand Ridge and to improve access, understanding and enjoyment of this fascinating area. Find out more at www.greensandtrust.org

Rushmere Country Park is located at Herons’ View Visitor Centre, Linslade Road,
Heath & Reach, Bedfordshire LU7 0EB. Managed by The Greensand Trust, working
in partnership with Central Bedfordshire Council, the park is run on a not-for- profit
basis for the benefit of visitors and wildlife.

Questions Over Houghton Regis Central Delays



Available to watch online is CBC's Corporate Resources Overview & Scrutiny Committee (Thu, 30th Nov 2017 - 10:00 am) . WATCH NOW.

In the Housing Revenue Account a note mentioned delays to start of works on Houghton Regis Central. Houghton Hall councillor, Susan Goodchild, raised a query to try to get answers for the delay.

12. “The scheme received planning consent in November 2016 and it is proposed that construction will start on site in the summer of 2018. The reason for the revised start date is due to re-programming following the establishment of new governance structures. This will enable a comprehensive tender pack to be prepared and a robust procurement process to be followed. As a result, it is predicted that only £0.312M of the original budget of £2M will be spent in this financial year.”  Source:  HRA REVENUE ACCOUNT (HRA)

This is a transcript* from the relevant part of the meeting:

1:56 Cllr Susan Goodchild:  ... When you think about 200 families in temporary accommodation which,  included in that figure is actually 275 children that is quite worrying.  So I would thank Cllr Ferguson for raising it.

1:57 Cllr Susan Goodchild:  I would, if you don't mind, like to take the opportunity to understand a little bit more about the challenges that have been around Houghton Central because, aside from the traveller, the impact of travellers in  Houghton Regis, Houghton Central is the one thing that is spoke about the most because committee members and officers are here, you know, we've had a hoarding around that Co-op site now for, I think since November 2016, which is .. soon. Behind that hoarding is  100 parking spaces that have been lost to the town which has impacted greatly on retail shopping. But,  it really is a worry and is a question that is asked of all; councillor Kane, councillor Swain, and myself, and councillor Ryan, but  the one thing I'm not clear of is, it says within item 12 under future  investments, that the delay has been following the establishment of new governance structures and it would really be helpful if I could understand what that means, really because in Houghton Regis, you know, we've had residents saying "that's not going to go ahead now because of Brexit", all kinds of rumours and I think if we could have an accurate account of why it has been delayed I think it would really help our residents greatly. Thank you."

Cllr Duckett (Chair): You mean, an accurate account in plain English would be very beneficial? I couldn't agree more, Sue. Are we able to do that, Charles, this morning?

Director of Resources: No chair, sorry. I don't have that information to hand but I'm sure it can be arranged and we can provide a written response, or address it at a future ...

Cllr Duckett (Chair):  Maybe Nick can help because he does get involved in that area.

CBC Officer2:   I'll certainly give some information. I'm sure we can provide a more comprehensive written response. I think reflecting on what we did at Priory View, what was really important, the lessons we learnt from that construction, that new building,  we've had to sort of step back and think differently about how we might do things differently, we have to continue to challenge ourselves over the financial costs of that building and I think we've had to consider other more efficient and effective ways of delivering the buildings. So, it's not been want of just delay, I think there's been real need for us to sort of just step back and consider perhaps different ways of constructing the building, in terms of delivering a more efficient response rather than just continue to do what we did previously learning some of those lessons. But, chair, happy, I'm sure we could provide more information, and I know a member's reference group has been set up around that pretext. I think that’s the reference to the governance structure. That's ..

Cllr Duckett (Chair): Thank you Stuart. Marcel, you've got something to say?
Director Community Services: Chair, yes there is a member reference group. It's actually meeting immediately at the close of this meeting. And I sit on it as well. The latest update is that, subject to the agreement of that group, we're intending to go out to tender for that build in January.

Cllr Duckett (Chair):  Well, there's a little bit of clarity there for you, Sue, a little bit of clarity  but  hopefully more will come in writing. So, you can assuage any of the rumour factory going on around Houghton Regis. It's going to be a great project. It really is a quite a significant investment that we're doing there.

