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Showing posts from June, 2019

New Proposals for Elm Park and Chelsea Gardens Playgrounds

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A local authority has said they are going to have local playgrounds in Parkside, Houghton Regis, refurbished. And there are new proposals for playgrounds at Chelsea Gardens and Elm Park Close. The admission comes in a Freedom of Information request by HRND editor, Alan Winter.

Children's playgrounds at Elm Park Close and Chelsea Gardens were once again put in the spotlight by ward CBC Parkside councillor Toni Ryan last week who said, “ I received a number of complaints from parents regarding two parks in Parkside that have been locked up for months, with children being unable to play in them.”

Playgrounds at Chelsea Gardens /Bromley Gardens and at Elm Park Close / Brentwood Close were in disrepair, seemingly uncared for and unwanted by the local authority. The legacy playgrounds were once operated by South Beds District Council; Central Bedfordshire inherited them. Two other playgrounds in Trident Drive are managed and maintained by CBC and the remainder in Houghton Regis are mos…

Have your say on new placement strategy for children in care

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Central Bedfordshire Council is consulting on a new strategy to ensure it has good quality homes for children in its care and further improve on its ‘good’ Ofsted rating for ensuring they have safe and stable homes.

The Looked After Children Placements Strategy is also aimed at reducing demand on the care system by providing earlier intervention for children in its care, with locally-based services that work better together to help vulnerable families.

Nationally and locally there is a shortage of foster carers in CBC while other residential placements are becoming increasingly expensive. Therefore, the strategy aims to:


Provide quality placements that offer safe and stable homes and contribute to children and young people achieving positive outcomes.Directly provide or commission local accommodation to meet the needs of children and young peopleEnsure value for money by balancing the cost with quality and minimising the need for children to move placements.The strategy proposes to ad…

What are you doing this Summer in Houghton Regis?

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What are you doing this Summer?
Houghton Regis Library is looking for young people aged 13 – 24? to help with the Summer Reading Challenge. The Summer Reading Challenge is a scheme that is designed to inspire children aged 4-11 to keep reading throughout the Summer holidays.

Volunteers help run the challenge in libraries by telling children about the challenge, talking to them about the books they have been reading and handing out rewards.

Volunteering is not only a great way to contribute to your local community, it can also help you to develop more confidence, learn new skills, increase your employability and can be added to UCAS forms!

But don't take our word for it:

89% of volunteers felt their skills had increased. "The skills I've learnt could probably be put towards a job in the future"  Young volunteer from Staffordshire.

"People who volunteer are up to 3X as likely to get invited for a job interview as people who didn't and 67% of employers report t…

Youth Rangers Wanted at Rushmere Country Park

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Local environmental charity The Greensand Trust is looking for young people aged 13-18 to take part in its Youth Ranger Scheme coming this autumn to Rushmere Country Park, thanks to generous sponsorship by building and civil engineering company Sir Robert McAlpine.

The scheme is a perfect opportunity for young people interested in conservation and the environment to learn new skills, gain valuable work experience and a recognised environmental award while having fun and making a difference to the environment and the local community.


The Youth Ranger Scheme has received a financial boost thanks to sponsorship from Sir Robert McAlpine as part of its Grassroots 150 campaign which donates to worthy causes on the occasion of the company’s 150th anniversary. The Greensand Trust was proposed as a recipient by Lorraine Parker, sustainability administrator at Sir Robert McAlpine, who also volunteers for the Greensand Trust as part of the Visitor Services team at Rushmere Country Park.

Greensa…

Police Advise Motorists On How To Protect Keyless Cars From Thieves

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Julie Allen (Police, Communications Officer, B)


As the theft of keyless cars is becoming an increasing problem nationally, Bedfordshire Police is issuing steps that you can take to help protect your vehicle.

Thieves are now using gadgets to prevent your key fob sending the command to lock your car, so it remains unlocked. Whilst this tool will not allow them to steal your car, it will allow potential burglars to root through your valuables.

One way to deter this is to make sure the indicators flash when you press the lock button and listen for the doors locking.

Another trick used is signal relaying. Thieves make sure the correct key fob is close by, the fob recognises the signal and transmits its own code, instructing the vehicle to unlock the doors and to allow the ignition to work on the car. They also use wireless transmitters to capture its radio transmission, which is relayed to another device.  It allows the thief to open and start your car in the same way.

One solution to this …

Xplorer challenge free events for kids during the summer holidays

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Houghton Hall Park in Houghton Regis will be one of the locations where Central Bedfordshire Council is to organise some free family fun events with a difference during the coming summer school holidays.

From the start of the school holidays in July through to the end of August, families are invited to tackle the Xplorer challenge across six parks in the area.

The Xplorer challenge is the perfect way for all ages to have fun in a safe environment: Using a simple map, participants have to find a number of markers that are hidden around the park. At each marker, children need to identify what is pictured and can enjoy learning a fun fact to tell their friends. No prior experience of map reading is needed.

Younger children will enjoy the excitement of successfully finding the hidden markers, whilst older children can compete against their friends and family to see who can complete the challenge quickest.

Councillor Ian Dalgarno, Executive Member for Community Services, said: “There’s not…

Ashberry Homes to Build 24 Affordable Homes off Thorn Road

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Building work has started at a new housing development in Houghton Regis.

