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


Thursday, 12 October 2017

Stop Smoking in Houghton Regis Performing Well and Above Target


A new Public Health report for Central Bedfordshire says that Stop Smoking Services for Houghton Regis GP practices are performing well and above target in regard to smoking quitters.

Houghton Regis Medical Centre had 68 Smoking Quitters in 2016/17 and the Wheatfield Surgery also had 68.

The Stop Smoking Service is looking to make support more accessible for Houghton Regis residents by delivering clinics in Parkside and Tithe Farm Children’s Centres on a weekly basis.

Universal CBC Services, including coverage of Houghton Regis residents: Extended treatment programmes are available to residents with a Mental Health diagnosis or COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder). The Smokefree Baby and Me programme is also available for pregnant smokers.
An advisor can be contacted free on 0800 013 0553 or Email: stop.smoking@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk 
http://smokefreebedfordshire.co.uk/


NHS Health Check


The NHS Health Check is a national risk assessment and management programme for those aged 40 to 74 living in England, who do not have an existing vascular disease, and who are not currently being treated for certain risk factors.

It is aimed at preventing heart disease, stroke, diabetes and kidney disease and raising awareness of dementia for those aged 65-74 and includes an alcohol risk assessment. Everyone receiving an NHS Health Check will have a risk assessment which will look at individual risk factors as well as their risk of having, or developing, vascular disease in the next ten years. An NHS Health Check should be offered every five years.

Currently GP practices are the sole provider of the NHS Health Check programme; however, performance varies. As patients are entitled to one Health Check every five years, Practices have a target to invite 20% of their eligible population each year.

Houghton Regis sits within the Chiltern Vale Locality in which there are 10 GP Practices; 9 out of the 10 practices deliver NHS Health Checks. Both the GP practices in Houghton Regis, Wheatfield Surgery and Houghton Regis Medical Centre, deliver NHS Health Checks. In 2016/17 Houghton Regis practices were the lowest performing within the locality, ranked 8th and 9th (out of 9) in terms of the number of Health Checks delivered and the quality of those Health Checks.



Public Health have been working closely with both Houghton Regis practices, attending the practices to deliver training and support them to increase the number of Health Checks offered and delivered. Both Practices have made significant progress since the beginning of the financial year (see table below). In the latest data, the practices were ranked 4th and 5th (out of 9 in the locality) in terms of the number of Health Checks delivered.

Achieving positive health outcomes is dependent on close working between local authorities and their partners across the health care system, including primary care. Identifying opportunities for the NHS Health Check to link with other programmes - such as the National Diabetes Prevention Programme - forms a pivotal role in future delivery.

About this report: This report was made to councillors at Town Partnership Committee, Peel Street, Houghton Regis on 10/10/2017

Houghton Regis Based Whitbread Buys Out Its Chinese Coffee Market Partner


Whitbread plc has announced that Costa has acquired 49% of its South China joint venture from its joint venture partner, Yueda, for renminbi 310 million (£35 million). This acquisition provides full ownership in this important growth market and is in line with Whitbread’s strategy to focus on key international opportunities.

Costa currently owns 51% of the joint venture which operates 252 stores in the south of China, including 93 stores in Shanghai.

Alison Brittain, CEO of Whitbread comments: “One of our three key strategic priorities is to focus on our strengths to grow internationally and today’s announcement marks a significant and exciting step in our ambitious growth plans for China.  We have enjoyed an excellent partnership with Yueda over the past ten years together beginning to build the Costa brand in this key market.

“The coffee shop market in China is highly attractive, with a compelling opportunity for Costa to grow its presence over the longer term. This acquisition gives us full strategic and funding flexibility to unlock Costa’s potential in China, providing a strong platform to facilitate future growth, enhance the customer experience and make Costa the coffee shop of choice in this fast-growing market.

“We remain fully committed to our strong partnership with BHG in Northern China and look forward to building our business with them in the years ahead.”

The South China business will continue to be consolidated in Costa and Whitbread financial accounts.

The purchase is subject to final Government registration formalities, with the aim to complete the transaction as soon as practicable.

The existing Joint Venture in the north of China, which is a 50/50 JV with BHG is unaffected by this transaction.

Houghton Hall Park Visitor Centre Opens To Public 12th October

Houghton Hall Park – Parks for People Lottery Project
Poster appeared on Houghton Hall Park Facebook Page Today, 12th October

Photo: ©A D Winter, Houghton Regis News Desk

The visitor centre at Houghton Hall Park, including the café, will open to the public at 10am on 12 October 2017. It includes space to hire for meetings/activities, a café, toilets and a heritage/discovery area for visitors to learn more about the history of Houghton Hall Park and Houghton Regis.

