Tuesday, 27 June 2017

CBC - #Kingsland "There Have Been No Decisions, No Deals And No Secret Meetings"

Following last night's demonstration at the offices of Houghton Regis Town Council, Central Bedfordshire Council have issued the following statement,

"We want to clarify the latest position on the regeneration plans for the Kingsland site following the protest at the Houghton Regis Town Council meeting last night."

"We want to reassure the local community that there have been no decisions, deals or secret meetings. "

"Central Bedfordshire Council started discussions with Legacy about the potential redevelopment of the Kingsland site. Although discussions are continuing with Legacy no decisions have been made. We are continuing to explore regeneration options for both the Kingsland site and other areas of Houghton Regis.  We are particularly keen to ensure there is a quality education offer for the area and affordable housing for local residents.  We are still working with Legacy on this. "

"To help us with this we’ve recently attracted significant funding from central government to explore opportunities for regeneration of existing housing estates across Central Bedfordshire including Parkside and Tithe Farm in Houghton Regis. "

"With this broader regeneration and development in mind we are looking at Kingsland in the context of the whole area. This is obviously complex and will take some time to develop plans, consult with the community and come to fruition. We realise the slow progress is frustrating, but it is important that we do this right."

"It has always been our commitment to involve the local community as soon as we have some proposals to discuss. "

"Specifically we understand that the protest group have concerns about the impact any development may have on the wildlife on the shrub land. We are more than open to listening to people’s concerns and we take ecological concerns seriously. At a point when there is a proposal we would of course ensure that appropriate environmental impact studies are undertaken by independent specialists. We will share the findings and discuss any issues with the local community. If there is a need to consider any protected species then we will do so."

"The meeting between Central Bedfordshire Council and Houghton Regis Town Council on Monday evening was a regular meeting we have with the Town Council to update and discuss regeneration. The discussion on Monday was about how the two councils can work together to engage residents in improving the areas they live in  and to use the government funding we have secured to improve Houghton Regis. "

"If anyone has questions or concerns about development issues in Houghton Regis or elsewhere in our patch, please contact us at Place@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk "

Kate McFarlane
Group Manager Business and Investment
Regeneration and Business Directorate

Central Bedfordshire Council Central Bedfordshire Council, Monks Walk, Priory House, Chicksands, Shefford, Beds SG17 5TQ
Direct Dial: 0300 300 5858  |  Internal: 75858  | 

Houghton Regis Town Council issued a statement last night 

"Due to health & safety concerns arising from a public disturbance outside the council offices tonight, the scheduled town council meeting is postponed. The revised date will be advertised in due course. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience caused."

From our Facebook Page 26th June 2017


Friday, 23 June 2017

In The Event of a Disaster in Houghton Regis, How Would Central Bedfordshire Manage It?

CBC has responded to HRND's questions.

The chief exec of Kensington and Chelsea council has resigned over criticism of that council's response to the Grenfell Tower fire.

No-one wants a disaster locally, whether it's a plane crash, a meteor, or massive fire, but the question is an important one that we'd all like to think that our local authority is organised for.

HRND asked Central Bedfordshire Council, 
"In the event of a disaster happening in Houghton Regis, who will take charge of the situation, and how quickly will you be able to put people in position to command, control, and re-house any affected members of the public?"

A full response has been sent by Marcel Coiffait, the Director of Community Services, on behalf of Richard Carr, the Chief Executive of Central Bedfordshire Council:

"The Council has a well-rehearsed Emergency Plan process and a range of staff specially trained to take charge at operational, tactical and strategic levels (Bronze, Silver and Gold); at the strategic level this is most likely to be the Chief Executive or one of the Council’s Directors who takes charge on behalf of CBC,  however we need to be able to rotate staff as emergencies can be long running. We are also members of the Bedfordshire and Luton Local Resilience Forum (and indeed we co-ordinate this body) which is a grouping of Emergency services, Councils, health, military and volunteer partners and we have agreed plans to work together and provide mutual support as required. We also train and practice our responses together."

"In the event of a disaster happening in Houghton Regis, Central Bedfordshire Council would activate its Crisis Management Plan."

