Friday, 31 March 2017

£1million new homes kick-start boost for Houghton Regis, Dunstable and Sandy



Central Bedfordshire Council has been awarded almost £1million of Government funding to help kick-start regeneration on housing estates in Houghton Regis, Dunstable and Sandy and speed the building of new homes over the next three years.

The grant comes as part of £32million awarded nationally to over 70 organisations and marks a significant success for Central Bedfordshire, and the South East Midlands LEP area. Compared to other much larger local authorities, including those in cities, Central Bedfordshire has punched well above its weight to win this funding and its award highlights the Council's commitment to maximising opportunities to bring central Government funding to the area, for the benefit of its residents.  

The grants come from the Department for Communities and Local Government Estate Regeneration and Homes and Communities Agency Large Site Acceleration Funds, announced by Minister, Sajid Javid, this week. The money will be targeted on estates in the market towns of Dunstable, Sandy and Houghton Regis, to help connect existing and new communities, as significant housing growth is rolled out over the coming years.

Jason Longhurst, Director of Regeneration and Business at Central Bedfordshire Council, said: "This is a very positive move from Department for Communities and Local Government, the first time in many years that money has been allocated for regenerating some of the most disadvantaged areas in the country. 

"We are constantly striving to make Central Bedfordshire a great place to live and work and we have been proactive in our approach to investing in our communities. 

"We are already committed to providing quality, sustainable and well-designed homes to meet our growing population, in line with our emerging Local Plan, which is planning for approximately 20,000 new homes by 2035.

"This funding will put us at the forefront of innovative new approaches and new thinking around housing development, while helping us to improve and speed up the process in the areas of Central Bedfordshire that need it the most.

"Our focus is on ensuring we achieve integration between existing and new communities and to unlock growth opportunities, such as those in the heart of the Cambridge, Milton Keynes and Oxford growth corridor, while engaging extensively with our residents so that they and their children can have the homes they need and the security of a place to live."

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Spring Edition of the North Chilterns Chalk Newsletter












Thursday, 30 March 2017

​Football fans in Luton asked to Sign for Life as part of organ donation campaign



Inline images 1


Football fans in Luton are being urged to blow the whistle on organ transplant waiting lists, as NHS Blood and Transplant teams up with more than 45 sports organisations from top Premiership clubs to grassroots squads, including Luton Town Football Club. The Sign for Life campaign asks supporters across the country to think about organ donation and to be inspired by their club to score another name on the NHS Organ Donor Register as well as tell their family they want to be an organ donor.



Right now there are around 6,500 people waiting for a transplant across the UK, including 20 people in Luton. On average three people die every day in the UK because of the shortage of organs available. This situation needs to be shown the red card.



One organ donor can save or transform the lives of up to nine people. The goal is to get more fans, their families and friends signed by the NHS Organ Donor Register and talking about organ donation. If more families agreed to donate their loved one's organs, more lives could also be saved.



There are already more than 23,000 people on the NHS Organ Donor Register in Luton. NHS Blood and Transplant has joined forces with The Hatters to increase this number by asking their 12th man to help relegate deaths in need of a transplant. Fans are also asked to make their match day chat about organ donation. 



Kevan Platt, Chief Operations Manager at Luton Town, said: "We are really proud to be supporting Sign for Life and we are encouraging our fans and their friends and family to join the Organ Donor Register and talk about organ donation. There are around 6,500 people on the transplant waiting list, including 20 in Luton, so we are asking our supporters to get behind the campaign and commit to saving and improving lives through organ donation."



Anthony Clarkson, Assistant Director for Organ Donation and Nursing at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: "We know that for any football fan their support for their club is a lifelong commitment and passion, and one that they will proudly discuss with all their family and friends. 



"In partnership with clubs including Luton Town, we want fans to show the same pride about their decision to be an organ donor and tell everyone that they and their club are passionate about saving lives. Every club will have fans who are waiting for a lifesaving transplant. By joining the NHS Organ Donor Register and sharing your decision you could save lives.



"We are delighted to have so many clubs working with us. Together we can use our national game as a force for good, and help end transplant waiting lists and people dying in need of a transplant."



