Showing posts from October, 2020

Independent Scrutiny Panel Find 'No Issues' While Reviewing Beds Police Videos

An independent panel set up to scrutinise the Bedfordshire Police use of force has given officers the green light in its latest series of reviews. Bedfordshire's independent use of force scrutiny panel reviewed four videos which the panel randomly selected of officers using force to detain suspects. The independent panel rated each of the four videos ‘green’ at Thursday’s meeting, the highest available mark on the ‘traffic light’ system used to grade the footage. This was the second-ever meeting of the panel, which was launched earlier this year. It is a sub-group of the county’s successful Stop and Search scrutiny panel. Chief Inspector Hob Hoque, our lead for use of force, said: “Being open and transparent about how our officers use their powers is vitally important for our communities to have trust in us as an organisation. “It is of course great news that the panel was happy with how our officers used force on these occasions. We have still identified some great feedback from t

Boost for families wishing to build their own home

Review announced on 'Right to Build' day to make it easier for people to build their own home. Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government and The Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP Law to be reviewed to make it easier for people dreaming of building their own homes Councils urged to ensure planning permission is granted for suitable plots Measures follow reforms to place local people at the heart of planning process A review to make it easier for people to build their own home has been announced by Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick today (30 October 2020). Building or designing your own home plays an important part in helping people get a foot on the housing ladder. Currently there are around 15,000 of these types of homes built every year – an increase of 50% in 2 years. But there is still more to be done to support the self and custom build industry, last estimated be worth almost £4.5 billion to the UK economy. Councils are currently required to keep a register of those wh

Council and Police Helping Communities to Stay Covid Safe

Council and Police are helping communities to stay Covid safe and compliant with regulations. Central Bedfordshire Council has been working with local businesses to ensure they are aware of the measures they need to take to ensure the safety of their customers.  With COVID-19 infections on the rise, it’s now more important than even that businesses are COVID-19 secure, so Council officers will be out and about in high streets and town centres across Central Bedfordshire with the Police this weekend to engage and advise on safety measures. And any businesses seriously breaking the rules or, having already been advised continue to break the rules they will be fined.  Central Bedfordshire Council’s public protection team have been responding to complaints and information about businesses who are not complying. However, now there is a real need for everyone to stick to the rules to protect themselves and others.  The Council are using the £112,886 of Government funding to ensure COVID-19

Last Day of Clearance Sale for Disability Resource Centre

The Disability Resource Centre in Poynters Road is moving. In the meantime the 29th is the last day of the Clearance Sale CEO, Melanie Hawman, said, “Behind the scenes we have been preparing to leave Poynters House after 26 years of operating out of the building. We are very sad to see our tenants leave but glad that we were able to help some of them find suitable new premises. “We continue to search for somewhere to deliver all our face-to-face activity such as our physical health and mental wellbeing courses, our training courses and equipment shop. “We are continuing our helplines and advice services by phone and online. So just call our usual phone number 01582 470 900. “In the meantime look out for when we will be at a venue near you (like supermarkets and community centres), all socially distanced of course. “We have some excellent plans for our new centre and shop but in order to minimise disruption to office functions have secured a tenancy in the Rufus Centre in Flitwick. It i

Support for Vulnerable Children & Families this Half Term

Support for Vulnerable Children and Families this Half Term Central Bedfordshire Council has received £217,555 from the Government as a welfare assistance grant to help all those struggling to afford food and other essential items. This payment is in addition to the extra £20 a week everyone on universal credit has been given during the pandemic. South West Bedfordshire MP Andrew Selous said “With this additional grant to the council no child need go hungry this half term. We also have some amazing community provision in addition to the money from this grant. If any family has difficulty in feeding their children this week or in the future I would like them to contact me immediately and I will do a full review of their finances, benefits and situation to see how they can be helped. If you know any family struggling to afford food this week, please ask them to contact me. " The Central Bedfordshire Council food voucher scheme will continue to be available to families in need over t

Riders on Bikes Could Help with House Robbery in Houghton Regis

At around 9.15am, a house on Leaf Road was broken into via a rear ground floor window, rooms were ransacked, and cash and jewellery were stolen. Police are now seeking the public’s help, as they investigate this burglary in Houghton Regis on Monday 19 October. Around the time of the incident, a white 125cc motorcycle with a red top box and “L” plate was seen in Leaf Road, and officers would like to identify the rider and passenger. PC Tom Williams, investigating, said, “This incident has left the householders in shock, and I am appealing to anyone with information to come forward. We would particularly like to speak with the people on the motorcycle who may have vital information.” If you were in the area at the time and have any information  or dashcam footage of the motorcycle, please contact police on 101 or  report online  or anonymously via  Crimestoppers  on 0800 555 111. Please quote reference 40/56927/20. If you have news for Houghton Regis, please send it in

