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Showing posts from January, 2021

Conservative PCC Candidate Festus Akinbusoye welcomes new Criminal Justice Bill

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Home Secretary Priti Patel is set to announce new legislation that will make it a criminal offence to intentionally set up a camp or trespass on private land. The Conservative PCC Candidate welcomes this. The legislation will give police the power to fine those who break the law up to £2,500 and lays out the possibility of a three-month prison sentence. Currently, landowners face legal battles and court costs to evict travellers from their sites because trespass is only a civil offence. Festus Akinbusoye, Bedfordshire’s Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner candidate welcomed the news, saying, “There’s been a long-standing review into how to deal with the issue of illegal encampments and trespassing in England and Wales. This is a matter of real concern here in Bedfordshire,” he said. “We’re now coming in line with the Republic of Ireland, which introduced the same law back in 2002. This is the fulfilment of a manifesto commitment and I’m fully behind the government's strong a

'Tails from the Zoo' - Bedtime Stories To Be Read by Zookeepers

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ZSL London and Whipsnade Zoos announce virtual bedtime stories – read by keepers behind zoos’ closed doors. Weekends from Saturday 16 January to Sunday 21 February    Once upon a time there were two wonderful zoos full of wonderful animals, and zookeepers who worked tirelessly to care for them and teach their visitors all about wildlife.  Then an unwelcome villain forced the zoos to close their doors…so the heroic zookeepers found a way to help their animals and bring the zoo to the people…  Zookeepers at ZSL London and Whipsnade Zoos have swapped their brooms for books to launch a series of virtual bedtime stories – in a bid to keep their beloved animals in touch with their youngest fans during the nationwide lockdown.  The Tails from the Zoo will be available to watch online on the Zoos’ official Facebook pages each weekend from Saturday 16 January until Sunday 21 February, with a different animal-inspired story told from the two zoos’ most popular exhibits every Saturday and Sunday

Planning Application For New Secondary School Approved - Video Explains

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Today, Central Bedfordshire Council approved a planning application to build a new secondary school close to the present Leisure Centre in Parkside Drive, Houghton Regis. Councillors did raise matters of concern. This included the speed of traffic on Parkside Drive and a desire for more safety measures which may be built into the conditions around the agreement for building the school. Cllr Pat Hamill said he was sorry for those who didn't want it positioned where it was. He acknowledged there were issues with pylons going across the site which limited the new buildings from being built more to the eastern end. And the problem of knocking the old school down while keeping it open as the new school was built meant it couldn't be on that part of the Kingsland site. Reconvened Development Management Committee - Thursday, 14th January 2021 at 9:30am - Central Bedfordshire Council Webcasting Cllr Hamill, Tithe Farm ward CBC and Development Management Committee member, welcom

Trading Standards warning after second illegally imported puppy is quarantined

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Buying or rehoming a cute puppy may seem a good idea and a welcome addition to a family, but Central Bedfordshire Council’s Trading Standards team is warning residents to be aware of illegal imports. Last week, officers had to quarantine an illegally imported puppy because it had not received a rabies vaccination before coming to the UK. The second time in four months they have had to take such action. The puppy came from a country where rabies is a high risk of being present and therefore officers could not rule out the puppy being a carrier. The new owners are liable for the unexpected additional costs to cover the quarantine fees. Illegally imported puppies may not be properly vaccinated and rabies-free. Puppies like this are regularly sold via online advert listings or social media platforms and may come accompanied with incomplete or false documentation which leads any buyers into believing they have been imported correctly or bred within the UK. Trading Standards are urging anyon