"If the emergency was site specific then there would be an Forward Command Point set-up at the scene and each relevant agency would send a representative usually known as Bronze Commanders. This group of officers (from Police, Fire, Ambulance, Local Authority, Voluntary Sector etc) would work together to manage the immediate operational issues of the emergency."

"If the emergency was large enough a multi-agency tactical group may be activated and the Council would deploy one of our trained Silver Commanders to this group. Again with an even larger incident a multi-agency Strategic Group would be activated and the Council would deploy a Gold Commander to this group."

"Within the Council we would open up our Emergency Control Centre, which is the hub for the coordination of information and resources to aid the response. In the initial response to an emergency the Council’s role is to assist the emergency services, coordinate the voluntary sector involvement, look after people that have been displaced and look after the vulnerable. After the emergency response phase the Council would become the overall lead agency for recovery.

"To answer your other questions:

1.      Who will take charge of the situation – in a multi-agency response Bedfordshire Police would initially take overall charge of the situation and Chair a Strategic Coordinating Group of which the Council would attend. The Council would nominate a Gold Commander who would have overall responsibility for the Council's response.

2.      How quickly will you be able to put people in position to command and control – depending on the scale of the incident we would have a Bronze on the scene as soon as possible (we operate a 24 hour emergency response service). We would deploy officer to Tactical and Strategic Command Group also within hours of being activated.

3.      How quickly will you be able to re-house any affected members of the public – the initial response to any emergency where evacuation is required the Council working closely with the voluntary sector would establish an Assistance Centre of a suitable size and in a place of safety for people to initially go to. This would be open for the duration of the emergency. We aim to have a centre opened with basic resources deployed within 2hrs of the need for one being recognised. For smaller emergencies we often put up affected residents in hotel or B&B accommodation if they are unable to return to their homes that night. If people were unable to return to their homes and did not have suitable insurance, which would cover this and had nowhere else to go we would have to look into a medium to longer term accommodation plan."

◘ If you would like more information our emergency planning officer would be very happy to talk with you. Mark.conway@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk or 0300 300 4439.

◘ People can also volunteer to become part of our Community Emergency Response Team. To find out more about emergency preparedness in Bedfordshire please visit the Local Resilience Forum partnerships website www.bedfordshireprepared.org.uk

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Improvement Plan Lifts Need For Close Scrutinisation of Bedfordshire's NHS

NHS England has removed special measures on Bedfordshire's health body, after it delivered on an improvement plan to stabilise its finances and put the organisation on a firmer footing.

Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group was placed under 'legal directions' in 2015 after it delivered a £42m uncontrolled loss over the previous two years.

The 'legal directions' meant that a new Accountable Officer and Executive team was appointed and the organisation was closely scrutinised to ensure better financial management and corporate governance was put in place.

The organisation also increased its clinical leadership, appointing a number of clinicians, including a new chair to the health body, to ensure that all decisions were made with patients in mind.

Dr Alvin Low, Chairman of Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group said, "We are delighted that NHS England has lifted 'legal directions'. It is a resounding endorsement of the hard work and commitment shown by the Executive team and our staff over the last two years.

Much work has been done to steady the ship and strengthen the organisation, while ensuring that we continue to deliver quality health care services to residents in Bedfordshire."

In 2017, Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group delivered a surplus for the first time since it was created in 2013, whilst also paying back some of the deficit it accrued in the previous two years.

Dr Low said, "While this is terrific news, we need to be mindful of challenges ahead, especially in terms of managing our finances when our population is growing in size and need. However, this process has made us a stronger and more resilient organisation than we were before and we will continue to work hard to make a difference to the health of the communities we serve in Bedfordshire."

Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group is responsible for planning, organising and buying NHS-funded healthcare for the 441,000 people who live in Bedfordshire. This includes hospital, community health and mental health services.

·         BCCG is run by GPs, nurses, hospital doctors and other clinicians – the people you see whenever you come into contact with the NHS. All 53 GP practices in Bedfordshire are members of the CCG which is divided into five areas, which we call localities. These are: Bedford, Chiltern Vale, Leighton Buzzard, Ivel Valley and West Mid Bedfordshire and all of the 53 GP practices in Bedfordshire are members.