Four large natural play features have been installed around the park and will be opened to the public as soon as the necessary safety certification has been received.

The formal gardens are being well used and the kitchen garden has been very productive over the summer months. The gates from the main path into the kitchen garden have been fitted improving out of hour’s security.

Photo: ©A D Winter, Houghton Regis News Desk

Photo: ©A D Winter, Houghton Regis News Desk

A formal entrance gate from The Green is due to be installed. Volunteers have played a key role over the summer months in helping Jane Bonney, Head Gardener, to manage both gardens and it is good to see that volunteer numbers are increasing.

The new Houghton Hall Park team are now all in post: Rachel Orme (Park Manager), Robyn Godfrey (Activity Officer) and Jane Bonney (Head Gardener). They will be based at the visitor centre and within the gardens providing a weekday staff presence on site.

The park continues to host a number of regular events including buggy exercise and health walks twice a week and Xplorer events in the school holidays.

From last Sunday, a Junior Parkrun began to take place and will be a regular Sunday morning attraction at the park.

The opening of the visitor centre will enable the Activity programme to really be developed which Robyn will lead on.

Houghton Hall Park visitor centre is open as follows:
April – October
Monday – Friday 10:00am – 5:30pm
Saturday & Sunday 9:00am – 5:30pm

November – March
Monday – Friday 10:00am – 3:00pm
Saturday & Sunday 9:00am – 3:00pm

More : https://www.houghtonhallpark.org/home




Monday, 9 October 2017

Houghton Regis Man And Dunstable Woman Fined For Fly-Tipping in Houghton High Street


The scene of regular fly-tipping as reported to Biffa in June 2017.

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.

Both offenders were caught in separate incidents involving fly tipping at the now-closed recycling area off of Houghton Regis High Street. The area had two signs stating fly-tipping is an offence and that CCTV was in operation. Both offenders attended Luton Magistrates Court earlier this week and both pleaded guilty to fly-tipping.

Michal Zareba, of 3 Alsop Close, Houghton Regis, was caught fly-tipping rubble, boxes and bags on Tuesday 2nd May 2017. He was fined £740, ordered to pay full prosecution costs of £1059.00 and a victim's surcharge of £74, totalling nearly £1,900.

On Sunday 11th June 2017, Amy Parker of 36 Union Street, Dunstable and her vehicle passenger were caught throwing items, including a TV, from her car onto the floor. Parker was fined £723, ordered to pay £100 towards prosecution costs and £38 victim surcharge, totalling £861.


Councillor Budge Wells, Executive Member for Corporate Resources, said: "These cases are a great result. They demonstrate the value of our investment in CCTV and how these cameras help reduce crime, nuisance and anti-social behaviour, and assist in securing arrests and prosecutions.

"Our CCTV cameras assist with our zero-tolerance attitude toward fly-tipping in Central Bedfordshire. Our Environmental Protection, CCTV, Waste and Legal teams work relentlessly to ensure fly tippers 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."

The site has long been a source of local concern. It has been highlighted many times over the years. In October 2016, CBC Waste Services have contacted Houghton Regis News Desk saying, "We are fully aware of the fly tipping situation at this location and it will be addressed as soon as we have the correct personnel and vehicles in which to make the location acceptable."


The items that caused these fly-tippers to be fined:


Even in September 2017, these items were found dumped in the same area:






Incidents of fly-tipping should be reported to customer services on 0300 300 8302 or by email at customers@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk



Sunday, 8 October 2017

Over 65 Or Pregnant? Or Have Children Aged 2-8? Be Sure To Get Your Free Flu Vaccine



Stay healthy this winter and make sure you get your flu vaccine early this year to avoid becoming ill.

If you are aged 65 and over, pregnant, or have children aged 2-8, or suffer from a long-term condition, then you are eligible for a free flu vaccine this year.

Ideally, it is advised that you get your flu vaccine before winter (in October and November) to get the maximum protection.

From late September, the vaccine has been available and will be throughout the winter from various convenient locations such as your GP surgery or some community pharmacies (you do not need a referral from your doctor.)

The vaccine will free to all eligible persons; bought privately they can cost up to £20.

Dr. Annapurna Sen, from Central Bedfordshire Council's public health team, said: "The flu vaccine is one of the best protection against flu and its complications. The flu virus changes every year so it is important to get the updated flu vaccine every year to give you the best protection."

Councillor Brian J Spurr, Executive Member for Health and Chairman of the Health and Wellbeing Board said: "Flu is different from a cold — it can be much more serious and lead to significant complications such as bronchitis or pneumonia particularly in vulnerable groups like older people, children and those who already have health problems. It is worth also outlining that the flu vaccine cannot give you the flu, so it is better to be safe and get vaccinated."

