Showing posts from January, 2019

Selous - Latest Voting On Brexit

European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (29 Jan 2019)   LINK Voted (no) against requiring ministers to secure sufficient time for the UK Parliament to consider and vote on options to prevent the UK leaving the EU without a ratified Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration, and that those options should include: (i) Negotiating changes to the draft Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration so as to secure a permanent customs union with the EU, a strong relationship with the single market underpinned by shared institutions and obligations, and dynamic alignment on rights and standards, in order to command a majority in the House of Commons; (ii) Legislating to hold a public vote on a deal or a proposition that has commanded the support of the majority of the House of Commons. (division #307; result was 296 aye, 327 no) European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (29 Jan 2019)   LINK Voted (no) against noting that the Scottish Parliament, National Assembly for Wales and House of Com

Meet Helen, chairwoman of the Think Autism Partnership

My name is Helen and I am autistic. Alongside a variety of other interests, I volunteer my time to provide a voice for the autistic community across Bedfordshire and I need your help. I am the chairwoman of the Think Autism Partnership board – this is a meeting that takes place four times a year where professionals, autistic individuals, and their families to come together and discuss issues affecting autistic adults in Bedfordshire. Most recently we have discussed issues with housing and employment with key decision makers coming to hear what we have to say. Our next meeting is on the 5th February from 11 am to 1pm in Flitwick. In this meeting the three local authorities will be demonstrating how services for autistic people in Bedfordshire compare with those across the country and will be asking for your feedback on their assessment. This is an open meeting for anyone to attend, we have tea and coffee available and are a friendly bunch. I cannot express enough how important it

Holocaust Memorial Day, 27 January 2019

Holocaust Memorial Day, Sunday, 27 January 2019 Do you feel safe when you are in your home? Most of us do. It's a place of comfort, it's wherever your things are, it's familiar, and people you know are around you. But what would it feel like if there was a knock on your door, hostile people jostled you, and you were forcibly removed, you were shoved into the back of a truck and not told where they were taking you, or what they were going to do to you? Today is Holocaust Memorial Day and it's an opportunity to reflect on what happens when individuals, families and individuals are persecuted or suffer the threat of genocide. An opportunity to think about the continuing difficulties survivors face as they try to find and build new homes when the genocide is over. Today, we remember the six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust, and the millions of people killed under Nazi Persecution, and in the genocides which followed in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Darfur.

264 Homes at Thorn/Bidwell Get the Green Light

The first detailed plans to build new homes at a landmark development in Houghton Regis have been approved by Central Bedfordshire Council. Houghton Regis North 2 is a 166-hectare site to the west of Bidwell and outline proposals for the overall development, which is set to comprise 1,850 new homes, a new primary school, shops, businesses and open space, were given the green light in 2015. The plots that gained approval are either side of Thorn Farm, sandwiched between Thorn Road and the new A5 dual carriageway. Housebuilder Bellway has bought two parcels of land at the development and lodged reserved matters planning application to build 264 new homes. Permission was granted on Friday 18 January. (see decision notice ). A typical Bellway Northern Home Counties street scene  Chris Edginton, Sales and Marketing Director for Bellway Northern Home Counties, said: “We are delighted to have completed our purchase of land at Houghton Regis North 2 and that our detailed plans f

£6k Cost of Town Council External Investigator

Town Councillors in Houghton Regis have engaged an external investigator (EI) at an estimated cost of £6,000 for ten days work. ENHANCED AUDIO ONLY: Before the present council came in, in 2015, a community worker was engaged by the Houghton Regis Town Council, but the contract with What About Youth Ltd was scrapped about March 2015, prior to the 4 yearly elections. The company then sued the Council. The newly elected councillors then spent many hours in meetings, above what they might have been expected to have spent, and often in private session, deliberating over compensation claims by the community worker. An out of court settlement was made (£28,000  –» ) but without a confidentiality clause. Together, with compensation and officers time, it is estimated that the Town Council have incurred some £40,000 of costs. A firm of solicitors acting for the Council have since apologised to the Council for advice it gave over the out of court settlement, and offered the Town

