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Showing posts from February, 2022

80 Homes a Year Brought Back to Life In Central Bedfordshire

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During this week’s Empty Homes Week (28 February to 6 March), Central Bedfordshire Council (CBC) are making the public aware of the steps it can take to bring empty homes back into use. In the past 10 years, 816 long term empty homes have been brought back into use – around 80 every year. A home can become empty for any number of reasons including if the owner has passed away with no next of kin, has moved away or is unable to afford renovation costs. The Council can help owners of empty homes bring their properties back into use, offering financial assistance and advice to help renovations. On some occasions, they will offer to refurbish and rent out the property on behalf of the owner using their Let’s Ren t scheme. Where there is no possibility of bringing a property back into use through negotiation, some enforcement action may be necessary. If it takes on a home, CBC will improve the insulation of the property and install low energy lighting and modern controllable heating and hot

Developer applies to build 29 homes off Bedford Road

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A planning statement that is included with the outline plans states, “We have concentrated on the lower end of the housing market by suggesting 27 detached two bedroom properties and two three bedroom properties where site dictates. As can be seen on the provided site plan we can provide ample amenity, parking and road access to all properties. The site is surrounded on three sites with active construction sites making this use consistent with the local area. ” Full details of this application can be found on the CBC Planning portal here . Public comments can be made on this application here . To discuss this application, go to our affiliated Facebook Group, Houghton Regis Planning Applications on this specific link . Sports Pavilion for Bidwell West CB/21/05047/RM SPORTS PAVILION FOR BIDWELL WEST Plans show site location for Sports Pavilion, layout of offices, 4 changing rooms, toilets, changing rooms etc. Registration Date: 26 / 01 / 2022 Parish Name: Houghton Regis, Dunstable Locati

5 simple steps you can follow to take part in Star Count

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Count the Stars between Saturday 26 February and Sunday 6 March 2022. Star Count 2022 has kicked off! CPRE (Campaign for Rural England), the countryside charity,  are again asking for your help in looking up at the heavens. Can you help them by counting stars to measure our dark skies? Here are 5 simple steps you can follow to take part in Star Count : 1. Try to pick a clear night for your count, and wait until after 7pm so the sky is really dark. 2. Let your eyes adjust (the longer you wait, the better - we recommend at least 20 minutes).  3. Look south (the way satellite dishes point) and find the Orion constellation, with its four corners and three-star 'belt’.  4. Count the number of stars you can see within the rectangle made by the four corner stars. Don’t count the corner stars, but you can count the three stars in the middle – the belt.  5. Make a note of the number of stars seen with the naked eye (not with telescopes or binoculars) and then submit your count to the CPRE w

Council Tax For 2022-23 Confirmed

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Central Bedfordshire Council this evening proposed and agreed a 1% increase for 2022/23, following a 3% increase in 2021/22, for Adult Social Care. A Band D property is an average band; Band A, B, C properties pay proportionately less; Band E and above pay proportionately more. The Town and Parish Council/Meetings Precepts for 2022/23 total £14,384,278. The increase in the average Band D Council Tax for Town and Parish Councils/Meetings is 4.03% and results in an average Band D Council Tax figure of £131.53 for 2022/23, compared to £126.44 for 2021/22 (when it increased by 2.15%). Dunstable Town Council Band D has been set at £187.66. Houghton Regis Town Council Band D has been set at £184.66. The Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner  asked for an increase of £10.00 (Band D). The precept for 2022/23 for policing is £25,928,162, which results in a Band D Council Tax of £237.09, compared to a 2021/22 Band D Council Tax of £227.09. The Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Authority app

Houstone School Appoints First Chair of Governors

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Following a nationwide search, Advantage Schools is delighted to announce that the Governing Body at Houstone School will be led by Helena Brothwell. Currently Director of School Improvement at David Ross Education Trust, as an experienced and successful Principal Miss Brothwell brings a wealth of experience of delivering excellent education outcomes, including in areas where there are significant challenges. Miss Brothwell will begin her term of office imminently and will work closely with Elizabeth English, Founding Principal, to get the school off to the best possible start. This will include recruiting the founding governing body members. Miss Brothwell said, “I am delighted to have been appointed as the Chair of Governors for the new Houstone School in Houghton Regis. Great communities need great schools and I have been very excited by the ambitions that Advantage Schools and Founding Principal Ms English have for the school. “Crucially for me, these ambitions align with my view a

CBC Confirm Garden Waste Collections to resume in March

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Garden waste collections to resume across Central Bedfordshire With the gardening season just around the corner, Central Bedfordshire Council will be restarting its garden waste collection service from Monday 28 February , on residents’ next normal recycling collection day . Check your  bin calendar  for the exact dates of collection. The council will collect either the two council-issued garden waste bags or one bin per household. A bin tag reminding residents of their garden waste collections will be attached to bins prior to the first collection. For more information about garden waste collection is on the Council's website . It is important that residents place the right waste in their garden waste bin or bags, otherwise collections crews may not be able to empty them.  Garden Waste Bin: Yes please: ·      Grass cuttings ·      Plants and weeds ·      Flowers ·      Prunings ·      Hedge clippings ·      Leaves and bark ·      Pot plants ·      Pond plants Garden Waste Bin: No