Monday, 19 June 2017

New Independent Group on Houghton Regis Town Council

Two Independent Houghton Regis Town Councillors have formed a group on Houghton Regis Town Council so that they can have representation at 'Leaders group' meetings.

The current mix of the town councillors is 6 Labour, 3 Liberal Democrat, 3 Community Independent Alliance, 2 Independent. This doesn't reflect the way the public voted in 2015 as some have changed the label under which they were originally elected.

In a statement Cllr David Abbott, Independent councillor for Tithe Farm, wrote on social media, "We have no fixed policies, and although we will discuss issues as they arise and will work in collaboration, we are free to speak independently and vote as each feels is appropriate.'

He added, "I fully expect that there will be issues where Councillor Ellaway's view will differ from mine and thus she will thus vote the opposite way, and likewise me, her. Further to this, I understand that our stance is almost the same as those Councillors who cooperate as members of the Community Independent Alliance. At least we, and I'm sure those in the CIA do likewise, are able to have a mature and mutually respectful discussion on what each person feels is best for the Town, but not be expected to vote a particular way due to some dogma imposed by a National Party agenda."

Cllr Abbott continued, "There exists within Houghton Regis Town Council a group that is non-publicised and extra-constitutional (meaning that such a group is not mentioned in any Council policy, terms of reference or Standing Orders). It is called the Leaders Group, where the leader of each political group has regular meetings with the Town Clerk. Legally, this group is not a decision making body within the Council, but it does meet and decisions are made, plus issues are discussed which then affect the agenda of Council and its committees. One example last April was the agreement to suggest to Council that a Working Group be disbanded. It is part way towards Cabinet government, but without openness and transparency."

"Councillor Ellaway and I are the only councillors who are not party to what goes on in this group as we have no group registration. Shortly after I [was] voted in as a Councillor in the 2015 election, I (as the only Independent at the time) put forward the view and argued that I should be entitled to attend and represent myself: this was refused. Thus Councillor Ellaway and I only get a précis version of what was discussed and any outcomes days, and sometimes weeks after each meeting."

"To me it has always been unfair, and I feel has put me at a disadvantage since being elected. Councillor Ellaway agrees with me, and by forming a group, even one that has no policies, no common view, and no requirement to vote a particular way, we have levelled the playing field."

Councillor Hillyard responded  "The Community Independent Alliance in Houghton Regis was formed at the 2015 election because the 3 independent members elected wanted to put the needs and voice of the local community to the council table and like everything lots of voices together are stronger than one. We are able to openly discuss issues arising in the Town with out any party policies and work together with others to find a collective way forward in a timely manner. Sometimes we will vote differently but this is rare, because together Houghton Regis and its current and future residents is our first priority.
"Party politics should not belong at this local level, it makes no difference to the CIA which "party" someone belongs to, we will work with any person/people to ensure Houghton Regis gets the best it can get."

For Labour, Cllr Martin Kennedy wrote, " All Labour Party members of HRTC have the interest of our town at heart. We are all volunteers as well. We aren't dictated to by the national or even the local constituency party -we decide, as a group of Houghton Regis residents how we can best serve the community. However, by standing as Labour councillors we give voters a clear indication of our priorities which will always be for the many, not the few. We are people who have personal experience of dealing with individuals problems in a variety of situations for, collectively, dozens of years. We are putting this knowledge and experience into our town because we are proud of where we live and the people who live here. Stating that you are not political because you don't align to a particular party could be seen as allowing you to promise all sorts of things without taking responsibility for the promises made."

Read more comments in context on Facebook.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Voluntary Service News Update June 2017

 Events and Courses
Summer Unconference - Tuesday 11 July, 10am – 4pm. Bunyan Meeting Rooms, Bedford.