Barratt Homes to Build 300 units at Linmere Houghton Regis

Barratt Homes is set to build 300 properties at Linmere, featuring a mix of 1, 2, 3 and 4 bed homes and work is due to start this year. Situated north of Houghton Regis, Linmere’s collection of leafy and walkable neighbourhoods is set to be a new centre for South Bedfordshire. On behalf of its consortium partners, Lands Improvement is leading on the development of Linmere, which will ultimately deliver up to 5,150 homes, 1.25 million sq. ft of distribution and up to 1 million sq. ft of retail, office and leisure development, together with associated open space, schools and community facilities. Barratt Homes’ development sits within the largest plot at Linmere, and will include a mix of 1, 2, 3 and 4 bedroom homes, with a number available on Affordable Rent and Shared Ownership schemes. Sizes will vary from c.450 sq ft to c.1500 sq ft, catering to first home buyers and families. Work will begin on this site this year.  Once complete, residents will benefit from over 190 acres of green

COVID-19 : An Extra £2.56m for CBC For Vital Services

Central Bedfordshire Council is to benefit from extra £2.56m in funding announced by the Government making an extra £24.25m funding since the pandemic began.  The Government has announced an additional  £900m  for local councils , out of which  £2.56m  will go to Central Bedfordshire Council. Andrew Selous MP is among those welcoming this news.  South West Bedfordshire also stands to benefit from a  further £100 million  which will be used to establish a new fund to support council leisure centres that are most in need, in recognition of the ongoing challenges many local authority leisure centres are facing. Local leaders will be able to determine how to spend the additional funding in order to best protect public health, local vulnerable people and the running of vital services. Local Government Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said, “Since the start of the pandemic, we have backed local councils with the funding they need to support their communities, protect vital services and rec

CBC Prosecutes Local Shops Over Drink Sales To Children

Shop owners were hit by hundreds of pounds in fines and court costs after Central Bedfordshire Council sent under-age volunteers to buy alcohol – one as young as 13. Back in June 2019, Kajan Navaratnam , of Bedford Square Newsagents, Houghton Regis , sold a can of Stella Artois to a 17-year-old. No ID was asked for, the volunteer wasn’t asked his age or any questions at all.  Following the sale, a trading standards officer went into the shop to discuss the matter. While looking behind the till she discovered a quantity of illicit foreign-labelled tobacco he claimed was for his personal use. Trading standards carried out two further test buys in September and November 2019 with underage buyers. In the second test, Navaratnan sold a bottle of Echo Falls Summer Berries wine to a 13-year-old.  In court,  Navaratnan  admitted one count of selling tobacco products illegally under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations and one offence of persistently selling alcohol to childr

100th Cannabis Factory Intercepted By Bedfordshire Police

Bedfordshire Police Force has dismantled a large scale cannabis factory – the 100th  discovered by Bedfordshire police since the start of the coronavirus lockdown. The factory was discovered in a commercial building located in an industrial estate near Shefford. The number of cannabis factories discovered by the force this year is up by more than 50 per cent compared to the same period last year. Officers executed a warrant at the address yesterday (Monday). Seven separate units were found to be modified to accommodate large scale cannabis cultivation.  The building was insulated and fitted with extraction systems to avoid detection from things like heat detection technology. Weapons including a starter pistol were discovered by police at the address, while there were also signs that people had been living and working at the farm. Cannabis is, by weight, the most seized drug in Bedfordshire. Research led by Bedfordshire Police last year suggests that around £59 million is spent on cann

Suspension of Council Garden Waste Collections

A break for all garden waste collections for the winter in Central Bedfordshire Once again there will be a winter break for all kerbside collections of household garden waste across Central Bedfordshire. The collections will be suspended from Monday, 7 December 2020 until Friday, 26 February 2021 inclusive. Residents are encouraged to check their last collection date for their area, which will be either the week commencing Monday, 23 November or Monday, 30 November. The collections will resume again on Monday, 1 March 2021. All other waste collections will operate as normal during this period.  Throughout these months, only very low volumes of garden waste are collected, and it is therefore not cost effective to provide the service during these months. During the break in service, garden waste can still be recycled at the council’s Household Waste Recycling Centres. These are open seven days a week from 9am - 5pm, including bank holidays.  Certain restrictions due to Covid-19 may be in

£61.7m Business Bounce Back Loans Welcomed by Selous, MP

Andrew Selous MP welcomes latest figures showing support for businesses in South West Bedfordshire 2,109 Bounce Back Loans worth £61,698,326 have been offered under the Bounce Back Loans Scheme in South West Bedfordshire. Also in South West Bedfordshire, 88 loans worth £21,171,666 have been offered under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme In total, more than £200 billion of Government support has been provided to help individuals and businesses in all parts of the UK. New statistics showing the huge Government support to businesses in South West Bedfordshire have been welcomed by local MP Andrew Selous. Businesses across South West Bedfordshire have benefitted from £82,869,992 worth of loans since the start of the coronavirus outbreak. This includes 2,109 Bounce Back Loans – 100 per cent government-backed loans which are interest-free for the first 12 months – worth £61,698,326. The scheme ensures that small firms who need vital cash injections to keep operating can get

What Do Think About Countryside Sites Operated by CBC?