Community Action Day Hailed as Huge Success

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Central Bedfordshire Council has successfully held its first Community Action Day in Houghton Regis on15 February.  The council’s Community Safety , Environmental Services , Road Safety , Trading Standards and Housing Services teams worked together with Bedfordshire Police , Bedfordshire Fire Service and Street Watch last week, to carry out high visibility patrols, tidying of areas, fire prevention advice, as well as making noticeable improvements to the local area, in response to residents’ feedback.   Dog-fouling warning signs designed by local children as part of a competition to help crackdown on irresponsible dog owners were put up in Houghton Hall Park, Environmental Services carried out some cleansing work in the Windsor Drive area and the Highways Service carried out patching works to repair potholes and road defects and their Tree Officers carried out vegetation works. Safer Neighbourhood and Safer Communities Partnership Officers patrolled across Houghton Regis, with Gran

More than three-quarters of Brambleside, Bidwell West, are now built

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More than three-quarters of the homes at a development in Bidwell have been built. A street scene at Bellway’s Brambleside development in Bidwell, Houghton Regis Bellway is delivering 165 new homes at Brambleside, off Thorn Road, in the north of Houghton Regis. The development, which will feature a new public open space, including footpaths, cycleways, orchards and a children’s play area, will form part of a new neighbourhood which will total 1,850 new homes. Bellway is building 127 homes for private sale and has completed all 38 affordable properties for local people through rent or shared ownership. Luke Southgate, Sales Director for Bellway Northern Home Counties, said, “Construction is progressing very well at Brambleside and we are on course to finish on-site in November this year. “We have now entered the final stages of work, with just a handful of private homes left to be sold and occupied, with all of the affordable homes at the development now exchanged. “The majority of buye

Plant a Tree for the Jubilee + A Living Christmas Tree for Houghton Regis

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Houghton Regis Town Council's Environment and Leisure Committee this evening considered the possibility of planting a tree that could become the town's Christmas Tree in five to 6 years time. Fruit trees to be planted on The Village Green Every year a tree is cut down, transported to the boundary of Bedford Square in Houghton Regis Town Centre, and towards Christmas a lights-switch-on event takes place. Later the tree is taken down and transported away. The main idea of a living christmas tree is that it might save the Town Council some expense at having to have a cut tree down every year.  The Head of Grounds pointed out to councillors that when a tree is cut down, their supplier plants a new tree, and later the used tree is chipped, so it wasn't an entire waste.  Head of Grounds also suggested that the council would need to purchase a 6-8ft high tree that would grow at approximately 1-2ft per annum. A tree of that size would have a higher chance of surviving any reloca

New Deadline for Bidwell West Consultation on Local Community Centre

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Community consultation on a new community centre for residents of Bidwell West, Houghton Regis, has been extended to 1 March 2022. In 2015 outline planning permission was granted for a substantial housing scheme to the north of Houghton Regis. At that time a number of local churches and community leaders were in discussion with the concern of ensuring the future development in Bidwell West would be a great place to live, and a good addition to the town.  Over time Houghton Regis Community Development Charity was established with the intention of supporting, in partnership with residents and other stakeholders, the development of a healthy, vibrant, thriving and inclusive community, alongside the wider town of Houghton Regis. Residents in Bidwell West are most likely to be aware of the charity through the presence of community worker, Tim Haines, or through the recent community events that took place at the nearby Rugby Club. The Community Development Charity would like to engage abou

Linmere developers mark National Apprenticeship Week by celebrating on-site trainees

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WTP trainee quantity surveyor Will Kelly is one of the Linmere apprentices being celebrated during National Apprenticeship Week  The creators of the new Linmere village next to Houghton Regis are celebrating National Apprenticeship Week, whose theme for 2022 is, appropriately, ‘build the future.' Several of the contractors working on the 650-acre development have been employing apprentices, many from the local area, who are learning important construction skills which will help them advance in their careers. The annual week-long celebration of apprenticeships, run by the government's Education and Skills Funding Agency, showcases how apprenticeships have helped employers of all sizes and sectors, and people of all ages and backgrounds. The week focuses on encouraging employers to promote the outstanding work in which their apprentices have been involved over the past year as well as highlighting the many benefits apprenticeships bring to businesses and to the individuals they a