*No liability for any inaccuracies in this transcript is accepted. Please refer to the recording of the meeting for the benefit of doubt.

Friday, 1 December 2017

Conversion of Trident Drive Home into a Flat and HMO Refused


A retrospective application to change a family house in Trident Drive, Houghton Regis, to a flat and a House of Multiple Occupation has been declined by the local planning authority. The terraced houses in Trident Drive were built as an overspill site for London in the 1970's. Many of the homes are town houses with limited parking spaces at the rear.

In a notice of refusal, the planning department at Central Bedfordshire Council says that the application was unacceptable in principle and that fundamental objections could not be overcome through dialogue.

The applicant was invited to withdraw the application and to seek pre-application advice prior to any re-submission but did not agree to this.

The Council followed its procedures as laid down in the Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order 2015, and refused permission.

Reasons for refusal are given as the development would be out of character with the locality and detrimental to the amenities of local occupiers through general disturbance. Furthermore, the proposal did not make satisfactory provision for off-street parking which would lead to an increase in on-street parking and so result in further detrimental impact upon residential amenity by way of traffic congestion and additional hazards for highway users.

The refusal notice concluded, "The proposed development would, therefore, be contrary to Policies BE8 & H9 of the South Bedfordshire Local Plan Review, the Central Bedfordshire Design Guide and Sections 4 and 7 of the National Planning Policy Framework."

You can read about the application on the Central Bedfordshire Council website.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Central Bedfordshire Council has been named Best Social Work Employer of the Year

Central Bedfordshire Council has been named Best Social Work Employer of the Year in a national awards event.


The council’s Children’s Services saw off three other shortlisted local authorities to claim the prize at the Social Worker of the Year Awards on Friday night.


Judges praised the work done by Central Bedfordshire to ensure that social workers have manageable caseloads, good supervision and support with access to great learning and development opportunities and an excellent Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE) programme for newly-qualified children’s social workers.


As part of Children’s Services’ ambitious transformation agenda, during the past three years, teams have been restructured into smaller units with non-caseholding managers. The result of this is that front-line social work staff now have manageable numbers of families to support and can devote more time to getting to know the children they work with, in turn building up positive and lasting relationships.


That has led to more social workers seeing the benefits of working for Central Bedfordshire Council, resulting in a quality and stable workforce rather than relying on agency staff, vacancy rates down two-thirds in just three years and a staff turnover of less than ten percent a year.


Sue Harrison, Director of Children’s Services, said: “I am delighted that the judges recognised the hard work which has been taking place to help us recruit and retain quality staff, and create an environment where our children’s social workers can really thrive.


“To win an award like this requires a whole-team effort and I would like to thank everyone who has played a part. We embarked upon some bold changes, such as involving members of the Children in Care Council in the social work recruitment process, significantly restructuring teams and also the way we work by getting partners involved.


“These changes allow front-line staff to spend more time helping children and families in need and develop their skills and training to do an even better job. While it’s great to receive recognition for what we do, we won’t stand still and will continue to work hard to do the best job for those who need our help.


“Congratulations too, to Jason Sedgman, Senior Practitioner in the council’s Children with Disabilities Team, who received a silver award in the Children’s Social Worker of the Year category. His dedication to the children and families he supports was praised by the judges as an example to all.”


For more information about the awards and a full list of winners, visit www.socialworkawards.com

Lidl To Open In Dunstable on 14th December



Lidl UK has confirmed that its new store on Luton Road in Dunstable will open its doors for the first time to customers at 8am on 14thDecember.

In addition to the ribbon cutting, Lidl will be offering customers the chance to sample some of its award-winning products throughout the day. For the first week of trading customers will be able to enjoy up to £40 off selected non-food products including a record player with USB (£29.99, RRP £49.99) from Thursday 14th, a dehumidifier (£79, RRP £119) from Friday 15th, and a professional food processor (£39.99, RRP £79.99) from Saturday 16th December.

The new supermarket forms part of the company’s ongoing expansion and regeneration plans in the UK which will see it open between 50 to 60 new stores a year. The sustainable store with 1424m² sales area has created up to 40 new jobs and boasts state-of-the-art facilities including an in-store bakery, longer-style tills with dual packing, customer toilets, baby changing and ample parking for both cars and bicycles.