Last year (between April 2016 and March 2017) there were over 1,790 hospital admissions in Bedfordshire due to flu and over two-thirds of these were in people over 65 years old. Of these, 145 died in Bedfordshire where flu was a contributing factor.

The flu vaccine is safe for most people and serious side-effects are very uncommon. Talk to your GP or community pharmacist if you are concerned.

For further advice, and to see if you qualify for a free vaccination, go to the NHS website for flu information.

Do you know the difference between a cold and flu? An expert explains the conditions, treatments and remedies available.













Monday, 25 September 2017

Arriva Will NOT Reroute the Z bus



By Alan D Winter
In addition to my online petition regarding the Z bus service that was withdrawn from Windsor Drive and parts of Parkside Drive, there was also a paper petition from a Mr Perkins who is not on social media. Mr Perkins has asked me to publish Arriva's response (not marked confidential), together with his own reply to them.

I have also asked for a response to the online petition, but so far none has been forthcoming (although it is possible that a paper copy may be in the post to me). AW—25092017.








Sunday, 24 September 2017

Overnight Fire in Field at WSL




At about 1.30am this morning fire crews started arriving near a field off the Woodside Link where a huge pile of rubbish, deposited by fly-tippers, had been set alight. An old van used to block a hole in the hedgeline of a neighbouring property had also been set alight. The landowners are Telereal Trillium.

Without access to the field — earth bunds and a trench have been built to stop vehicles accessing the field — the fire crews were unable to drive their engines into the field.

Mr Roger Giugno, a nearby site owner and builder, used a digger during the night to help the fire crews. He was praised by a fire crew this morning for helping all night to rake the field and spread the burning rubbish.

Fire crews were split between the burning van site and the burning rubbish.

The last crew left about 8.30am, leaving the rubbish smouldering in the field, and will send another crew out at lunchtime Sunday to check on things.


  • Around 6am on Sunday morning Roger Giugno posted this to his Facebook Group:


Link to Facebook Overnight Pictures and Story

FOOTNOTES





  • A protest had been called to move the rubbish off the Telereal Trillium field and onto the A5505 this Sunday morning, but that was called off on Saturday. Mr Giugno commented in a group Facebook post:
Link to Facebook Group



Campaigner Threatens Illegal Action If Landowners Don't Clean Up Fields

Waste Transfer From Woodside Link Road To Houghton Town Council Offices On 25th August 2017


Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Campaigner Threatens Illegal Action If Landowners Don't Clean Up Fields



A mountain of rubbish dumped illegally on private fields near Houghton Regis has erupted in a formal call for more illegal activity to remove it from the fields and deposit it on the public highway.

Outraged Roger Giugno, who owns a nearby property, has called for the landowner to start removing the rubbish by Friday 22nd September. If they do not, Mr Giugno who is a local builder, says "We will use excavators, dumper trucks and other vehicles to pile the debris onto the Woodside Link."

In the protest entitled Dirty , Peaceful Protest To Protect The Kingsland Wildlife, Roger says, "We ask that as many residents and protesters of our group attend, but in an observing capacity only and in no way do anything that can be construed illegal. I Take full responsibility for all actions I will be forced into."

The illegal action to put the rubbish onto the highway is planned for September 24th. The landowners have said, "We strongly urge Mr Giugno not to carry out his proposals as this would risk the health and safety of many individuals."

This video was filmed on 13th September showing the extent of the fly-tipping:



The Woodside link is the A5505, a Central Bedfordshire Council sponsored road linking the M1 motorway junction 11A to the main Woodside Industrial site of two local towns, Dunstable and Houghton Regis.

The area has suffered from illegal encampments. At the beginning of September new travellers parked up at various points along the A5505. Tip-up vehicles were seen from bedroom windows along Houghton Park Road, Houghton Regis, regularly depositing waste material in the fields. One is seen tipping in the Part Two video below.


A statement was issued on behalf of the landowners, Telereal Trillium, on the 18th September saying, "We are in the process of implementing a range of security measures to protect the HRN1 site from trespassers and this will include trenches, concrete barriers and bunding. We are in the process of organising for the removal of this waste. We hope that the clean-up operation will begin by the end of the week and we estimate will take a number of days."

In response, Mr Giugno wrote:











Should the protest go ahead, it is worth noting that included a message to his supporters Mr Giugno, has written, "The land ,the subject of the protest, is sandwiched between the Woodside Link and The Kingsland Campus on the Northern Boundary of Houghton Regis."

