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Showing posts from July, 2020

Consultation on New Secondary School in Houghton Regis

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Initial designs have been produced for a new 1,120 place secondary school, to be built on the Kingsland Campus, Houghton Regis, for September 2022. The proposal includes all the specialist and non-specialist teaching space required, as well as providing a sports hall, outdoor sports provision and car parking. The external appearance of the school buildings is subject to further design work. 
The concept for the new school is based on the superblock model and includes a 3-storey main classroom block, with a separate sports hall. This type of design is suggested by the Department for Education (DfE), and has been used for many new secondary schools across the country
The Council is currently at the pre-planning design stage, and is taking the opportunity to seek the views of the local community ahead of the planning application being submitted. The date for submission of the planning application has been tentatively set for the end of August 2020
This consultation is an important part of…

Find out why this housebuilder wants to help you cycle to work

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Housebuyers in Bedfordshire can get up to £1,000 in cycle vouchers as part of a giveaway by a leading housebuilder.
Bellway is offering the incentive to customers to mark National Cycle to Work Day, which takes place on Thursday 6 August.
Anyone who reserves a home at one of Bellway’s developments in the county between Monday 3 and Sunday 9 August will receive Halfords vouchers which they can use towards the cost of new bikes for them and their family.
The developer currently has homes for sale at Berry Wood in Wootton, Eastcotts Green in Shortstown, The Pastures in Wilstead, Brambleside in Houghton Regis, Lestone Mews in Leighton Buzzard, and Brook View in Wixams.
Luke Southgate, Sales Director for Bellway Northern Home Counties, said: “The lockdown has encouraged more people to get fit and do things together as a family, and cycling is a great way to combine the two.
“By offering this incentive we hope to raise awareness of Cycle to Work Day - and the benefits of cycling generally – and …

Council's Fraud Squad Demonstrate Their Worth

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In a report to the Council's Audit Committee on Thursday (30 July), Central Bedfordshire Council's Corporate Fraud Investigation Team (CFIT) presented an annual report demonstrating that they were value-for-money.

Audit Committee - Thursday, 30th July 2020 at 10:00am - Central Bedfordshire Council Webcasting
The report explains that CFIT was created in 2015 within the Revenues and Benefits service to prevent, detect, investigate and report fraud. The team consists of a very experienced investigator with 4 full-time investigators, supported by a Team Leader and Senior Manager, both of whom also have other responsibilities within the service area. All staff on the team are fully trained counter-fraud officers holding their professionalism in Security accreditation from Portsmouth University. 
During 2019/20 over £50,336 was saved with regard to Local Council Tax Support fraud. In the same period, £666,000 was saved related to housing fraud. In a Blue Badge campaign in 2019/20  nine…

Selous & Holloway Welcome Additional Funding for Beds Police

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Andrew Selous, MP for South West Bedfordshire, has welcomed the announcement that Bedfordshire Police will receive £882,150 in extra funding as part of the Government’s £25 million Safer Streets Fund.
The Safer Streets Fund forms part of the Government’s concerted action to tackle crime, and aims to stop offences that blight communities and cause misery to victims from happening in the first place.
The extra funding will be aimed at improving security in areas particularly affected by acquisitive crimes such as burglary, vehicle theft and robbery.
These offences are the crimes that the public are most likely to encounter, and they are estimated to cost society billions of pounds every year.
The £882,150 of new funding will go towards measures proven to cut crime. These include simple changes to the design of streets such as locked gates around alleywaysincreased street-lighting and the installation of CCTV.
The funding will also be used to train community wardensdeliver local crime pre…

Highway Code: New Consultation on Making Improvements

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Today (28 July 2020) a consultation has been launched seeking your views on proposed changes to the Highway Code. 
The review is being held by the Department for Transport, to improve safety for vulnerable road users, particularly the groups of:
cyclistspedestrianshorse riders
The main changes being proposed are:
ensuring that road users who can do the greatest harm have the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger or threat they may pose to othersmaking rules on pedestrians clearerproviding guidance on cyclist priority at junctions when travelling straight aheadcreating guidance on safe passing distances and speeds when overtaking cyclists and horse riders You can read and respond to the consultation online, complete a form or send an email to share your views.