Personnel Matters at the Town Council

A Personnel Committee of the Town Council met on 21st January. Staff capacity issues were on the agenda. A report was given to members with a view to reviewing and considering a job evaluation report, reviewing job descriptions and staff structure, as well as reviewing the number of council and civic events and council meetings. Cllr Martin Kennedy wondered what value a councillor would add in reviewing staff roles and workloads, which for him was a manager's job. Cllr Joanna Hillyard thought some councillors would want to have an opinion. Cllr Kennedy pressed home his point, asking, why add an extra layer of bureaucracy? Cllr David Abbott thought a manager should be able to understand and be aware of a member of staff's workload and be able to assess staff workload accordingly. He thought a contractor would not be needed to make the assessment.  Cllr Kennedy suggested staff do not like to fail and an independent outside person might be able to uncover underlying

Houghton Regis Youth Centre Programme for 2019

Houghton Regis Youth Centre is located in the centre of Houghton Regis, meeting in Bedford Square Community Centre..The Centre is open for 12-18yrs on Tuesday and Wednesday 6-8pm. On Thursdays the Youth Pop-Up Cafe is open from 4-6pm @ The Pavilion on The Green. Come down for a chat and a piece of cheese or chocolate toastie! They also run holiday provision and events. Enquiries can be made to 07736 132293 or via Messenger to Facebook Page:

Houghton Town Council Cemetery Designs

The Houghton Regis Town Council say they are keen to hear your views on the design of the new area within the Houghton Regis Cemetery. The public consultation runs from 14th to 31st January 2019. The public responses are to be considered by the Council's Environment & Leisure Committee on 25th February 2019 at 7.30pm, Peel Street Council Offices, Houghton Regis. Members of the public are welcome to attend this meeting. There is limited space left within the present cemetery near Cemetery Road. The Town Council have been meeting and working on designs to make additional provision. It is intended to create an attractive and peaceful area whilst providing residents with a variety of options for ashes memorialisation. With this design, the council will only be offering above ground options for ashes. This is to take full advantage of the space available to ensure that families and friends have memorialisation opportunities in the future within Houghton Regis. A sta

Police and Crime Commissioner Visits Houghton Regis

Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, was joined by the Deputy and Assistant Chief Constables of Bedfordshire Police and members of the community team to meet residents to explain their plans for local policing at a public meeting in Houghton Regis (Monday January 14 2019). The PCC opened the event at the Bedford Square Community Centre in Tithe Farm Road, Houghton Regis, by explaining the investment she is insisting on in new officers for local policing following her successful bid to the Home Office for ... Continue reading

Local Health Services Coping But Demand Expected to Rise

Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (BCCG) says the health system coped well over the Christmas and New Year period, with fewer people attending Bedford Hospital’s A&E department and the number of admissions, was down from previous years. “We were well prepared for an extremely busy festive season but it appears people are heeding our message about using health services responsibly,” says Sally Adams, BCCG Chief Operating Officer. The New Year has bought with it colder weather and lots of colds and bugs are beginning to spread, with health services starting to see an increasing number of patients. With the worst of the winter weather still to come, demand is expected to increase further and the public is being reminded they should first consult their local pharmacist or call NHS111 for non-urgent health problems. Pharmacists are highly experienced healthcare professionals who can advise on the treatment options for a wide range of minor health conditions and can o

What to do About Foreign Registered Vehicles?

Central Bedfordshire Council report that in the year to the 30th August 2018 out of 335 parking fines issued to foreign vehicles 254 were cancelled as the owner could not be traced. In Topical Questions in the House of Commons, Andrew Selous, South West Bedfordshire MP asked “Neither the police nor the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency has records of foreign-registered vehicles that have been in the UK for more than six months, which means that our roads are more dangerous and there is not equality under the law for British nationals. What are the Government going to do about this issue?” Jesse Norman Minister of State (Department for Transport) “As my hon. Friend will be aware, the problem concerns foreign-registered vehicles. For British nationals, there is an equality under the law. I recognise that there is concern about this issue. He knows that we seek vigorously to apply road traffic legislation where we can. This is for the police, in the first instance. In som