"The protest will entail using 360degree excavators with land rakes to transfer the waste onto the Woodside Link Road following the closure from both ends of the link road prior to the transfer. Up to the point of transfer from the Pear Field to the road, we are on PRIVATE PROPERTY and no action can be taken against us by CBC or the Police that are paid by Taxpayers."

"The issue remains a civil matter until such time as the transfer to the road commences. I would respectfully ask that it be relayed to any law enforcement officers, that the protest is intended to be a
peaceful protest and I have given ample time for all parties to be aware of our intent."

© Words pictures, and video Houghton Regis News Desk 2017.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Police Call For Witnesses To Sharon Fade's Last Movements - Murder Not Ruled Out

Investigation launched after body found in Houghton Regis. 49 year-old man arrested.

Police are appealing for information after a the body of a woman was found near Long Meadow, Houghton Regis, on Tuesday (12 September).

At approximately 3.49pm, police received a call from a member of the public reporting that they had found a body in undergrowth.

The body has since been identified as Sharon Fade, 45, from Houghton Regis. Her family have been informed and are being supported by specially trained officers.


An investigation has been launched by the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit. Officers are working to establish the circumstances around the death and are following a number of lines of enquiry.

Officers are now keen to hear from anyone who saw Sharon in the days before her body was found. She was last seen wearing light coloured leggings with a dark pattern, a light coloured t-shirt, a black leather jacket and blue, red and white Nike trainers. She may also have been carrying a black Nike shoulder bag.

Detective Chief Inspector Jerome Kent, investigating, said: “Sharon was last seen alive on Saturday 9 September, in the Long Meadow area. I am appealing for anyone who uses the open spaces around Long Meadow to come forward if they recall seeing Sharon between Saturday and Tuesday.

“If you knew Sharon and can give us any information on her recent movements, we would urge you to get in touch with us.

“We would like to assure the community that officers will be conducting reassurance patrols in the area and urge anyone who has noticed anything suspicious in the last few days to please come forward.”

Anyone with any information is asked to call DCI Kent on 101 quoting Operation Packet. Alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

£320,000 Allocation For Football and Cricket Needs Spending By 2021

The Town Council are to consider options for improvements around the village green. A football wall, 2 flagpoles, re-surfacing of the existing basketball court, a beacon, and a bandstand are all among the proposals. 

A decision needs to be made by 2021 on how to allocate £320,000 of Trico funding designated for cricket and football provisions; the money was allocated through a Section 106 agreement with the former employment site that used to make windscreen wipers in High Street North; town councillors will consider applying to vary the S106 agreement to allow it to be spent on other leisure and recreational provisions.

Members will consider how best to manage the Tithe Farm recreation ground car park going forward. Since 2006 the car park has been restricted to football and nearby residents.

Moore Park car park management will be reviewed. For 2017/18 only one game per morning and one game per afternoon will be permitted at the adjacent ground as a measure to help control demand for parking space.

Windsor Drive recreation ground is owned by CBC Housing Revenue Account, but its suitability for housing was recently reduced as it was removed from the call for sites process. The Town Council are to consider applying for planning permission for a sports pavilion there and would try to secure a long term lease on the site so that it can be kept for sports and recreation purposes. 

The placement of notice boards around the town is to be reviewed.

Envirocrime - Graffiti was on the minds of Community Services Committee earlier. Now the Environment & Leisure Committee are to be asked to agree to the grounds team assisting in carrying out enviro crime work and to make purchases of equipment required.

The Environment & Leisure Committee of Houghton Regis Town Council will meet on Monday 18th September at 7.30pm in Peel Street. The agenda can be downloaded from the Town Council's web site.



community day sig









Monday, 11 September 2017

Three Houghton Regis Off-licences Fined

Three off-licences in Houghton Regis were issued fines after a plain clothes operation in Houghton Regis to crack down on anti-social behaviour.
 
Operation Cloudy was run by Bedfordshire Police's south central community team and the force's Licensing team over three days last week. Anti-social behaviour related to alcohol consumption, particularly in the Bedford Square area, has been raised as a priority issue by local councillors and residents.
 
In response to the concerns raised, the force launched a dedicated operation which saw plain clothes officers patrol the area and gather intelligence on Monday (4 September) and Tuesday (5 September). The force's Cadets also assisted the Licensing team with an alcohol test purchase operation on Saturday (9 September).
 
During the operation, two off-licences were issued a £90 fine in relation to selling alcohol to a person who was already drunk, and one was issued a fine in relation to selling alcohol to a person under the age of 18. Details of all the premises involved have been passed to the force's licensing team who will consider if further action should be taken.
 