The fully glass fronted façade maximises natural daylight entering the building, whilst sensor controlled exterior sun blinds automatically operate to mitigate the effects of unwanted heat from solar gain. The electrical lighting system is made up entirely of LED fittings which, compared with a traditional lighting system, are over 50% more energy efficient whilst still providing excellent levels of lighting to meet the needs of customers choosing their products.

Lidl UK’s Regional Head of Property, Jeremy Lee, commented: “We would like to thank all those who have played a part in bringing this new Lidl store to Dunstable. It is great for us to be able to create more jobs and investment opportunities in the area, and we can’t wait to start serving our multi-award winning products to the local community.”

Lidl has experienced continued growth over the years as consumers flock to the shop to discover products – two-thirds of which are British - ranging from quality British fruit and vegetables to premium wines from its much-coveted Wine Tour collections. Over 5.5 million British shoppers are now flocking to Lidl each week, half a million more a week than in 2014. Lidl’s success shows no signs of slowing, as the latest Kantar Worldpanel results highlighted the supermarket as the fastest growing in the UK with sales up 15.1% year on year and a market share high of 5.1%.

More at https://www.lidl.co.uk/en/About-Us.htm

Kingsland Defender Threatened By Aviva

Roger G Giugno of Osborne House, Sundon Road, Houghton Regis has made public the correspondence between himself and lawyers for Aviva.

A letter emailed to him was posted to on the public Facebook Group known as 'Stop The Destruction of The Kingsland Wildlife Site' which he administers. The letter dated 27 November 2017 from lawyers acting for Aviva Life & Pensions UK Limited makes several requests of him to be complied with as early as 4pm on Thursday 30th November 2017, and suggests he should seek independent legal advice.

In reference to land adjoining his property, and not to the land unofficially named 'Kingsland Wildlife Site', Mr Giugno is asked to give an undertaking not enter their land, damage their land, encourage others to enter their land, not to engage in conduct causing or likely to cause harassment, not to use or threaten to use violence towards an employee, nor to publicise any event on the land. If Mr Guigno fails to give the undertaking the lawyer for Aviva writes that 'If you fail to do so, our client will have no choice but to issue proceedings against you in the High Court seeking an injunction restraining you from committing further unlawful acts on the Land." They suggest that the costs so far would be around £25,000.

Mr Giugno has countered the request outlining his grievances with the landowners, and making a request of his own: 'I will accept all the undertakings in you[r] letter, bar limited access to maintain my borders, if HRDC and your clients undertake to pay to the community of Houghton Regis £1m (ONE MILLION POUNDS STERLING) if after 1.3.2018 any traveller incursions are permitted/allowed/not prevented upon HRDC controlled lands'.

In countering the Aviva request, Mr Giugno suggests meditation and writes at length saying, among other things, "I will not be confirming any undertaking of your demands whatsoever given the timescales to agree are onerous and your demands somewhat unreasonable ..." "Never once have I or members of my family spoken out against the HRN1 development... " "Your clients did leave a gap or two open that facilitated the depositing of 200ton of waste from North London with no attempt to stop the waste being deposited yet cause a huge public outcry, national media attention and considerable cost to me in damages to machinery and equipment having to assist the local fire services along with continual costs involved in keeping our borders and Kingsland borders secure because HRDC basically couldn't give a toss whether travellers are on their lands or not..." "Come on HRDC are you really that stupid with all your billions of £££ that you go and commission a field to be cut that facilitates further incursion by the travellers that you are supposedly so against? ..."

BACKGROUND

RG's main thrust is to protect 'Kingsland wildlife' site.  That's an unofficial name for a self-grown scrubby woodland which borders his own property to the west. The land Aviva is concerned about is to the north and east of Mr Guigno's land which is hemmed in by threatened and planned developments. In the months leading up to this exchange of letters, his attention has re-focussed to this side of his property where 200 tonnes of rubbish was illegally fly-tipped in September and traveller incursions have been occurring. A banger racing event was held on land to the north-west of RG's property on 4th November against the wishes of HRDC.