Clubs across the country have pledged their support for the campaign, which runs until April 9, and also includes football associations, rugby clubs and cricket teams. The Sign For Life squad includes Everton Football Club, Queens Park Rangers, Middlesbrough, Southampton, Stoke, Northampton Town, Bolton Wanderers, Preston North End, Brighton and Hove Albion, Brentford, Plymouth Argyle, MK Dons, Scunthorpe and Peterborough.



Teams will be supporting the campaign in different ways, for example, by including information on organ donation in match day programmes, via official club social media channels or on stadium advertising boards.



Fans can join the NHS Organ Donor Register at www.organdonation.nhs.uk/signforlife (http://bit.ly/2nhveqh) or call 0300 123 23 23. Let your family and friends know about your decision to be an organ donor. Join the conversation online, using the hashtag #signforlife



If there are other sports clubs in the Bedfordshire interested in getting involved in the Sign for Life campaign, contact partnerships@nhsbt.nhs.uk.
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Monday, 27 March 2017

​Parking in Central Bedfordshire - have your say on how we make decisions about parking





Central Bedfordshire Council is proposing to introduce a new set of policies that set out a framework for how it will provide for, manage and make decisions about parking, whether that's parking for residents, shoppers or commuters.

A well planned and managed approach to parking can help make our towns and local communities better places to live, work and visit. Central Bedfordshire Council is therefore asking people to have their say on how the authority manages parking and the priorities that it should be focusing on.

The Council has been considering the current need for parking, and is also looking ahead to understand what the region will need in the future, and so is consulting on its draft strategic approach to parking.

Central Bedfordshire households have a higher than average number of cars or vans, which is why parking is such an important issue. There were 157,000 cars or vans in Central Bedfordshire at the time of the 2011 Census, and 47% of households owned two or more vehicles (compared to 32% nationally).

Central Bedfordshire households have a higher than average number of cars or vans. There were 157,000 cars and vans in Central Bedfordshire at the time of the 2011 Census, and 47% of households owned two or more vehicles (compared to 32% nationally). These figures, together with the anticipated growth coming to the area, means car parking is an important issue to everyone in the region including residents, schools, commuters, shoppers and businesses.

Having a consistent approach to parking can ensure that parking in local areas can be dealt with in a fair and consistent way. Good parking decisions can also improving safety and the quality of life for our residents. As part of the exercise, the council is aiming to develop a comprehensive plan for how to manage on and off street parking; where more car parks are needed; and how best to enforce parking rules.

Cllr Ian Dalgarno, Executive Member for Community Services said: "It's very important that we manage our roads effectively, and parking is a huge part of this. As a councilor, I'm well aware of the difficulties and frustrations with parking, but this new approach to parking can help to resolve issues..

"Central Bedfordshire is an area where we are anticipating housing growth, new transport infrastructure and new employment sites, soIt's vital that town centres, train stations and residential areas can respond to this growth in terms of parking."

The results of the consultation will help to inform a draft Parking Strategy. When this is adopted, feedback from local area assessments in key towns will be used to understand if there are any areas in Central Bedfordshire where parking needs to be improved, at which point there will be further public consultation. 

Have your say on parking in Central Bedfordshire on
​line
 or pick up a paper copy at your local library. This closes on 16 June 2017.










Sales Office Opens At Kyngshouton


Persimmon are building a collection of 62 homes with 2, 3, or 4 bedrooms off Bedford Road, Bidwell, Houghton Regis. The project is known as  Kyngshouton*, although the main cul-de-sac road will be known as The Baulk, with a smaller off-shoot cul-de-sac to be known as Piggotts. The homes are being sold on a 999 year lease, with ground rents starting at £150 a year, plus annual  service maintenance charges.

Prices for the first homes have been released, ranging from £299,950 for The Hatfield, a 3 bedroom end terrace with 2 parking spaces, to £405,000 for The Warwick, a 5 bedroom detached home with 2 parking spaces.

A Help to Buy scheme is available, although applicants will need to fund at least 80% of the purchase price by means of a conventional mortgage, savings, and deposit where required.

Reservations will require £1,000 deposit.