Inspector Craig Gurr from the Houghton Regis Community Policing Team said: "Alcohol related anti-social behaviour has been raised as an issue by the community in Houghton Regis, and as a result we launched this dedicated operation. If an issue is causing concerns to our communities, then we will work hard to address those issues and take action where we can.
 
"The results of the operation show that action was necessary, and we will continue to work with retailers to ensure that they understand appropriate legislation. This issue will require a long term approach, but we will continue to address the issue by working closely with retailers, residents and other partners including the council. We will look to repeat this type of activity on a regular basis."













Thursday, 7 September 2017

urgent - £50 Rewards For People To Take Part In Wheelchair Trials

 
The research is assessing in detail how wheelchair users manage to transfer across small steps and gaps between a platform and a train.
We'll be carrying this research out in a specialist research centre in Stevenage, Hertfordshire between 15 September and 2 October 2017.
The trials will be using a custom-built test rig to simulate a train and platform.
This is a big ask!
Due to the nature of the research, we need participants to attend 6 half day design workshops.
We're offering £50 for each half day trial session and will cover all travel expenses. Therefore, the total for taking part in his project will be £300 plus travel expenses.
We're looking for people who use the following types of wheelchairs:
·         Powered Wheelchairs

·         Self-propelled Wheelchair with small front casters (2-4 inches)

·         Self-propelled Wheelchair with large front casters (5-8 inches)

·         Attendant Wheelchair

Of the six sessions, participants can choose to attend from the following half-day slots:
·         Session 1: 15th September AM /PM  OR  19th September AM

·         Session 2: 19th September PM  OR  20th September AM/PM

·         Session 3: 21st September AM/PM  OR  22nd September AM

·         Session 4: 22nd September PM  OR  26th September AM/PM

·         Session 5: 27th September AM/PM  OR  28th September AM

·         Session 6: 2nd October AM/PM

Morning sessions (AM) are from 9:30 to 12:30
Afternoon sessions (PM) are from 13:30 to 16:30.


Rica is a national consumer researcher with a consumer panel – RicaWatch – made up of over 750 older/disabled people.

Rica were part of Which originally, and are now independent and carry out quiet specialist research.

This latest project is at very short notice outside of our control.












Sunday, 27 August 2017

Waste Transfer From Woodside Link Road To Houghton Town Council Offices On 25th August 2017


 At 16:34 on 25 August Roger Guigno posted this picture to his "Stop the Destruction of the Kingsland Wildlife Site" Facebook Group, stating, "Sorry Houghton Regis but sometimes direct action is the only way. If CBC cant arrange to pick a few bags of rubbish up from the Woodside Link then maybe they will collect it from Town Council"

At 17:25 On February 25th, Houghton Regis Town Council posted the picture (top) to their Facebook Page, saying, "Houghton Regis Town Council is sad to report that a number of pink and black refuse bags were 'flytipped' on our forecourt this afternoon. Not only has this caused disruption to our neighbours in Peel Street, but there is a financial cost to the Town Council of having this refuse removed by a professional company (please note that refuse collection and environmental services in the town are managed by Central Bedfordshire Council, and not the Town Council)."

"The refuse was dumped at 4.08pm on the back of a flat bed lorry and the Town Council would be grateful for any additional information on this matter."

Several members of the public were outraged by the dumping. Town Councillor Tracey McMahon countered comments that were suggesting the Town Council should remove it. Cllr McMahon wrote, "The Town Council are not in charge of rubbish collection. That is Central Beds Council. The Town Council cannot get the rubbish removed by CBC today, so are having to pay privately. Essentially, our tax payers are paying twice ☹️ The Town Council have as much authority to remove rubbish as you or I do. Ground Staff cannot remove it for Health and Safety reasons (you don't know what might be in there), and therefore a professional company will need to be used."



OPEN LETTER FROM ROGER GIUGNO

From: r g
Date: 27 August 2017 at 00:31:02 BST

Subject: Waste Transfer From Woodside Link Road To Houghton Town Council Offices On 25th August 2017

This email is not confidential and can be forwarded to any authority/person or persons that the recipients see fitting.



Dated: 26.08.2017


To : Houghton Regis Town Council



I would ask the Clerk of the Town Council to ensure this email is distributed to ALL Town Councillors and Central Beds Councillors representing all the Houghton Regis wards.



Further to the incident on Friday 25th August where by a very small number of black bags and pink recycle bags were deposited at the Town Council Offices on Peel St. in Houghton Regis, I thought it fitting and respectful to outline my reasons for the transfer and the events leading up to my actions.