Organised by Bedford Community Network, this is a free, delegate-led event for voluntary organisations in Bedford Borough.
An unconference is an unconventional conference which is organised, structured and led by the people attending it. There is no fixed agenda, no-one has selected the speakers before the event, no-one has decided for you what an 'Important Topic' is, and there will be no 'death by powerpoint' keynote speech!
If you have an idea for a session or a burning issue you'd like to raise then come to the event and pitch it, but you don't need to have all the answers!  If you don't have any ideas for a session, come to the event anyway, see what other people are suggesting and get involved!
The venue has multiple rooms so we can cater for several workshops and discussions. Once we've filled the timetable with all the interesting topics, you can choose what sessions you want to take part in and you'll get the chance to interact with others who share the same interests and to learn from each other.  The topics will be relevant to you (the delegates) because you suggested them.
Interested? Click here.
Running Effective Meetings - Tuesday 27 June, 9:30am – 1pm, Bedford - A half-day course designed to help those who chair or participate in meetings to understand how to run effective meetings that are constructive, concise and actually achieve something. Just £20 per delegate! For more information click here.
Tender Opportunity - Child & Adolescent Mental Health (CAMHS), Bedfordshire. An 'Industry Event' is being held on 23 June, 11am - 12.30pm, in Flitwick. Commissioners will be looking for 'innovative proposals to provide consistent access to evidence based interventions delivering demonstrable outcomes for Children, young people and their families as part of an integrated offer. The scope will include schools and early help activities, with a strong emphasis on service user and stakeholder engagement.' Click here.
Whitbread Plc Chairman's Fund – Awards of between £250 and £3,000 on projects fitting the three themes of the fund:
  • Skills and inclusion
  • The reduction of rural social isolation
  • Community cohesion
The fund has been created to support charities and community groups whose beneficiaries are from the South Bedfordshire communities of Dunstable, Houghton Regis, Leighton Buzzard and the outlying villages to the County boundary. Click here.
Merry Christmas! – Now is the time to start planning for Christmas! The closing date to register for The Big Give Christmas Challenge is 7 July. This scheme offers supporters of participating charities the opportunity to have their donation doubled when the campaign goes live in November. Click here.
 Other Information
Deaf drop-in service in Bedford – Deafconnect are running sessions every Wednesday, 10am-4pm, at CVS Offices. Deaf staff with an interpreter are offering help and support on a range of issues, including form filling, booking interpreters, benefits, housing and health. Click here.
Bedford Borough Council has produced a Draft Mental Health Accommodation Strategy, which is now out for consultation until 11 September. Click here.
Access2Books is a charity based in Bedfordshire whose mission it is to ensure that everyone has access to books. They take the most popular children's books in the UK and turn them into accessible books for people who have print disabilities. For more information click here.
Small Charity Week is 19-24 June – check out the website, which includes information on fundraising opportunities. Click here.
Changes to Data Protection law - Do you know what the GDPR is? The General Data Protection Regulation will apply from May 2018, setting out the main responsibilities for organisations and their use of personal data, including a new accountability requirement. Click here.
Mencap's 'Employ Me' program aims to develop peoples' employability skills through either weekly 1 to 1 meetings with an Employment Coordinator, or as part of a group session – whichever the individual prefers. Sessions cover everything from C.V. writing to health and safety, and anything else relating to work and the workplace. Whilst the ultimate aim is to find someone a paid job, they also aim to provide people with the skills they need to find paid work in the future, so even if you just need help finding the right training course, volunteering role or work experience, then Mencap can support you. More information on the Mencap website, but to make a local referral email david.muwonge@mencap.org.uk
The NSPCC has published updated editions of two safeguarding publications:
  • Standards and guidance for the voluntary and community sector in England designed to help non-statutory organisations put in place clear safeguarding arrangements for children, young people and young adults up to the age of 25. click here.
  • Are they safe?: a safeguarding guide for group leaders in the voluntary and community sector, which provides a range of activities, support or services, from arts activities and hobbies to faith-based education or community work. Click here.

Education and Learning Manager, Relate Bedfordshire and Luton. The post will be based in Bedford and on a 12 months fixed term contract. Deadline, 5pm, 30 June. Click here.

CLOSING SOON! - Young Carer Peer Mentor Coordinator (maternity cover), Carers in Bedfordshire. Part-time. 28 hours a week. Grade 3: £20,065 FTE (starting salary); pro-rata for part-time hours. Evening and weekend working will be required. Deadline 12pm, 16 June. Click here.

Families United Network are recruiting to the following posts:

  • Support Workers for the Saturday Club in Luton
  • Cleaner for 6 hours a week

For more information click here.

Youth Inspired C.I.C have two vacancies. They are looking to recruit a Tutor and a Support Worker.  Closing date for applications for either of these roles is 30 June. Click here.