If you have news for Houghton Regis, please send it in

Cat Confirmed to Have the Virus Responsible for COVID-19

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The UK’s Chief Veterinary Officer has confirmed that the virus responsible for COVID-19 has been detected in a pet cat in the UK.
The infection was confirmed following tests at the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) laboratory in Weybridge on Wednesday 22 July.
Although this is the first confirmed case of an animal infection with the coronavirus strain in the UK, there is no evidence to suggest that the animal was involved in the transmission of the disease to its owners or that pets or other domestic animals are able to transmit the virus to people.
The advice from Public Health England is for people to wash their hands regularly, including before and after contact with animals.
All available evidence suggests that the cat contracted the coronavirus from its owners who had previously tested positive for COVID-19. The cat and its owners have since made a full recovery and there was no transmission to other animals or people in the household.
Chief Veterinary Officer Christine Middlemiss…

MP at All Saints Academy

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South West Bedfordshire MP, Andrew Selous visited All Saints Academy before the end of term to talk to students and staff about their experience of learning and teaching during the pandemic. 
All Saints students already had iPads and in the small number of cases where students did not have good Wi-Fi at home, the school helped resolve this. 
All students were expected to be online at 9 am and received telephone calls from the school shortly afterwards if they were not. Attendance and participation was high throughout the summer term. All Saints welcomed back to school students from years 10 and 12 in addition to the children of key workers who were at school throughout the term.
Andrew Selous said “I’m very impressed at the way at which All Saints have rapidly adapted their teaching methods to cope with these unprecedented circumstances. Students and staff have coped really well and I know the school is very much looking forward to welcoming all students back at the start of next term.”

I…

Environment Agency Cracking Down on Illegal Waste Carriers

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A Cambridgeshire illegal waste site the size of a football pitch has been swooped on by the Environment Agency as part of work to shut it down for good.
During its inspection of The Streddars site on Hundreds Road in Crowland on 23 July 2020, the Environment Agency discovered piles of illegally dumped waste, including construction and demolition materials, metals, plastics and garden waste.
The visit was aimed at gathering evidence and disrupting those believed to be involved in illegal waste activities.
The site is under criminal investigation for suspicion of operating without the legally required waste exemptions or environmental permits.
Yvonne Daly, environment manager at the Environment Agency, said, “It’s clear that this site has been used by rogue traders to illegally deposit waste. Activities like this have the potential to harm the environment, blight communities and undermine legitimate businesses that do follow the rules.
“Our role is to protect the environment for people and …

Consulation Starts - Houghton Hall Business Park Set to be Added to Local Development Order

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A new CBC consultation opened today on the re-adoption and amendment of the Woodside Local Development Order (LDO). Relaxing normal planning requirements, the new Order would include the Houghton Hall Business Park for the first time. 
Central Bedfordshire Council argue that, “The LDO will be a useful tool to assist businesses in adapting to new layouts and various other changes to their premises necessitated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and their response to recovering from the impact of this on their business.
“The primary purpose of a LDO remains to simplify the planning permission process. It will detail the specific types of development and uses which are permitted without having to apply for planning permission. Together with continuing to meet the needs of those refurbishing premises, it will make it simpler for businesses to set up, diversify or expand their existing operations. The LDO should also give greater confidence to businesses investing in Woodside.”
"The local …

Jail for Robbing a Store in Houghton Regis

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A burglar has been sentenced to almost four years behind bars after a series of burglaries and robberies across the south of Bedfordshire.
Stanley Hughes, 20, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to two counts of robbery, two counts of burglary, one count of handling stolen goods and two counts of theft. He was sentenced at Luton Crown court on Tuesday, 21 July.
On 9 December Hughes entered a store in Houghton Regis and stole items of food and drink. On the same day, Hughes approached an elderly woman in the town, grabbed her handbag and made off.
Four days later, Hughes and Jason Smith, a burglar who was previously sentenced for this offence, entered a property in Rowelfield, Luton, before making off with a number of items including a handbag and an iPad.
The men were caught on dashcam footage from the victim’s car which was parked on the drive. Car keys which did not belong to the victim were identified at the property.
On the same day at 7.15am, Hughes was with Smith when they entered a sh…

30-year Anniversary of Landmark Release of Red Kites in the Chiltern Hills

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Conservationists are celebrating a landmark moment in English wildlife conservation this month, as July sees the 30th anniversary of the reintroduction of red kites to the Chiltern Hills.
In July 1990 in the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, 13 young red kites — recently flown over from the Navarra region in Spain — took to the skies in their maiden flight in England, as part of an ambitious reintroduction programme.
The red kite is one of Britain’s most distinctive birds of prey with an unmistakable reddish-brown body, angled wings and deeply forked tail, and known for instantly recognisable mewing call.
Red kites used to breed across much of the UK, but persecution over a 200-year period saw numbers fall as they increasingly became a target for egg collectors, reducing them to a few breeding pairs in central Wales. By the 1980s, the red kite was one of only three globally threatened species in the UK.
The re-introduction 30 years ago was hugely successful and helped establis…