The showroom is now open Thursday to Monday 11am-6pm. Telephone 01582 864136


* If you've lived in the town for many years but have not ventured down Bedford Road for awhile, you'd be forgiven for not knowing about Kyngshouton. This is the name given to a development in a field west of the old Red Lion. The developers, Persimmon, have based the development name on an old name for Houghton Regis mentioned in the Assizes in 1287(1).  The royal connection was added after Henry I, King of England, (c 1068-1135) built a palace known as Kingsbury on land in Houghton (now part of Dunstable).

(1) Kyngshouton - The Historical Gazetteer:
* See Houghton Regis Heritage Timeline 

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Neighbourhood Survey Reveals Answers From Less Than 40



At the Houghton Regis Town Council Planning meeting on Tuesday 28th March, there are a number of minor plans to be discussed. They will also review a summary of responses to the Neighbourhood Plan Questionnaire. Here are some of its highlights:

◘  Within the town centre people prioritise health facilities, banks and entertainment, ahead of takeaways, pubs and clubs, and hotels.
◘  Teenagers are seen as the highest priority group for facilities.
◘  In making the town safer to live in 'local police presence' was selected as most important, followed by more cctv, better lighting, and alternative activities for young people.
◘  People thought the type of work needed in the area should be manufacturing, technology, and office.
◘  People thought it 'Very Important' to protect heritage assets and green spaces around the edge of Houghton Regis.
◘  On sustainability, solar panels and waste processing were thought as 'very important' to be encouraged in the parish.
◘  The survey also lists a further 3 pages of suggestions made.

It is not indicated in the summaries available online how many people responded to the survey, but it looks to be less than 40. The amount spent on the Neighbourhood Plan to date is specified as £1894, broken down as  £1,725.40 on Consultant’s fees and £168.00 on questionnaire expenses according to a communication sent to HRND on 5 April 2017.

The survey appeared in the December 2016 edition of the Town Crier delivered to all households.

 The full survey can be read online .



Friday, 24 March 2017

Would You Be A Special Constable? Meeting April 3rd 7:30pm Dunstable Police Station

Bedfordshire Police's next information evening for would-be Special Constables will be held on Monday 3 April at Dunstable Police Station.
 
From 7.30pm, members of the public who are interested in volunteering with the force will have the chance to hear more about the Special Constabulary from serving Specials. The information evening will also cover the application process, from completing an initial application form through to the training received by successful applicants.
 
The Special Constabulary is the UK's volunteer police force. Specials work closely with full time Police Officers and Police Community Support Officers (PCSO's) both to patrol Bedfordshire's rural and urban communities, and volunteer in specialist units. After completing their initial training and once they have taken their oaths, Specials have a further two years of on-the-job tuition and support from experienced colleagues before they become independent.
 
Special Constables must be over 18 and able to commit a minimum of 16 hours a month to the role, although Bedfordshire's Specials volunteer an average of 28 hours a month.
 

To register call: 07590 465 193.







Thursday, 23 March 2017

Mums & Buggies Activities in Houghton Hall Park


Mums & Buggies activities in Houghton Hall Park.

Held on Wednesday 1.30pm and Friday 10.00.

"Buggy Exercise is an outdoor fitness class for parents/carers and their buggies. Classes involve power walking, non-compulsory jogging and resistance exercises. People are encouraged to work at their own levels. Please bring a mat to this class."

Officially you need to book up at:  https://www.ourparks.org.uk/borough/houghton-hall-park

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Local Charity News

CVS Email Update  |  22 March 2017




Central Bedfordshire Village Halls & Community Buildings Survey 2017 - Bedfordshire Rural Communities Charity and Central Bedfordshire Council are carrying out a survey to help inform future investment in community facilities and the provision of support services, as well as enabling an up-to-date directory to be produced. A full report analysing the findings will be produced and made available online. Click here.

EVENTS AND COURSES

The next Bedford Community Network event is on Tuesday 28 March (from 5.30pm) in the Council Suite at Borough Hall. The theme of the event is ‘Using Social Media, Avoiding Cyber Crime’. Booking is now open. Click here.