17,000 Students Met By Beds Police School Liaison team

Bedfordshire Police's new Schools Liaison Team is off to a flying start; in the team’s first three months they have engaged with over 17,000 students across Bedfordshire.

The Schools Liaison Team was introduced to strengthen relationships with teachers and pupils at the 363 educational establishments across Bedfordshire. Through regular visits, the team has been educating young people on a variety of topics and giving advice about how to minimise their chances of becoming a victim of crime.

In May, the team engaged with almost 7,000 children and young people across Bedfordshire. Their focus last month was on delivering educational sessions about knife crime and youth violence and the consequences of these crime types. They continue to address concerns raised by teachers, and work closely with them to ensure they are aware of the work going on across the force.

Sergeant Ben Dimmock, who manages the team, said: “The team has been receiving some really positive feedback from a number of schools they have visited. This is great to hear and shows how well their work is being received by pupils and teachers across the county.

“Introducing the Schools Liaison Team is a long term approach to engaging with young people, which is vital to the work of the force. The team has now been up and running for three months, and looking forward I am hopeful that the choices and consequences messages they have been delivering will help deter some of our young people from crime and help instil confidence in the force.”

Monday, 12 June 2017

Go Karting Dunstable - Official Opening With 'The Stig'

By Alan Winter
An official launch event with invited guests was held at Verey Road in Dunstable today. The occasion was the opening of TeamSports 21st Go Karting venue in the UK. Among the attendees were Perry McCarthy (the original Stig), CBC Councillor Nigel Young (Executive Member for Regeneration), Cllr John Kane (Deputy Mayor of Dunstable Town Council), and Cllr Joanna Hillyard (Mayor of Houghton Regis).

Guests were treated to two 15 minute track sessions, and being one of the guests,  I can tell you that for a first timer, I felt it very exhilarating to be flying around the multi-level track at up to 40mph. I thought I was doing okay following The Stig, then he put his hand up giving the all-clear for everyone to go faster, and I got left behind a bit. If anything, I'm a bit miffed that Cllr Young had slightly faster lap times than me. I guess I drive like a sedate pensioner.

The Stig, from BBC Two show Top Gear, had fastest on the time on track this morning, but even his time wasn't the fastest so far recorded at the new venue which has been unofficially open for a week. Already, the company say they are off to a flying start with bookings that have kept them fully open.

Facilities at the track include meeting facilities, private party rooms, and 'Fuel - a fully licenced snack bar serving up a range of rustic pizzas, baguettes and refreshing drinks, just right for quenching a thirst worked up over a few fast laps around the track.

Drivers are fully kitted up in overalls, balaclavas, gloves and helmets, and given a pep talk on rules and driving practice before being allowed to race. All visitors to TeamSport can expect an awesome time, where fun is guaranteed. Newbies, seasoned pros and cadet karters aspiring to be F1 drivers are offered a range of race events making karting available to everyone looking for an adrenaline fuelled fun day out.

Steve Evans from TeamSport gives a pep talk to assembled guests.

Perry McCarthy - The original Stig - gives a few driving tips

"You drive this way", says Perry.

Cllr Nigel Young delivers a few key points about Regeneration of the local economy and welcomes  TeamSport to Dunstable

Dominic Gaynor, MD of TeamSport Karting, said, "We're very excited to be opening in Dunstable. It's a thriving town and we're looking forward to welcoming Bedfordshire residents and visitors to our new centre to experience the fun that karting brings."

Speeds on the track can get up to 40mph.

TeamSport on Vimeo

Mayor of Houghton Regis, Cllr Joanna Hillyard, attended the event and took part in racing with her daughter who is one of her consorts for this year. "It's so fast", she said, "and lots of fun!"

Award ceremony for the fastest times during the opening day event, presentations by Cllr Joanna Hillyard.

To coincide with the opening of the Dunstable track there is an opening offer of £25 per person on selected events which is valid until the end of June.

To find out more head over to https://www.team-sport.co.uk/go-karting-dunstable/

" I'm a bit miffed that Cllr Young had slightly faster lap times than me. I guess I drive like a sedate pensioner. " - Alan Winter.

