Showing posts from August, 2018

Help Stop Vehicle Crime - Tips

We will do all we can to help prevent vehicle crime, and the tips below can help deter potential offenders and keep your vehicle secure. Ensure all doors, windows and sunroofs are closed and locked when leaving your vehicle unattended. Don’t simply rely on your key fob, as some thieves use ‘jammers’ to intercept the signal between the fob and the car, leaving the vehicle unlocked and vulnerable to theft. Don’t leave your keys lying around or visible on a windowsill at home or near a front door, where they could be hooked through the letterbox Never leave valuables in your vehicle and keep any other possessions out of sight. Remove your sat nav and its holder and wipe away any window suction marks as these could indicate a sat nav is stored in your vehicle If you use a vehicle for maintenance purposes, it is advisable not to leave tools or other working materials in a vehicle unoccupied or overnight, as works vehicles such as vans are commonly targeted by criminals Never le

Whitbread's to Sell Off Costa to The Coca-Cola Company

Whitbread PLC (“Whitbread” or the “Group”) today announced that they are pleased to announce that it has entered into an agreement for the sale of Costa Limited (“Costa”), one of the world’s leading coffee brands, to The  Coca-Cola Company (“Coca-Cola”), for an enterprise value of £3.9 billion (the “Transaction”). Whitbread will be seeking shareholder approval for the transaction, which is expected to take place by mid-October.  Whitbread's Head Office is in Houghton Regis, near Luton, Bedfordshire.   Transaction highlights • Sale of Costa for an enterprise value of £3.9 billion, representing a multiple of 16.4x Costa FY18 EBITDA • Recognises strategic value of Costa’s brand strength, multi-channel presence and international growth potential • Substantial premium to the value that would have been created through the previously announced demerger given the Coca-Cola system’s global product, distribution and vending platform • Transaction unanimously agreed by Whitbread Boa

Landlords' Forum for private landlords in Central Bedfordshire

Local landlords are invited to a Central Bedfordshire-wide forum, to hear about new legislation and find out how the council can support them. Planned for Wednesday, 12th September, the event is designed for local landlords, whether they have one property or more. With the recent introduction of legislation about energy efficiency standards and the introduction of Universal Credit and data protection rules, the council is planning a forum where private sector landlords can ask questions, hear from specialists and meet one another to share good practice. It will be held at the council’s office in Chicksands (Priory House, Monks Walk, Chicksands, Shefford, SG17 5TQ) from 6pm, with registration opening at 5:45pm, including refreshments. There will be networking opportunities with the Residential Landlords Association, Jobcentre Plus, and other private landlords, as well as special guest speakers: John Stewart, Residential Landlord Association and Angela Roberts, JobCentre Plus.

Public Views Needed As Adult Social Care Reaches Breaking Point

Residents and community groups are invited to take part in a major national consultation by the Local Government Association into how to pay for adult social care and support for older people, working-age adults with mental or physical disabilities and unpaid carers. The LGA estimates that adult social care services face an annual funding gap of £3.5 billion by 2025. Years of significant underfunding of councils, alongside rising demand and costs for care and support, has pushed adult social care services to breaking point. More and more people are unable to receive good, reliable care, such as help with getting washed and dressed, and funding is increasingly having to be diverted from other vital council services, such as parks, leisure centres and libraries, to plug growing adult social care funding gaps. The LGA’s eight-week consultation is open to all members of the public – regardless of whether they are directly affected by or receive adult social care and support – and c

Police Urge Vigilance In Summer Home Security

Residents are being urged by Bedfordshire Police to remain vigilant with regards to home security, to ensure that prized belongings stay safe. The majority of burglaries are opportunistic, and a property that presents itself as insecure is far more likely to be targeted than one which is properly secured. It is important to take steps not to leave ground floor windows or doors open or unlocked unless someone is in that room. It only takes a second for a thief to enter a home and take things, often without being noticed. The force has a wide range of advice on its website, and top tips for keeping homes secure over the summer include: Always close and lock windows and doors when leaving the property – even a small open window could entice a burglar. If in the garden, make sure the windows and doors at the front of the property are secure. Do not leave valuables on display through windows. Any car or house keys should be out of sight and some distance from a window or door.