As you are aware, I head the Stop The Destruction Of The Kingsland WildLife Site campaign group based on Sundon Road in Houghton Regis, and take full personal responsibility for the actions carried out on Friday. No other persons were knowingly involved or aware of my intentions, save the councillors and CBC employees that I had contact with during the hours leading up to the action, although our intended actions were documented fully during the course of the day on social media sites.



Timeline:   At approx. 11.40am I received a call from a local resident and campaign group member that there was a number of bin bags neatly bagged up and stacked on the Woodside Link Road next to the travellers encampment. The resident was concerned that the bags would be left over the long weekend and end up sprawled all over the new road similar to what has occurred in the last few months. The resident ( and myself at this point) was also concerned that the wildlife /foxes/dogs etc.would forage and rip the bags open causing potential hazard. The resident asked if I could contact the council and press them to get the bags collected and asked me knowing that in previous unrelated issues I had been very vocal and persistent and managed to get the council to respond far quicker than the normal procedures.


At approx.11.55am I headed over to the WSL and located the bin bags, approx .22 in number stacked in 3 separate piles. I took photographs of these and later put those photos up on social media.  I met with three of the travelling gents and we struck up an amicable conversation and I explained that I was concerned about the bags being opened by the wildlife etc. and they said that the Council ( CBC) had provided them with the sacks and they was doing their best to keep the place tidy.  We spoke about various things mainly on the councils lack of receptacle provision for their personal and work waste, we spoke about provisions for transit camps during the summer months and generally conversation that they probably very rarely get from residents of the house dwelling community.


Around 12.30pm two officers who I later spoke with, Geoff ( didn't get last name) from CBC environment division and his colleague her name I didn't get, was talking with some other members of the travelling families and I asked the gentlemen I was speaking to who they was. They explained that Geoff had been very helpful during their stay and they was complying with everything that he had asked of them, the gents I believe had genuine respect for Geoff and this was evident when I later spoke to him and his colleague.


I approached Geoff and his colleague after he had finished talking with the other gents and introduced myself giving him my name and explaining why I was there and we began talking in general about the travellers and the role he was playing. I explained about our campaign (albeit briefly) and about my concerns that the bin bags would be left over the long weekend and the problems this could have on the wildlife let alone the potential hazzard for the young children on the camp. In fact a new born baby boy had been born just the night before, which in any race /creed or colour is a beautiful thing.


Anyhow, as we was talking another CBC officer Ian Cottrall ( excuse last name spelling might not be correct) turned up and after introductions we began ( as you do)talking. He explained his role as being similar to a liaison officer and that he spends a lot of time with travellers and is welcomed by them as he has a genuine empathy with them and is not blinkered by the bigotry all so apparent from many members of the settled communities towards the travelling community.  He explained to me that he had delivered a number of bin bags and other items to the travellers days before and that they had done exactly as asked with their waste. I asked why the bags had been sitting by the road for 3 days and he said that Biffa was responsible for the collections on behalf of CBC and that they had failed to collect the bags.   I did state to him clearly that this was not good enough from CBC or their appointed waste contractor and that the bags needed moving immediate.  We discussed further and discussed the pros and cons of skip provisions for the temporary camps and he wholeheartedly agreed as did Geoff, but politics being what it is..............        we resolved that Ian would continue to chase Biffa to move the waste and prior to my leaving the site I spelled it out clearly to him that he needed the bags collected by 4pm or we would be collecting them and taking them to the council offices.  He was not taken aback by this statement which leaves me to believe that he thought I was just making a hollow threat, so I did ask him to give Howard Dobson from CBC a call to confirm that I would rarely make such a statement without the intention of abiding by it. I left the site at approx. 13.15pm


Having left the site I drove directly to Balfour Beatty temporary offices at the roundabout compound on Sundon Road. I went in to the offices,signed in and took a few internal pictures. I asked one of the groundworkers  if he could get one of the managers to come and see me. The only management left on the site came out to greet me and we discussed if the WSL now been adopted, which he informed me it had been by CBC, he also informed me that Telereal Trilium ( new owners since 2015 of Land Improvements) was now on site in preparation for HRN1 development works. I asked briefly about the problems with the landscaping works and the mess and waste, in particular large quantities of plastic plant sheaths dumped on the Pear Field.  He did not have any answers other than it would be looked in to.  The purpose of my visit was to confirm that CBC had adopted the road and were responsible for the waste collection, that answer had been forthcoming.