LINKS TO THE FACEBOOK ARTICLE  (These links may not work if you do not have a Facebook account, or if you are not a member of the Facebook Group. At the time of writing the Facebook Group was Public, from which the following images below are taken. the Group has a history of sometimes being a Closed Group meaning that only members of the Group may see the content).

Best link for mobile   Best for PC


PREVIOUSLY ON THIS NEWS DESK:
24 September 2017 - Overnight Fire in Field at WSL
20 September 2017 - Campaigner Threatens Illegal Action If Landowners Don't Clean Up Fields
5th - 13th Sept - Videos of Dumped Wastes on HRDC land
27 August 2017 - Waste Transfer From Woodside Link Road To Houghton Town Council Offices On 25th August 2017


click or tap and pinch to enlarge images...
















UPDATE:  An update to this was posted to "STOP" Facebook Page on 3rd December. This extended the request to Mr Guigno to 5pm on 4th December.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Free Cycle Parking Stands Available in Dunstable and Houghton Regis

Voluntary sector groups, businesses, shops, offices, cafés, pubs, churches, dental practices and surgeries in Dunstable and Houghton Regis can get free cycle parking under the community cycle parking schemes run by Park That Bike (supported by CBC Travel Choices).

The bike parking stands are free of charge, but you are responsible for installing them on your own property (full instructions are provided) in a location agreed with ParkThatBike





Monday, 27 November 2017

Local Music Teacher Wins US Publishing Deal



A music teacher has landed a five-year deal with an American publishing and licensing firm thanks to a song he penned in memory of his daughter. Mark Ayles currently works with special needs schools in Biggleswade, Dunstable, Houghton Regis and Kempston


Mark's song ‘You Should Be Here’ was written as a way of paying a heartfelt tribute following the death of his young daughter, Maia.

The song was re-recorded with well-known local artist Denny McCaffrey taking on the vocals while Mark plays the piano along with music friends from local bands


The 2013 recording has been picked up by Music Of The Sea, which is based in Chicago and Los Angeles and which provides music for film, television, advertisements, video games and for big-name artists to rerecord.



Mark explained, “My daughter Maia was born in 1999, but she had a very rare congenital condition which affected her muscles, her breathing – everything really. She was at Great Ormond Street Hospital for two and a half years, cared for by her mother, Moana, and me, until we got her home with the help of a 24-hour care team from Bedford where we lived together until Maia passed away in 2003 after being at home for nine months.


“After Maia died I wasn’t in a very good place for a couple of years, but then I started delivering music sessions at the Ridgeway School in Kempston in 2005, which was Maia’s school when she got back to Bedford, and then in 2006/07 I wrote You Should Be Here.


“At the time, it was purely a tribute to Maia. Her mum is from New Zealand and she went over there to bury Maia’s ashes with her grandad’s. I wasn’t able to go so I recorded a version of the song with me singing to play at the service.



“I play piano and keyboards with various local groups including the Denny McCaffrey Band. He’s always liked the song and in 2013 we got together to record another version of the song with him singing and lots of friends and fellow musicians came together to help make the video.


“What I want to stress is that although it started as a tribute song to Maia, I never wanted it to be a sombre song, but rather a song for everyone. At Christmas time, there are always lots of people who are missing others. It’s something that people can empathise with, and the song has had a very positive reaction which is wonderful.


“I often submit our songs to MusicXray [which puts musicians and songwriters directly in touch with industry professionals and marketing firms], and this year they were looking for Christmas songs so I submitted You Should Be Here. On the back of that, Music Of The Sea got in touch because they really liked it and offered us a five-year publishing deal. So, Denny and I sent everything over to them and they are now pushing it for films and to various artists.


“It would be great if someone like Michael Bublé picked it up, but whatever happens the interest is great because previously it was just sitting on YouTube. Denny’s also sent over another song of his own called Midnight Express so we’ll see what happens. As they say, ‘you’ve got to be in it to win it’.”

Mark Ayles works with Central Bedfordshire Council music service.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Robin Hines — Honorary Freeman of Houghton Regis


Robin Hines was made the first Honorary Freeman of Houghton Regis during a special presentation on Thursday 23rd November at the town's council offices. Over 25 people attended the awards presentation at which many personal and notable commendations were made to Mr Hines for his tireless work within the community.