Be Careful Of Buying Electrical Goods Online They Could Be Counterfeit

Some of the most popular e-commerce sites are being misused by ruthless sellers exploiting online shoppers, exposing them to thousands of substandard, counterfeit and potentially dangerous electrical goods. Consumer protection charity Electrical Safety First have discovered a shocking 1 in 3 UK residents, the equivalent of 18 million people, have mistakenly purchased a counterfeit electrical item online. Shoppers believed the product they were buying was genuine, only to discover a fake delivered to their homes, posing a potential risk of electric shock or fire. Millennials are most likely to fall victim to counterfeit scams, with half of 25 to 34-year-olds being conned into buying fake electrical goods online. In contrast, less than 10% of people aged 55+ have received a counterfeit item after shopping on e-commerce websites. The Charity uncovered dangerous electrical goods for sale on Amazon, Amazon Marketplace, eBay and Fruugo, including tumble dryers, Kodi boxes, kettles,

In It's 50th Year — Aldwyck Opens Doors for local Young People

During its 50th year, Aldwyck opens doors for local young people. Aldwyck is helping nine young people from Luton and Central Bedfordshire make the transition from school into work or further education. Aldwyck has partnered with the EY Foundation’s ‘Our Future’ employability and work experience programme. The scheme connects employers looking for local talent with young people from diverse backgrounds who face major barriers to entering the work place. Nine 16-17-year olds have been recruited from Aldwyck’s customer base and the local area and will receive an introduction to Aldwyck as an employer, paid work experience at a competitive wage, intensive skills training and one-to-one mentoring by one of Aldwyck’s team at their Head Office in Houghton Regis, Bedfordshire. During their two weeks paid work experience with Aldwyck, each young person will work on a live business project in areas such as marketing, planning, HR and recruitment and development. Where possible, the wo

Digital Apprenticeship Scheme With Whitbreads

Whitbread, the UK's biggest hospitality company is announcing a brand new digital apprenticeship scheme; designed to equip candidates looking for alternative paths to university with the skills needed to face an increasingly digital economy. The scheme, part of Whitbread's WISE ( Whitbread Investing In Skills and Employment ) initiative will incorporate four newly-created roles, which will focus on digital-related specialisms, including software development, digital analytics and data science. The digital apprentice roles challenge the perception of apprenticeships being in more traditional vocations, such as plumbing. The initiative is part of the Premier Inn and Costa Coffee's owner's bid to address a skills shortage within this area. It is expected that 90 per cent of all jobs in 20 years’ time will require digital skills, yet fewer than 8,000 students took A-Level Computing in 2017. This low uptake has been attributed to a lack of teachers specialising as co

Nominate Your Best Neighbour Of 2018

Neighbourhood Watch and their Co-op Insurance sponsors has just launched a nationwide search to find and celebrate some of the best and most considerate neighbours of 2018! You are urged to nominate the most deserving good neighbours and there is also an opportunity to put forward your ‘Hero Next Door’ for a true act of heroism. Neighbourhood Watch and Co-op Insurance are working together on these exciting awards and anyone can nominate their good neighbours today! So, is there is a local hero in the street or community whose acts of kindness and neighbourliness really sets them apart? David Huse, OBE, Chair of the Neighbourhood Watch Network (NWN), says: “Everyone should feel safe in their community and having strong, welcoming and active neighbours who look out for each other means anti-social behaviour and crime are less likely to happen. Getting to know your neighbours has huge benefits for everyone – and with this award we want to recognise the people who are making such

A-Level Success in Central Beds

Students across Central Bedfordshire have received their A-Level results, and early indications for provisional results show that all 10 schools have shown an improvement. The result is an increase in the average points score per entry across Central Bedfordshire of 3.4 points to 32.1 (C+ grade). The average score for academic students (which includes those doing extended A-Levels) is 32.2 (C+ grade), up 3.4 points from 2017. Technical/vocational students’ average score is 36.0 (Distinction grade), up 2.3 points from last year. At Manshead CE Academy in Dunstable  40 per cent of students achieved top grades A*-B, including 15 per cent of students who topped that with A*-A results. At All Saints Academy there was an improvement in A-Level qualifications. 14 students have university places, and some are now pursuing apprenticeships in a vocational setting, for example in the Fire Service and midwifery. At Vandyke Upper School in Leighton Buzzard one particularly impressive p

Leisure Centres Survey - Have Your Say

At a time when public services across the country are being squeezed, Central Beds Council have invested in new and improved leisure facilities. Dunstable £20.1m redevelopment completing 2018/19. Flitwick, £14.7m redeveloped opened 2016. Houghton Regis, some refurbishment in 2017. Biggleswade, some planned refurbishment of pool changing rooms in 2018/19. Tiddenfoot, some planned refurbishment of pool changing rooms in 2019/20. The Council say that people who exercise regularly have a lower risk of developing many long-term (chronic) conditions, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and some cancers. Exercise can improve longevity, and physical activity can also boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy, as well as reducing the risk of stress, depression, dementia and Alzheimer's disease. The council are now asking for your views on the leisure centres and the facilities provided at them.  The survey closes: 5pm on 16 September 2018. Download the

Response From CBC on 'Land-banking'