Charity Awards Will Help Energy Efficiency For Vulnerable Households

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The Energy Saving Trust announced yesterday (13 January), that 10 charities have been successful in securing over £2 million of funding in the latest round of the Energy Redress Scheme. National Energy Foundation (NEF) covering the area of  Central Bedfordshire Council, Dacorum Council, Luton Borough Council and Watford Borough Council were awarded £109,175. Managed and delivered by the Energy Saving Trust on behalf of Ofgem, the Energy Redress Scheme collects voluntary payments from energy companies that may have breached rules. The funds are distributed to charities in Great Britain to deliver projects that benefit and support energy consumers in vulnerable situations. In Round nine of the scheme, 10 charities that work across England, Scotland and Wales are receiving grants ranging from £24,000 to £450,000. The full list of successful charities is available here . National Energy Foundation , based in Milton Keynes, is one of the recipients and covers Central Bedfordshire Council,

Boundary Commission Recommends Changes for Houghton Regis Effecting CBC Wards

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The Local Government Boundary Commission for England has made its final report recommending changes for ward boundaries in Central Bedfordshire. Changes will take place in Houghton Regis. If approved by Parliament the new boundaries will be used in local elections in 2023. By Alan D. Winter. The Boundary Commission are proposing that Central Bedfordshire should have 63 councillors; 4 more than at present. These  should represent nine single-councillor wards, 12 two-councillor wards and ten three-councillor wards across Central Bedfordshire. In all, the proposals are that the boundaries of 19 wards should change while 12 will remain the same. The proposed changes must now be approved by Parliament, so the legal document which brings into force their recommendations will now be laid before Parliament. One of the aims of the review was to create wards where one council elected member represents as many voters as another council member, as equally as possible, ideally within 10% of being e

Central Bedfordshire Council Deploys New COVID-19 Stewards

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Central Bedfordshire Council has employed 16 new COVID-19 stewards to support businesses and the public in increasing understanding of COVID-19 public health measures, such as social distancing, wearing face coverings in appropriate settings and hand washing. The stewards will undertake patrols across Central Bedfordshire to engage, explain and encourage best practice and promote the national guidance. They will also be gathering intelligence and information on potential COVID-19 regulation breaches and will feedback to the relevant Council officers to support further investigation and possible enforcement. They will also report incidents to Bedfordshire Police.  The new stewards, who will work from 9am to 9pm seven days a week, will be undertaking visits in Biggleswade, Sandy, Leighton Buzzard, Dunstable, Ampthill, Flitwick, Shefford and Houghton Regis. They will be wearing video cameras on their bodies and high visibility jackets to identify them as Council COVID-19 stewards. Cllr Ia

Free Transport In This Area For COVID-19 Vaccinations

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South Beds Dial-a-Ride are a charity operating the white minibuses that you see scuttling around the area helping the elderly and disabled and general public with their specialised transport needs.  The charity has successfully bid for a Lottery Community Fund grant and are currently using this, amongst other things, to help people of the local area get to hospital and vaccination appointments if they have special transport needs during this COVID pandemic. To find out more about South Beds Dial A Ride visit  http://www.sbdar.co.uk/ If you have news for Houghton Regis, please send it in

MP — Support for Government Over Remote Education

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Andrew Selous MP, has welcomed the measures the Government has put in place to ensure every student across South West Bedfordshire receives a high-quality remoted education while schools are closed. As part of the Government’s commitment that no child is left behind, it is providing a million laptops and tablets for schools to allocate locally to students who need them most. To date, it has delivered over 560,000 devices to councils in England, with students in South West Bedfordshire benefitting from the 221 devices provided to schools and colleges across Central Bedfordshire, with a further 100,000 arriving this week nationally. In tackling the barriers to remote learning for our most vulnerable students, over 54,000 4G routers to have been delivered to schools and colleges in England, ensuring every child has internet access. The Government is building on this work through its partnership with the UK’s leading mobile phone providers, including EE, Three, O2 and Vodafone, t

