Showing posts from January, 2020

CBC's Fees for Adult Social Care: Have Your Say on Proposed Changes to Funding

Our Unitary Authority, Central Bedfordshire Council (CBC), is reviewing how they charge for adult social care. You are invited to have your say on these proposals. Below, we highlight the main points. Means testing. Some people don’t pay anything, and CBC pick up all of the cost; some people pay a contribution and some people pay for all of their care and these people are known as self-funders. The demand for adult social care is increasing along with the cost of providing these services.  National principles mean that the charging policy has to be financially sustainable for the council in the long-term.  Fees and charges CBC are proposing some changes to the fees and charges for adult social care. For people who pay for all their own care who choose to ask CBC to continue to manage these arrangements on their behalf. A fee is proposed for this service at £174 per annum to cover administration costs. For people who choose to pay for their care and support the

Houghton Regis to Benefit from £400k Pot to Curb YP Crime

Bedfordshire’s PCC, Kathryn Holloway, and the specialist new Violence and Exploitation Reduction Unit (VERU) that the Home Office has funded her to create, are distributing £400,000 to local projects to tackle the problem of young people’s involvement in gang, gun and knife crime. The funding marks a flagship intervention by the VERU, an initiative drawing together the police, health, local authorities, youth offending services and grassroots groups from across the county. The funded projects include those which will work with schools and alternative education to deliver anti-knife crime messages including projects focussing on parents, girls at risk of being drawn into gang activity and young people with learning disabilities, who may be more easily exploited, as well as schemes offering diversionary activities such as music, sport and media production. “I’m delighted that these first grants from the VERU genuinely represent the voices of our communities and what they themselves

Cheering Volunteering Returns for its Sixth Year

Following the success of previous events, Cheering Volunteering returns for its sixth year. The Central Bedfordshire Cheering Volunteering event awards and celebration evening grows each year. The event is organised by Central Bedfordshire Council, working in partnership with the Volunteer Centres as part of Central Bedfordshire Together, to say thank you to those who give their time to help others. Sponsored by Ringway Jacobs, Pro Logis, Grand Union Housing, Jeakins Weir and Beds Fire and Rescue, the Grove Theatre will again host the awards evening on Thursday, 4 June. Last time, seven awards were presented on the night, with winners ranging from a volunteer with St John’s Hospice, to a couple who provide Christmas lunches every year for people in their Ampthill community. One of last year’s winners Kayleigh Dalton, a Domestic Abuse Victim Support Advisor, who won in the ‘Outstanding Contribution’ category said: “When I was nominated for a Cheering Volunteering award, I wa

Update on the Red House

Tony Keaveney, Assistant Director of Housing at Central Bedfordshire Council, met with the Houghton Regis Heritage Society Trustees* on Monday 27th January and gave an update on the refurbishment of the Red House** beside The Green in Houghton Regis town centre. The following has been done: •       Roof trusses installed and framing to dormer windows to main roof and trusses installed to rear single-storey extension •       Both main roof and single-storey extension felt & battened •       Roof tiles being installed to the main roof and rear extension •       Lightning protection installed to the building •       Structural works completed to building •       Ground floor ceilings plasterboard installed and skimmed •       Lime mortar plaster being applied to walls and skimmed with Heritage lime plaster •       Brickwork repairs continuing to different areas •       1st fix electrics completed •       Insulation to main loft being installed as a warm roof construction

Flu Virus — Carers Should have the Flu Jab

Bedfordshire and Luton Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) are highlighting the important work done by carers and the help available to them. Across Bedfordshire, there are 40,000 carers providing unpaid support to family and friends who could not manage without their help. They make a huge contribution to improving the lives of older, disabled and chronically ill people, many of whom would otherwise need residential care. Caring for a family member or close friend can be very rewarding. But the additional responsibility this involves can, over a period of time, also become physically and emotionally challenging. Therefore all carers should take steps to maintain their own health and well-being and be aware of the support on offer. It is important for carers to notify their GP that they have caring responsibilities. Not only does this inform the doctor of the extra pressure they could be under, but the GP can also inform the appropriate services to ensure care for the p