Have You Lost a Bike? Huge Bike Haul Uncovered At Bedford

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Bedfordshire Police received a report from a member of the public on Thursday 2 July, reporting a stolen bicycle being advertised for sale via social media. Officers attended the address of the seller in Bedford, and a 41-year-old man from the town was arrested on suspicion of handling stolen goods. He has been released under investigation while police enquiries continue.
Officers recovered in excess of 100 bikes at the property.
PC Jade Kilbey, investigating, said: “This was a proactive arrest carried out off the back of intelligence provided by a member of the public who had been a victim of bike theft. The number of bicycles we have recovered is significant and it would be great to be able to reunite some of them with their rightful owners.
“We would urge anyone who has had their pedal cycle stolen within the Bedford area in recent weeks to get in contact with the make, model, colour and serial number of their bike, along with any other distinguishing features."
If you have had yo…

Are Your Electoral Registration Details Up to Date?

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Local residents are being warned not to lose their voice on decisions that affect them by making sure their electoral registration details are up to date.
With Police and Crime Commissioner elections taking place in Central Bedfordshire in May 2021, this is an important opportunity for residents to make sure they can take part.
The annual canvass ensures that Central Bedfordshire Council can keep the electoral register up to date, identifying any residents who are not registered or have recently moved so that they can be encouraged to do so. They would then be able to take part in any future elections. You will receive a letter addressed to the household from the beginning of August.
Richard Carr, Electoral Registration Officer at Central Bedfordshire Council said,
“It’s important that residents keep an eye out for messages from Central Bedfordshire Council, so we can make sure we have the right details on the electoral register for every address in our area. To make sure you are able to …

Children's Activity Packs Being Distributed to Help Keep Children Active

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The aim of the Activity Packs is to try and minimize the impact Covid-19 is having on physical activity engagement of children from excluded/hard to reach groups in Bedfordshire.
·         In total 1,185 packs have been funded by team BEDS&LUTON and their key partners across Luton, Bedford and Central Bedfordshire
·         The Activity Packs will be given to children who are in the most need in of support during these unprecedented times, the opportunity to have fun and stay active whilst staying safe.
Team BEDS&LUTON is working with Luton, Central Bedfordshire and Bedford Council to distribute and support children in most need during the coronavirus outbreak with age appropriate Activity Packs across the county. The packs contain practical examples of ways to stay active, along with items to help people take part in physical activity more easily and to maintain positive mental health.

The packs designed for the younger children include a skipping rope, foam dice, hula hoop, foam…

Community Groups: Second Bidding Round Now Open for Grants

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A scheme to help local voluntary and community organisations make projects a reality by offering matched-funded grants to enable them to invest in their community facilities is now open for bids. Launched last year, the Community Assets Grants Scheme encourages local groups to apply for grants of up to £25,000. The grants must be used for capital funding projects, for example, a new roof for a community hall or to improve access for people with disabilities, or upgrades to other community assets.
The grant scheme is open to a range of Central Bedfordshire organisations, including voluntary and community groups, not-for-profit organisations and Parish or Town Councils.
The council has allocated £260,000 for release through this second bidding round, which closes at 5pm on 1 September 2020.
Following a discussion with the local Ward Councillor, groups who fulfil the criteria will need to complete an online application form. Once applications have been assessed they are scored against the c…

M1 J11A HGV Driver Jailed After Striking a People Carrier

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More than four years in prison for HGV driver involved in fatal collision
A lorry driver has been sentenced to more than four years in prison after his HGV struck a people carrier on the M1, causing the death of one of the passengers. 
Wojciech Bukowski, 65, from Poland, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to one count of causing death by dangerous driving and four counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving. He was today (Wednesday) sentenced to four years and eight months behind bars. 
At approximately 3.15pm on Sunday 1 December, Bukowski’s heavy goods vehicle struck a blue Kia Sedona people carrier on the southbound carriageway of the M1 at junction 11a in Bedfordshire. The driver of the Kia had pulled over to the inside lane as the vehicle was experiencing mechanical difficulties. 
Emergency services attended and Zahid Ahmed, 19, from North London, who was sat in the nearside rear passenger seat, was pronounced dead at the scene. Four of the other passengers were left with…

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Houghton Regis local news, events, council news, going on in Houghton Regis and nearby villages, Bedfordshire, UK. Editor Alan Winter

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