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."


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

Comments Posted to Facebook : (you need to be logged in to Facebook to read these)

Friday, 25 August 2017

Fly-Tippers Present Our MPs With Opportunity to Work Together


Houghton Regis News Desk - fly-tipping

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

• 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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• 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

• 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

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Call to Stay Vigilant as Crime Rises By 10%

Police-recorded crime has risen by 10% across England and Wales – the largest annual rise for ten years - according to the very latest Office for National Statistics figures.

The figures show almost 5 million crimes in England and Wales were recorded by the police for the 12 months to March this year – up 10% on the same period in 2015/16.

Police recorded 458,021 more offences compared with the previous year, which the ONS said was driven by an increase in violence – police recorded an 18% rise in violent crime, including a 20% surge in gun and knife crime.

Jayne Pascoe, Strategic Partnerships Director for Neighbourhood Watch, said: "We have also seen a rise in burglary and robbery but we do need to be mindful that these recent increases should be seen in the context of substantial falls in such crimes over the last 20 years.

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"However it's timely to remind supporters of the importance of staying vigilant and looking out for each other and being aware of what's happening in our neighbourhoods – and shows that Neighbourhood Watch is needed now just as much as ever."

Jayne added that modern menaces are also behind the crime increase.

"What the figures do show is the widespread prevalence of cybercrime. That's why we're working hard on helping our supporter help themselves and their neighbours to protect themselves from cybercrime."

The official figures also show a 26% rise to 723 in the homicide rate, which includes the 96 cases of manslaughter at Hillsborough in 1989.
Interestingly, the statisticians say the rise in crime is accelerating, with a 3% increase recorded in the year to March 2015, followed by an 8% rise in the following year, and now a 10% increase in the 12 months to this March.
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Neighbourhood Watch volunteers still have an "incredibly important" role to play in tackling crime, says Home Office minister Sarah Newton MP. 

The Minister for Vulnerability, Safeguarding and Countering Extremism opened our Neighbourhood Watch Connect2Protect conference in London last month. 

She paid tribute to the impressive reach of the Neighbourhood Watch movement and called on supporters to find new ways of reaching out to tackle not only traditional crimes and also new, hidden crimes that cause so much misery and harm in our communities. 

She thanked volunteers for their help in reducing traditional crimes such as burglary and car crime over the last three decades and asked them to now turn their attention to raising awareness of cybercrime, domestic violence, child sexual abuse, human trafficking and extremism.

Last month NHWN hosted our Connect2Protect event attended by members, partners and key stakeholders from across England and Wales. 

The successful event kicked off with an inspirational speech from Sarah Newton MP, Minister for Vulnerability, Safeguarding and Countering Extremism detailing Government priorities contained within the Modern Crime Prevention Strategy and how Neighbourhood Watch can help with those priorities. 

This message was reiterated by NHWN Chair Lynn Farrar, who highlighted the way forward for the movement in light of these new and emerging threats.  Attendees also heard first-hand examples of work undertaken by volunteers from across the movement including support for vulnerable elderly people suffering from dementia in Kingston-upon-Thames, innovative partnership working undertaken in Lancashire and the growing problem of fraud and cybercrime taken on by Sussex Neighbourhood Watch. 

Following a morning of presentations, the event then enabled attendees to network, exchange ideas and best practice, directed by expert partners from various fields, including youth engagement, hate crime and diversity, to name but a few. 

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See the Powerpoint presentation for more slides.

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Working with Dogs Trust To Prevent the Heartbreak of a Stolen Pet

Dog theft is on the rise, and as such, Neighbourhood Watch and Dogs Trust are urging the public to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity. In 2016 alone, nearly 1,800 instances of dog theft were reported to police forces across England and Wales. 

