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Showing posts from June, 2018

Are you a hoarder? Hoarding can Contribute to Fire Risks

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by Guest writer, Mark Hustwitt (Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, Communications and Engagement Manager, Bedfordshire)

It is estimated that there are over 7,000 people in Bedfordshire who hoard their possessions and clutter their homes. Hoarding increases the risk of fires to both the person living there and to firefighters who might need to assist if a fire breaks out.



Between 2% and 5% of adults have hoarding disorder symptoms. These can start in the teenage years and become more problematic in older age. How items are organised separates a "collection" from “hoarding”. Collections are well-ordered and easily accessible, a hoard is usually disorganised, items take up a lot of space making the room largely inaccessible.



Most of the possessions that accumulate in hoarders homes are combustible, such as newspapers, magazines, cardboard boxes etc.  These items will provide a ready supply of fuel for any fire that may start in the hoarder’s home, causing the fire to rapidly…

Eastern Woodland of Park Needs Volunteers to Help Weed it.

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Volunteers will soon be clearing comfrey and hogweed from around the sculpture in the Eastern Woodland of Houghton Hall Park. 

The metal pattern buried into the ground is always a talking point when strangers walk around the eastern wood for the first time. The precise origin of the sculpture and its significance is unknown, so if you are able to enlighten us all, or spin a plausible yarn, please contact HRND.


The comfrey is currently around 5 ft tall, and these autumnal pictures show how it ought to look.

Another task that needs doing is the hand-pulling of nettles and comfrey from the other side of the path.

The volunteer organiser of Friends of Houghton Hall Park will be providing tools to make the task easier and the usual tea, coffee and snacks will be provided.  There is plenty to clear, and volunteers are requested to bring a packed lunch if staying from 10.am until till 3pm.  The group meet at 10am in the car park as usual, on Sunday, July 1st.

To join in with the volunteers …

Bedfordshire Policing - Diversity in Place, but Funding Needs To Be Fairer

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Local MP, Andrew Selous, raised a question in Parliament on 14 June asking for an urgent debate on fairer funding for the police.

"May we have an urgent debate on the Home Office’s very welcome but seriously overdue commitment to move to a fairer funding formula for the police? Back in 2004, damping was brought in, which means that many police forces such as Bedfordshire received millions of pounds less than the national funding formula says they should get. In Bedfordshire, that equates to 90 police officers. May I ask the Leader of the House to convey to the Prime Minister and the Chancellor, as well as to the Home Secretary, the real anger on this issue of the people of Bedfordshire at the way their police force is underfunded by this unfair issue of damping?"

Andrea Leadsom, Leader of the House of Commons, responded promising the Government would "reflect on all evidence" in the next spending review.

Earlier this month, Policing Minister Nick Hurd declared his…

Sexual Health Services, And One Third of GP Phlebotomy and Dermatology Moving to The Mall, Luton

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Luton Sexual Health Services will move from the Luton & Dunstable Hospital to a new location in Arndale House, The Mall, Luton in June 2018. GP Phlebotomy and Dermatology outpatient services are due to move shortly after this.


Arndale House is a 5 story building situated on top of the shopping mall in Luton. It has a discreet
entrance and parking adjacent to the entrance. There is disabled access in the building. It is 3.8 miles
by road from the Luton & Dunstable Hospital and 3 miles by foot.

The intention is that approximately 33% of the total phlebotomy service will move to Arndale House; this is the adult GP phlebotomy and anticoagulation service only. Approximately 12,000 bloods per month will remain on the hospital site, these include: o Inpatient bloods o Outpatient bloods (one stop clinics) including bariatric bloods o Pre-admission bloods o Haematology bloods o new anticoagulation activity o all paediatric outpatient bloods o blood tests for patients requiring NHS tran…

Bedfordshire Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2018

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HM The Queen’s Birthday Honours List for 2018 has been announced and includes twelve Bedfordshire recipients. Those who have been successful are as follows:

Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE)
Mr Nicholas HOUGHTON CBE (Bedford)
Deputy Director, International Tax Policy & Structure, HM Revenue and Customs
For services to International Tax Development and Promoting Overseas Investment in the UK

Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE)
Professor Peter Leslie CHIODINI OBE (Bedford)
Consultant Parasitologist, The Hospital for Tropical Diseases
For services to Parasitology and Malaria

Mr Robert John DAVIS OBE (Bedford)
Governor, HM Prison Belmarsh
For services to HM Prison and Probation Service

Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE)
Mr Peter John COWAN MBE (Luton)
For services to the community in Luton, Bedfordshire

Mr Paul Frederick DODDS MBE (Central Bedfordshire)
Training Manager, WorldSkills UK
For services to the WorldSkills Competition

Mr David Jam…

Don't Risk Using An Unregistered Electrician

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By Mark Hustwitt (Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, Communications and Engagement Manager, Bedfordshire)

One in five residents in the East of England are likely to hire an unregistered electrician, for the purpose of saving money, a recent survey found, don’t be one of them!

The national survey, by Electrical Safety First, asked people to choose between hiring a registered electrician and an unregistered electrician to fit new wiring or install a new fuse box in their homes. This type of work can lead to catastrophic consequences if done incorrectly, including lethal electric shock or fire. Twenty-one per cent admitted they would choose an unregistered electrician for a cash saving.