Mr Hines has served as a Liberal Democrat councillor for many years and is proud of the fact that he was born and bred in Houghton Regis, and that his family has a long history in the town.

A former civil engineer with the Royal Navy, he is now retired though has felt in recent years like he has worked harder since than when employed.

The Liberal Democrat councillor from Bidwell Hill has lived through the creation of Tithe Farm and Parkside estates.


The award was made to Mr Hines as the council considered that he had served his community for many years in many ways, from officially serving as a councillor to informally helping his neighbours.

Mr Hines first joined the Town Council in 1995 and served for four years. He then came back on to the Council in 2007 and has served ever since. He was elected as Town Mayor in May 2010 and he raised over £3,000 for Keech Hospice, Hospice at Home Volunteers and Help for Heroes.

Mr Hines was thanked by the Town Mayor on behalf of the Town Council and the community at large for the highly valued and significant contribution made to the town of Houghton Regis and was presented with a framed scroll in recognition of the award.

Houghton Regis Town Council approved a Policy to create Honorary Freeman and Freewoman on the on 9th October 2017 which is in line with their objective 'To raise the towns profile'.

The honour is bestowed in accordance with the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009 which states that "a relevant authority may admit to be honorary freemen or honorary freewomen of the place or area for which it is the authority—
(a)persons of distinction, and
(b)persons who have, in the opinion of the authority, rendered eminent services to that place or area."






Robin pictured preparing for the 2014 Pancake Race in Houghton Regis


Robin - pictured [inset] as part of the Liberal Democrat team for Houghton Regis in 2011.



Friday, 24 November 2017

Local schools to cycle, scoot and walk their way to Lapland



Schools across Central Bedfordshire will soon be competing in a race to reach 'Lapland'. 

The 'Santa Challenge' is an interschool cycling, scooting and walking competition that will run from 27 November to 8 December, which is being funded by Central Bedfordshire Council's public health team and organised by sustainable transport charity Sustrans.

Children and families will accumulate miles each time they cycle, scoot or walk to school, double if a parent cycles too. All the miles will be added up at the end of the challenge to see if each school has travelled the required 2050-mile trip to Lapland over the 10-day challenge. 

All pupils that take part will be in with a chance of winning a 'Frog Bike'. Other prizes will also be distributed to schools for teachers to give to participating pupils, including slap bands, badges, teddy bears and other assorted bike-related prizes.

Sustrans Schools Officer, Derek Smulders said: "In previous years, the children have really embraced the competition. Lots of children and their families opted to cycle, scoot and walk to school, leaving the car behind in order to alleviate congestion around the school gates and gain healthy exercise too."

Councillor Nigel Young, Executive Member for Regeneration Services at Central Bedfordshire Council, said: "Cycling, scooting and walking to school means healthier and safer streets, which in turn will help to reduce CO2 emissions and improve air quality. Children are advised to participate in at least 60 minutes of physical exercise per day and cycling, scooting and walking to school can be a fun and easy way to achieve part of this."












Monday, 13 November 2017

Luton Taxi Driver And Leighton Buzzard Woman Caught Fly-Tipping in Houghton Regis


Two offenders have been fined over £3,000 for fly-tipping and littering, after both were caught on camera. One was caught by Central Bedfordshire Council's closed circuit television (CCTV) and one on a dash cam provided by a member of the public.

Both offenders were caught in separate incidents, the first at the Poynters Road roundabout and the second at the bottle bank situated on the High Street in Houghton Regis. Both offenders were asked to attend Luton Magistrates Court last week. One of the offenders attended court and pleaded guilty. The other did not attend, but was found guilty of failing to respond to a Section 108 questionnaire.

Lutfur Rahman, a taxi driver of Lollards Close, Luton was caught fly-tipping on two separate occasions at the Houghton Regis High Street bottle bank. He was caught dumping a small fridge freezer, four black bin bags, a child’s car seat and some boxes during Thursday 22 May 2017 and Tuesday 4 July 2017. Rahman pleaded guilty and was fined £1,200, ordered to pay costs of £955 and a victim’s surcharge of £120, totalling nearly £2,275.