Information obtained by Dogs Trust through a Freedom of Information request also reveals that gardens, closely followed by the home, are the most common areas from which dogs were reported stolen. Lee Paris, Campaigns Officer at Dogs Trust, told Our News : "It is a sad day when we have to issue these types of warnings, but with instances of dog theft becoming more prevalent, we want to ensure that dog owners are aware of the dangers so that they can help keep their beloved pets safe. Theft of any item is distressing, but when a dog is stolen, who many consider a part of the family; the experience can be even more distressing." 

The most common breed of dog reported as stolen was the Staffordshire Bull-terrier, followed then by the Jack Russell, Chihuahua and the Bulldog. But Dogs Trust warns that any dog, whatever the breed, is at risk of theft if left unsupervised. 

Lee continues: "By making small changes to the garden and the home, and by registering to a local Neighbourhood Watch scheme, we hope we can help reduce the number of dog theft instances. The message we want to get across when it comes to garden security is that we want to keep the dog in, but keep thieves out!" As such, Dogs Trust advises never to leaving your dog unattended, and has put together the following advice on how to help protect your dog from the risk of theft and what to do should the worst happen. 

Whether you own a dog or not, intruders should not be able to access your garden or property.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Oakwell Park Planning Application Refused As Building is Listed At Grade II

An application to redevelop an area that includes parkland and a county wildlife woodland site with a scheduled monument, and a house that is being considered for a formal listing with a Building Preservation Notice, has been turned down.

A decision notice has appeared on the Central Bedfordshire Council Planning website today, as decided on 28 July 2017, delegated to council officers.

A campaign was launched by Alan Winter, editor at Houghton Regis News Desk, in January 2017, and gained 350 supporters in the first week, with 523 supporters at the end of July 2017.

Of particular note to the "Save the Building" campaign, the refusal of the outline planning permission states, "The proposed development would also necessitate the demolition of the existing house at Oakwell Park and its associated buildings which comprise heritage assets with both intrinsic and regional significance which are currently being considered for formal listing and subject to a Building Preservation Notice. Demolition of the dwelling and associated buildings would result in harm to the significance of these heritage assets. The proposed residential development is in conflict with the principles contained within the Houghton Regis (North) Framework Plan which requires that development proposals seek to preserve and enhance the heritage assets within and surrounding the site."

Additionally, the refusal notice also says the development would have a 'major adverse impact upon the setting of the scheduled monument.'  It 'would result in the removal of a number of protected trees that are considered to have a high amenity value which would be harmful to the landscape and green infrastructure value of the site'. There was also concern over cycle and foot access as well as highway capacity close to the site, and lack of an agreement for 30% affordable housing.

You can read the full refusal notice on the Councils Planning Website.

Alan Winter said today, "All that remains for me to say, is, 'thank you very much for being one of the 523 that signed the petition. It couldn't have happened without your help.'

◘ August 2017 — Oakwell Park has been listed at Grade II by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media & Sport. It is therefore no longer under threat and cannot be altered or demolished without specific consent.

Friday, 11 August 2017

Fresh Start Catering to Operate Houghton Hall Park Café

Ground clearance at start of café building project

Central Bedfordshire Council is pleased to announce the contract for the Visitor Centre café at Houghton Hall Park has been awarded to Fresh Start Catering.

The café will serve a variety of local produce, coffees, hot food and refreshments for park users, and will also have the potential for hospitality catering and event opportunities.

Staff are currently being recruited for particular role opportunities and a small focus group will meet on August 31st to provide feedback for pricing and menu options.

Andrew Howarth, Business Development Director at Fresh Start Catering said, “Our philosophy is based around serving fresh, locally sourced healthy menus for all age ranges. Some of our fruit and vegetables will be grown in the kitchen garden at Houghton Park thanks to the Head Gardener.

We want the Park Café to be part of the local community supporting local suppliers and employing from the Houghton Regis area.

We look forward to meeting all our new customers in this beautiful new café and we very much look forward to opening this new facility.”