Police Rise in Council Tax - Have Your Say

Despite the latest police funding settlement from the Government, dubbed by Home Secretary Priti Patel as the ‘biggest funding boost in a decade’, Bedfordshire 's Police and Crime Commissioner is still going to ask for an extra 84p a month in Council Tax from a Band D home. The 2020/21 settlement announcement set out an additional £1.1billion of funding to all forces provided that Police and Crime Commissioners take full advantage of raising the police precept element of council tax by £10 for a Band D home. The aim is to provide 20,000 new officers nationally and was announced in Parliament this week. For Bedfordshire, the new deal could see an increase of around £9million to its budget for 2020/21 – to £121.9m. Have Your Say Please complete this survey prior to the 31st January 2020: Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner Kathryn Holloway said: “Today’s funding settlement is welcome but still requires me to raise the

Regular Checks Urged in Cervical Cancer Prevention Week

This week is Cervical Cancer Prevention Week (20 to 26 January 2020) and as part of the week Central Bedfordshire Council and Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (BCCG) are encouraging all eligible people to have a cervical screening (smear test). Cllr Tracey Stock, Executive Member for Health, Wellbeing and Communities, said: “Cervical screening is one of the best ways to protect yourself from cervical cancer.  Cervical cancer is largely preventable due to early detection through a simple smear test and the HPV vaccine we now offer young people. “Unfortunately, those attending their cervical screening has dropped significantly over the last 20 years. It’s important you don’t miss appointments as they need to be done every three to five years depending on your age to ensure any abnormal cells are detected early before cancer can develop.” Across the UK, cervical screening is changing to test for high-risk HPV first. HPV is a common virus that eight in 10 people will get. It

How Safe You Feel In Bedfordshire

Bedfordshire Police are thanking everyone who took part in their survey and told them your thoughts about how safe you feel in Bedfordshire. 1,805 people responded, with more than half of you saying you felt safe. There were certain areas highlighted where people say they don't feel particularly safe, but  police would like to assure you they are working hard to tackle the issues mentioned, such as burglary and drug and knife crime using a partnership approach in key towns across the county. The Police and Crime Commissioner has set up a new Violence and Exploitation Reduction Unit (VERU), through a Home Office grant, which brings together organisations including police, local authorities, health, the county’s two youth offending services, community leaders and other key partners to disrupt and prevent serious violence, especially among young people. The VERU aims to build a network of key people, with grant-funded involvement from communities themselves, to tackle the root

Town Council sets a 2% Increase in Council Tax

Houghton Regis Town Council tonight (20 January) set its council tax precept for 2020/2021. Cllr David Jones proposed a budget that would mean a 2% increase in the Town Council's share of council tax. £35,000 would be removed from new office budget, although it would remain an important feature of the Council's budget. Cllr Morgan praised Cllr Jones tremendous work on the budget and although he would have liked to have seen a larger increase was happy to support the 2% proposed increase. Cllr David Abbott thought projections on staff salaries was some £30,000 more than necessary, and suggested an adjustment to the budget accordingly. He therefore proposed  a precept of £886,822. That was voted on, but only 2 voted in favour of that. Cllr Jones budget was substantially approved by other councillors. To check Council Tax rates for 2019/20 see this on CBC website. If you have news for Houghton Regis, please send it in

Should Taxis Have Mandatory CCTV?

Central Bedfordshire Council is consulting on installing CCTV cameras in hackney carriage and private hire vehicles (taxis) to help provide the highest standards of public safety for those driving and using licensed vehicles. Under the council’s proposal CCTV would be installed in approximately 180 vehicles as part of a pilot with a view to making CCTV mandatory in all licensed vehicles from April 2021*. The cameras would be a source of evidence in the case of disputes between drivers and passengers. They also have the potential to discourage anti-social behaviour or crime committed by both drivers and passengers. As with any recording of the public there are naturally some concerns around privacy. The council has proposed some measures that seek to achieve the right balance between safety and privacy in the proposal. For example, the cameras would be able to view outside the front of the vehicle and inside, including the faces of both the passenger and the driver. However, the