I returned back to Campaign HQ, some 300 yards from Balfours and immediate posted on social media pictures of the bin bags and a brief outline of the current state of play along with my statement that the bags would be collected by us and deposited with the Council.  The link to these photos and post was sent to  Cllr Susan Goodchild,Cllr Tracey McMahon,Town Leader Joanna Hillyard,Chantel England Houghton Regis Town Council,Karen Aspinall CBC,Stewart Carr Dunstable Gazzette,Alan Winter and various members of the public.   Had I had more time then more councillors would have been contacted but I do have a day job and was trying to juggle my own work at the same time. However, I would have expected ( given previous issues over the last few months) that a simple message or call to clarify the current problem would have been forthcoming.  Alas, not one recipient of my correspondence even acknowledged.


At 14.22pm further posts were put on social media reminding CBC/Biffa/Highways of the 4pm timeframe for collecting the bags. And a final post at 15.39pm when it was clear that the bags were not going to be collected. The final post reiterated that the bags were to be deposited where they would be collected immediate.  I arrived back at HQ and took one of my sons company trucks (without his knowledge, as he was not contactable) who has nothing to do with the campaign ,social media or any other issues regarding our group or the events leading up to the transfer of the bags to Town Council. I immediate went back to the site arriving at 4pm on the dot.  I commenced loading the truck and on completion went directly to Peel Street and deposited the bin bags on the forecourt ensuring the roadway was kept traversable and that none of the bags compromised the vehicles parked on the forecourt or the footpath that the residents use.


I am fully aware that the Town Council offices have CCTV installed and given all the social media posts and contact with councillors by me prior to the transfer of the bin bags, this really isn't the expected action of a criminal committing  the so called'fly-tipping'  that the council has themselves been partly responsible for due to the apparent apathy in helping a local resident resolve a simple problem from the outset.


On return to HQ I immediate posted on social media photographs and an apology to Houghton Regis residents for the action taken and explained the reason behind the action.   My sincere intentions and expectations from CBC and the very fact that I strongly believed that the bags would be collected from Town Council quicker than left on the WSL for a further 3-4 days was the overriding factor that led me in to this direct action.


I make no apologies for my actions to either CBC or Houghton Town Council as entities, but of course, I do reiterate my apologies to any/all residents affected by the action that was taken in order to resolve the problem.


One could argue as to how we have got to a situation within our town as to why a local resident and community member has to take this sort of action or the threat of action to get anything resolved. You are all aware of the pressure that was placed on CBC to resolve both the Red House saga and the Community Centre issue, and irrespective of who wants to collect a few more brownie points for getting CBC to act, you all know the perceived threat of action by our campaign group or me personally was instrumental , as it was with Balfour Beatty with regards Chalton Cross Farm and again now with Balfour Beatty on the substantial landscaping debris and poor planting carried out along the WSL.   From my perspective as long as the issues are resolved you can all pat yourselves on the back as much as you like.


Regardless the outcome of this current chapter, there are still many many issues remaining that I ,and/or the campaign group will as required become actively involved in, and I offer this in order to forewarn Town Council in order we hopefully can garner advice and help in pursuing these causes or indeed if the Town Council are prepared to resolve the issues themselves if possible.


 Kingsland Wildlife site apart, there is the pond area that is an utter disgrace and again CBCs responsibility, I am entrusting Tracey Mcmahon to forward through the correct chanels and process as she has promised to do so, in the hope of getting the pond studied prior to a restoration plan being formulated, or at the very least being agreed upon with CBC.. The footpath provision along Sundon Road which Alan Winter(local resident) has already (some 3 months ago) been on to CBC about. This stretch of road is a deathtrap in the making and makes absolute no sense whatsoever in the aspirations of CBC to create flowing cycleways.


Thankfully the 30mph signs( although very small ) have been erected on Sundon Road so at least the badgers and foxes may have half a chance of being able to get across the road without ending up road kill like the two badgers last winter. Temporary transit camp pitches are another thing that needs consideration not just lip service, as the consultation and call for sites in 2012 went nowhere adding somewhat to the issues now faced and amplified.  The ongoing off road biker provision again is another that has constantly fell on deaf ears and one that we will champion as long as required.   One,some or all of these issues may not gain many political brownie points and most certainly wont gain the support of the whole community, but what ever does.   This is just our end of the town and there are as many important issues and shortcomings throughout every ward in the town that need addressing with as much vigour and passion as is shown by us.......... to the extent where by I personally have my own head and hands firmly in the pillory now.


Uniting all of the Town Councillors in their condemnation of the heinous crime I am alleged to have committed on Friday is in itself a victory for our Town as a whole, and proves that when there is injustice, either real, perceived or exaggerated ,  that our Councillors and officers can stand as one. As a community member this is uplifting and positive and I hope and pray that the same unity can be achieved when the REAL issues that face our town start to unravel.