Houghton Hall Park is a publicly accessible urban park located centrally within the town of Houghton Regis. It plays an important role in the history, culture and landscape of the local area.  The Renaissance and Renewal Project, a partnership between Central Bedfordshire Council and Houghton Regis Town Council and made possible by National Lottery players through a £2.19m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and the Big Lottery Fund, aims to restore the vitality of the park, celebrating local heritage and improving visitor facilities to meet the needs of a growing local community.

About the Heritage Lottery Fund

Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about - from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. @heritagelottery @HLFEoE

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Take A Childcare Traineeship At The Kingsland Skills Hub

A traineeship could be your first step to your dream career

If you are looking to work in childcare but have no work experience, a traineeship could be perfect for you.

It’s just one of the opportunities that the Central Bedfordshire Academy of Social Work and Early Intervention is offering learners over the coming months.

Traineeships give people with no work experience the chance to gain vital skills both in a classroom setting and in a local nursery or pre-school.

Megan Rump started her dream of working in childcare by doing a traineeship and is now a year and a half into a two-year Advanced Childcare Apprenticeship at Downside Pre-School, in Dunstable where she will achieve a Level 3 Diploma in Early Years Education.

She said: “When I finished college I was finding it very difficult to find work. So, I went to 4YP, who are a charity, and the lady there was really helpful and got me on to a traineeship.

“I really enjoyed the traineeship – you get lots of support when you are doing it and I was with a small group of really nice people. I did work experience for two days a week at Downside and they liked me and offered me an apprenticeship.

“I would say to anyone thinking to do a traineeship to just have a go. It gives you a chance to see if you really want to do something before you get too involved.”

If that’s inspired you then our next traineeship taster day is on Wednesday, 30 August, from 10am to 3pm at Kingsland Employment and Skills Hub, Parkside Drive, Houghton Regis, LU5 5PY.

For more information, visit or check out @academyinspiringfutures on Facebook.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Will Your Road Be Salted During Extreme Weather?

When the snow falls, will you be able to get to work? And will the wheels of local business be able to carry on turning?

Central Bedfordshire Council is seeking the public’s views on the planned routes that the council (and its emergency services partners) have identified as a priority in the event of extreme weather.

A 'Resilient Highways Network' identifies the particular roads that would be given priority during adverse events, such as extreme weather. When extreme weather occurs (floods, storms, ice, snow etc), the main concern for Central Bedfordshire Council will be to keep these roads open in order to maintain economic activity to town centres, industrial estates and business parks, and access to key services such as schools, railway stations, key food shops, petrol stations, hospitals, police, fire services etc.

These are the main roads around Dunstable and Houghton Regis that they will aim to keep open:
View the full list
The consultation is open from 7 August 2017 until 30 October 2017. You can have your say by answering a questionnaire on the Council's website or you can pick up a paper copy from the library.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Red House Roof Issues - A Cause For Concern

By Alan Winter
Ridge tiles off, and clay roof tiles missing. This was the sorry state of the roof of a Grade II Listed Building in Houghton Regis this morning. The building, known as The Red House, is owned by Central Bedfordshire Council who say they will be erecting scaffolding "this summer".

Concern was raised on social media at the end of July by a former town councillor, Deborah Hamill, who wrote, "Went to the bottle bank this afternoon, tiles off the roof in places, fence down looks completely run down. The next thing you will be telling us it has to come down because it hasnt been protected!!! For goodness sake we let planners ruin our village years ago, lets look after what we have left!!!"

Central Bedfordshire Council issued a statement at the end of July saying, "Over the summer scaffolding will be going up around the Grade II listed Red House. This will allow us to carry out a full structural survey of the property to work out what needs to be done to retain this important asset and keep it safe. Once the survey has been completed, we will be applying for Listed Building consent to undertake works to prevent further deterioration, and will use traditional materials where possible to maintain the character of the building."

