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Showing posts from December, 2020

Bedfordshire: New Years Honours ¦ Lord-Lieutenant Recognises Achievements

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HM Lord-Lieutenant of Bedfordshire Helen Nellis has officially recognised the achievements of eight Bedfordshire recipients in HM The Queen’s New Year’s Honours List for 2021. Knight Batchelor Professor  Paul Anthony Cosford , Lately Emeritus Medical Director, Public Health England For services to public health Officers of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) Mrs  Caron Louise Bradshaw  (Central Bedfordshire), Chief Executive, Charity Finance Group For services to charity   Mr  Mrunel Sisodia  (Bedford) Co-chair, National Network of Parent Carer Forums For services to children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities, particularly during the COVID-19 Response   Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) Mr  Hobibul Hoque  (Luton), Chief Inspector, Bedfordshire Police For services to policing and community cohesion. In 2013, at a time when there were significant tensions between the police and communities in Luton, Chief Inspector Hoque was asked to lead o

Police and Crime Commissioner distributes £6m and seeks your views on council tax police funding

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PCC commends Bedfordshire Police for outstanding resilience and dedication after distributing 6 million pounds to support the county through this year's pandemic. And if you have time, please consider sharing your views on police funding. Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, has commended the outstanding work of Bedfordshire Police and partners in the face of an unprecedented year in her Christmas message to the force as she marked £6m of funding those working with her office to support communities and victims of crime. The £6m has included funding from the Special Grant from the Home Office, funding from the Ministry of Justice, Bedfordshire’s Violence and Exploitation Reduction Unit (VERU) and the Home Office’s Safer Streets Campaign.  “In response to the pandemic, Bedfordshire Police has responded quickly to changing government legislation and guidance, while minimising enforcement wherever possible, and has supported communities across the county as p

Residents urged to follow restrictions to stop Covid-19 spread over the Christmas Period

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Local Authorities, Bedfordshire Police and health bosses in Bedfordshire and Luton have joined up to urge residents to ‘play their part’ and abide by Tier 4 restrictions over the Christmas period. This follows a steep rise in new Covid-19 cases and hospital admissions in the area. Tier 4 restrictions  mean that residents in Bedfordshire and Luton  must stay at home,  apart from limited exceptions. Within Tier 4 people cannot meet indoors with people from other households, including over the Christmas and New Year period, unless they are part of a support bubble - you cannot form a Christmas bubble in Tier 4. Outdoors, people can only meet one person from another household in a public space.  Dr Nicola Smith, Clinical Chair for NHS Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Clinical Commissioning Groups  said, “The increase in infections is a significant cause for concern locally. We’re already seeing more patients that need urgent care as a result of Covid-19. By acting now and following th

Covid Winter Grant Scheme Will Help Support Vulnerable in Central Beds

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Central Bedfordshire Council receives extra government funding to support vulnerable children and families in this Winter Funding from the Government has been provided to councils, allowing families struggling to afford food and essentials over the Christmas period to access support in South West Bedfordshire. The  Covid Winter Grant Scheme  will see councils across England share a total of £170 million in additional, ring-fenced funding to help vulnerable families and individuals.  Central Bedfordshire Council will be receiving a total of £587,054.00 . This will prevent children from going hungry this winter and ensure local families get the help they need. It builds on the £63 million already provided to councils this year to assist those struggling to buy food and essentials. Commenting, Andrew Selous MP said, “Throughout the pandemic, the Government has stood squarely behind families who are struggling to make ends meets. No child should ever go hungry, which is why it is very welc

Bedfordshire Lieutenancy: Lord-Lieutenant brings a virtual message of Hope to the people of Bedfordshire

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Lord-Lieutenant brings a virtual message of Hope to the people of Bedfordshire to reflect on the extraordinary year we have had and look forward to next year. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, HM Lord-Lieutenant of Bedfordshire Helen Nellis has been unable to make her usual visits to organisations, businesses, educational establishments and individuals in-person to support and encourage their efforts. This has been particularly difficult when, now more than ever, so many voluntary organisations and businesses have felt the impact of the virus and required additional support. The Lord-Lieutenant has held countless meetings online and sent virtual messages of support throughout the year and wanted to end 2020 with a message of Hope to bring communities together as one. The theme of the message, which is “ We Stand Together as One ”, pays tribute to those who have made sacrifices during COVID-19 and gives thanks to the people of Bedfordshire for loving their neighbours as themselves. The mess