Last week we published concerns of CPRE that Council's could be land-banking ( see 6th August ). This week we publish a response from Central Bedfordshire Council. "The government want more homes to be built. Central Bedfordshire Council’s Local Plan is planning for 39,350 new homes up to 2035. We recognise more homes for residents and their families are needed in Central Bedfordshire, particularly affordable ones. So we have worked hard to find sustainable sites for these new homes. "There are currently 2,100 new homes built a year. The vast majority of these aren’t in the Green Belt, and there’s a target for up to 35% of them to be affordable. However, as 40% of Central Bedfordshire is designated as Green Belt, we must consider some development in the Green Belt to ensure that growth is balanced across our area, and is provided close to where housing is needed in the south. "CPRE feel there is scope to put affordable housing on brownfield sites in Gree

Marl Lake Shrinks Back In Summer Heat

12-08-2018. A D Winter. Typically, July and August are the hottest months for Houghton Regis, averaging 17°C but rarely go above 23C ( source ). Pictures taken yesterday show how the larger Marl Lake at Houghton Regis Chalk Pit has shrunk back during this summer's heatwave that saw temperatures rise as high as 33°C. Houghton Regis Marl Lakes is a 20.1 hectare biological Site of Special Scientific Interest in Houghton Regis in Bedfordshire. It was notified under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 in 1988. The site is a large disused chalk pit, and it is listed by Geo-East as a "Chalk Place to Visit" due to its exposure of Totternhoe stone. The Marl Lake is a rare example of standing water in chalk. It is important both ornithologically and for its range of dragonflies. There are two marl lakes, one deep and one shallow, which have aquatic plants and molluscs, with fens in a waterlogged area between the lakes. Recorded highest temperatures betw

New Blot on The Landscape

Where once drivers had a distant view of the Houghton Regis Chalk Pit as they commuted south on the old A5 towards Dunstable, they are now  facing the grim grey shed of a huge warehousing structure. Photos: ©A D Winter 2018. When the shed is completed, the obstructed glimpse of the chalk cliffs, above, will be gone forever. Local people have commented on our Facebook Page about the disappearing view. Nicky Chandler, "the new building is going to be an eye sore on that corner, from what was a lovely view :(" Nettie Forsyth, "it was a lovely view... My lovely view on the way to work has been completely destroyed... All that countryside gone 😕" Fiona Bowe Monagle, "What’s the huge monstrous building going up by the waste site? What an absolute eyesore that is!" Andrea Tompkins, "awful warehouse ...  How has that ugly got a permit?" The planning application, CB/15/04918 for the construction was submitted in December 2015, as

CPRE Concerned About Land-Banking At HRN1 Site

Is Central Bedfordshire Council (CBC) Complicit in Land-Banking on a Grand Scale? Re-blogged from ISSUE NO 61: SUMMER 2018 BEDFORDSHIRE MATTERS, issued by the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE). Download their  newsletter  here. In 2014, CBC gave planning permission for a huge development of 5,125 houses to be built on a 262 hectare site in Houghton Regis called Houghton Regis North, site 1. 5,125 homes is equivalent to a New Town almost 30% larger than the town of Ampthill. 4 years later and hardly a brick has been laid on this site despite CBC stating, as a reason for planning permission being given on agricultural land in the Green Belt, that residents were “in desperate need of new homes”. The lack of building on the Houghton Regis North site has been one of the main reasons why CBC were unable, until very recently, to demonstrate that they had a 5 year forward housing land supply. This allowed developers to put forward and win speculative planning ap

Kingsland - "A PR stunt that's gone wrong" - Says Local Councillor

Parkside's CBC Cllr Antonia Ryan appeared on BBC Look East last night talking about the lack of progress on the Kingsland site. Cllr Ryan said "The plans were, we should have a brand new sports facility, an education piece, also a creche for children, We would have seen with this regeneration project, the Legacy, 1300 homes, which would be social homes, in Houghton Regis, which is very much needed for this community." Two years on, nothing has happened. Antonia went onto say "We've not heard anything from them. It feels like, to me, they've turned their back on us because it was a PR stunt that's gone wrong." The BBC reporter said that Legacy remained fully committed to this development. Cllr James Jamieson, leader of Central Beds Council said, "...we will have affordable homes... this is a 20-year project of renewal." Cllr Toni Ryan, Parkside, encouraged Cllr Nigel Young to say what was happening at the KIngsland Site i

Houghton Hall Park August Themed Photography — Light

One of the July entries on the theme Wildflowers - by A D Winter Houghton Hall Park welcomes photographers of all abilities from the age of 16 to get creative, use their imagination and enter the monthly photography themes competition. This August the theme is Light in Houghton Hall Park. Photographers should consider how they can capture light creatively, for example, shadows, sun shining from behind a cloud, or perhaps the light coming through gaps or leaves in the woodland areas. Entries should be sent to . The images must be taken between 1st - 31st August 2018 and each person can submit up to 5 entries. Overly photoshopped images that do not represent the reality of the subject in the photo will not be accepted. Please see The HHP website for the full terms and conditions before submitting your work: . July's theme was Wildflowers in Houghton Hall Park. 'Verbascum'  A D Winter Mor

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