Central Bedfordshire Council is undertaking an  online survey  about their countryside sites and is asking residents and users for their views. This is your chance to have your say on countryside sites across Central Bedfordshire. The council wants to provide countryside sites that are great places for the local community to enjoy, exercise, relax, and play, so they are asking the public to feedback what they think about the sites. The survey covers topics around cleanliness and maintenance of this site, wildlife and conservation projects and the range of visitor facilities and/or events that are available. The council is asking anyone that has visited one of their sites to complete the survey and to tell them their thoughts about how it could be improved. The survey will take no longer than five minutes to complete and your feedback will help the council manage the sites to meet the needs of the community.  Councillor Ian Dalgarno, the Executive Member for Community Services for Centr

Green Flag Accreditation for Local Parks - Including Houghton Hall Park

Houghton Hall Park is one of several parks in the area to get a Green Flag Award in 2020. The UK’s National Green Flag Awards 2020 was delayed this year due to Covid-19 and while staff and volunteers dealt with challenges that went along with huge numbers of additional visitors.  Amongst these, Central Bedfordshire has secured its first-ever full Green Flag Award for Rushmere Country Park . The award winning parks can be found on this interactive Green Flag Map Close to Houghton Regis, Green Flag Award winning open spaces include:  Studham Common  - Green Flag Award Winner Houghton Hall Park  - Green Flag Award Winner Grove House Gardens  - Green Flag Award Winner Priory Gardens  - Green Flag Award Winner Dunstable Cemetery  - Green Flag Award Winner More winners - see  Green Flag Map The Green Flag Award scheme , managed by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy under licence from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, recognises and rewards well-managed parks and

Crossers Spark Concern For Safety At Blue Waters Woodland

A distressed user of Blue Waters Woodland and pathway to the woodland has written to Houghton Regis News Desk to raise awareness of a problem with off-road bikers.  Below is the content of the complaint received by Alan Winter at HRND. The writer did not wish to be identified.  After receiving this, the resident was asked to make Houghton Regis Town Council aware so that they could bring it to the attention of their Combatting Crime Committee. The Council can direct some policing activity out of Op Hannah funding, a special contribution that the Council makes to Bedfordshire Police. Since then, a spokesperson for the Town Council has acknowledged that they have been made aware of the complaint and intend to discuss it at their next meeting. Additionally, the content has been passed to Bedfordshire Police through the Police and Crime Commissioner's Office asking for it to be brought to the attention of the local policing team, and to the attention of their off-road bikes team for co

Green Flag Award for Rushmere Country Park

Rushmere Country Park is celebrating its first Green Flag Award The park joins 2,061 green spaces across the country receiving this international quality mark Today, parks and green spaces across the country will be raising their Green Flag Award with pride in a year when millions of people have seen the value of having great quality green spaces on their doorstep. Among them will be Rushmere Country Park in Heath and Reach, near Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, which is raising a Green Flag Award for the first time. Above: Greensand Trust Trustee Sally Hunt and Howard Hughes, Active Lifestyles Manager at Central Bedfordshire Council pictured at Rushmere Country Park with the Fairy King. Tonight as darkness falls, Rushmere Country Park will be joining buildings and landmarks across the country, including the White Cliffs of Dover, the London Stadium in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and Salford’s Media City, going green for parks to celebrate Rushmere Country Park’s Green Flag Award succ

Houghton Regis Chalk Pit Maintenance Money Now Available

Central Bedfordshire Council (CBC) has received a total of £327,424.36 from the developer of Bidwell West/HRN2 for 'Quarry Maintenance'.   The latest CBC Section 106 Parish Report of Houghton Regis (06 October) indicates money received on 28 September from the developer for Quarry Maintenance to meet the first and second funding thresholds of £163,712.72 each.   A spokesman for Central Bedfordshire Council said, “The council is currently in contact with the owners of the site concerning options for how the future maintenance funding will be administered. Once this is confirmed and the management arrangements agreed, more details will be made available.” Funding was previously available to maintain the chalk pit for a period of 5 years from the Bovis Homes development at Lake View but this has since expired.  It is important to remember that the Chalk Pit is privately owned, and there is no official public right of way except on FP1 in the south running between High Street North

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