The next Bedford as One event is on Monday 3 April (6pm-8pm) at The Place, Bradgate Road, Bedford. The event will be looking at the emotive topic of death and bereavement. For more information click here.

Parenting a child with Autism or Social Communication Disorder - An evening lecture for parents and carers, Wednesday 26 April, Dunstable. Organised by Autism Bedfordshire. Click here.

FUNDING

‘Inspiring Volunteering’ is the Cheering Volunteering small grants scheme, set up to assist voluntary and community organisations to encourage volunteering in Central Bedfordshire. Grant awards will be made from a minimum of £100 to a maximum of £1,000. Applications for financial assistance can be made by any group or organisation, providing that the project they wish to spend the money on is located within Central Bedfordshire and/or will support primarily the residents of Central Bedfordshire. Deadline 7 April. For more information click here.

Masonic Charitable Foundation makes grants to registered charities which help people to live happy, fulfilling lives and to participate actively in society. They will consider supporting projects that tackle the following:


  • financial hardship
  • health and disability
  • education and employability
  • social exclusion and disadvantage

Small grants of £500 – £5,000 can be awarded to charities with an annual income up to £500,000 and can be used for core expenditure such as general running or overhead costs of the charity. Large grants over £5,000 are available only to charities with an income over £500,000 and can fund salary costs, specific project costs and refurbishment costs.
The next deadline for applications is 13 April. Full details here.

ESF Community Grants between £5,000 and £20,000 are available for voluntary and community groups with a turnover of less than £300,000 per annum, to support projects that help engage and progress those who are long-term unemployed and most distanced from the labour market. Activities could include:


  • initial help with basic skills
  • taster work experience including voluntary work
  • training, advice and counselling
  • confidence building
  • job search assistance including the provision of equipment and support to secure employment
  • first contact engagement activities

Applications open for funding on Monday 3 April and close on Wednesday 19 April. Grants will be awarded during the week commencing 8 May. Email comm.grant.apply@futuresadvice.co.uk to request more information.

Tender opportunity - Community Transport Dial-A-Ride Service: The provision of an accessible passenger transport service:


  • for Central Bedfordshire residents who have an impairment, which makes it difficult to use conventional bus services
  • which offers pre-booked, demand-responsive, door-to-door and accessible travel options
  • which offers a high level of driver assistance for their passengers 

Deadline, 12pm, 20 April. Click here.

OTHER INFORMATION

Cheering Volunteering - Have you nominated yet? The Central Bedfordshire Cheering Volunteering Awards are an opportunity to say thank you to those who give their time to help others. This year the Awards are sponsored by Biffa, Aragon Housing, Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, ProLogis and Jeakins Weir. Nominations close on 31 March. Click here.

Free furniture - Terrence Higgins Trust and Brook sexual health clinic at Broadway House, Bedford are about to merge services with the GUM services from Bedford Hospital and relocate into a new site off Cauldwell Street, under the banner of iCaSH Bedfordshire.  Because of the relocation, there is some office furniture that is going to be available free to a good home from the 1 April. Photos of the furniture can be found here. Contact Huw Williams (Huw.Williams@tht.org.uk) to reserve and arrange collection (between the 1 April and 4 April.)

Just What The Doctor Ordered: Five Tips for Charities Working With CCGs (Clinical Commissioning Groups). An article in nfp Synergy says charities are well-placed to advise what health and social care services are needed in local communities, and to suggest new ways of working. Click here.

Does your charity work overseas? The Charity Commission wants to raise awareness amongst trustees, employees and volunteers of the risks regarding cash couriering. There has been an increase in the number of charities having cash seized from their fundraisers, agents and representatives at the UK border. This is due to active counter-terrorism measures to detect and seize illicit cash – which in an increasing number of cases, individuals claim that they are carrying on behalf of a charity. Click here.

The Charity Commission has a YouTube channel with two videos for trustees:

Big Board Talk - Part 1 - Nick Mott from the Charity Commission and Jane Tully from Charity Finance Group discuss the questions a trustee board should ask themselves about their strategic plan and their financial health.
Big Board Talk - Part 2 - Nick Mott from the Charity Commission and Jane Tully from Charity Finance Group discuss the questions a trustee board should ask themselves about how effective they are as a board and whether they are making the most of their resources.