Special constables volunteered 47,000 hours to keep Bedfordshire safe in 2019

During 2019 citizens volunteered more than 47,000 hours as special constables to help keep Bedfordshire safe. Special constables are members of the public who volunteer in their spare time as a warranted police officer. They wear the same uniform, have the same powers and work alongside regular officers.  On average, volunteers spent seven hours per shift patrolling Bedfordshire. During the time volunteered, specials from the force completed 6,870 duties which included making 217 arrests, taking 357 statements and attending 1,327 incidents. Chief Inspector, Ian Taylor said: “Special constables are a vital resource for the force and we can’t thank our volunteers enough. They give up their spare time to work alongside our officers to make Bedfordshire a safer place. “Our specials make a huge impact on our policing teams and really make a difference to our officers and the community. “If you want to see more police visibility in your area or want to gain new skills and meet new

BFRS: Have Your Say on its Council Tax Proposals

The Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service (BFRS) has launched a consultation on its proposals for its Service delivery and the Budget and Council Tax requirements for 2020/21. BFRS is engaging with the local community to seek your views on its priorities and its proposal to increase contributions to its funding from council tax. The closing date is the 31 January 2020. Feedback from the consultation will be used to inform the BFRC’s future plans and budgets. You can take part in the consultation by going to You can receive future consultations directly in your inbox by registering for their free messaging system Beds Fire Alert. In addition to consultations they use alert to keep residents informed of their latest safety campaigns, events and job opportunities. When you register you can also opt to receive messages from Bedfordshire Police, Action Fraud and Neighbourhood Watch. Register for free at . Topics:  Bedfordshire Fire and

Beds Alert: Courier Fraud

Bedfordshire Police is supporting a national campaign targeting courier fraud and is encouraging residents to speak to their elderly friends and family about spotting the signs of impersonation fraud. On Monday (13 January) a national campaign, co-ordinated by the City of London Police, will focus on educating potential victims on the different ways criminals con vulnerable and elderly people out of their money. Courier fraud often starts with a cold call where the fraudster claims to be a police officer or a bank official. The fraudsters will say there’s an issue with the victim’s bank account or request their assistance with an ongoing bank or police investigation. The ultimate aim of this call is to trick the victim into handing over money or bank details. Common techniques used by the fraudsters include telling the victim to withdraw large sums of cash, purchase an expensive item, or provide their bank cards/details. In all cases, a ‘courier’ will then come

Police Open Shared Hub At Toddington

Bedfordshire Police are continuing to demonstrate their commitment to visible policing in the county’s communities with the launch of another policing hub, based in Toddington. The venture will see police officers sharing the facilities at Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service’s community fire station. It was officially launched on Friday (10 January) by Chief Constable Garry Forsyth and (Temporary) Assistant Chief Fire Officer Andy Peckham. Bedfordshire Police’s Chief Constable Garry Forsyth, said: “Sharing office space at Toddington Community Fire Station will enable my officers to be on the beat within the heart of the community, dealing with issues that matter to local people, rather than having to always return to a central base.” Police also share facilities and office space at fire stations in Leighton Buzzard, Ampthill and Shefford. Local people should continue to contact police by calling 101, or in an emergency, 999. Alternatively, you can report using the force

CBC & Their Local Plan: Timetable Proposal

Following confirmation from the Planning Inspectors in November that Central Bedfordshire Council can continue to develop its current Local Plan, officers have been proactively preparing a work programme and detailed timetable for progressing the Local Plan to adoption, which was submitted to the Inspectors today. The Inspectors had previously requested a timetable was provided alongside an update on the planning application for the M1-A6 road link, once permitted. In November, the Secretary of State confirmed it would not be calling in this application and the decision notice granting approval for the M1-A6 link road was issued on 9 January. As such, the detailed Local Plan work programme, along with an update on the M1-A6 link road has now been sent to the Inspectors. The Council has committed the resources required to deliver the additional work in a timely and efficient manner. As such, work has been progressing on resolving those issues raised by the Inspectors already, an