The Red House is owned by Central Bedfordshire Council and was occupied by tenants who were moved out, and the place was then boarded up as a precaution against intruders. The house been incorporated into 'Houghton Regis Central', a new development for an independent living scheme for older people. The main new building will provide 170 living units and will include the demolition of Red House Court in Clarke's Way. Residents from Red House Court are expected to be among the first to occupy the new building when it is constructed.

The Council are in talks with the Houghton Regis Heritage Society over the future use of the Red House, currently boarded up.  No decision has been made and the Council add that they will continue to work with the Heritage Society and keep them involved in future discussions and meetings.

Roger Turner, from the Heritage Society, confirmed on 23 July, "The Heritage Society expressed concern to CBC about the current state of the Red House and when we met with CBC recently, we were told that repairs to the roof will start very soon. Scaffolding will be put up and tarpaulins put over to protect it whilst work us underway. A lot of work will be done inside to make the building water tight and safe. The Heritage Society will be working with CBC to plan the future use of the Red House."

  • As you can see from these pictures, there are no tarpaulins up.

One of the ward's CBC councillors, Cllr Susan Goodchild wrote in response to points made on social media, "The funding for the Houghton Central development which includes the Red House is being funded from the Central Bedfordshire Council's housing revenue account. I am sure you are aware of the huge benefits that this provision will provide to our residents now and for many years to come. I am delighted with the work that the Houghton Regis Heritage Society is undertaking in having very meaningful discussions with Central Bedfordshire Council and supporting them shape to [the] provision of the Red House. Just another example of the amazing voluntary community groups which we have in our Town. It is helping our community to become stronger and hopefully sustainable in the years to come."

Planning permission for the site redevelopment was approved in November 2016 subject to various conditions about conserving the heritage of the area and site, protecting local residents’ privacy and safeguarding the boundary of the site.

Alan Batham wrote on Social Media in December 2016, "My mum n dad lived here for years when it was split into 2 flats. Its a beautiful old building, full of features and character, it needs some serious money spent on it to bring it to its former glory but its part of Houghtons history and should be preserved."

Roger Giugno, a local builder wrote in December 2016, "The renovation side of things although extensive could come in at quite a reasonable amount if local companies are put at the top of the preferred bidder list rather than bussing in companies from out of the area and competitive quotes are gained rather than using a select 'circle' of companies."

Darren Coleman-Heald wrote on 26th July, "At the rate it is deteriorating there will be nothing left to incorporate".

Andy Swain-y, on 28th July was concerned, "The question needs to be asked why on earth was it allowed to get in this state in the first place, there's only one reason why you let something sit and Decay you want it gone, it will probably look out of place when all the new buildings are in place so let's run it down have a survey and say it's in disrepair."

Roger Giugno was even less impressed, commenting, "here we have a blatant abuse by CBC of neglect and it aint going to happen. Councils and cllrs long gone have ruined Houghtons Heritage and this is one last remaining building that should be preserved."

Artist impressions of the house and finished development:

THE RED HOUSE- "Extract from Historic Building Assessment by Albion Archeology" 

The building comprises a 2½-storey primary range dating from the 17th century with a two-storey rear extension and a single-storey southern range.
The primary range has a 2½-bay plan. The half bay in the middle of the house contains a central chimney stack, lobby entrance and a circulation space at the rear of the stack. The bay to the south of the stack is slightly longer than the bay to the north. The rooms comprise two ground floor living rooms, two first-floor bedrooms and a landing on the south side of the stack. The attic rooms are currently only accessible from a hatch in the ceiling of the first-floor landing.
The two-storey extension extends across the rear of the middle and northern bays. It consists of a single storey outshot to which a first-floor extension was added in the 20th century. On the ground floor, it has been extended into the primary range with an open timber partition marking the line of the former rear wall of the primary range. This room is currently a kitchen and hall with stairs to the first-floor landing.
The southern range is a former 19th-century outbuilding which was converted for residential use in the 20th century. It contains a bathroom, toilet, kitchen and bedroom. Read more ... 

  • UPDATE 10th August - Scaffolding Goes Up.