VACANCIES

Carers in Bedfordshire are recruiting for a number of vacancies:

Adult Carer Support Worker
Carers Cafe Organiser
Young Persons Activity Organiser (Carers’ Cafes)
Deadline is 27 March (10am). Click here for more information.

Green Gym Project Officer, The Conservation Volunteers, based at Bedford with some sessions in Milton Keynes. £18,000 per annum (pro-rata), 21 hours a week. Deadline 31 March. Click here.

Awards Manager, Bedfordshire & Luton Community Foundation, full-time (or 4 days a week), up to £24,402 per annum (pro rata for 4 days a week) + 5% pension. Deadline 3 April. Click here.

Finance Manager, Bedford Creative Arts, Part-time (21 hours per month), £32,000 per annum, pro-rata. Deadline 13 April. Click here.

Autism Bedfordshire are recruiting for a number of vacancies:


Support Workers - Summer Activity Schemes.
Team Leader – Loads of Autistic Fun, Biggleswade  
Support Workers –  Loads of Autistic Fun, Leighton Buzzard & Luton
Click here for more information.

Bedford & District Cerebral Palsy Society are recruiting for a number of vacancies:


Grant and Event Fundraiser and Co-Ordinator (20 hours per week) - This role will work primarily on the identification and maximisation of funding opportunities, both through grant application and event organisation. Deadline 7 April.

Gateopener Information and Support Assistant (25 hours per week) - This role will work primarily on the “Gateopener” project, which provides support and advocacy to families. Deadline 7 April.

Services Support Manager (30 hours per week) - This role will work closely with the management team to manage all administration functions including office/administrative staff. Deadline 14 April.
Click here for more information.

Paid Intern, Level Trust - Collaborative Projects Manager, temporary position for two months between July and September. 40 hours per week, £17,500 full-time equivalent. Click here.





BDF
United Kingdom


Community Voluntary Service
43 Bromham Road
Bedford
MK40 2AA
Tel: 01234 354366
Fax: 01234 214880

Email: info@cvsbeds.org.uk
Web: www.cvsbeds.org.uk

Registered Charity no: 1091423
Company Limited by Guarantee: 4312967

Thomas Whitehead Primary School Pupil Wins Bike In Santa Challenge

From left to right: Jane Salter, class teacherEdrienne Skrabala, winner of the bike Derek Smulders, Bike It Officer


On Friday 17 March, Edrienne Skrabala, aged 11, was announced as the lucky winner of the Santa challenge held over Christmas.

Skrabala from Thomas Whitehead Primary School in Houghton Regis was presented with a brand new Frog bike for the amount of amazing journeys she covered during the Santa challenge.

The bike was presented at a special assembly by June Salter, class teacher and Derek Smulders, Bike It Officer. Skrabala was delighted with her prize saying: “I am so pleased to win this amazing bike.”

The very successful challenge saw over 10,000 children taking part across Central Bedfordshire to make a virtual trip to cover 2,000 miles and reach Lapland by foot, cycle or scooting.

The challenge organised by Central Bedfordshire Council in partnership with sustainable transport charity Sustrans, aims to encourage more people to get healthy through making journeys by foot, cycle or scooting while reducing congestion on the road and improving the environment.

Derek Smulders, Bike It Officer, said: “Many individual schools made it to Lapland and with all school journeys combined; we travelled twice around the world! Active travel – walking, cycling and scooting – can help keep us all warm, happy and safe. It can also do wonders for our health.

“The Santa Challenge has shown us that these travel modes can be simpler and easier for all of us. Everyone who took part in the Santa challenge were winners, as they got into the exercise habit as well as reducing congestion on local roads and outside schools during peak times.”

Councillor Brian Spurr, Executive Member for Health, said: "A big congratulations to Edrienne for doing so well in the Santa Challenge. It is increasing in popularity each year and it's great to know that so many children are excited about making journeys by foot, cycle or scooter.

“Travelling by foot, cycle or scooting, are great ways to stay fit and healthy while reducing your carbon footprint, so well done to everyone who took part and let’s carry on making more journeys using our own power.”