Sunday, 11 June 2017



Do you live in Luton, Dunstable or Houghton Regis and have a child that loves football?

All ages welcome from YR2 - YR9. We only have a few spaces remaining for next years YR3 (U8) and YR6 (U11) squads

During the past few sessions all the children have had at least 300 touches of the ball as a warm up. We have then focused on 1v1s, Creation of space and awareness, passing and receiving and shooting.

✅Teams from U7-U14. - training saturday mornings and playing Sunday mornings
✅Access to Elite football for all.
✅One club playing Philosophy
✅Dedicated Coach for each team
✅GK Specific Training
✅Headed up By Tony McCool (Youth Football coach and Scout for Norwich City & 1st team technical scout for Bradford) and Kevin Gallen (Ex QPR & Luton Town Forward & Now Brighton 1st team technical scout)
✅FREE Training/Trials on 17/06/2017 & 24/06/2017 at Kingsbury Park, Kingsbury Avenue (opposite Ewe & Lamb on Luton Road)
✅Don't miss out on this amazing opportunity register now at www.2touchfootball.co.uk

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Application For New Classrooms At Chiltern School, Kingland Site #kingslandhr

 An application has been submitted to build 4 new classrooms on Parkside Campus (Kingsland) for The Chiltern School.  

The school provides help for pupils with a range of learning needs including

  • Moderate learning difficulties and additional needs 
  • Severe learning difficulties 
  • Autism and autistic spectrum conditions
  • Profound and multiple learning difficulties

Currently the largest class has 10 pupils but the average class size is 7 pupils. The secondary school was built in 2000s as an extension to the original primary school building, built in the 1970’s.

This proposed new building will provide 291m² of much needed classroom space to accommodate a further 24 pupils to the 106 pupils whom already attend the school.  The need for extra classroom space is derived from the school’s requirement to extend the provision of much needed Specialist Educational Needs facility serving the current catchment area and beyond.

The building will be created using 10 prefabricated modular units and will reduce impact on the day- to day running of the school.  The proposed building offers light grey coloured panel cladding with micro rib profile throughout.

The application form section 5 indicates no pre-application advice was sought from Central Bedfordshire Council and section 25 states that the land belongs to the applicant.

Full details can be seen on Central Bedfordshire Council's web site planning pages.  Application number CB/17/02558/FULL

Houghton Regis Art Town - What a Hullabaloo!

Members of Houghton Regis Art Town were at Central Bedfordshire's Cheering Volunteering event held at Grove Theatre on Tuesday evening.

This summer, Full House Theatre is bringing a programme of live arts events, performances and activities to Houghton Regis as part of Houghton Regis Hullabaloo. Watch out for them at The Houghton Regis Carnival on 8th July, and if anyone would like to bring a class along to Houghton Regis Hullabaloo or would like to host a performance or arts activities, then contact Fullhouse.

Taking place in schools, community venues and spaces, this brand new festival is a celebration of local artists and the achievements of local young people, for children and families in Houghton Regis.

Children and young people take part in weekly sessions run by trained practitioners every Tuesday during term time at Hawthorn Park Community Primary.

Coming later in the year is Houghton Halloween Tales!

Become A Community Ambassador

And there are opportunities for Houghton Regis residents to become involved in the running of Art Town as a Community Ambassador, including Arts Award training opportunities, the chance to be involved in running sessions and helping to shape the future of the project as a resident of the town.

If you live in Houghton Regis and are interested in becoming an Arts Starter, Arts Leader or Community Ambassador, please contact Fullhouse or call 01525 630783, or visit their Facebook Page

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

CBC And Legacy - Kingsland Options Still Being Explored

By Alan D Winter 6/6/2017 13:27pm

Central Bedfordshire Council are ​still exploring, with Legacy, options for both the Kingsland site but also other areas of Houghton Regis, too.

What's Happened So Far?

In March 2016 the Central Bedfordshire Council Leader Cllr James Jamieson, Rio Ferdinand and Housing Minister Brandon Lewis MP met at the MIPIM conference (a 4-day real estate exhibition, conference and networking event gathering 24000 international property professionals). They announced a 6 month exclusivity period where they would work up proposals for the Kingsland Legacy scheme.

After the 6 month period ended, the Legacy team explained their plans to the media.