On 22 May 2017, a female of Highcroft, Leighton Buzzard and the driver of her vehicle were caught throwing takeaway type boxes from her car. She failed to attend court and was found guilty of not responding to the Section 108 questionnaire and was fined £440, ordered to pay £375 towards prosecution costs and £44 victim surcharge, totalling £859.

Councillor Budge Wells, our Deputy Executive Member for Community Services, said: "These prosecutions are another great result for our Community Safety Operations Team. By using dashcam images provided by a member of the public and our own CCTV images, it shows how cameras can help reduce crime, nuisance and anti-social behaviour, and assist in securing arrests and prosecutions.

"We have a zero-tolerance attitude toward fly-tipping and littering in Central Bedfordshire, and our Environmental Protection, CCTV, Waste and Legal teams work relentlessly to ensure offenders are brought to justice.

"We want Central Bedfordshire to remain a great place to live and work. Failure to properly dispose of any type of waste is simply not acceptable, and we will take action against anyone caught - regardless of the type or quantity of discarded waste."

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Interesting Year For Houghton Regis Youth Council



By Alan Winter

Three members of Houghton Regis Youth Council attended a meeting of the Community Services Committee of the Town Council on Monday this week and were greeted warmly by the local councillors who were pleased to hear of their involvement in the town this year.

Having operated for about three quarters of the year, they had volunteered at local events. At Houghton Rocks they were involved in a tattoo stall and two of their number performed on stage. At Get Growing, they had come straight from school and began planting in Bedford Square. In July they helped at the Town Carnival, running the coconut shy and lucky dip, and other games including a Slimy Sludge Game. Funds raised from these stalls went towards the Town Mayor's nominated charities.

At the Skate Park Competition, Youth Council members had assisted with the colouring-in stall and a bungee activity. While at the Mayor's Inauguration, they gained a view of how the Town Council works and how meetings are run.

The Youth Council attended the Pride of Houghton Awards last month where they received a special certificate from the Mayor, Cllr Joanna Hillyard, for their efforts which made them feel valued and appreciated.

Overall they feel they are helping to put across a better perspective of Young People within the town.

They have yet more activities coming up this year. They'll be helping at the Carol Service and at Santa's Grotto in the Houghton Regis Library, while also thinking about other events for next year.

Community Development Officer at the Houghton Regis Town Council, Tara Earnshaw said, "Young people are not elected onto the Youth Council — they simply turn up to a meeting and are made to feel welcome. This gives them an experience of what the Youth Council is all about and from there that young person can choose if they want to be a part of Youth Council and what they can commit to, in terms of future events and activities."

"I attend the local Youth Club in Bedford Square Community Centre every other Wednesday to inform young people about the Youth Council and send out our leaflet to local schools on a regular basis as well as the Town Crier, social media, notice boards etc."

"We currently have 9 Youth Council members and a capacity for around 5 more."


To find out more email tara.earnshaw@houghtonregis.org.uk


Saturday, 4 November 2017

Top Ten Posts for Houghton Regis News Desk in October



The Top Ten Stories on Our Facebook Page for October 2017


  1. Have you ever been caught speeding in Drovers Way 20mph zone? A complaint about signs has not been upheld by Central Bedfordshire Council. A member of the public is now taking the matter up with the Local Government Ombudsman. 7628 speeding tickets were issued in Dunstable July 2016 to July 2017 exceeding 20MPH . Posted on 29/09/2017. Served to 23819 unique users. Facebook Link


  2. Andrew Selous, MP, spoke in the Gypsies and Travellers and Local Communities Government Policy on the Proceedings of the House – in the House of Commons at 6:29 pm on 9th October 2017. He told the House, "We need an up-to-date Land Registry. We need the Gypsy and Traveller accommodation assessment to require people to answer questions in interviews. If they can avoid answering the council officer’s questions about whether they are Travellers, the system simply does not work. We need immediate court access for local authorities. The planning policy guidance on Traveller sites from the Department should include a requirement for licensing, which would give local authorities proper power. I want the ability to impound vehicles involved in fly-tipping or other criminal activity, regardless of ownership. I also want checks on the wealth of Travellers, some of whom are enormously wealthy. Why should the taxpayer have to provide pitches for them?" Read Andrew Selous in full at ... https://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2017-10-09a.119.0 Read in context at ... https://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2017-10-09a.76.2#g119.0 Watch video: http://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/35e1fae6-2e59-4f08-a779-3a667c34ae7d Picture by Alan Winter, from video made near Houghton Regis on 9/9/2017 Posted on 10/10/2017. Served to 14849 unique users. Facebook Link