CBC To Consult With Public Over SEND Provision

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Central Bedfordshire Council’s Executive approved the launch of public consultation about changes to Central Bedfordshire’s four special schools and additional places for Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND) within mainstream schools. The consultation with residents begins on 3 February 2021 and there are proposals to increase places for special needs schools by 250. That includes The Chiltern School, Ivel Valley School, Oak Bank School and Weatherfield Academy. These schools would also relocate or expand between 2023 and 2026. There would be a further 92 places between 2023 and 2025, with a greater geographical distribution across Central Bedfordshire. This would be in line with future need in Dunstable and Houghton Regis; Harlington; Sandy; Shefford and Stotfold; Biggleswade; and Leighton-Linslade. In mainstream schools, the aim is to also include multi-use/nurture spaces, where there is space to do so. Central Bedfordshire Council’s executive member for Families, Educatio

Time to Look At Home & IT Security

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With more people working from home, perhaps it is a good time to check your home? 5 Top Tips to help keep you safe and productive at home:   1. Secure Your Workspace Try and make sure your workspace is adequately secure; not in view of a window where passers-by can look in or a vulnerable room such as a conservatory or garden office. If you live with other people or young children, make sure your work devices are password protected and locked before you leave them unoccupied even if only for a few minutes. Shut them down completely at the end of the day. This is best practice in the workplace, so it is even more important when you’re at home. Ensure equipment and devices are stored out of sight at the end of the day; this will also help to keep your work and home life more separate.    2. Mark Your Equipment Laptops, mobile phones and tablets are obvious targets for thieves as they are small, valuable, can be quickly removed from the building and there is an easy market for them. An ev

Council Set to Develop Land at Windsor Drive

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Green open space in Houghton Regis at Windsor Drive is being considered for housing development by Central Bedfordshire Council.  The news of the Council's intention to build on the site came in the Housing Revenue Account report to the Executive Committee of Central Bedfordshire Council on Tuesday, 5th January 2021. Particulars of the proposed development were discussed at the meeting and can be heard in this discussion: Executive - Tuesday, 5th January 2021 at 9:30am - Central Bedfordshire Council Webcasting The HRA report specifically mentions Windsor Drive, a couple of times (see quotes below). The report states that the site is in the 'Parkside estate', and Cllr Susan Goodchild commented during the meeting that it is in the ward she represents, Houghton Hall. “59. The other large site, that is new to the programme, is land at Windsor Drive in Houghton Regis .  This is a substantial area of green space within the Parkside estate.  At this early stage of feasibility

Why Sundon Road Still Has Traffic Lights On it

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A spokesperson for the Linmere developments (HMRC) has been asked by News Desk to explain why Sundon Road has traffic lights on it. “In response to your questions below, please see the response I have received from the HRMC:  “The principal reasons for the delay in the Sundon Road roadworks are the late discovery of shallow cables under the road by Openreach and UKPN which had to be re-routed. In addition, a landowner has been obstructing some of the works causing delays in the full opening of the road.  “Despite the obstruction, we are designing additional drainage works within CBC land leading to two private driveways to improve the drainage on those drives. The Council have to approve the new drainage design but assuming that is not delayed and landowners cooperate with the construction we aim to have completed the work and removed the temporary traffic lights by the end of February.  “I trust this also answers your query on the temporary traffic lights which hasn’t been caused by L

4.95% — Time to Have Your Say on CBC's Proposed Council Tax Rise 2021-2

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Each winter, Central Bedfordshire Council refreshes its budget proposals which includes proposals for Council Tax in 2021/22. Have your say by 5pm, 27 January 2021. In the next financial year (from April 2021 until March 2022), the authority expect to be spending  £402million on services . This is known as the revenue budget and is largely funded by council tax and business rates. The largest proportion of the funding is spent on more specialist services for those who are most in need of help, including those who are disabled, or who may need care services or protection. This includes services for children and young people as well as older or other vulnerable adults. This budget also funds  core services:  such as  refuse  and  recycling, roads, leisure, libraries, parks and countryside services . A further  £128million  is expected to be spent  on schools, roads and other infrastructure projects . This is funded through loans or selling land or buildings the council owns and reinvesti