£10.74 million boost to Central Bedfordshire Council Budget Next Year

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Central Bedfordshire Council will have an extra £10.74 million to spend next year. The Government has announced that Central Bedfordshire Council will see its budget boosted by 5% per cent next year, as part of the Government’s commitment to give councils the resources they need to support their communities as we recover from the pandemic. Local authorities in England, including Central Bedfordshire Council, will receive a share of £51.2 billion local government funding next year – up £2.2 billion on this year. Funding for key public services will again be protected, with significant extra resources dedicated to areas where they are needed most.  The move by the government was welcomed by South West Bedfordshire MP, Andrew Selous, pictured above,  “Local authorities play a vital role in our communities, providing the crucial local services that people rely on every day. I am delighted that Central Bedfordshire Council will have an additional £10.74 million funding. These funds will hel

South West Bedfordshire MP Andrew Selous backs new law to create NHS Reservists

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South West Bedfordshire MP, Andrew Selous is backing a law in Parliament to create a new system of volunteer reservists for the NHS, modelled on Armed Forces reservists and police special constables. The NHS Reserve Staff Bill was first presented in Parliament on Tuesday, 24 November 2020, backed by Health Secretary Matt Hancock, and will benefit our area when the system is up and running. Local MP Andrew Selous is backing the new law proposed by Parliamentary colleague Alan Mak MP as the Bill starts its passage in the House of Commons. The Bill proposes a new, uniformed standing reserve of clinical and non-clinical volunteers which NHS hospitals such as Luton and Dunstable University Hospital, health trusts and other Health Service bodies can call upon when staffing demands increase. Scenarios where NHS Reservists could be called up include public health emergencies, seasonal increases in demand, large public events and protests, industrial action, and critical incidents such as terro

Faster route as A421 dual carriageway opens

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Council completes A421 dualling upgrade into Milton Keynes. Central Bedfordshire Council, in partnership with Milton Keynes Council and the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP), is pleased to announce that works are complete on their project to upgrade a key section of the A421 road into a dual carriageway, which means that drivers can now enjoy a faster and easier route around Central Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes. The 3km of the road has been upgraded to better link Junction 13 of the M1 motorway in Central Bedfordshire with Milton Keynes. The stretch runs from the roundabouts by the junction up to the new Eagles Rest housing development and the Altitude Magna Park logistics and distribution site in Milton Keynes. As the majority of this section falls into Central Bedfordshire, Central Bedfordshire Council has led on the project and has been working with Milton Keynes Council. The South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP) contributed £23.5million

Tree Planting Grant Open for Applications

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Central Bedfordshire Council has launched its new Tree Planting Grant scheme, aimed at delivering tree and hedge planting schemes across Central Bedfordshire. Town and parish councils, local voluntary and community organisations, schools and other groups can apply for funding (or match funding). Projects can vary in size, from a minimum of five trees upwards, to larger areas of new woodland. Planting more trees and hedgerows represents one of the key ways in which the climate challenge can be met. It will help increase biodiversity and mitigate other environmental issues such as flooding and air pollution. In addition to this, it will help create a better environment that benefits communities in many ways. Our Executive Member for Transformation and External Relations, Cllr Steven Dixon, said: “We’re committed to tackling climate change locally and the Tree Planting Grant is a big part of that. We recognise that trees are essential for people, wildlife and the environment, and we look

Bedfordshire Hospitals in £3.7m Refurbishments

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Government is providing allocations of £600 million to upgrade and refurbish hospitals Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundations Trust to benefit from 6 projects – worth £3,754,000 The Health Secretary has announced that hospital staff, patients and visitors in hospitals which are part of the Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust will benefit from refurbished wards, brand new electrics and upgraded ventilation systems. The Trust will receive £3,754,000 to carry out the work, which could include building new or refurbishing buildings to deliver key services, upgrades to electrical infrastructure, improvements to ventilation systems, works to improve fire safety and the replacement of hospital lifts. The work will be completed by March 2021. The money is part of a £1.5 billion announced by the Prime Minister in the summer to level up hospital infrastructure across the NHS. While £600 million will be spent on these critical maintenance upgrades, the remainder will be spent on modernisi