  3. Road closure https://roadworks.org/?tmi=1239690 Name: High Street Location: at High Street Service Road, Houghton Regis, Central Bedfordshire (High Street) 09 October — 13 October / 9.00 — 15:30 Posted on 08/10/2017. Served to 13727 unique users. Facebook Link


  4. Tebworth — Queen's Head sold at Auction, Villagers outbid. Posted on 30/09/2017. Served to 13656 unique users. Facebook Link


  5. CCTV incidents in Houghton Regis between April and June this year were presented in a report to the Town Partnership Committee on Tuesday evening. The report states, "The CCTV control room continues to monitor problems with street drinkers in the Bedford Square area in Houghton Regis in close liaison with the police. CBC is progressing with its project to start the upgrade of public space CCTV in Central Bedfordshire" *This report contains data gathered by Central Beds Council’s CCTV Control Room. It does not include details of the police response to any particular incident where an arrest is not made, nor does it include incidents not captured by CCTV; for this reason, the data will not reflect the overall picture of crime and disorder in any area. Personal data is excluded to comply with the Data Protection Act 1998. Posted on 11/10/2017. Served to 12811 unique users. Facebook Link


  6. Fly-tippers caught in the act by CCTV Two fly tippers have been fined over £2,600 after both were caught on Central Bedfordshire Council's Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras. Posted on 09/10/2017. Served to 11771 unique users. Facebook Link


  7. Do you work in, shop in, or otherwise visit Hemel Hempstead town centre? It could soon be free of alcohol drinking, spitting, urinating and defecating in a public place. Sleeping in a public place could be banned, as could sitting in a manner that makes it look as if someone is begging. Cycling and skateboarding could be banned, as could feeding the birds and wildfowl. Survey closes 13 October 2017. https://www.snapsurveys.com/wh/s.asp?k=150280256359 Posted on 04/10/2017. Served to 11084 unique users. Facebook Link


  8. Houghton Hall Park Visitor Centre Opens To Public 12th October Posted on 12/10/2017. Served to 10881 unique users. Facebook Link


  9. 10 October 2017 13:02 🚶🏾COUCH TO 5K 🏃🏼‍♀️ If anyone is interested in building up to a 5k over a 9 week programme then please join Houghton Regis Casual Joggers for more information as we're looking to get enough interest to run it! The group are friendly with mixed abilities and often go out for runs of a varying length! All welcome. Chloe Posted on 10/10/2017. Served to 10263 unique users. Facebook Link


  10. Parking at Asda, Dunstable Posted on 21/10/2017. Served to 9363 unique users. Facebook Link

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Strong Case For More Councillors on Houghton Regis Town Council


14 councillors represent electors on Houghton Regis Town Council.

In 1998 the National Association of Local Councils published its Circular 1126/1998 setting out guidance on the suggested number of parish councillors to be allocated depending on the size of the population represented. For a town the size of Houghton Regis, which had an electorate of 13,118 in September 2017, the circular indicates we ought to have 18-19 councillors.

And the Aston Business School in 1992 recommended between 13 and 21 councillors for electorates between 10,001 and 20,000.

The current allocation is 4 for Parkside (electorate 3,533); 4 for Tithe Farm (electorate 3,294), 6 for Houghton Hall (electorate 6,291).

So, at present, we have one councillor per 937 voters in Houghton Regis overall. Compared to Dunstable where it's one per 1,390. In Caddington it's one per 320. Leighton Linslade one per 1,492.Toddington 1 per 332.

By 2023 the forward planned electorate for Houghton Regis is expected to be 14,619, with most of that increase in Houghton Hall ward.

Central Bedfordshire |Council would like to hear the views of anyone who has a clear interest in this review or is impacted by its outcome as a resident. They are particularly interested in thoughts as to whether any changes to the current parish arrangements are needed.