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Tesco Bags of Help Funding Scheme Will Help Community Groups


The 5p carrier bag charge at Tesco stores is being used for grants to improve local parks, hold community events, support sports groups and more. The grants are managed by the community charity Groundwork UK.

You may already have heard that even more community groups across the UK are able to bag some cash for their projects. The Tesco Bags of Help funding scheme application criteria has opened up to allow for more communities to receive funding.

As well as continuing to fund the development of and activity in outdoor spaces such as allotments and community gardens, grants will now be available to fund the purchase of items such as sports kits, camping equipment, spades, litter pickers or specialised medical equipment.

Funding is also available for improvements to community buildings, for example a scout or guide hut, church or village hall or sports changing rooms. Groups looking to hold seasonal events and activities such as a Christmas lights switch on can also apply.

These are just some examples of projects that are now eligible as the green light will be given to many other schemes that meet the programme’s aims and objectives to fund projects which will benefit the local community.

To ensure that the programme is really local the number of projects funded every two months has been increased and there are new funding amounts – with £4,000, £2,000 and £1,000 up for grabs.

Since launching in October 2015 the scheme has awarded over 27 million to more than 3500 community groups  across England, Wales and Scotland.

> Apply online now.

New Constituency Boundaries - Have Your Say By 27th March

The Proposed new Parliamentary constituency boundaries

"Luton North And Houghton" - You have until 27th March to comment on the views put forward.

◘  The new draft constituencies for Parliamentary elections lump 'Houghton'  in with Luton North. 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.

◘  Notionally, pundits reckon the two enlarged Luton wards would go to Labour.

◘  The Boundary Commission proposed these new constituencies to reduce the number of MPs from 650 to 600 from 2018.

◘  'Bedfordshire South West' would continue as 'South West Bedfordshire' with new boundaries.  Houghton Regis, Sewell, Caddington, Studham, Whipsnade, Kensworth, Holywell would no longer be represented by the Bedfordshire South West MP (currently Andrew Selous)

◘  https://www.bce2018.org.uk/ lists comments made by local people during the consultation. None of the 14 comments from Houghton Regis side favoured the merger with Luton North. The majority of comments on the Luton side are favourable.

◘  Kelvin Hopkins, the current MP for Luton North spoke at the public enquiry in November saying, "I think what the Boundary Commission has done is sensible. As far as Luton North is concerned, I think we would accept and warmly support what the Boundary Commission has proposed. "

◘  Comments supporting or disagreeing with views put forward in the initial consultation are welcomed during the statutory four-week secondary consultation period, which runs until the end of 27 March 2017. To see the comments made, and to make comment go to https://www.bce2018.org.uk/

The unitary authority boundaries in Luton and in Central Bedfordshire that would make up the new Constituency.

People from Houghton Regis commented on the Boundary Commission's proposals:

A "There is no reason to move Houghton Regis to Luton north. Houghton Regis is not part of Luton and I do not want it to be. We are closer to Dunstable so south west Bedfordshire is where we should be. I am not happy with the proposed change and I know a lot of other people will not be happy either."

B "I feel very concerned to be included in a new area, North Luton and Houghton Regis. Houghton Regis is part of Dunstable and we consider ourselves to be Dunstablians. "

C "As a resident of Houghton Regis, I and many others abhor the idea of being part of Luton North. It is far better that we remain in the Dunstable ward."

D "From the areas outlined on the map of Houghton Regis & Luton it shows that my area has got most of the labour supporters in it whilst the surrounding areas will greatly favour the tories.
Surely it would be far fairer if the voters were evenly split, not favouring either side."

E "As a resident of Dunstable since 1964, currently in Houghton Regis. I was disturbed by the objective in government, of border changes effectively giving Luton domination over Houghton Regis. Strictly for reasons of the differing social attitudes between the areas... Finally if cost cutting is the objective, as quoted, then more would be saved by reducing the House of Lords numbers."

F "I live in Central Bedfordshire - not Luton Borough - and I wish to remain as Central Bedfordshire. If I wanted to live within the Borough of Luton, I would have bought a house there. I oppose the suggested boundary change."