Continuing the Crackdown on Serious Youth Violence in Bedfordshire

A man has been charged in relation to a serious stabbing as Bedfordshire Police’s dedicated guns and gangs team, Boson, continues to combat serious youth violence and drug criminality. On Monday 6 January police were called to reports of a stabbing in Bloomfield Avenue, Luton at around 11pm. A 16-year-old boy was taken to hospital with serious injuries. On Wednesday (8 January) an 18-year-old man was charged with causing grievous bodily harm with intent in relation to the incident. Meanwhile, since the start of the year, Bedfordshire Police has been continuing to carry out patrols under Operation Sparkler , its targeted approach to serious youth violence , drug activity and anti-social behaviour in the area. The Operation Sparkler team regularly deploy in towns across Bedfordshire, carrying out stop searches and proactively targeting people believed to be involved in this type of criminality. On Thursday 2 January the team carried out their first operation of the year

Thumbs up to homelessness and rough sleeping strategy

Plans to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping in Central Bedfordshire over the next five years was approved at a meeting by the Council’s Executive yesterday (7 January). The Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy for 2020-2025 follows a review of homelessness issues and emerging demands, which involved consultations with partners, those affected by homelessness and the public. Feedback to the strategy were largely positive with the majority agreeing to the vision for the next five years. The feedback also helped shape the key priorities, which include:  Delivering more affordable homes for different needs  – Investment has already been set aside to provide an additional 153 affordable council owned homes per annum until 2024. Raising awareness of the support and services available and how to access them - Last year 53% of households were prevented from becoming homeless through early intervention and the aim is to increase this further, making best use of increase

CBC Investment and Services 2020/21 - Have your say

Central Bedfordshire residents are urged to have their say on their council's budget plans for 2020/2021, and this includes proposals for spending, efficiencies and council tax. The council is proposing to invest £142million next year on a range of building and infrastructure initiatives . This includes road maintenance, new school places, new care homes and new integrated health and care hubs. Providing social care and health services in one building is thought to be more convenient for residents. The council is planning to spend £212m on services . This includes services like recycling and waste collection, public transport, leisure, libraries as well as vital services to protect and support vulnerable children and adults. Currently, around two-thirds of the council’s budget is spent on services for children and vulnerable adults . As demand for these services is rising it puts real pressure on the budget.   Despite these budgetary challenges, the council

Bidwell Heights - Go Ahead for New Build Despite Crime Concerns

A development of 336 homes has been given the go ahead under delegated powers by Central Bedfordshire Council despite Bedfordshire Police having concerns that the layout would encourage crime. The site is situated between the SSSI Houghton Regis Chalk Pit edge and Blue Waters woodland. Much of this land between the chalk pit edge on the right,  and the woodland to the left,  is due to be built upon as a result of this planning decision. Bedfordshire Police Liaison Objected to the scheme, 'as it is considered that the proposed layout and design would present opportunities for crime'. See planning layout - (pdf) Another key concern came from Wildlife Trusts BCN who also drew attention to anti-social behaviour. Their concerns are listed as, 'Concerns regarding development so close to the chalk cliffs associated with the SSSI. The Trust strongly recommend that a robust engineering operation is designed and incorporated into the plans, at this stage of the

Bovis Homes Acquires Linden Homes from Galliford Try

This notice is provided here as the companies are involved in building work in this parish. Bovis Homes Group PLC has acquired Linden Homes from Galliford Try. Completion of Acquisition of the Linden Homes and Partnerships & Regeneration businesses of Galliford Try plc, Change of Name, Bonus Issue and Consideration Shares Issue Completion of Acquisition Bovis Homes Group PLC ("Bovis Homes" or "the Company") is pleased to announce that it has completed the acquisition of Galliford Try plc's ("Galliford Try") Linden Homes and Partnerships & Regeneration businesses (the "Target Businesses") (the "Acquisition"). Greg Fitzgerald, CEO of Bovis Homes, said: "I am delighted that we have completed the exciting and transformational acquisition of the Linden Homes and Partnerships & Regeneration businesses of Galliford Try plc. The combination of these businesses with Bovis Homes creates a top fi

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