The electoral arrangements for a new or existing parish council will come into force at the date of the next ordinary elections to the parish council in 2019.

CBC may make recommendations to the  Local Government Boundary
Commission for England to decide if related alterations should be made.

Queries regarding this Review should be directed to:
Democratic Services Manager
Central Bedfordshire Council
Priory House
Monks Walk
Chicksands
Bedfordshire
SG17 5TQ
Tel: 0300 300 4049
Alternatively, your submission may be emailed to:
cgr@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk

◘ Review the background information


Friday, 20 October 2017

'Luton North and Houghton Regis' - Proposed Constituency Boundary Changes

Proposed New Constituency Boundary of 'Luton North and Houghton Regis'

An 8-week consultation lasting until 11 December has begun. Under the Boundary Commission's proposals, Houghton Regis would be in a new constituency that would be called 'Luton North and Houghton Regis".

In the last consultation, the Commission had given this proposed constituency the name "Luton North And Houghton".

The new boundaries would only affect the MP you vote for. It would not affect who you pay your council tax to, or your address.



◘ One of the aims of the proposed changes is to even out the number of people in each constituency.
Luton North currently has an electorate of 64,552 according to the Commission's data. The new number for Luton North and Houghton Regis would be 71,188.

◘ The current 650 MPs would be reduced to 600.

◘ Among the proposals, Islington North represented by Jeremy Corbyn for 34 years, would disappear. And Boris Johnson's Uxbridge and South Ruislip constituency would go.

To have your say, go to https://www.bce2018.org.uk/



Saturday, 14 October 2017

Aldwyck achieves Customer Service Excellence Award for fourth consecutive year


Aldwyck Housing Group is delighted to announce it has been awarded the Government’s national accreditation for customer service for the fourth year running. We have also improved the rating we have received year on year too.

The Customer Service Excellence standard is given to organisations following an in-depth assessment which tests that services provided are efficient and effective and have the customer at their heart. The assessor met with customers, staff and stakeholders to review Aldwyck’s practices on customer insight, information and access, delivery, timeliness and quality of service.

The final 75-page report observes “there is a genuine and palpable ‘customer focused’ approach to service delivery” and that “staff are enthusiastic, well-motivated and dedicated to serving their customers. It was a pleasure to meet them and their tenants.”

Sharon Abel, Head of Communications and Customer Insight, commented, “We are very pleased to have been awarded this national accreditation for the fourth year in a row. It demonstrates that each of us at Aldwyck, regardless of role, has a commitment to providing our customers with a great service.”

Pictured left to right are Noor D'Agostino (Senior Income Maximisation Adviser), Dominic Cox (Housing Services Officer), Mary Felmingham (Receptionist) and Rumi Hassan (Technical Services Adviser).

Friday, 13 October 2017

Houghton's Heritage Society Now A Registered Charity

The Houghton Regis Society (HRHS) is pleased to announce that it is now a Registered Charity.

Established in 2012, it is a leading organisation involved in seeking to preserve Heritage in Houghton Regis and make it available to the residents of the town.

HRHS is currently involved in three local projects: the Visitor Centre in Houghton Hall Park, the Red House on the Village Green and the digitisation of a Picture Archive of Houghton Regis, donated to the Society by Pat Lovering. HRHS has also developed History Walks around the town, which has become very popular.

David Hill, the Society’s Chairman said, “The idea of becoming a registered charity has been on the ‘cards’ for some time and we are delighted that registration has been successful. It will open up opportunities for us in obtaining Grants to support future projects.”

Details of membership will be released soon, if you would like further information please contact us at the address below. Don’t forget to look at our website at www.hrhs.org.uk and our Facebook page.

David Hill said, “HRHS is looking for Volunteers who are willing to be involved actively with the Society and who have an interest in local heritage”.

Mr Hill added, "We will possibly be holding some of our future meetings at the new Visitor Centre in Houghton Regis in the future."

If you are interested please send an email to information.hrhs@gmail.com or write to the address below.

Houghton Regis Heritage Society
Charitable Incorporated Organisation Registered Number 1174720
C/O Houghton Regis Town Council Offices, Peel Street, Houghton Regis, LU5 5EY