G "I don't think Houghton Regis should be lumped into Luton's boundary, we are not part of Luton, and locals don't want to be.....we are on the outskirts of Dunstable and as such should be within the Dunstable boundary. Just looking at the map makes that obvious."

H "Houghton Regis has, for the last 40+ years, been connected with Dunstable in local and national politics. There is no natural connection between Houghton Regis and a small section of Luton, and the M1 motorway forms a barrier which divides the proposed constituency in two. This is why I think it is a totally ridiculous suggestion."

I "As this includes the whole of Houghton Regis, please at least call it "Luton North and Houghton Regis". I don't like the idea of our town's name being squished.
What is the significance of adding "BC" to the end of the name? Luton wards might be under a Borough Council but Houghton Regis is under Central Bedfordshire Council and I would like it to stay that way, please."

J "I do not like the new proposed boundaries as our little relatively crime free town will be put in together with Marsh Farm and Leagrave which are very very rough areas. Why can't you leave the boundaries like they were? I do not think with the new boundaries our town will prosper, just feel like it will be left on the sidelines to deal with all the mess in the other areas mentioned before."

K "Whilst it is understandable that these changes need to be made, I think it really needs to be considered on a local level.
Many residents of Houghton Regis,would closely identify with neighbouring Dunstable, and Eaton Bray as compared to the large almost city like town of Luton. Residents from Houghton both shop, work, go to school and such in Dunstable compared to Luton, mainly due to the fact that they are both considered small towns when put up against the quite lively hustle and bustle of Luton. ... I do not wish to loose an MP who excels at local, simple, yet important issues, rather than someone who must die with the issues of a town like Luton."

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Hazel Simmons, (leader of Luton Borough Council) and being the only responding resident from Lewsey Farm, wrote, "The commission's proposals result in a minimal amount of change to the two Luton constituencies. As well as moving the rest of the Caddington Ward into Luton South, it moved a smaller two council member ward - Barnfield from the North to the South. Luton North gains Houghton Regis.

Although Houghton Regis does fall outside the Borough it does have a natural affinity to Luton and follows natural communities.

Moving Houghton Regis into Luton North is a better option that putting part of Dunstable - which identifies itself as a distinct town - into the new constituency.

I therefore fully support these proposals of the BCE."

--
Kelvin Hopkins, MP,  speaking at the public enquiry in Luton on 7th November 2016, "I have to say that the previous approach, which was to put Dunstable in with Luton North, was, for me, equally acceptable to putting Houghton Regis in, but Houghton Regis - I am very happy with that; I think it is sensible, it is a contiguous urban area and an area I know personally very well indeed, and I have campaigned both in Dunstable and in Houghton Regis on several occasions, and I think populations are rather somewhat similar as well. We have Central Bedfordshire College in Dunstable, which
takes a lot of my constituents, so we are part of the same urban area, and I think that what has been proposed is very sensible.
A number of different formulations could be used, and I have drawn lines on maps myself to look at different alternatives, but I have to say that I think what the Boundary Commission has done is sensible. As far as Luton North is concerned, I think we would accept and warmly support what the Boundary Commission has proposed. "

Andrew Selous, MP also spoke at this enquiry, saying he was, " very sorry to see any part of my constituency removed; that very much includes the town of Houghton Regis." He then restricted his comments to a plead to keep Studham, Kensworth and Caddington out of Luton South.




People Have Been Having Their Say on our Facebook Page ...

Friday, 17 March 2017

Enjoy a Big Lunch with The Great Get Together! #TheBiglunch


Get together with your neighbours for a weekend celebrating community, commonality and connections
17-18 JUNE 2017


The Big Lunch is a simple idea from the Eden Project: that as many people as possible across the UK have lunch with their neighbours annually on a Sunday in June in a simple act of community, friendship and fun.

This year The Big Lunch, held on Sunday 18 June, forms part of The Great Get-Together weekend: a partnership with the Jo Cox Foundation aiming to get communities to come together to celebrate connections and commonality.

Since starting in 2009, thousands of Big Lunches have taken place in all types of communities, with millions of people taking to their streets, gardens and community spaces for lunch.