Toddington Services: Multi-agency operation combats human trafficking

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Dozens of lorries have been searched as part of a major operation at a service station to tackle modern slavery and human trafficking. Operation Thomond saw officers from Bedfordshire, Leicestershire, Cambridgeshire, Suffolk, Norfolk and Surrey Police working alongside the National Crime Agency, Immigration Enforcement and Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency to proactively stop and search lorries as they entered  Toddington Services , off the M1. The focus of the pre-planned operation on Tuesday (8 February) was to search for vulnerable people who may have been trafficked into the UK for the purpose of labour exploitation and domestic servitude. Toddington Services has been identified as a location used by human traffickers to facilitate the collection of people who have been smuggled into the country into lorries. A total of 45 HGVs were stopped across the course of the day; 37 were searched with partner agencies and immigration services.  A number of civil penalties and vehicle offen

Please Recycle Mobility Aids - plead from DRC

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  A message from The Disability Resource Centre CEO, Melanie Hawman: Due to the worldwide shortage of aluminium, we’ve been having great difficulty sourcing products for our new disability equipment shop at the Mayfield Centre in Dunstable. The shortage includes wheelchairs, walking frames and toileting equipment; since most of these products are made with aluminium. This shortage is a worldwide phenomenon and has now filtered through to our charity in Bedfordshire. Our customers rely on us to assess their mobility needs and then help source the appropriate equipment from our trusted suppliers. So last week I launched a plea to our community to help by donating their second-hand mobility equipment to add to our stock. We are always very careful to assess the safety of all donated second-hand equipment and make sure it is all deep cleaned. We’ve had a really good response so far but still urgently need more equipment to help vulnerable people in our community across Bedfordshire and Lut

New Industrial Warehouse Units Proposed Beside M1 Motorway in Chalton

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CB/21/04213/DB (CBC Toddington Ward, Chalton parish council land) Address: Land between Luton Road and the M1, Luton, LU4 9TT Development Brief relating to Commercial employment scheme with ancillary offices, car parking, landscaping and service yard areas. Applicant: IG9 Location: The site is located to the east of the M1 motorway which is to the west of Luton and immediately south of Junction 11a on the M1. The scheme comprises the development of industrial warehouse units for E(g), B2 and B8 uses in line with the current policy for employment on the site.  To be discussed at Development Management Committee at CBC on 16 February 2022. The development brief document has all the details:   https://centralbedfordshire.app.box.com/s/bi3ryro1et8fke88bd4e6k15gtcsnfjs/folder/155518939718 Simple box-shaped buildings are proposed. The applicant is committed to creating a truly sustainable development. This Development Brief will be subject to public consultation and review by statutory cons

Electric vehicle charge point provider appointed by CBC

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Central Bedfordshire Council has appointed BP Pulse to expand the network of electric vehicle charging points across Central Bedfordshire. The partnership will focus on the delivery of fast and rapid charge points in public and residential locations to support the transition away from fossil fuel-powered vehicles and to work towards meeting Government targets on transport decarbonisation and net-zero. The Council has an opportunity to bolster the network in Central Bedfordshire and beyond, with neighbouring authorities Bedford Borough, Luton Borough and Milton Keynes Council also partnering with BP Pulse. It is hoped the partnership will provide consistency of choice in the local area for residents and commuters. Councillor Steve Dixon, Executive Member for Sustainability and Transformation said, “We are delighted to be rolling out more charge points for both current and potential electric vehicle users in Central Bedfordshire. BP Pulse is currently the UK’s largest public charging ne

CBC & Its Use of Houghton Regis Community Centre

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Houghton Regis Community Centre will continue to be used for education during the day, and for Community Groups during the evenings and weekends. Debate on feedback on a Consultation by Central Bedfordshire Council (CBC) Executive, after the local authority closed the Community Centre to many community groups, was held today.  The purpose of the item on the agenda was (1) to share the findings of the public consultation [that was carried out after the centre was closed to daytime community groups without prior consultation] that ran late last year and (2) to approve the future operating model for Houghton Regis Community Centre (Bedford Square). The Council proposed that the Community Centre would continue to operate a dual-use (education and community) on a permanent ongoing basis; providing education support for young people with special educational needs during weekdays in term time and be available for community use in the evenings, weekends and school holidays. Cllr Pat Hamill , C

Improving buses – Enhanced Partnership approved

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Plans to provide residents with improved bus services in Central Bedfordshire have reached another significant milestone.     Following the publication of its  Bus Service Improvement Plan  – part of the government’s new national bus strategy (Bus Back Better) – Central Bedfordshire Council has approved plans to make an Enhanced Partnership with bus operators.    A notice of intent to make an Enhanced Partnership for bus services was published in June and consultation with operators was undertaken in November to refine the details outlined in the partnership. A public consultation followed in January to seek the views of residents.    An Enhanced Partnership is a legally binding agreement between the council and bus operators which identifies ways to encourage people to use buses more for their journeys.    The Enhanced Partnership is the second part of a two-stage process. Local transport authorities were required to submit their Bus Service Improvement Plan to the Department for Tran