On the BBC website in October 2016 it stated, "They will start work building 1,300 homes just outside Luton in 2017 at a cost of £400m in partnership with Central Bedfordshire Council and Aviva Investors. The players' current project will see 1,300 homes built in one of the most deprived areas of the UK in Houghton Regis, near Luton, with 600 properties currently designated for social and affordable housing." More announcements are listed here.

Where is Kingsland?

The Kingsland site is 22-hectare site between Sundon Road and Parkside Drive in Houghton Regis. 250 years ago an estate map of Houghton Regis potentially showed this area as a green space known as North Mead and Fools Furlong.

1762 Survey Map - Kingsland was shown as a green space known as North Mead, and Fools Furlong.
The map is held at the Bedford Public Records Office.

What's On The Site Now?

Today, about 50% of the site is developed for educational and leisure use, while the other 50% remains an unused green open space. Download Kingsland map (pdf). Within the HRN1 scheme it is identified for development.

Currently based on this site are a University Technical College, Central Bedfordshire College, Houghton Regis Academy, Chiltern Special School, Academy of Central Bedfordshire, Priory Parkside, Kingfishers, (the council’s Adult Skills Service) and Houghton Regis Leisure Centre.
Houghton Regis Academy

Several privately owned bungalows are on the site

Entrance to Engineering Technical Centre

Entrance to the Chiltern School

Leisure Centre car parking

Leisure Centre.
A campaign by the community saved the centre from closure,
and reopened a refurbished swimming pool

Edge of woodland. Deer and other wildlife have been seen here.

Pylons run across the large untended field

Floodlights over an unused outdoor football centre (red-gra)

The field was once used for a cyclocross event in 2015

Construction skills centre of Central Bedfordshire College,

Unused floodlight area. Cleared of weeds by volunteers for community use, but so far unresolved.

Large field owned by Central Bedfordshire Council, designated as development site in HRN1 plans.

The Kingsland site has been identified by the Department for Communities and Local Government and Legacy for development and regeneration.

Legacy, led by major sports personalities such as Rio Ferdinand, say they want to do something for young people. In a statement on their website, they say, "Legacy will put the community at the heart of everything it does by providing affordable housing and community services for thousands of families across Britain." Legacy is a development company fronted by former England football captain Rio Ferdinand along with partners, West Ham United midfielder Mark Noble and Brighton & Hove Albion striker Bobby Zamora. Aviva Investors are backing the project in association with development partners.

It was hoped in March 2016 that the Government-supported pilot project would provide education, sports, leisure and community facilities, plus a mix of affordable, social, rented and privately owned homes at Kingsland. And the aspiration was to integrate it with the existing community as part of the aspiration to improve people’s lives.

The Department for Communities and Local Government wanted to support regeneration in areas of deprivation. So why did they select the Kingsland site?

According to gov.uk the Indices of Deprivation 2015 provide a set of relative measures of deprivation for small areas (Lower-layer Super Output Areas) across England, based on seven domains of deprivation. This includes Income Deprivation, Employment Deprivation, Education, Skills and Training Deprivation, Health Deprivation and Disability, Crime, Barriers to Housing and Services, Living Environment Deprivation. The 32,844 small areas in England are judged against these criteria and then classified into varying levels of overall deprivation. Decile 1 areas are the most deprived, and those in decile 10 are the least deprived nationally. Two Parkside areas and one Houghton Hall/Tithe Farm area fall into decile 2, and another Tithe Farm area falls into decile 3.

Central Bedfordshire Council in 2016 were exploring funding options to ensure their costs were recoverable and no additional burden would fall to Central Bedfordshire residents and taxpayers. Financial viability was being looked at in detail and supported through expert advice. Central Bedfordshire Council have always said they would only proceed with the project if the finances balanced.

If the Kingsland redevelopment does not happen, the Houghton Regis North 1 (HRN1) development already includes funding of £21million for regeneration of the site.

No decisions have been made at this stage.

Central Bedfordshire Council have said, "When we have some proposals to share, we will engage with the local community in the development of these."

Save The Leisure Centre Campaign

Campaigning to Save the Leisure Centre on  the Kingsland site in July 2011
2012 - Action Group Newsletter

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