Bidwell West - Uninteresting, Uninspiring, Local Centre Given Approval by Central Bedfordshire Councillors

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When outline planning permission was granted to a consortium for 1850 homes it did not include a Class 2 residential care home. So when three FULL planning applications arrived for a local centre for Bidwell West as well as a 66 bed care home, it was a surprise to all those following developments in this area.  In the area marked orange above the applications added 48 extra homes over and above the outline planning permission, therefore FULL applications were submitted to develop the 'Local Centre'. A planning application for a further Community building has not been submitted yet.   The schematic below helps to explain what is envisaged in this area, with "North" off to the left hand side. The homes abutting the top of the schematic are already constructed by another developer. Blue dashes indicate walking connectivity. David Skinner , a member of the public, addressed the meeting representing Houghton Regis Community Development Charity (HRCC). In a Late Sheet

In 2021 Elections Will Be Held For A PCC - Find out More

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On the 13 March 2020 the Government announced the postponement of all local, mayoral and PCC elections for one year due to Coronavirus. They will now take place in May 2021.  May 2021 seems a distant date, but already candidates are jostling to position themselves.  The first PCC elected for Bedfordshire was Labour's Olly Martins. Martins was defeated by the Conservative candidate, Kathryn Holloway, at the 2016 England and Wales police and crime commissioner elections. Kathryn Holloway was expecting to stand down in May 2020, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, the government decided to postpone all PCC elections for one year, and so Holloway continued in her role.  What is the role of the PCC? There are 40 force areas across England and Wales. And every force area is represented by a PCC, except Greater Manchester and London, where PCC responsibilities lie with the Mayor. The role of the PCCs is to be the voice of the people and hold the police to account. They are responsibl

Council Objects to Removal of 28 BT Payphones

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Following the latest BT payphone consultation, Central Bedfordshire Council received 95 responses regarding BT’s proposals to remove 29 public payphones, that they had identified as unnecessary across Central Bedfordshire. The Council will be informing BT of their objections. As part of the process, the Council was required to undertake public consultation and to inform BT of the results. The consultation ran until 6 November enabling residents to comment on whether they agreed or objected to the proposals. The consultation included information regarding BT’s ‘adopt a phone box’ scheme so that communities could also consider an alternative use for the phone box or kiosk. The responses received revealed support for the Council’s decision to object to the removal of all 29 payphones as well as a number of general comments expressing overall concern about the removal of public service and the state of repair of some phones. Based on the responses received, the Council’s Executive was aske

Public Consultation Helps Define CBC's Economic Strategy

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Central Bedfordshire Council’s Executive Committee has unanimously agreed to recommend the draft economic strategy to the full council for adoption and to underpin it with an annual intervention plan and progress report. Executive Member for Planning and Regeneration, Cllr Kevin Collins, said, “Our economic strategy is designed to frame the delivery of our long-term economic aspirations. “The overarching principle is to build local prosperity, via a people-centred approach to economic growth, directing wealth and prosperity back to local business and communities. “It is underpinned by six interlinked economic themes. These are skills for the future, supporting businesses, creating sustainable places for the future, maximising opportunities with neighbours and embedding the council in the local economy. The economic strategy will replace the previous 2011 economic development plan.” According to the Council, a public consultation exercise was carried out and more than 600 responses were

PCC's Concern for High Speeds in Bedfordshire

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l Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, is urging motorists to continue to support the ‘No Need to Speed’ campaign, after data from 2019 revealed drivers’ speeds exceeding the legal limit by over three times. The highest recorded speed outside of London in a 20mph zone, which is usually reserved only for areas close to schools, was in Bedfordshire at 73mph. In 2019, the highest recorded speed in the county was 134mph in a 60mph zone, over double the speed limit. “The problem with speeding like this is that it’s too late to have regrets if you end the life of a child and cause lasting devastation for a family if speeding at over 70 mph near a school. At 134mph in a 60mph zone the road conditions will mean this could never be safe or it wouldn’t have this limit. This isn’t just reckless, its criminal and if causing a death through such complete disregard for the safety of others you may be on your way to prison irrespective of whether you’ve ever been in tr