A Big Lunch can be anything from a simple get-together with neighbours in your backyard to a full-blown community event in a street closed to cars for the day.

Often a Big Lunch starts with a small group of friends and neighbours with an idea to get people together on one day in the year (it doesn’t have to be on the first Sunday in June).

With a bit of door knocking, word of mouth and a few flyers, the ‘founding allies’ can get it to snowball into a proper plan involving the whole neighbourhood.

For more information visit The Great Get Together website.

Order your free Big Lunch starter pack full of tips, resources and practical information to help you plan a magical get-together.



Park Manager for Houghton Hall Park





Houghton Hall Park is a 17 hectare publicly accessible park located centrally within the town of Houghton Regis. Thanks to an exciting Parks for People project, the park is undergoing large-scale restoration, and a new position of Park Manager is being created. 

Extensive landscape restoration works took place in 2016 which included the recreation of the original formal and kitchen gardens. Works are continuing with the construction of a new visitor centre, installation of play facilities and a host of community events.

An experienced Park Manager is now sought to manage Houghton Hall Park. This includes the new Visitor Centre (currently under construction) which will feature a cafĂ©, meeting rooms, interactive heritage area, retail area and office. The Centre will operate seven days a week and host regular evening events. The Manager will manage the new park team (Head Gardener and Activity Officer) as well as volunteers. Together, they will make sure the Park is financially sustainable by generating income from the Visitor Centre and the wider park area. The manager will achieve maximum visitor satisfaction by providing an efficient, courteous and helpful service. 

The salary for the post is in the range: £31,520 - £34,391 for 37 hours per week, permanent contract.

Further information is available by calling 0300 300 6112, by email to caroline.romans@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk from the or website at www.houghtonhallpark.org 

Closing date for applications is Sunday 2nd April 2017.

Houghton Hall Park Restoration and Renewal is a Parks for People Project supported by the National Lottery through the BIG Lottery Fund and Heritage Lottery Fund.








Wednesday, 15 March 2017

The Future of Townsend Court


You may have heard people talking about Townsend Court.

The unit is topic of discussion at CBC Overview and Scrutiny meeting on Monday 20th March, from 10am at Chicksands.

The following notes are cribbed from a 3 page detailed report:

Townsend Court currently provides acute care for older people who need support because their symptoms have become more challenging in either their home or care home. They get 24 hour nursing care, and usually stay in Townsend Court for between 1 and 3 months.

Anyone still a patient when the unit closes will need to be transferred to Fountains Court in Bedford. This is a 26-bed acute assessment unit for older people with mental illness that provides both treatment for functional illnesses such as depression and specialist dementia care.

Townsend Court will continue to be used.

By the end of March, East London Foundation Trust will transfer female inpatients from the current premises of Keats Ward at Weller Wing, Bedford Hospital, to Townsend Court in Houghton Regis. They need to be moved because the Care Quality Commission has deemed Weller Wing to be 'not conducive to recovery'.

◘ Townsend Court is situated in Mayer Way, Houghton Regis.

◘  If you have any urgent questions or concerns then please contact communications@elft.nhs.uk

◘  Read the full report from page 15 onwards

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

New Community Orchard Planting - March 8th



A new Community Orchard is to be planted out by volunteers, created as part of the public art scheme for Woodside Link Road, on Wednesday 8 March, 10am - 4pm.

The planting day will be open to all, and 60 apple, pear, plum, mulberry and cherry trees will be planted in working parties of 2-3 people guided by an expert. The trees will be labelled and the volunteers who have planted the tree will be acknowledged on the label.

The organisers say that the site will be made safe and the ground will be prepared so digging won’t be too hard.

Volunteers will be provided with spades, hot chocolate and biscuits on the day. Any volunteer is asked  to bring warm and waterproof clothing and wellies. Also, to bring along anyone who may be interested in joining in.

The orchard, will be located off the public footpath at the back of the Wheatfield Road surgery, linking to Frogmore Road.

Advance notice of intention to attend would help with catering. Please email Julia.Scott@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk to let them have numbers and preferred times, and any special requirements you may have.