The Charity also asked local residents how significant the saving would have to be for them to choose an unregistered professional. More than a third (38%) said they’d be happy with a saving of anything under £100. More alarmingly, national findings reveal some people would be prepared to risk the elec…

Houghton Regis Neighbourhood Plan – June 2018 Update

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By David Gibbons, chair Houghton Regis Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group
Houghton Regis Neighbourhood Plan – June 2018 Following feedback of the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group meeting held on the 18th April 2018, it was decided that in order to promote the plan further, two public meetings would be held on the 18th May 2018, one in the afternoon and one in the evening.

Posters were displayed in the Town Council’s noticeboard, invites were sent to over 100 contacts (those who had expressed an interest in the progress of the plan). Facebook, Twitter and Instagram were also used to promote the meetings. In total 23 people attended the meetings. This figure may seem disappointing, however, the conversations around those topics were identified as being key to the plan, were very valuable and those who attended really engaged.

What now? Well, the survey closed on the 31st May 2018. We have had nearly 600 responses, which when you consider this is 3 ½ % of the Town, this is a good number.…

Toddington M1 Junction 12 Fly-Tipped Rubbish #flytip #J12

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This used to be a nice place for a walk. Now you cannot pass through.





Beneath Britain's busiest motorway, the M1, through delightful rural Bedfordshire, this amazing pile of rubbish was deposited over a 2 week period that ended on 5th June with travellers being evicted from the site. The site entrance was subsequently guarded by security with dogs on that Tuesday afternoon.



Persons from the travelling fraternity entered Highways England land at motorway junction M1, at Toddington. For almost two weeks caravans were illegally encamped on Highways England property.  As was witnessed on Friday, 1st June, tipper truck after tipper truck arrived and entered through a locked gate managed by the travelling community and went on to deposit rubbish in the footpath tunnels that burrow under the M1 motorway.




The tunnels form part of public footpath FP34, Toddington towards Harlington. See map.




PetitionMake entering and occupying land without consent a criminal offence


Rubbish seen here is pi…

Micro:Bits - Borrow Them From The Library and get Coding!

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Local libraries are to bring in an exciting new addition from 5 June. Central Bedfordshire Libraries are to get a stash of micro:bits to borrow.

Micro:bits in Libraries is part of an ambitious project to inspire a new generation of digital pioneers – supporting young people to flex their digital muscles and develop the coding skills they’ll need for so many careers in the future.

The micro:bit is a tiny programmable computer, designed to make learning and teaching easy and fun. It’s a fantastic way to introduce kids to coding and programming, with lights, buttons and sensors to program. It can be coded from any web browser in coding languages Blocks, Javascript, Python, Scratch and more; no software required.

You can find out more about the micro:bit on the official micro:bit website, which is where you will find projects and get ideas on what you can do with a micro:bit.

The micro:bits in the libraries can be borrowed for three weeks, just like a book, free of charge. Look out for t…

Volunteers Cheered At Annual Awards Event

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Hundreds of people turned out at the Grove Theatre in Dunstable on Tuesday evening to celebrate the inspiring achievements of Central Bedfordshire’s volunteers.

The occasion was the fourth Cheering Volunteering awards and celebration evening that the Central Bedfordshire Council has organised. The Council worked in partnership with the Volunteer Centres as part of Central Bedfordshire Together, and sponsored by Biffa, Pro Logis, Aragon, Jeakins Weir and Beds Fire and Rescue Service.

The winners and highly commended in each category were:

Young Volunteer of the Year: Winner – Grace Smart (fundraiser for Road Victims Trust, CHUMS and BRAKE); Highly commended – Amy Wiggett (Girl Guides) Josh Gale (Mental Health Ambassador)

Volunteer of the Year: Winner – Heidi Larvin (supporting adults with complex needs); Highly commended: Ann Adams (various volunteer roles); Andy Lewis (East Anglian Air Ambulance)

Volunteer Group of the Year: Friends of Houghton Hall Park; Highly Commended: Leighton Buzz…

Club Cookies Overall Winner in Dunstable & Houghton Regis Best Bar None

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The wait was finally over this week, with licensed venues across Dunstable, Houghton Regis and Leighton-Linslade discovering who had been crowned ‘Best Bar None’.

There were 18 accredited venues in the running this year, with the winners announced at a ceremony at Astral Park in Leighton Buzzard on Monday evening (4 June).

The Golden Bell and Club Cookies were not only overall ‘points’ winners for their areas, but also won the People’s Vote. Globe Inn and Creasey Park FC were runners-up on points, with the Black Lion and The White Swan runners-up for the People’s Vote.

This was the fourth running of the Best Bar None scheme in Central Bedfordshire. These local awards form part of a wider national initiative that is supported by the government and the drinks industry to promote responsible management and operation of alcohol-licensed premises. The aim is to encourage pubs, clubs and leisure venues to be safe and welcoming places for visitors. Participating local pubs, bars and clubs s…

Mother Of All Fly Tips Now Developing at M1 J12

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Beneath Britain's busiest motorway, the M1, through delightful rural Bedfordshire, the mother of all fly-tips is being created.

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