The new homes scheme, off Thorn Road, is being built by Ashberry Homes,  a trading division of Bellway Homes Limited, and will form part of a new neighbourhood at Thorn and Bidwell.

Along with providing new homes for the area, the new blueprint will generate investment in local infrastructure and facilities through the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL).



Ashberry’s detailed plans, which were approved earlier this year, feature a range of two, three and four-bedroom properties.

Ashberry’s plans include 24 affordable homes, which will help enable key workers and locals to live locally in a new-build home, as well as providing public open space for residents.

Ben Smith, Regional Director for Ashberry Homes, said: “There’s a growing demand for new housing in Bedfordshire, and we’re really looking forward to meeting these demands and providing local people with quality new homes.

“We’re pleased that work has now sta…

The Green Ship Sails in to Central Bedfordshire Libraries

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Watch Sir Quentin Blake’s beloved children’s book The Green Ship come to life, as Librarian Theatre transforms libraries across Central Bedfordshire into magical spaces and share a heart-warming story about childhood, friendship and the power of imagination.

The play is part of a national tour by Librarian Theatre and tells the story of two young siblings, who whilst on holiday, climb over a neighbour’s wall into a large garden. There they discover a huge ship made out of trees and bushes, make friends with the marvellous Mrs Tredegar and use their imaginations to go on a series of glorious voyages.

The Green Ship is a beautifully illustrated, heart-warming story by Sir Quentin Blake. Enjoyable for both the young and young at heart, The Green Ship allows everyone to rediscover the delight of childhood games based on fun in a great outdoor space; and where the only limit to the adventures you can have, is your own imagination.

Councillor Ian Dalgarno, Central Bedfordshire Council’s Exe…

Concerns Over Plan to House 16-21 Year Olds

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Children’s Services Commissioning have told Central Bedfordshire Planning Department about their concerns over a change of use planning application.

In a letter to Central Bedfordshire planning department CS Commissioning say, "We have serious concerns about the practice of this provider and are instructing them later today, we plan to formally place them on a performance review programme and request they attend an urgent meeting early next week. So, at this point we would not agree to an extension of this property/ service – even without this issue, such a large property, for that many young people (would be the largest they have in all their services)  is concerning and we don’t consider, at this time, they could manage to safely work with this many young people."

The company applying for change of use permission is IASPIRE Care Services Ltd of Harrow.

The building is currently a House of Multiple Occupation for 6 residents.

If approved, the HMO will convert to a 14 bed ca…

Look Who's Won A Volunteering Award!

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Celebrating Central Bedfordshire’s volunteers Hundreds of people turned out on Tuesday night (4 June) to celebrate the inspiring achievements of Central Bedfordshire’s volunteers.

The fifth Cheering Volunteering awards and celebration evening took place at the Grove Theatre, in Dunstable.

The annual event began in 2015 to thank the many volunteers and voluntary organisations across Central Bedfordshire for the often-unheralded work they do to help others in their community.

And they have grown each year since then, with the judging panel this year particularly impressed by the quality of the entries.

It was organised by Central Bedfordshire Council, working in partnership with the Volunteer Centres as part of Central Bedfordshire Together, and sponsored by Ringway Jacobs, Grand Union Housing Group, ProLogis, Jeakins Weir and Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service.

Before the ceremony began, people attending the event enjoyed a showcase of volunteering opportunities from organisations a…

Houghton Regis and Dunstable Vie For Best Bar - Vote Now!

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Voting is now open for the People’s Choice prize in this year’s Best Bar None Awards.

The Best Bar None awards are designed to help cut alcohol-related crime and disorder in the town by acknowledging and rewarding well-run pubs, bars and clubs.

A number of licensed premises across Dunstable and Houghton Regis have passed the first phase of the of this year’s Best Bar None awards.

The first phase of judging is based on a venue’s ability to meet strict standards relating to licensing and dealing with potential crime and disorder. As well as the assessors picking their overall winner, residents can nominate their favourite venue too.

The following venues are in contention for the awards:

Dunstable Creasey Park Community FC
Gary Cooper
Grove Theatre
The Old Sugar Loaf
White Lion
White Swan

Houghton Regis The Kings Arms, Houghton Regis
Go Houghton

Over 1,000 members of the public took the time to vote for their favourite venue in last year’s competition. To vote for your favourite venue th…

Pubs and clubs in the race to be declared Best Bar None

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Elections For Parent Governors to Scrutinise Children's Services

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Central Bedfordshire Council has recently undertaken an election to appoint four parent governor representatives on the Children’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee. Following that process, there is still a vacancy for a parent governor representative of a maintained school. Therefore, letters have been sent to all parent governors of schools maintained by the local authority seeking nominations for the posts.

This committee scrutinises performance, considers children’s services policy and offers comments that inform the council's Executive in making decisions.

Candidates are required to self-nominate, and parent governors in any school phase (lower, primary, middle, secondary or upper) are eligible.

The council’s Children’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee is one of four overview and scrutiny committees which are responsible for reviewing service delivery and performance, helping to develop council policy and making recommendations to the council’s Executive. Its r…