So there you have it again, honesty, transparency and the truth from my perspective.  What course of action Town Council decide upon now  is up to you.  I am personally responsible for transporting the bin bags to your offices and any action you take should be against me and me alone if that is what you decide upon.  Unless the Council (and taxpayer) has been ripped off ( same as they was with the church wall rebuild) then I hardly expect the cost for removing the bags would have run to much more than £150 and had Biffa collected them then I doubt Town Council has any charge of considerable amount as portrayed on your social media posts. In fact probably more time was spent by Town Council on social media and printing posters about the alleged crime, than it would have taken to place the bags in to the council bins.


Finally, as you may be aware ( as many community members are not) the CBC Community Consultation Day is set for this coming Wednesday 10am till 7pm.  I would like to reiterate that in no way should the events of Friday overshadow or detract from this important event.  I have been in constant touch with Jason Longhurst from CBC and again given him assurances of our commitment to see the event engage as many people as possible and to ensure that the consultation is conducted fairly,openly and with transparency.  We have a fantastic opportunity to really turn the unwanted developments in this town on their head if, as a community with a Town Council fully behind us sing from the same hymn sheet.      



Many thanks



Roger G Giugno

c/o Stop The Destruction Of The Kingsland WildLife Site Campaign Group

Sundon Road,

Houghton Regis

Beds.
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Monday, 21 August 2017

STAYING SECURE ONLINE: Simple Advice From Cyber Aware

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The key behaviours to help you improve your online security are:

Install the latest software and app updates

• They contain vital security updates which help protect your device from viruses and hackers
• Security updates are designed to fix weaknesses in software and apps which could be used by hackers to attack your device. Installing them as soon as possible helps to keep your device secure
• You can choose to install updates at night when you are asleep and your device is plugged in or set your mobile or tablet to automatically update your apps when you are connected to Wi-Fi and an update is available
• You can also set laptops and desktops to automatically install software updates when an update is available

Use a strong, separate password for your email account (you can use three random words or numbers to create a strong password).
• Hackers can use your email to access many of your personal accounts, by asking for you password to be reset, and find out personal information, such as your bank details, address or date of birth, leaving you vulnerable to identity theft or fraud
• Having strong, separate passwords for your most important accounts means that if hackers steal your password for one of your less important accounts, they can't use it to access your most important ones
• Make sure your password is easy for you to remember, but not easy for others to guess e.g. Pa55word may follow the rules of using letters and symbols but is well known amongst hackers as a common password
• Don't use words which would be easy to discover from your social media accounts, such as your child's name or favourite sports team
Other behaviours which can help keep you secure online include:
Secure your tablet or smartphone with a screen lock
• Give your device an extra layer of security by setting it to lock when you aren't using it
• Screen locks provide an extra layer of security to your device, as each time you want to unlock it or turn it on, you will need to enter a PIN, pattern, password or fingerprint
• This means if someone gets hold of your device they can't access the data on your device without entering your password, pattern, PIN or fingerprint

Always back-up your most important data
• Safeguard your most important data such as your photos and key documents by backing them up to an external hard drive or a cloud-based storage system
• If your device is infected by a virus or accessed by a hacker, your data may be damaged or deleted, which means you won't be able to access it. Backing up your data means you have another copy of it, which you can access
Final tips:
• Remember that spammers could also gain access to a friend's account, so if you get an uncharacteristic email containing a link from a friend, do not click on it but find another way of contacting them to check that the message is genuine.
• Leave a website if you feel suspicious – if the site doesn't look or 'feel' right, if there is text that doesn't appear to have any purpose or doesn't tie in with the rest of the site, or if you feel uneasy for any reason.
• Regularly check your social media privacy settings to control exactly what you're sharing with whom.
• If you're going away on holiday, don't advertise it on social media!
• If you use a wireless network at home, password-protect it.

These simple steps can go a long way to helping you to stay secure online. 

For more information visit https://www.cyberaware.gov.uk

PHONE CALLS:
• Unexpected calls where the fraudsters claim to be officials asking for bank details or advance payment OR from a computer company asking for computer access to take
your data
- Genuine staff will never unexpectedly call asking for bank details or advance payment OR to fix your computer
• Fraudsters are rehearsed and seem very genuine

What to do when you receive a call:
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ROMANCE FRAUD:
• When you meet someone online, once they have your trust they may ask you for money
• They may say they need medical help or that they need money to visit

What to do -
- Never send money to someone you don't know
- Only use a reputable online dating service

INVESTMENT FRAUD:
• Forceful calls made unexpectedly offering investment opportunity
• The customer is unlikely to gain financial returns

What to do -
- Be sceptical of unexpected calls offering investments
- Seek independent advice before an investment