New Plan For 'The Brook' at Windsor Drive

New plans for 'The Brook' at Windsor Drive backing onto Gilpin Close, submitted last month, have just become available online. The proposed development, for Central Bedfordshire Council, is for a new 20 unit, 3-storey transitional housing scheme with associated access, shared communal facilities, parking and landscaping on a current Greenfield site. The latest proposal moves the building closer to Houghton Brook, further away from St Thomas Meeting House, and also nearer to Gilpin Close, than earlier proposals. Accommodation will be predominately for single adults but will have the ability to house couples who are entitled to temporary housing. A redesign of earlier schemes was required if the Council was to obtain full plans approval. Objections were received during the earlier plans planning consultation process, specifically relating to overlooking of adjacent properties and highways vehicular access concerns. The layout overhaul has reduced windows to sen

Local MP Votes No in Finance Bill

Finance (No. 3) Bill - Impact of provisions of section 5 on child poverty and equality (8 Jan 2019) Voted (no) against requiring the Chancellor of the Exchequer to review the impact of clause 5 on child poverty and equality (division #285; result was 294 aye, 312 no) Finance (No. 3) Bill - Review of powers in consequence of EU withdrawal (8 Jan 2019) Voted (no) against requiring the Chancellor of the Exchequer to review the fiscal and economic effects of the exercise of the powers in clause 89(1) before exercising those powers. (division #286; result was 292 aye, 314 no) Finance (No. 3) Bill - Minor amendments in consequence of EU withdrawal (8 Jan 2019) Voted (no) against preventing the Government implementing the “no deal” provisions of Clause 89 without the expl

The Voting Record of Andrew Selous, MP

Andrew Selous,  Conservative MP for South West Bedfordshire, was first elected to the House of Commons in 2001 and had previously contested Sunderland North seat in 1997. He is a director and prominent member of the Conservative Christian Fellowship. In 2006, Selous was promoted to Shadow Minister for Work and Pensions. In the Coalition government, he was the Parliamentary Private Secretary to Iain Duncan Smith, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, from 28 May 2010 to 16 July 2014. On 16 July 2014, he was appointed as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Ministry of Justice with responsibility for Prisons and Probation and retained this role following the 2015 general election. However, he was asked to step down from the government by Theresa May after she became Prime Minister in July 2016. He provoked ridicule by making a tweet (subsequently deleted) supporting the removal of benefit entitlement from non-English speakers: "Strongly support the loss

The Noticeboards in Houghton Hall Park

Have you ever passed by the noticeboards in Houghton Hall Park, and told yourself, “I'll stop to read that one day”? Well here they are, and here is what they have to say. Houghton Hall Park Eastern Woodland Western Woodland Park Life The woods and meadows of Houghton Hall Park form part of the Houghton Regis Conservation Area and are looked after as a place to relax and enjoy. The 41 acres of countryside in the Park attracts a range of wildlife, from moles and shrews in the meadows to grey squirrels - and black ones, too if you look hard enough! - in the woodlands. Small and secretive muntjac are most often seen in the Park at dusk as they feed on grass, brambles and other plants. Often known as the 'barking deer', they were introduced to the Duke of Bedford's Woburn estate about 1900. Since then they have been rapidly spreading from Bedfordshire into much of England. Like the muntjac, out local foxes are most often spotted during the

Keep Warm and Well!

Although the weather at the start of 2019 is mild for winter-time, it is important to be prepared for the cold! The NHS and Age UK offer advice to the elderly and other vulnerable adults. Check up on older neighbours and relatives, and those with heart or respiratory (breathing) problems, to make sure they: are safe and well are warm enough, especially at night have stocks of food and medicines so they don't need to go out during very cold weather TOP TIPS for Keeping Well and Warm, from the NHS: 1. Keep warm. Heat your home to at least 18°C (65°F). You may prefer your main living room to be slightly warmer. Keep your bedroom window closed on a winter’s night. Breathing in cold air can increase the risk of chest infections. 2. Get financial support  There are grants, benefits and sources of advice available to make your home more energy efficient, improve your heating or help with bills. 3. Look after yourself • Get your free flu jab if you are ag

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